Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

17 Aug 2012

Snake Draft Strategy Using Kubiak?

Hi everyone, as I've previously mentioned, this will be my first year using Kubiak. In an Auction Draft, my strategy in using the spreadsheet is obvious and straightforward. However, accounting for the human element in combination with the scarcity at specific positions, I'm struggling to put together a strategy for a standard Snake Draft.

This is my third year in this specific league, and I can easily predict that every RB with at least 50 FPoints Over Baseline (less than 10 RBs) will be taken in the first or second round. However, being a PPR league, there are almost 20 WRs of equal or more value in that period of time. I'm definitely picking too late in the draft to get a shot at the top 3 RBs... Is it a reasonable strategy to just make a run on WRs? Of the top 10 FPOB players in my specific scoring situation, I count 5 WRs, 3 RBs, and 1 QB. The 3 RBs and 1 QB will be picked by the time I get my shot, but the WRs are mostly 2nd and 3rd rounders for this group of people.

As a general rule, do you veteran Kubiak users think that I should just pick according to what Kubiak tells me to pick, regardless of the human element and scarcity of position? I theorize that that would be inefficient except in the most trade-happy leagues. If the human element and scarcity at position are taken into account, how should I gameplan? For example, should I pass on WRs with projected 145 FPOB just to snag the last running back with over 80 projected FPOB? Because of where I'm picking, I might actually be able to get the top 3 WRs (totaling almost 400 FPOB), but I would be stuck with the dregs for virtually every other position. Should I even consider taking a TE in the second round if I know he won't be there in the third?

In case you want more context: It's a 10 person PPR league with 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 WR/RB, 1 K, 1 DST, 6 bench. I'm drafting 7th.

Admittedly, I might be over-thinking this whole process. Many thanks in advance to anyone with wisdom to share.

Posted by: Enzo on 17 Aug 2012

13 replies , Last at 03 Sep 2012, 11:22am by nibiyabi

Re: Snake Draft Strategy Using Kubiak?
by Zac :: Sat, 08/18/2012 - 5:46am

"As a general rule, do you veteran Kubiak users think that I should just pick according to what Kubiak tells me to pick, regardless of the human element and scarcity of position?"

Definitely no. KUBIAK tells you how valuable players might be, but it has no way of knowing the tendencies of your league. You want to get the best player who won't still be available the next time you pick. Or in KUBIAK terms, you're trying to maximize the combined FPOB of all your starters. To do that you need to recognize when a position is going to have a big talent drop off and when it's deep with comparable talent. A way to help you with that is the use of tiering.

I assume you are aware of the tier strategy. If not, a summary is at http://www.thehuddle.com/classics/04_tiering.php .
Using the most recent KUBIAK update, here's how I see the tiers.
RB tier 1: clearly the top 3 RB.
RB tier 2: YMMV, but I'd call it RBs 4 - 7 (down to Mathews). With this group you have all RBs projected to go in the 1st rd according to ESPN, Yahoo!, and ADP.
RB tier 3: RBs 8 - 13 (down to Murray) are all bunched pretty closely.
RB tier 4: RBs 14 - 20 (down to Stewart).
RB tier 5: this one drops really gradually. I'd figure out the lowest guy you feel comfortable starting at your second RB. My settings show 23 RBs in the starting lineup.
RB tier 6 and tier 7?: you should tier down to at least the last guy you think will be drafted. my settings show 44 RBs being drafted and I would probably end that tier at 46 RBs.
Set tiers at QB, WR, and TE as well. If you print out your sheet, you can literally mark the line to separate your tiers. I'm going to put the tier information into column BR so I can see it while my draft is in progress.

At each pick then, you can see which tier has more depth remaining in it. For instance, you'll probably be down to tier 2 RBs and tier 1 WRs. If you think it's more likely that you'll be able to get a tier 1 WR with your second round pick, then you should probably go with a RB in the first round, even if the FPOB aren't as high. When you compare the FPOB of the 1st Rd RB + 2nd Rd WR (say Jones-Drew + Fitzgerald, which is 208 FPOB), that's probably higher than the 1st Rd WR + 2nd Rd RB (Calvin Johnson + Matt Forte = 193 FPOB).

Re: Snake Draft Strategy Using Kubiak?
by Enzo :: Sun, 08/19/2012 - 2:13am

Thanks again, Zac.

