Best Fantasy Football Draft Strategy
Bookmark this page! I am dead serious, you will not want to forget where you found this best fantasy football draft strategy. I have played division 1 football and have also played football for over 15 years.
I have watched football since I was 8 years old so that now gives me 20 years of NFL watching experience.
I have played with college team mates that have played in the NFL.
I have also won multiple fantasy football championships. I have also lost a ton of fantasy football championships.
However, I usually more times then not, make it to the Championship at the end of the season, NO MATTER WHAT STYLE OF LEAGUE.
Half of the reason why this happens is because I have an incredible draft strategy. The other reason is because of my week to week waiver wire acquisitions and trades.
However, LET ME BE CLEAR. FANTASY FOOTBALL IS SO MUCH DETERMINED BY LUCK.
I am not guaranteeing that you will make it to the championship but I will give you the best strategy that will help put you in the best position to reach your fantasy football championship.
How Do I Draft My Fantasy Football Team?
Ok, so it all begins with what type of scoring rules are in your league, the amount of starting players on your roster and how many teams are in that league. That is all you need to know in terms of how to draft you fantasy team.
Why are those the only 3 things that you need to know?
Because fantasy football drafting all boils down to player value. The point scoring system your league uses + the amount of players you can start + the amount of teams = Player Position value.
So let me explain this simple mathematics equation.
The point scoring system your league uses will determine the point scoring ceiling of the players. The ceiling meaning the most potential amount of points they can ever score.
The amount of players you are able to start at any given position will determine that positions value compared to another players position.
The amount of teams in your league will determine the player position value further because the more teams that are in your league, the fewer high point scoring players will be available for you to draft.
I hope this is making sense to you guys. If not then keep reading so that this makes sense to you or leave a comment below and I will try my best to help answer it.
Fantasy Football Player Position Value
Now lets start to get to the fun part. Determining the player position value, which we know is predicated on the above math equation in the last paragraph.
Luckily there are so many internet tools that can help you determine a player’s value. The two websites that I spend the most time looking at are fantasypros.com so that I can see the trends of what players score the most points in a certain style of point scoring league format.
There website is GREAT because they have compiled all of this FREE data that goes back 5 years. You can click and sort it by position as well. It is really helpful. The way I am advertising this site you think I would be getting paid a commission by them but sadly I am not. They are just that helpful.
This website is almost like cheating. Honestly, it allows you to game plan your entire draft so that come draft night you know exactly or 9 times out of 10, who will be available for you to draft once it is your turn to pick a player.
How is this possible? Because it tracks the average draft position of every player based on thousands of mock drafts from ESPN, Yahoo fantasy, NFL.com Fantasy and pretty much any other fantasy football website.
Now I know what you are thinking, a lot of these mock drafts are skewed and not drafted like they would be on draft night.
However, this site has been extremely accurate in predicting what round each player will be drafted in for me the past 3 years
However, before I even look at these sites, I ALWAYS LOOK AT MY LEAGUES SCORING AND STARTING ROSTER SLOTS.
This is so overlooked by so many fantasy football owners. Especially when it comes to the STARTING ROSTER SLOTS.
Let me explain.
What are the Most Common Fantasy Point Scoring Systems?
So now I will explain how the first part of the mathematics equation above can be affected.
Usually the only way point scoring systems are changed in any league are by receptions and passing touchdowns.
There are a ton of other point scoring variations in really advanced and drawn out leagues and I will touch on those at the very bottom of this post just because they are probably in the 15% of all fantasy football leagues.
So we will stick with only receptions and passing touchdowns for our examples.
Here are the 3 most common scoring systems used. Standard = no points for receptions, Half PPR (points per reception) = 1/2 a pont per pass reception, PPR (points per reception) = 1 point per pass reception and lastly some leagues have passing touchdowns worth 6 points instead of 4. Many leagues only have pass receptions worth 4 points.
What is the Best Fantasy Football Scoring Format?
My opinion is that the HALF PPR leagues are the most fair scoring format because it creates a more level player value rating between Running Backs, Wide Receivers and Tight Ends and thus also the best scoring format.
