My 2016 draft strategy
It is that time of year again, time to plan for my Fantasy Football drafts. Before I start preparing I always take a few minutes to review the league rules; specifically focusing on the size of the league and how the league is scored. I play in multiple leagues, so a quick refresher helps me to focus and develop a winning strategy.
This season I plan on playing in two types of leagues. One leagues is a, non-PPR, snake draft and the other is a 12-team, PPR, auction league. My lineups are pretty standard: 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE. My strategy for drafting in the snake, non-PPR league, is to pick a RB in the first round. Last year due to injuries and ineffectiveness, many of the top running backs disappointed. Whenever there is a season like that there is often an overreaction by many fantasy players to switch to drafting receivers early. So, this year I think that I will be able to get good value at running back. In my league, I can select the position of where I draft, thus I want to draft near the end of the first round because I am pretty confident there will still be some good running backs available, at that draft position. Ideally with my first four picks I will get two running backs and two receivers. Unfortunately, drafts are hard to predict and if Gronk or Aaron Rodgers or someone similar falls in the draft I would consider picking them and abandoning my strategy. When drafting I always look for value and upside. After the fourth round is when I usually start to consider drafting a quarterback or tight end. However, quarterback is very deep this year and I will probably wait until later in the draft to choose one. In my personal rankings I have Jameis Winston as the 12th best quarterback in fantasy. I would be perfectly happy with him as my quarterback and I think I can get him in the 8th round or later. I also plan on waiting to draft a tight end until later in the draft. There are only a couple of real difference makers at tight end, thus I feel that I can wait. For example, I have Jimmy Graham as the 12th best tight end in my rankings. After round four it is all about value and upside and waiting on quarterback and tight end. I usually only draft one tight end and one quarterback. Instead of picking backups in those positions, I usually draft extra receivers and running backs.
I also play in an auction league. I am an extremely aggressive player in that league. It is only a 12 team league so I implement a stars and scrubs strategy figuring that there will be talent on the waiver wire. Our budget is $200 and I am willing to spend at least $170 of that on my starting running backs and receivers. Because it is a PPR league, I want to get two top receivers. I am targeting Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham. Unless he gets hurt, I think Antonio Brown will be the number one scoring player in PPR leagues this season. I like Beckham over Julio Jones because Jones does not score many touchdowns. As for running backs since it is a PPR league, I am targeting Jamaal Charles and Giovani Bernard. I am confident Charles will bounce back from last year’s injury. He has shown the ability to have great seasons after bad injuries and I think that I can get him at a slight discount because of the injury. I also think that Giovani Bernard is ready to break out. The Cincinnati Bengals lost two of their receivers in the offseason and Tyler Eifert, their tight end, is starting the season hurt. Thus, there should be a lot of passes being thrown to Bernard. For my flex position, I really like Danny Woodhead or Charles Sims. They both catch a lot of passes and if there was an injury to either Doug Martin or Melvin Gordon then their value would increase greatly. If I can’t afford either of those players then I will select a receiver at my flex position. As for quarterback and tight end I plan on only spending a few dollars to fill those positions. Again I am always looking for value and upside so if there are good players going for less than I what I value them at I will acquire them and that could change my draft significantly.
This is the best time of the year and I am truly looking forward to drafting my teams and I look forward to the season. Unfortunately, due to injuries and position battles a good draft doesn’t guarantee success but it sure helps.