Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

17 Aug 2012

Good starting point for fantasy draft strategy

I got roped into a fantasy league this year, and I haven't played in about a decade. I'll order the KUBIAK projections, but can anyone recommend a good, reliable guide to basic draft strategy? I'd like to at least pull my head slightly out of my ass before the draft.


Posted by: poboy on 17 Aug 2012

8 replies , Last at 26 Aug 2012, 3:33pm by J. Winn

Re: Good starting point for fantasy draft strategy
by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 08/17/2012 - 11:02pm

Buy a fantasy football mag. Fantasy Football Index pretty good

Re: Good starting point for fantasy draft strategy
by Kurt :: Sun, 08/19/2012 - 7:02pm

Agree with RJ on FF Index. I would forget the outdated paper magazine at this point, though, and get one of the weekly updates available each Monday on the website. That's the best place for an updated cheat sheet with analysis.

As for basic draft strategy, I'd offer the following:

* Know your league rules. This is the most important. If you start 1 RB, 2 WR and 2 flex, for example, forget loading up on marginal RBs. If pickups are limited, then draft playable depth over longshot lottery tickets. If QB TD's are worth 6, move the top QB's way up your board. That sort of thing.

* If the league has unlimited drops and pickups don't draft a K or D until your last two picks. In fact, if your league allows it don't draft a K or a D at all - use those picks for RB/WR, and you can decide who to cut to pick up a K and D just before week 1 kickoff. Yahoo public leagues let you do this.

* I like to plan from the bottom up. Figure out which position(s) you're willing to go cheap on. If you have a great feeling about RG3 and would be comfortable with him as your QB1 (or there are enough QB's you like in the 12-15 range in a 10 or 12 team league), then load up on the other positions in the early rounds.

* Be flexible. If Rodgers slips to you in the 20th pick because your league is RB happy, for God's sakes take him.

Re: Good starting point for fantasy draft strategy
by poboy :: Fri, 08/24/2012 - 12:04pm

Thanks, guys, I appreciate it.

Re: Good starting point for fantasy draft strategy
by J. Winn (not verified) :: Fri, 08/24/2012 - 2:37pm

Do you know what position you'll be drafting from?

Re: Good starting point for fantasy draft strategy
by poboy :: Fri, 08/24/2012 - 11:02pm

2, in a 10-team league, no PPR, that awards 6 points for TD passes.

Is that the relevant info?

Re: Good starting point for fantasy draft strategy
by J. Winn (not verified) :: Sat, 08/25/2012 - 4:11pm

Yeah, that's the most relevant information. I actually have been doing a lot of mocks from the second position in a 12-team league, and I have been very happy with my draft results.
Here would be my advice:
1st Round take one of these players in this order if you can:
1) Arian Foster
2) Ray Rice
You could also take Aaron Rodgers, but I'll explain why I wouldn't in the next round.

Round 2:
Since you're only in a 10 team league, there is a very good chance a top 5 QB (Brees, Stafford, or Newton) may reach you for your second pick, so I would not draft Rodgers in the 1st. If the person with the first pick drafted Aaron Rodgers, do not draft a QB yet. If they did not draft a QB and there is only one of the top 5 available, draft them. If there are two top 5 QBs available, only take one if you feel they are significantly better than the other option (Brees over Stafford for instance.)

If you can not get a top 5 QB, do not worry. There will still be several high quality RBs available: Ryan Mathews, Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, Fred Jackson, Trent Richardson etc. Which one you take is up to you.

There will also be several high quality WRs available at this point. But you'll almost certainly be able to get an equally good WR with your 3rd pick, so I would wait.

If by some miracle Jimmy Graham has not been drafted and it is not optimal to draft a QB, draft Jimmy Graham.

I'll elaborate on later rounds and other questions you may have later.

Re: Good starting point for fantasy draft strategy
by poboy :: Sun, 08/26/2012 - 12:48pm

Thanks so much for the hints. I agree your strategy seems to make sense. When I last played, the league wasn't as pass-wacky as it is now, and so I think things are a bit different.

I guess my other point of confusion is drafting backups before filling out your starting roster. Might it make sense to draft a higher-value backup before a lesser-valued starter in some instances?

And after last night, I don't think Jimmy Graham will be there, which is too bad, as I like to have a few of my Saints to cheer for :)


Re: Good starting point for fantasy draft strategy
by J. Winn (not verified) :: Sun, 08/26/2012 - 3:33pm

In some instances, it does make more sense to draft a backup over a starter you may need. Especially if you can find a similar starter later in the draft.

I almost always draft Ben Tate, whether I drafted Arian Foster or not. If Foster gets hurt or doesn't play, Tate automatically becomes a top 5 back.

WR is incredibly deep this year, and WR production is usually a crap shoot anyway. I like to wait until at least the fourth to draft a WR most of the time.

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