Re: Snake Draft Strategy Using Kubiak?
by Zheng :: Sun, 08/19/2012 - 4:15am

One thing I do for autodrafts is cap the ADP delta at 1-1.5x the number of teams in the draft, then re-sort according to ADP-capped delta. What that does is give something like a straight draft order list, that doesn't have you reaching four rounds for players KUBIAK really likes. Doesn't take tiering into account, of course, but KUBIAK does have some value-based functionality built in already.

If it's ESPN or Yahoo then I prefer to sort according to those ADPs, obviously. You have to figure drafts are strongly influenced by what players are coming up next in the draft list.

Re: Snake Draft Strategy Using Kubiak?
by bautin2 :: Fri, 08/24/2012 - 11:23am

By capping the ADP delta, are you excluding players with ADP Deltas in excess of 1-1.5 the number of teams in the draft? That would generally throw out guys like Hernandez and Eli.

What purpose does this serve?


Re: Snake Draft Strategy Using Kubiak?
by Zheng :: Mon, 08/27/2012 - 3:07am

I'm not excluding players at all, just pushing them down to closer to ADP in order to make KUBIAK into more of a draft-in-this-order list. If I tried to use straight KUBIAK as such a list, I'd be reaching three rounds ahead for guys like Dwayne Bowe, which is not the way to get value for the pick.

Re: Snake Draft Strategy Using Kubiak?
by Senyaka :: Mon, 08/20/2012 - 2:51pm

I did a draft similar to this yesterday, and I feel like you are better off reaching slightly for runningbacks early, because there are a lot of receivers that according to KUBIAK are underrated by the public enough that you can get them later on, while runningbacks are for the most part correctly evaluated. You can get somebody like Dwayne Bowe in the 5th-6th round, there's no way you can get a top 10 runningback that late.

Re: Snake Draft Strategy Using Kubiak?
by andyrooroo :: Tue, 08/21/2012 - 3:24pm

This is my first year using Kubiak, and this is going to be my strategy, I think. At first, I was a little nervous when I saw Cruz, Bowe, and others SO high on Kubiak - but I'm taking that with a grain of salt (which is what I should be doing, right?) I think those two WRs in particular don't need to be 2nd round picks, but they are guys you can scoop up a round (or two) earlier than ESPN has them and get some excellent value.

Re: Snake Draft Strategy Using Kubiak?
by Zac :: Wed, 08/22/2012 - 12:32am

I agree Senyaka. The only thing I'll add is to tell people don't get too cute with these players. If KUBIAK has him as the 12th overall player (like my settings have for Greg Jennings), then getting him late in the 2nd is still a value. Don't wait too long and let someone luck into a player that you think will overperform.

Re: Snake Draft Strategy Using Kubiak?
by socctty :: Sat, 08/25/2012 - 1:20am

I didn't play FF for the past two years, but in the past, this is what I've done that has worked out well. It really helps if you know your draft position - but unfortunately this year I won't know until 30 mins before the draft!

Anyway, here you go:

1. Familiarize yourself with KUBIAK's rankings on FPOB; you don't need to have it memorized, but have a good idea of which players deviate from the consensus.
2. Now, sort your list by ADP. Even in leagues that deviate from standard formats tend to follow ADP, in my experience. You can really abuse this in 1 PPR leagues. (Although ADP likely reflects the increase popularity in PPR leagues.) Most people are sitting down with a magazine or a printout from ESPN.com.
3. Now take note of the ADP Delta column.
--> Players with a large negative ADP Delta are who KUBIAK thinks are overrated.
--> ** Anecdotal evidence is that KUBIAK helps most by indicating which players you should avoid, i.e. these overrated players. **
--> Players with a large positive ADP Delta are who KUBIAK thinks are underrated.
--> ADP Delta is helpful here because, if you agree with KUBIAK's projection, you can fairly accurately assess when you should "reach" for the player. That is, don't draft a player in the 3rd round because KUBIAK says he's the 25th best player; draft him in the 8th round because KUBIAK says he's going in the late 9th or 10th round.

When you know your draft position, you can really almost go on autopilot the first few rounds. I've always done the math to figure out which exact pick I have in each round (the 5th, then the 17th, then the 25th, etc). Then, I like create a list of players that should be available around each pick according to ADP, and narrow them down to players that I'd be happy with on my team. I rank them by FPOB (or other things I've taken into consideration), and color-code them by position. One thing to keep in mind is that you can much more accurately predict which players will be available in the first few rounds than you can in the later rounds. For example, you can probably narrow down your favored players in the first round, with the 7th pick, down to two or three players. But in the 6th round, you're going to have about 12 players targeted for that round, since the draft gets progressively more unpredictable it proceeds. You're also going to have the same name repeat in later rounds; situations will arise where a player that's going in the 12th round according to ADP may want to be on your radar starting in the 8th or 9th rounds, and in this situation you'll have to use your best judgment on when to "reach" for him (even though according to KUBIAK he'd be a value in the 8th round).

