It's not hard to draft an average fantasy team. Just log into your draft on draft day, use the computer settings, and you'll probably walk away with an average team. But you're not reading this because you want an average team. You want a top team that can win the championship. And if you want to draft a winning team, you need to nail your draft strategy. That requires insight, data analysis and experience. And we're going to give you all of those in spades this week.
Welcome to Draft Strategy Week! Every day, you will increase your understanding of draft strategies and get one step closer to winning your league. I founded Fantasy Football Calculator 15 years ago, and since then we've helped thousands of people crush their drafts. We've hosted millions of mock drafts and built advanced tools to analyze the most effective draft strategies.
We sent out a survey last week asking you all what your top questions were about Draft Strategy. By far the most common types of questions were about when to draft each position. Some questions were:
- Do I need to go RB's in rounds 1 and 2?
- When to draft a QB?
- When should I draft a TE?
In fact, here is a summary of everyone's responses categorized by what percentage of them mentioned a question about each fantasy position:
It is interesting to note that while Wide Receivers take up the most space on your fantasy roster, there were fewer questions about WRs than the other positions. Because so many questions focused on each position, we're going to structure our strategy articles by position. These are the topics we'll cover this week:
- Monday : Introduction (this article)
- Tuesday : Runnning backs: RB/RB & Zero RB
- Wednesday : When to draft a quarterback (1 QB leagues & 2 QB leagues)
- Thursday : When to draft a tight end, wide receiver & special topics
- Friday : Putting it all together
Draft Strategy Process
Most fantasy football champions, whether they know it or not, use the same process for honing their fantasy skills for draft day. Here it is, summarized in one image:
Maybe you already have some assumptions of player values and strategy. Great! Then, go try some mock drafts , analyze them to see how they went, and continue the process with what you learned. It’s a cycle of refining your draft philosophy by doing actual mock drafts, reviewing the results, researching players, and using what you learn to adjust your draft philosophy.
This is the process that we’ll dive into over the coming lessons. Let’s start with Draft Philosophy:
A draft philosophy is different from a specific strategy, such as Zero RB. A draft philosophy demonstrates that you hold certain values, but you aren’t pre-committed to use any specific draft strategy. Flexibility is key. You never know what is going to happen during your draft. If you are dead set on one draft strategy, you may leave value on the table during the draft by forcing a pick that you shouldn’t have done. To lay the foundation of discussing draft strategies, we first need to talk about Value Based Drafting (VBD).
Value Based Drafting (VBD)
VBD is an old-school concept created by Joe Bryant at FootballGuys . The summary of VBD is: Rank players according to the points they score above a baseline player at their position instead of their total points. For example, quarterbacks score a lot of points. But ALL quarterbacks score a lot of points. Therefore, the top quarterbacks are have a lower VBD value than running backs or wide receivers.
Some version of value based drafting is at the core of all draft strategies. The main problem with drafting strictly by VBD is that nearly everyone already knows about it. It’s been around for over 20 years. If you don’t go above and beyond VBD, you’re not going to get ahead of your competition.
Draft Position Considerations
Nothing impacts your draft more than the draft spot you pick from. That is another reason why you need to be flexible, especially if you don’t know your draft spot until just before the draft starts. To be fully prepared, you need to be doing mock drafts from many different draft positions. The strategy articles this week will give you specific advice depending on which draft spot you are drafting from.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't say that you MUST know your league settings well in advance of your draft day.
- Is it PPR? Half-PPR? Non-PPR?
- Start 1 QB? Superflex? Start 2 QB?
- How many flex positions? Is there a TE bonus?
Make sure you know those details and adjust your strategy appropriately. In the content this week, we will make sure to cover multiple league settings and tell you what settings we're using when we give advice.
In conclusion, you need to be aware of the pros and cons of every strategy, and try them all out with mock drafts or a custom draft simulator. With some practice, you will develop your own strategy and feeling of how one pick will impact the rest of your draft. I'll see you tomorrow when we use the process above to find out the best rounds to draft a running back.
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