Hi. I’m Bob….er, gridguru…and I don’t believe Value Based
Drafting is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s been 7 years since I last
Yea, as far as I can tell I’m the last one who still attends
these meetings. As popular as VBD has become over the last few years, I guess I
can understand why. But I for one (and probably only one) am not buying it.
Well, I’m not buying it anymore.
I’ll grant you that the theory is sound, well thought out,
and mathematically accurate. There are even variations of VBD that make perfect
sense. Some weigh in intangibles. Some consider the schedule. Some average in
prior year stats. All good stuff mind you. VBD even takes most of the thinking
out of the actual draft which is a great thing for Fantasy Football newbies.
NOTE: That last
sentence just enraged every VBD purist reading this. It always does. I have no
idea why. As I understand it, that is the whole point of VBD.
The problem I have with Value Based Drafting is that
everything, the whole kit and caboodle, the resulting ultimate draft list, is
based on projecting the stats for every draftable player. What? So if your
projections are wrong your entire draft strategy is now flawed? Guess what
regardless if you developed it yourself or if it was provided by some website
(an idea which still boggles my mind) is inherently incorrect. Easily 99% of the
time, the projections you feed into the formulas and use to rank the players
will be incorrect. Ouch! I personally can’t live with banking my Fantasy
Football season on a bunch of wrong guesses. Me… I want to get my hands dirty
during the draft.
Now before I go into detail about my personal strategy, I do
want to say that I know a lot of guys that I consider expert drafters that do
use VBD. However, none of them use it exclusively. Not one of them looks at
their list and instinctively drafts the player with the next highest X-Value or
whatever. Not one of them chooses Antonio Gates in the first round. They may
start with a VBD list, but I find that they abandon the base theory pretty
quickly as the draft goes on.
That said, my drafting strategy isn’t necessarily an
alternative to VBD either. It can easily be used in conjunction with it if you
want to spend the time projecting the scores for every player. Hey, knock
yourself out. It’s not something I’ll be doing again, but whatever floats your
boat is okay with me.
The method I use incorporates several items, all equally
important. These include a tiered player list, player ADPs, an “opponents
drafting tendencies” cheat sheet, and a running list of league rosters. I know
that sounds like a lot of papers strewn about but in reality I have great
eyesight and print really small so I rarely have more than two sheets of paper
myself. But like I said, I like to get my hands dirty.
Tiered Player List:
This is your typical player “rankings” list broken down by position. However,
instead of just having WRs (for example) listed 1-60, I have them broken into
8-12 sub-groups. Each sub-group (tier) includes a group of players I feel
will produce very similar numbers over the course of the year. Again, unlike
VBD, I am not going to guess at what exactly those numbers will be. All I am
concerned about is that those numbers will be similar for all of the players in
Draft Position lists found on the web vary wildly, so be sure to pull a list
based on the group you will be playing with. If it’s a league of new guys, a
Yahoo list will work. An average league could use a list from one of the many
Mock Draft websites out there. If you’re playing with Sharks, I’d suggest following
the Monday Morning Mocks and the ADPs that come directly from the tank. I rarely
bring an ADP list with me to the draft because I do so many mocks during the
preseason (embarrassed to say how many) that I gain a real good grasp of where
players will go and when a good value is available. Mocks are your friend.
Learn it. Live it. Love it.
Tendencies: Obviously, you probably won’t have this available to you unless
you have been playing with the same group for a long time and have been noting
how they draft. I know this part may sound silly to some and be considered
overkill to others, but knowing that a guy is more likely to take a backup WR
over a backup RB or that he will take a QB before the 5th round can be
invaluable information if you are paying attention. I am rarely surprised in my
money league. I suggest if you haven’t been tracking the drafts, you start now.
If you have access to old draft reports from your league, go back and do some
analysis. You’ll be surprised to see how consistent most players are. Perhaps
(For those in my leagues….yea, I’m watching you!)
League Roster List:
This is one of the most important things that I keep at my finger-tips during a
draft: A chart showing each franchise and who they have drafted so far, again
broken out by position. This will give you much of the information you need to
make the tiered draft list work for you. Tracking the other team’s progress,
needs, and wants is crucial.
Below are a couple of “tiering” rules I follow that may be
1. As I mentioned, I establish my tiers by grouping players who I feel will
have similar stats throughout the year. I don’t try to guess what those stats
are exactly; I just want to feel each tier will include similar players that
are better or worse then the groups around them.
2. I see many people who
even numbered groups. For example, every
tier has 5 players in it, or ten players in it. That makes no
sense to me. Some tiers might have 2 players, some might have 15 (Late WRs for
example). Don’t get tied into a norm for simplicity sake.
3. Be sure to rank your players within your tiers. Using whatever method you prefer
(perhaps VBD), rank the players within each tier. Be sure the players are
similar enough that you would feel basically equally as comfortable taking the
last player in a tier as you would taking the first player in a tier. If you
don’t, you need to re-adjust your tiers as this is a very important aspect of
this type of drafting.
“So how about getting
to the ‘Strategy’ already!”
Okay, here’s the idea. Say you’re in a 12 team league and it’s
the 4th round of a serpentine draft. You are in the 4 Spot (pick 4.09) and you
think you need a WR and a RB in the next couple rounds.
are still available.
tier are also available.
You glance at your running League Rosters list and notice that the guys ahead
of you (who will pick twice before your next pick) have the following rosters
2 Spot: RB, WR, WR
3 Spot: RB, RB, WR
Just by looking at these current rosters, it would be safe
to say that at least two RBs will be chosen before it gets back to you. You
could also say with some confidence that at least 1 WR, perhaps as many as 4
could also go before your next pick. At this point, knowing your opponents
drafting tendencies takes out a lot of the guess work out of this process.
With that knowledge you can safely choose the a RB in your
current tier now, while knowing that at least one of your remaining WRs will
still be there after the turn. If you were to choose a WR here because their
X-Value was a point higher than the RBs, you would have missed the boat.
Often times there will be no guarantee that you will be able
to get the players you want if you wait. In those cases, you have to play the
odds. As in any situation that you are playing the odds, whether it be poker or
the stock market or a Fantasy Football draft, the more information you have the
better your chances are of playing them correctly.
It takes some thinking during the draft and confidence in
your choices (as does every decent drafting method), but it gives you a
reference point for when to draft a certain player and when you have the luxury
to be able to wait on them.
Anyway, that’s pretty much it. Perhaps you’ll find this useful. Perhaps you’ll
stone me in the halls for talking bad about VBD. Perhaps you have your own
original drafting strategy you would like to tell us about.
Whatever the case may be, good luck in this years drafts!