That doesn’t mean that they are always the most fun leagues to be a part of. Some people really enjoy the crazy high scoring formats where you can get points for all types of statistics despite it creating an imbalance in player positional value.
Others would say, “hey, everyone signed up knowing what the rules were so do your best to draft the best team you possibly can with the rules that are given to us”.
That is perfectly fine and I will teach you how to properly draft in those leagues so that you can create the best possible outcome for you but those leagues are not always the fairest or easiest to recover in if one of your star players gets hurt for the season.
A close second would be the PPR leagues but these leagues tend to hurt running backs who do not catch the ball well. These leagues limit some running backs while enhancing wide receivers values.
Then lastly I would choose a standard scoring league which does not reward points per receptions. I really wouldn’t play in this style of league in general because it puts wide receivers at such a disadvantage. These types of leagues are touchdown dependent leagues, meaning you are hoping and praying that all of your players score touchdowns because that is the only way you have a chance of scoring a lot of points.
Anyways, let’s get back to how this helps us have the best fantasy football draft strategy.
What are all the Positions in Fantasy Football?
The positions played in fantasy football are generally Quarterback (QB), Running Back (RB), Wide Reveiver (WR), Tight End (TE), FLEX (either a RB, WR or TE), Kicker and Defense.
Now the variation of how many of these positions you can play at once determines EVERYTHING in terms of how you should DRAFT YOUR TEAM.
So you can see how important doing a little bit of homework on your own can make a huge difference. This is THE ONLY HOMEWORK THAT YOU will have to do on your own that I CAN’T HELP YOU WITH.
I do not know how many positions your league can play at a given time. So please do that research before applying my Yoda teachings to you in this post.
Side Note: there are around 15-20% of leagues that have defensive positions incorporated into their leagues starting rosters. That honestly only throws a little monkey wrench into the equation and I can explain those leagues at the very bottom of this post.
What are the Most Common Fantasy Football Position Rosters?
The most common fantasy football position roster has 1 QB, 2 RB’s, 2 WR’s, 1 FLEX, 1 TE, 1 Kicker and 1 defense.
The other most common leagues follow the above format but alter the amount of RB’s, WR’s, FLEX and TE’s you can play.
So obviously if you are in a league where you have to play 3 WR’s every week, then WR’s will hold more value over RB’s and TE’s.
Some other not so common leagues but still somewhat common are leagues that allow you to play 2 QB’s. These leagues are total game changers because QB’s usually score the most points out of any position on your team.
So what’s left now before we get to top secret information?
How Many Teams are in a Fantasy Football League?
Usually the 2 most common leagues have either 10 or 12 teams in a league.
However, this can vary between 6 teams and sometimes some crazy number like 24 teams.
The higher the amount of teams that are allowed in your fantasy football league, usually the fewer amount of players you can play at one time.
I suggest staying in the 8 to 14 team range and in some cases if you really want to test your fantasy football ability then play in a 16 team league.
My favorite and also what I think is the most fair and challenging is a 12 team format. Next I would choose 14 teams because I like a challenge in having less of the best players available to draft. If you are a complete newbie to fantasy football then I would stick to a 10 or 12 team league.
Playing in a 6 or 8 team league is a lot of fun because your team is absolutely STACKED with talented players but generally isn’t the most fun of a format league to play in because there is little skill involved or football knowledge needed.
What is the Best Fantasy Football League Format?
If you have read this far, then you already know my answer, the best format would be to have 12 teams in a league with HALF PPR and to have the standard roster set up of 1 QB, 2 RB’s, 2 WR’s, 1 FLEX, 1 TE, 1 Kicker and 1 Defense.
The only other leagues I would consider joining, if you want fairness, would be a league that has 10 to 14 teams and has either HALF or FULL PPR with a max position roster of 1 QB, 3 RB’s, 3 WR’s, 1 FLEX, 1 TE, 1 Kicker and 1 Defense.
That isn’t saying that any other league setup isn’t fun because I will join and have joined pretty much any kind of fantasy football league out there.
OKAY FINALLY, ARE YOU READY FOR THE TOP SECRET YODA DRAFT TEACHINGS???????
