Can you believe we are only a month away from the supposed start of the NFL season? These are strange times as NFL players will have less time to get ready for the season and no preseason games. Sixty-nine players opted out of the 2020 season ahead of the Aug. 6 deadline.

So preparation is key.

Below are some thoughts as you prepare for your draft.

1. Never take a quarterback in Round 1? I have preached this for years and years, but in 2020 we are looking for sure things. I think Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson are options after the eighth pick or so. I would usually roll my eyes and snicker when someone took a quarterback early … this year, maybe not so much.

2. What do we do with rookies? If I can, I am going to avoid them. Value will always be key for me, but as a rule in 2020, no rookies in the first six rounds. Again, I want trust points. We all are giddy about Clyde Edwards-Helaire in Kansas City, but in Round 1? No, thank you.

Rookies take time to adjust to the NFL game, learn the plays, protections and so on. If Edwards-Helaire is there in Round 2 … OK, maybe, but not over established vets like Derrick Henry or Joe Mixon in Round 1.

3. Take a defense earlier than you normally would. Get a rock-solid veteran unit — maybe start considering one as early as Round 10. I think defenses could be ahead of offenses for at least the first four weeks of 2020 … sort of like in baseball where pitchers are ahead of hitters early, or so they say.

4. Watch out for players coming back from injuries in 2019. The entire offseason has been a wreck. How many will be in shape and fully recovered? Will teams start them off slowly to work then back into football shape? I am not saying avoid them, just tread lightly.

5. Change your league settings! If you are not the commissioner, call or email them and let them know to add two to four extra rounds to the draft. Also have them add IR spots. As we’ve seen with other sports, COVID will take players out — who knows for how long — but no one wants to have to drop a player because of it.

BONUS THOUGHT: Do not draft until September if you can, and do not lock lineups until five minutes before each player’s game. Check your rules and settings!

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox

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Ken Zalis ranked No. 3 in FantasyPros’ 2019 Fantasy Football Draft Accuracy Rankings.

Ken Zalis

See all posts by Ken Zalis. Follow Ken Zalis on Twitter at @fansfantasy