Sunday - Jan 17, 2021

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Shark League Draft Study

Dear Tony,

I read your Draft Plan; amazing stuff bro. Just one little question after reading it. I was following through your Great White Shark league draft and had a quick question for you. 



Walter Thomas Fitzgerald



Dear Walter,

Thanks for the note. You and I agree on one thing – my stuff truly is amazing. But apart from my humility, what makes you think I’ve lost my way? I have this draft firmly in control.




Dear Tony,

Where do I begin? Draft a wide receiver, you say in your draft plan, Andre Johnson your No. 1A? Drafted him as early as 1.05 overall, you say? Yet at 1.08 with Andre Johnson on the board you take Darren McFadden? What gives? Fantasy freak out moment or what?




Dear Walt,

Aaaahhhh yes, the Shark drafts. That’s another beast entirely. One train of thought I try to emphasize in the Draft Plan is that you have to always be flexible. You must have a plan, which is the draft plan, but you must also be able to veer from it when opportunity knocks and be able to make the adjustment to get back on track. A lot of devising your approach to a draft, is applying the “draftable” group of players available, overlaid with your league rules. In this case, some special Shark rules influence the way I approach this draft. 

I like to think my Shark League drafts are more classical in nature and are about as close as you’ll get out of me to an old school draft. By old school, I mean placing a premium on drafting a starting lineup before continuing on through the draft. For those that were drafting long before there were websites, we didn’t draft for value, or even stud running backs, most of us would just draft a starting lineup first, including kickers and defenses. I go way back, back when picking a defense in the seventh round didn’t look abnormal like it does today. We’ve all grown since then, but I approach a shark league draft in a very vintage way.

The reason I do is two-fold – starting lineup requirement and the no trading clause.

The two running back and two receiver with no flex requirement changes everything as far as values go as it makes it even more important to be able to project out the first few rounds. In the case of McFadden over Andre Johnson, and that was the decision for me, in my estimation the difference between McFadden and what I’d get at wide receiver vs. Andre Johnson and what I’d get at running back fell McFadden’s way. A balanced two running back and two receiver league has the value fall a lot more squarely on running back, and I wouldn’t mind seeing you hit running back a little harder in these style leagues.  

Another point is that there are no trades and that’s what influences me to draft less for value and more for starting lineup. The draft is everything in these leagues. You can build some through free agency but you have to get lucky. In this format, you get one chance at these players and I don’t want to be drafting for depth at running back or wide receiver if I don’t have a quarterback or, dare I say it, a tight end yet.

Hope that explains it!




Dear Tony,

You’re whacked dude. No really, whacked. You must be a hoot at cocktail parties. So I can’t really fault you too much for the rest of your picks after McFadden.  Frank Gore has some upside but he’ll probably be on the Physically Unable to Perform by Week 6. Nice pick, clown. Wide receivers Mike Williams and Wes Welker look good in a points per reception league; hard to argue there. But if you’re so vintage and are drafting a starting lineup, what gives with running back Cedric Benson in the fifth round? A bench player? In the fifth round? Seriously?




Dear Wally,

Good point for sure but I lean running back early in this format. I’ve filled my two starting running back slots and two starting wide receiver slots, which I think is pivotal. You must have all four filled with players you can rely on. Having Benson hopefully gives me some alternatives in bye weeks, injury insurance, etc. Finding a serviceable running back in free agency is next to impossible. A serviceable wide receiver, however, is always a possibility.




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