It is an exciting time of year for fantasy football fans. With the 2021 NFL season around the corner, the fantasy football season is even closer. That means it is past time to start doing homework for your draft. But no amount of homework will matter if you do not enter your draft with one vital thing.
A solid fantasy football draft strategy, preferably one you can stick to.
Of course, the type of strategy will depend on the kind of draft. Strategies that work for snake drafts will not be too practical for auction drafts and vice versa. However, it is not too hard to build a championship-caliber team in either with the right strategy.
Assuming you have done your homework, that is.
Fantasy Football Draft Strategies– Auction
There is more to it than just know who is starting for who and how well they played last year when it comes to doing your fantasy football draft homework. For an auction draft, you are going to also need to know their expected auction value. Some sites will tell you what a player is going for in drafts. Otherwise, look for cheat sheets off a few fantasy sites. That way, you have an idea if a price is getting too high or if a guy is a bargain.
Knowing their values will make it possible for you to have a budget in mind heading into your draft? How much will it take to acquire two stud running backs? Can you afford a stud running back, wide receiver, and tight end? How cheap can you go at quarterback?
As for a specific strategy, there are two primary plans that most auction drafters use. Now, they will augment them using various tips and moves aimed to sabotage everyone else’s draft—but more on those later.
The two basic strategies everyone uses in auction drafts are:
- Studs/Scrubs: Spend most of your budget on 2-4 superstars, and then fill out your roster with the best of whatever remains at the end of your draft. Hopefully, your superstars will be good enough to carry your team as you try to find value via free agency and the waiver wire.
- Wait and See: Let your opponents overbid on the biggest superstars early in the draft. Once their budgets get depleted, stock your roster with the remaining good players they cannot afford. You may not have a superstar, but you are likely to have more quality players on your roster.
Both can be sound strategies if appropriately executed. Part of that execution involves knowing which tips will best augment your strategy. It will also depend on how much leg work you want to do before Draft Day.
Fantasy Football Draft Strategies– Snake
Auction drafts are great because they give everyone a shot at the best players in the league; you just need to be willing to pay more than the next guy. But with snake drafts, everyone will get at least one or two superstars, 3-5 good players, and a few longshots/rookies.
The trick to winning a snake draft is figuring out how to get more quality players than everyone else—which you can do with the right strategy. But keep in mind, you will need to be somewhat flexible because you cannot know what everyone else in your league will do.
These are some of the more common snake draft strategies:
- Early and often on running backs: Most scoring systems are running back-friendly, making quality running backs one of the keys to success. But if you take this route, you need to do your homework on wide receivers, quarterbacks, and tight ends. That way, you know which remaining guys have value.
- Four wide receivers: Most fantasy players will go with running backs in the first couple of rounds, making it easier for you to get two superstar wide receivers. Follow them up with two really good ones in the third and fourth round, and half your roster is set for the season. However, you may end up having to roll the dice at running back.
- Late Round QB: In the first six rounds, focus on getting the best running backs, wide receivers, and a tight end worth starting. With six of nine positions (1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex, 1 DST, and 1 KR) quality players, you can afford to take a chance on your QB in the later rounds.
There are, of course, several ways in which you can augment your fantasy football draft strategy, whether you are in a snake or auction draft. Gathering more knowledge is good. Knowing everyone else’s typical draft strategies, being aware of their needs during the draft, position tiers, etc., can only help you in the end.
But there is one thing you can do (several things actually) that will benefit you in the end and just make the draft more fun— sabotage.
If you see two guys in a bidding war, throw in a couple of rogue bids to drive the price up even more. When you see someone bummed about missing out on a particular player, nominate the next best at the position. Chances are the guy who missed out will be determined to get this one—and will overbid to do so.
To help induce panic and inflate prices, make a bid that is a few dollars higher rather than going by a single increment. Your opponents will think you are serious about requiring that player and may bid higher to keep you from getting him. Above all else, keep your cool. If you get emotional or panic, there is an increased chance you will make a rash decision that you will regret later.
Oh—and minimize your alcohol intake. Nothing encourages poor decisions quite like a few too many beers.