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Last-Minute Draft Strategies


Lucky Fantasy Players! Why are you lucky? Because it's draft time. Is there a better time of the season? It's like Friday night with the whole weekend ahead of us. Or the first day of an amazing vacation. And most of you will screw it up.

Let me guess, you're going to draft best value available? Oh wait, you're going to trick the world with ZeroRB after a dominant RB year? Nah, you're going to double down on RBs because they won't see that coming! Winning a championship in fantasy is no simple task. It requires skill, knowledge, luck, a great draft and great in-season management. As it pertains to the draft, I believe you need to be a bit unconventional to try and gain any little advantage you can over your fellow leaguemates.

The following strategies are not without exception or flaw. They have been concocted with some fun and unconventional reasoning, because why the hell not? Use some of these different fantasy strategies to switch things up from your normal "go with the flow" mentality. After all, if you're not having fun, why are you playing? Happy Drafting!

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Contrarian Strategies

Draft a TE or QB Early

The drop-off at both of these positions is significant after the players I'm about to mention. I believe drafting one of these positions early (definitely not both!) can provide you with an advantage come the season. But you can’t just draft any player early at these positions. Here are the exceptions:

QB: 

Aaron Rodgers - 2nd/3rd Round
Russell Wilson - 4th/5th Round
Deshaun Watson - 4th/5th Round
Cam Newton - 5th/6th Round

TE:

Rob Gronkowski - 2nd/3rd Round
Travis Kelce - 3rd/4th Round
Zach Ertz - 3rd/4th Round

 

Stack Players on Positive Regression Candidate Teams

I wrote of this in my last article and referred to it as “The Deep Stack.” If you believe that there is a team that is going to improve on offense, stack a bunch of their fantasy viable players to take advantage of undervalued ADPs. Just as important, you'll get to focus on one game each Sunday!

Some of the key candidates are the 49ers and Bears. The relatively low ADPs of the key players on these teams allow you to draft many of them, whilst mixing in other high ADP studs. Why not get Jerick McKinnon, Marquise Goodwin, Pierre Garcon, Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle and Matt Breida? That would potentially leave you with picks in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 11th-14th.

 

Draft Players who will perform early

This strategy holds especially true for the most streamable positions (QB, TE, K, D/ST). I can’t express the importance of performing well in weeks 1-6. With a 5-1 record, your starters have been performing well and you can take chances with your bench by filling it with sleepers and flyers whilst saving your FAAB.  When in this position, I love going with all RBs on my bench #AllBenchRB, knowing that someone is going to pop. Meanwhile, with a 1-5 record, you will need to plug holes ASAP; often filling the bench with the next best thing, using up FAAB early in the season or trading at a disadvantage.

So how can you shoot for early season performers? For D/ST options I pay attention to early SOS like the Ravens facing the Bills in Week 1. For QB options I look for home over road matchups, like Pittsburgh home for two of the first three. Other clear indicators of early season performance are injuries and suspensions. Again, there are exceptions, but for the most part these are the players that are going to clog your bench early on. I won’t be drafting Mark Ingram, Alshon Jeffery or Julian Edelman. I want to win the first few weeks so give me value picks like Chris Carson, Chris Hogan and Peyton Barber instead.

 

Draft some Boom/Bust guys!

Firstly, it is more fun to watch players with high ceilings. Secondly, you will need some Booms to win the ship. Paying for a boom on the waiver is pricey so why not try and land it before the flop? Check out these guys for a fun season and shot at the trophy: Saquon Barkley, Jerick McKinnon, Stefon Diggs, Amari Cooper, Allen Robinson, Deshaun Watson, Will Fuller, Kerryon Johnson, Rashaad Penny, Sony Michel, Jordan Reed, David Njoku, D.J. Moore, Kenny Golladay, Ben Roethlisberger, Patrick Mahomes, Courtland Sutton, Mike Williams, John Brown, Dez Bryant, Devante Parker, Josh Doctson, Christian Kirk, Chris Godwin, Aaron Jones and Keelan Cole.

Before we part, I'd like to give one major caveat to all of these strategies and that's value at ADP. If the players I'm staying away from fall to an incredible value in my draft then all bets and previous strategies are off.  You always should take what the draft is giving you.

Thanks for reading - check me out @BrettMitchellFB on Twitter.

 

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