Last time we talked about getting you ready for the draft and now its time to talk actual strategies for the draft itself. The draft isn’t something to be taken lightly and has broken more friendships than a game of Mario Party…that’s still a thing right? If you go into a draft under prepared than it could mean the end of you season right off the bat. What this article will do is point out a few good and popular strategies that you can employ during the draft and some traps to avoid as well.
Know The Position:
Did you read this writers' last article and the importance of the mock draft? No? Well this is going to be a tough issue for you isn’t it. Half hearted mocks and plugs aside you really do need to know what players could possibly be available to you before the draft even begins. Mock drafts allow you to draft from any position in the draft and doing so will show you which players will be available if you were to land in that position. The players you see on the board with the second pick wont be the same as the ones you see with the forth or fifth so you need to practice to set up a basic idea on where your strategy goes from there.
Make The Safest First Pick:
“You can’t win the league with the first pick but you can certainly lose it.”
These are very strong and smart words from fantasy experts Matthew Berry and Nate Ravitz that describe better than yours truly could have. That first pick needs to be consistent and a sure fire thing to make the first round and its no place to take a risk. Now every player comes with inherit risks but you try to limit it as best as possible by picking players like Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout and not guys like Bryce Harper or Javier Baez. While the upside of Harper and Baez are high the risk of them not meeting expectations is far higher than Trout and Cabrera not meeting their respective potential. This is why it’s important to pay attention to mock drafts and see whom goes where so you can plan around it.
Pick From The Head Not The Heart:
Everyone has a favorite baseball player and sure we all would love to have him on our team, well expect this writers' since he is retired. But lets face facts that someone like Adrian Gonzalez isn’t a first round guy. Playing with your heart means you choose players out of position just because you like them. Sometimes this is fine if you pick them right but most of the time, at least from what I’ve seen and experienced, people tend to look at that pick later and wonder what they were thinking.
Know Your League Mates And Exploit:
This is a very underhanded and weasely tactic and that’s why you should do it! This only works when you know there’s a special player a league mate wants or that he tends to pick players from a specific team, likely his or her favorite team. Knowing this actually can give you an advantage in making future moves or making moves that can work for you in the future. In some cases you can even punish a person for being to blind to fandom.
Short story time: This writer was in a fantasy football league with an auction draft (something this writer will be getting to in a second) and the budget was two hundred dollars. In the first round the third pick went to a well-known Packers fan and he selected Aaron Rodgers for thirty dollars or so. There was one person in the league that decided to make him pay for Rodgers and up bided him all the way to eighty dollars before letting him have Rodgers. That was almost half his budget on his first player making the rest of the team very weak.
*Remember that you can fall prey to this as well so be very cautious.
Set A Limit (Auction Drafts Only):
Before a draft every player is given a dollar value and that lists the recommended buying price of a player. Now it can happen but it is rare that a price for a good player ends right at that recommended total. It’s a very good idea to consider what your willing to spend on any player in general but especially early in the draft. If you spend high early you get many strong single players but weaker players later. On the flip side you save on the early rounds you lose those key players that can help dominate a league but have a stronger overall team. Setting your budget early can prevent you from, oh say, spending $80 dollars when you only have $200.
Keep Track Of Your Positions:
Imagine this scenario: You’re near the end of the draft and you’re picking you sleepers and bench players. You fill in the last bench spot and think “Well my teams all done,” but then you noticed there’s still one round left to draft. You look at your team confused and then you see it, you forgot to draft a catcher. Now with the last pick in your draft you have to pick from players like Nick Hundley, Tyler Flowers, Ryan Hanigan and Francisco Cervelli as your starter. It happens and it’s defiantly something to look for when you’re drafting your team this year. You may get enticed by having multiple stars on your team when they fall to you, something that you should capitalize on, but it can’t come at the cost of other positions.
Resist The Reach:
This is the hardest thing to do in a draft. Resisting that urge to grab a particular player before someone else gets him even though if you do your passing on players more worth this pick. This is the hardest to avoid when you see a player coming up in the draft and it’s a position that not only you need filled but is a shallow position*. The way to combat that feeling to reach is to remember that there are always more players after him that are just as good and just wait for them.
*Shallow position refers to any position that doesn’t have a depth and the number of good players in that position is very low. An example would be the outfield as a surplus of speedy players but is very shallow in power hitters making them a premium position over other outfielders.
Remember The End Game:
The end of the draft doesn’t mean you can relax. Look at your team and see what you could improve with a trade or two if necessary later on down the road. Look for your best chips and come up with potential trades. Look at the waiver wire, yes the draft just ended but you may have missed someone during the draft that you really wanted or was overlooked by everyone. You’d be surprised how many sleeper options are left on the board.
Corner The Market:
What does this writer mean by cornering the market? The strategy revolves around grabbing multiples players from a shallower position and rostering them. This will make it so if people what to fill that positional void they have the owner will likely come to you first for trades since you have a spare player.
Example: Say you draft Miguel Cabrera in the first round and two rounds later you draft someone like Prince Fielder. While you already have a first baseman you know have a strong corner infield position filled with a top end player. If you never trade either you still have Fielder and Cabrera leading your offense and if you do end up trading one you get a big haul and possibly are able to fill your positional gaps with players from that trade. Don’t try this for multiple positions or you may end up regretting it.
Now that the draft is over you get to start the real fun and do whatever it takes, within the rules of course since no one likes a cheater, to bring home that metaphorical title belt. Or a real belt depending on some leagues, Even heard some leagues use a trophy of a chicken for the championship trophy.
Next time we’ll take a look at some keeper strategies because that alone needs its own article to go over.