Welcome to the article form of the second FAFQ episode where the Footballers discussed some of the more common questions about drafting, playing, and trading strategies. For questions relating to league formations and settings be sure to check out Frequently Asked Fantasy Questions: Part 1.
In the interest of full disclosure, I would like to point out that while some of Andy and Mike’s responses are direct quotes, some are slightly paraphrased for the sake of brevity. Also for the sake of the reader, Jason’s responses have been run through Google Translate to convert them from “fantasy football idiot-savant” to English.
What is position scarcity and why does it matter?
When do you draft single positions like QB or TE and when does position scarcity become a factor? Why isn’t Aaron Rodgers the #1 pick, when QBs score the most points and he’s the best one?
To preface this, we are talking leagues where you only start 1 QB.
Mike: “Last year (2016), 40 QBs posted a top 12 week. The year before that it was 43. The year before that, it was in the 40’s again.”
We see this every year, there are only 32 teams and yet around 40 or more have weeks where they finish as a QB1. Unspectacular QBs that are going to be on your waiver wire in your average league, that have a good weekly match-up, can be picked up and played with success. This will give you an advantage in your league because you don’t have to waste high draft capital on the QB position and can instead spend that pick on a high-end WR or RB. The type of player that will NOT be as readily available on waivers, since everyone in your league is having to start 2 or 3 at that position.
To back this up, the Fantasy Footballers will recommend 3 streaming QBs every week during the season who have low ownership, that you can spot start basically for free. Last year their recommendations averaged out equivalent to owning the QB6 for the entire season. They will recommend a TE streamer each week as well.
What is your draft strategy going in?
Are you looking to go zero RB? Best player available? RB heavy in the early rounds?
Mike: “I go running back heavy. But I will not lock that in and say I have to take a running back in the first round.”
Jason: “My problem with zero RB isn’t that it can’t win. It can. But I like to stay fluid in my drafts and wait to see who falls to me. I am focused on tiers.”
Andy: “Another way to say that is value. If you make value-based decisions in the draft, it can help put your team over the top.”
This is where not only having rankings going into your draft matters, but just as importantly is having them tiered. A tier is a clear line drawn to give you a visible representation of a drop off in value between two players that are ranked back to back. When you’re in your draft and trying to decide who to take with your next pick, the first thing that you should be looking for is, “Who doesn’t belong in this round”. Is there only one RB left in the 2nd tier, but 6 left in the 2nd WR tier? Time to grab that RB before the drop-off in value.
The Fantasy Footballers include advanced tier rankings for every position in The Ultimate Draft Kit.
How much do you factor in the team that a player is on?
Mike: “I much prefer an RB with a strong offensive line. The Buffalo Bills were #1 in the league in yards before contact (positive gain for an RB before a defensive player can get to them), and look at what McCoy and Gillislee were able to do. Meanwhile, I prefer to have WR with a good QB”
Jason: “I’ve said before that I prefer players on winning teams. I think this is a strategy that’s more important in DFS than season long. If the team is winning they will run more and have more scoring opportunities”
Andy: “I think it weighs more heavily on the poles. The really good top end teams vs. the really terrible bottom end teams. You can’t look at teams in the middle and say this team is the 14th best-ranked offense and that team is the 15th best and use that as a strategy.
As Andy points out historical data tells us how unpredictable it is to try and rank every overall offensive line, overall offense, and defense. There are so many variables and moving parts for all 32 teams. However, we do normally know who some the elite high powered offenses are likely to be, as well as who some of worst offenses and defenses are likely to be, and it’s OK to target or steer clear of players on the more polar teams.
How many of each position do you want for your bench?
Mike: “My rule of thumb is I always want to have more running backs than wide receivers. I almost never have a backup quarterback or tight end. And I certainly never have a backup defense or kicker”
Jason: “We don’t love drafting handcuffs, but obviously heading into the playoffs all of that changes.”
Andy: “Mike has proven over the years, the value of getting an RB back in any trade where you send one away to just throw on his bench. Even if you think it’s sort of a throw-away player. Look at the amount of FAAB people will spend on a player like Charcandrick West, because of one injury in front of him.
Let’s talk some trading strategy.
Jason: “Sometimes you need to knock people’s socks off with the first offer. (He actually said knock them off their socks, whatever that means, so I’m just translating). You have to start with a solid offer because when you come with garbage, then a lot of the time it’s just ignored or auto-rejected.
Andy: “I’m a big fan of the 2 for 1 or 3 for 1 trade when I’m getting the best player in the deal. You’re also getting open roster spots, which you can fill from the waiver wire. I like sending away throw-in WR2WR3 types of players, especially when they’re coming off of a big week.”
Andy: “Also, look for a seam. If you have another player’s RB handcuff, that’s a seam. If someone in your league has a hometown favorite team and you have a throw in caliber guy from that team, that’s a seam.”
Jason: “What I do when I’m looking to make a trade is say for instance I have a surplus of WRs and I need a RB, or whatever the situation is. I want to find a team that has the opposite, a surplus of RB’s and needs a WR. Look for the right trade partners rather than the right players.”
Editor’s Note: Check out 5 Tricks of the (Perfect) Trade from last season headed into Week 10.
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