Draft Tips


1.  It's a three-player draft:  Can you win without one of the first three picks in your draft? Yes -- several people won their leagues in 2008 without Michael Phelps.  But it will be a lot easier if you can draft Phelps, Ryan Lochte or Missy "The Missile" Franklin.  Each of them is projected to win 7 medals, making them likely to score at least 10 more points than the fourth pick.  It could be a huge advantage.  It's a no-brainer that these should be the first three picks -- the only question is what the order should be.  The Phelps-Lochte showdown has been well-publicized.  If you have a strong feeling about who is likely to come out on top in London, take him No. 1.  But if you think they might split the golds, you should consider taking Franklin first.

2.  When in doubt, pick a swimmer early:  It's no coincidence that 12 of the top 30 picks on our draft board are swimmers.  The USA Swimming Team is strong, and you could get a steal in the second or third round by snagging someone from a relay team -- plus, you never know if a less-heralded swimmer might come up with a surprise medal in an individual event.  If all the swimmers are off the board, look to the track team for the same reasons.  The track team accounts for 11 of our top 30 picks.

3.  Take a close look at the repeat Olympians:  There are a lot of familiar names on the draft board: gold medalists May-Treanor/Walsh Jenning and Rogers/Dalhausser are back in beach volleyball, Dianna and Steven Lopez return in taekwondo, and decorated Olympian Natalie Coughlin made the USA Swimming Team again.  Don't just draft based on their names.  All have the possibility to win another medal (perhaps even gold), but you should consider that some have had difficult paths back to the Olympics.  They are not the "locks" that they have been in the past.

4.  In the later rounds, grab someone in multiple events if possible:  As you get further in the draft, finding someone who is participating multiple events can be a huge advantage.  If you are choosing between a projected bronze medalist in one of seven events and a projected bronze medalist in a single event, take the athlete with multiple events -- you never know what can happen.  In this vein, the men's gymnastics squad is worth a look.  John Orozco, Sam Mikulak, Jake Dalton, or Jonathan Horton might be worth a late round flyer. 

5.  If you want a super sleeper, consider a distance runner:  Team USA has been getting better over the last few years at the distance running events.  No U.S. runners are predicted to medal in long-distance events in London, but picking up Galen Rupp, Lopez Lomong or Shalane Flanagan late in your draft could yield some surprise points.  And if long-distance running is not your cup of tea, consider a member of the U.S. mountain biking team.  Team USA has been on the rise in recent competitions, and one of the riders could pull a surprise.