The Best Fantasy Football 12 Team Half PPR Draft Strategy
I will post my draft order selection method below and then explain it. This is based off of a standard fantasy roster of 1 QB, 2 RB’s, 2 WR’s, 1 FLEX, 1 TE, 1 Kicker and 1 Defense.
Round 1: RB
Round 2: RB
Round 3: RB
Round 4: RB
Round 5: WR
Round 6: WR
Round 7: QB
Round 8: QB
Round 9: TE
Round 10: Defense
Round 11: Kicker
Round 12: WR
Round 13: Sleeper
Round 14: Sleeper
Round 15: Sleeper
Ok, so here is the method to my madness and why this best fantasy football draft strategy works.
My proven theory is backed on selecting the best running backs in the first 4 rounds.
I actually took 5 straight running backs last year in one of my leagues because I didn’t expect one of the running backs to fall to me in the 5th round.
However, you have to know which running backs to select. Luckily for you all reading this, I have posted my best running backs list HERE.
Now back to my proven theory which I have dubbed myself the fantasy yoda.
Why running backs are so valuable.
- Running backs have the highest drop off in points per position. Meaning that there is a huge point separation from the top 1-12 running backs compared to the 13-24 best running backs. It’s like this every year.
- TRADE BAIT: So the league that I took 5 running backs in last year was probably the best decision I ever did. I drafted Kamara 3rd overall and he basically did nothing for me last year. So luckily I was able to trade him and another one of my running backs for George Kittle. This really made my team loaded at every position without compromising my running back talent.
- Running backs also get hurt more then any other position. So relying on your work horse to last the entire year can be tricky business come week 15 and week 16.
- The BYE weeks. You have to have a reliable back up to play when your top 2 running backs are out on a bye week.
- Match-ups. You aren’t always going to have great match-ups. So with 4 great running backs, you increase your odds of having a great match-ups.
- Waiver Wires. It is so difficult to pick up a high quality running back off of free agency. That is unless a star running back got hurt and their back up is available. But even then, most people stash the back up running back on their bench just in case.
- Top running backs out score top wide receivers.
Really I could probably list more reasons but that’s good enough for you to get the point.
The ONLY REASON i don’t pick 4 straight running backs would be if I knew there was a great running back available in the 5th or 6th round that you are a 100% sure will be there for you to draft. This would actually be ideal.
Then you would be able to draft an attractive player like a George Kittle or a top name Wr in the 2nd round with out compromising your RB talent.
If you decide to go this route, you better, and I repeat better know that your 5th or 6th round RB sleeper will be available for you to draft and that this running back will be a top 12 fantasy running back for you this year.
Last year’s example of this would be Austin Eckler.
My next position to draft would be the 2 best wide receivers available. These wide receivers have to have high ceiling capabilities.
Fantasy football is a week to week game. So match-ups are EVERYTHING. If you have 2 wide receivers that could explode during great match-ups then you essentially have a top wide receiver on your team depending on the week.
This is my theory in drafting wide receivers. They are a match-up position. They will always get huge points in shoot out games. However, not every week is going to be a high scoring game and also the flow of the game might not dictate them to pass the ball.
So the more high ceiling wide receivers you can add to your team the more potential great match-ups you will have during the course of the season.
Also, wide receivers are plentiful on the waiver wires. I have found countless wide receivers that have scored me 20 points or more through out the course of the season that I have picked up off the waiver wires. Make sure to follow my top waiver wire picks every week right HERE.
My next theory to this best fantasy football draft strategy. Draft 2 QB’s back to back in the 7th and 8th round.
Sometimes if there is a QB that I really like and am not sure if he will be there in the 7th round then I take him in the 6th round and then take a WR in the 7th round.
Then with my 8th pick I will always take a QB.
This theory is based on how fantasy football is a week to week match-up game. Everything changes week to week.
You have to plan who you are going to start and this should begin a couple weeks in advance.
Always plan for worst case scenarios. So now back to the QB theory.
Usually the top fantasy quarterbacks do not repeat the same amazing year that they had the year before so do not draft a QB in the first 1 to 3 rounds.
