I’m sure many of you had their LIVE drafts this past weekend, or are having them this coming weekend. Hopefully, many of you are also involved with an autodraft.
To be clear, a LIVE draft, where many of our writers articles are directed, is a bunch of people (ok..mostly guys), drinking beer, eating wings and pizza, and selecting the draft in the garage or on the deck. In contract a Auto Draft is some kind of league like ESPN, CBS, Yahoo, FLM etc.. where a number of players, sometimes strangers in a public league, or somethings buddies in a private league, rank players on-line and the computer will make the selection during some midnight run.
For me, I’m in many leagues this year and two of them are auto drafts. There really is only so many leagues one can participate in that utilize the LIVE draft mechanism. I’m sure like you, you have one of the following restrictions to involving yourself in multiple LIVE leagues:
a) Wife (i.e., you’re not getting drunk another night!)
b) Dog (How long are you going to leave me locked inside this house!)
c) Too busy (look, I like to go to the beach once in a while at the end of the summer!).
So, involving yourself in on-line leagues using an auto draft mechanism allows people with different schedules to enjoy fantasy football.
Now I’m going to guess, because an on-line auto draft league can draft pretty much right up to the last minute, that many of these drafts are going to take place sometime between Friday and next Wednesday. This is usually done at the last minute to make sure that the 4th preseason games don’t take out a star player before the season starts. And since scheduling all 12 players isn’t an issues, they usually are scheduled right up to the bitter end.
Now, let me explain that the strategy for an autodraft varies greatly based on the league rules. In Yahoo’s particular case it can easily be manipulated to your advantage!
Yahoo lets you rank all players into one huge list or use their default list which is God awful! I personally find ranking 1-500 quite difficult to-do, but I’m pretty sure there’s a reason they do it this way. Then it allows the commissioner to set the draft order. When the auto-draft is invoked, Yahoo will select all starting positions first and then go on to backups. So, for instance, since you can only have 1 starting QB, once your team has a QB, it will not choose another until your entire starting line-up is full (Kicker and Defense included).
For those in the know this system has tremendous advantages that allows you to manipulate the list to your liking. Unlike a LIVE draft, Yahoo protects players from what I call, “The Doug Coutts theory”. For those that have followed Doug know that in a live draft he starts picking up Running Backs and doesn’t stop until the 7th or 8th round. Believe me, I’ve seen it over and over again…It’s to the point of being comical. However, Yahoo doesn’t allow that. It will stop after you have your 2 starting RB’s (assuming you’re only allowed to start 2). SO, you can manipulate the rankings to meet your starting line-ups needs.
For instance, let’s say your leagues line up uses the traditional QB,RB,RB,WR,WR,TE,K, and D. Now, consider this. The top 3 WRs are tremendously better than any of the others…no doubt. However, is there really any difference between 4-20? Doubtful. How about Running Back? Sure getting 1 of the top 15 is important, but if there a really difference between the 16th and 24th? No. Use this to your advantage! Now, there is a HUGE advantage to picking up one of the 3 top TE’s. Because of this, you NEED to move them to the top of your list. Same is true of the WR’s. Luckily you could get a top TE and WR with your first 2 picks and still end up with 2 stud RB’s. So, move Harrison, Owens, Moss, Heap, Shockey, and Gonzalez to the very top of your list. Only on Yahoo could one possibly get away with this kind of ranking. But it WILL work. Remember, there isn’t that much of a difference between the #4 and #24 WR. There really isn’t.
I’m really not sure how Yahoo picks your backups (and honestly I should know). So, be careful and once the draft is completed use free agency to adjust your squad accordingly.
We’ll hopefully you’ve signed up for an on-line fantasy football league. If not, there’s still time to get into many of the public leagues out there.
Enjoy! And good luck on your drafts this weekend.