Perhaps it's coincidence, but I've noticed that I've often been the guy that starts runs on certain position groups with this approach. I don't think it's that people are particularly impressed with my picks or how I'm building my team, but rather that I'm picking players at certain positions right before everyone else switches their gears, which suggests to me that I'm picking players in their ideal spots.

Again, a few years ago this forum generally agreed that KUBIAK was better at who was going to under perform rather than who was going to break out. A few years ago I shot an 8th round pick on Darren Sproles because of his KUBIAK projection - and I think I got Leon Washington, too. I can't tell you how many times I've drafted Jerious Norwood, either - or Tashard Choice. I rarely, if ever, started those guys. KUBIAK's projections had reasoning behind them, but I should have considered other factors when making those picks. So when you see some crazy projection, ask yourself "Does this make sense? Will this player have the opportunity? Can I afford this risk at this position?"

Re: Snake Draft Strategy Using Kubiak?
by kekeisen :: Wed, 08/29/2012 - 12:34am

I'll piggyback on other posters here, and try to distill their advice down to a few bullets with some additional input:

- You're trying to pick a player as "late" as possible. To do this, you need to compare ADP to KUBIAK's rankings. The idea here is that you want to pick the player with the highest KUBIAK ranking that WON'T be available the next time you pick. For example, if you're looking for players to draft with the 2.04 (#14) slot, you should be selecting someone with the highest KUBIAK rating and an ADP <27 (give or take a few).

- It's also a good idea to look at the dropoff by position between players available with a given pick versus who will be available (again, per ADP) the next few times that you pick. At 1.07, you might be choosing between Calvin Johnson (89 FPOB), Darren McFadden (64 FPOB), Rob Gronkowski (60 FPOB) and Drew Brees (84 FPOB). At 2.04, you will likely have a choice of Larry Fitzgerald (59 FPOB), Ryan Matthews (58 FPOB), Jimmy Graham (56 FPOB), and Cam Newton (75 FPOB). The dropoff at WR is 30, at RB is 6, at TE is 4, and at QB is 14. Just looking at these numbers, you would want to grab megatron. If you're excel-savy, you can set up a nice spreadsheet with a simple lookup function that will tell you what the dropoffs are for the next few rounds vs any given draft position, which might provide additional context.

Re: Snake Draft Strategy Using Kubiak?
by Sifter :: Sun, 09/02/2012 - 3:25am

I like this advice, will be incorporating some of it into my draft strategies this year.

My question is related to risk. Anyone here tried a low risk drafting strategy? ie. specifically avoiding anyone with the red level of risk in KUBIAK? I'm wondering whether the early round picks are so important that instead of gambling that Vick or McFadden will stay healthy for instance, why aren't the early picks the less risky guys? Gambling can be done later with the less important picks. Might miss you some great players, but then again it might ensure you're always in the running for the playoffs. Thoughts?

Also, random question thrown in...when do the KUBIAK updates usually stop - is it as soon as the season kicks off?

Re: Snake Draft Strategy Using Kubiak?
by Zac :: Sun, 09/02/2012 - 6:03pm

I've used KUBIAK for years and I still don't know how to deal with Risk. I will say that Going Green isn't going to ensure that you're in the running for the playoffs. Football has plenty of entirely unpredictable risks. Adrian Peterson and Steven Jackson were the 4th and 5th RBs (using my scoring system) as of the 8/25/11 KUBIAK. Both were Green. They finished the 15th and 12th RB respectively. Reggie Wayne was projected as the 4th best WR, and he was Green; he finished 23rd. I won a league last year, and I finished 2-10-1 in another (using KUBIAK both times).

Last year they did an update in October for people to look at from a free agent perspective. But for the most part updates are done when the season starts.

Re: Snake Draft Strategy Using Kubiak?
by nibiyabi :: Mon, 09/03/2012 - 11:22am

Also, keep in mind that Risk, by default, already changes the Dynamic Fantasy Points value, thereby incorporating risk into each player's projection. Blue is +5%, Green is no change, Yellow is -5%, and Red is -10%.

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