Although, Lamar Jackson is very tempting, but I am predicting Lamar to have a dip in production this year. However, I still think he ends the year as the #1 scoring fantasy QB.
However, I would much rather have Matthew Stafford and Dak Prescott on my team and play who ever has the best match-up that week.
This is because I know that more likely then not, either Dak or Stafford will have a good match-up every week where they are probably going to get above 22 points. Maybe even get close to 30 points.
This is when the part of the draft becomes pretty straight forward and if you have done your homework or followed my fantasy football draft cheat sheets, then you know exactly who you will pick at this part of the draft.
So at this point you need to get an amazing defense, kicker and TE.
Kicker’s are incredibly underrated and the projected top 3 kickers before the season usually end up at the top 3 fantasy kickers at the end of the season.
I have drafted Wil Lutz, Gostkowski and Tucker year after year after year. It’s pretty safe money.
But before drafting your kicker you have to get your TE in round 9.
Now by round 9, around 10 TE’s will probably be drafted. Now if you think there is a TE that you are really high on that is available in round 8 then go ahead and take that TE. But only if you feel good about the crop of QB’s left for you in round 9.
This is the same strategy that I explained regarding the WR’s and QB’s.
Lastly, draft one of the top 2 defenses in round 10. The top 2 should be there. Many leagues do not draft kickers and defense early because they want depth at running back and wide receivers.
However, I have a saying that goes like this. “Don’t draft waiver wire players”.
The top 10 picks in the draft is no place for you to be adding players that you will drop mid way through the season for a waiver wire player.
Too many times do people draft really, really bad running backs and wide receivers and sleeper Tight Ends from rounds 9 to 12.
This is not the time to be doing that. That is what the last 3 rounds are for.
So please do your homework and follow my player rankings and defense rankings so that you get top quality at each position.
This includes drafting a great defense and kicker before round 12.
Very simple strategy for the last theory of our best fantasy football draft strategy.
In round 12, draft another high ceiling WR.
Then from round 13 to 15, draft players that could be potential sleepers.
There are always players in the very last rounds of the draft that can and will be a fantasy super hero.
I will have my list of fantasy sleepers before August so that you will know who to target.
So in conclusion, you have amazing running backs and the best depth at running back in the league. You have a stronghold at running back. So much that you have crippled around 3 other teams in the league because they were banking on drafting the running back you drafted in the 3rd and 4th round, leaving them with no viable option. You now have trade value and match-up scenarios every week that will give you such an advantage over the competition.
At the Wide Receiver position, you have 2 pretty good options that with the right match-up, will get you over 15 points a week. You also have 2 great sleepers at WR that you drafted late in the draft that depending on the match-up could be a great FLEX start. You also have free agency where you can always pick up a player who will at the worst, get you 10 points that week. Every single week, a big name receiver gets below 10 points due to a number of reasons. Wide Receivers are OVERRATED. Trust that.
For Quarterback. You have 2 fantastic options. You can play which ever QB you think will have the best scoring potential that week. Which, odds are, one of them will have a good enough match-up to get you over 22 points.
Your Tight End position might be a little weak. So make sure to draft a sleeper TE in the late rounds just in case your 1st TE selection didn’t pan out. However, I feel very confident that you will be able to select a good enough TE in the 8th or 9th round.
Now to round out your starting lineup. You have a great defense and a top 3 fantasy kicker.
All of this = a very reliable high scoring team that will not under perform in any given week. Which means you will have a chance to win every week unless the other team has 5 players that just explode. This team you drafted also will guarantee you a spot in the playoffs by the end of the season. I have never not made the playoffs using this draft strategy. And probably around 80% of the time I finished in the top 3 of the league. You won’t have all of the big names on your team, but the big names don’t always get 25 points every week either. This draft strategy ensures that you have a reliable, high scoring team that will be able to produce all season long. Whether one of your star players get hurt or if you have to navigate through the BYE weeks, this team is built for all of those scenarios.
Now the ONLY WAY YOU MESS THIS UP is if you draft bad running backs and wide receivers in your first 6 rounds. This CAN’T HAPPEN. It just can’t or else you are screwed. So make sure to follow my cheat sheet lists that I will be releasing probably around late July.