Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

04 Sep 2009

Different strategy 10 vs 12 team league?

I've only ever played in 10 team leagues, but this weekend I have to draft in a 12-team Yahoo league (1 qb, 3wr, 2 rb, 1 flex, etc.) are there any changes I need to make to my usual drafting philosophy? A friend who just drafted in a league like this said I need to get as many good receivers as I can early, because they're gonna run out fast, whereas I can probably wait on a QB, a TE, etc.

Any other ways you feel a 12 team draft tends to go different than with 10?

Posted by: alsep73 on 04 Sep 2009

3 replies , Last at 05 Sep 2009, 1:27am by tally

Re: Different strategy 10 vs 12 team league?
by tally :: Fri, 09/04/2009 - 7:57pm

My experience with 10 vs. 12 team leagues (and I play in one of each every year) is that the talent drops off very quickly across all positions in 12 team leagues. In general, it lowers the baseline for players because there is a need for more starters. What you probably should look at are the break points in your projections. For example, in my league, there is a big drop off after the 4th QB, 6th RB, and 4th or 5th WR. There are smaller, mini-dropoffs lower on the rankings, but with WRs, it's pretty homogeneous after #5, with no double digit dropoff at any point. That means that there is a scarcity of top-line WRs, but it's pretty even after that. Unless you're drafting 10-12, you likely won't end up with 2 top WRs.

In a 10-team league, you can likely look to get at least 2 players in the top echelon of each of the 3 positions, but that's less likely in 12-team leagues. What's more important are the secondary drop-offs.

For example, I drafted 2nd in a 10 team league and 3rd in a 12 team league--both pretty similar positions. I was able to nab MJD first in both leagues, but in the 10-TL, I was also able to grab Rivers and Andre Johnson with my next picks. In my 12-TL, the top 4 QBs and top 4 WRs were already gone by the time I got my second pick. I ended up settling for Wayne and McNabb.

In your league, with 3 WRs, it would be true regardless of team number that WRs will be scarce quickly, because that's a lot of starters at WR. However, you also have a Flex position, and unless it's PPR, I think you're more likely to fill that with a middle tier RB than a middle tier WR. Unless the Flex allows QB, in which case it's almost a no-brainer to grab two top QBs right off the bat.

The RB position has more dropoffs and more secondary dropoffs than the WR position, so I think it's still more important to grab quality RBs than WRs.

Re: Different strategy 10 vs 12 team league?
by alsep73 :: Fri, 09/04/2009 - 8:30pm

Thanks. That makes sense.

So how would you suggest responding to position runs? Like, if a lot of mid-tier WRs are going off the board as I'm waiting to pick in the fifth, do I need to make sure I get the last guy at that level, or do I just shrug my shoulders and grab Witten or Gates because they got skipped in the receiver frenzy?

Re: Different strategy 10 vs 12 team league?
by tally :: Sat, 09/05/2009 - 1:27am

My experience is that you go for the TE.

Two reasons:

1. The dropoffs at WR after the first few are not more than 5-6 points between any two WRs, and usually only 1-3 points. The dropoff between the top two TEs and the next batch is ~20 points.

2. Because different people have different rankings of particular players, a WR you have in a tier may not actually come off the board until much later. This is where Average Draft Position (ADP) comes in handy. If you are targeting a particular player and have him, say, as a 5th rounder, but ADP has him pegged as a 7th rounder, you can set that player as your dynamic baseline and go for value in other positions if the WRs remaining are not significantly better or worse than he is.

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