The Fantasy Footballers Ultimate Draft Tips for 2021
It is – finally – the moment we have all been waiting for: the Ultimate Draft Kit touches down on June 1st!
The UDK is a one-stop-shop for exclusive analyses, projections, datasets, and much, much more. Hosts and fantasy experts Andy, Mike, and Jason spend interminable hours researching their rankings, studying statistics, and fine-tuning new features. As a fantasy writer and manager (in many leagues), I cannot wait for the official drop: you simply won’t find a more in-depth, high-caliber product on the market. Did I mention that the UDK is updated regularly in-season to provide the latest and greatest content throughout your fantasy campaign?
The goal of the UDK is simple: to help you bring home a championship. Have a friend repping some 2020 #FootClan Title swag in the offseason? This year, it’s your turn: take your game to the next level and hoist the trophy with the 2021 UDK.
Don’t just take my word for it. On Thursday’s episode of The Fantasy Footballers, Andy, Mike and Jason discuss the UDK and dive deeper into some of the powerful tools available. We’ll review them here, although this list is far from exhaustive.
It’s easy to let the start of a season skew your overall fantasy outlook (anyone else thinking of starting Sammy ‘The Lizard King’ Watkins week one?). To combat this mental bias, the Snapshot Tool allows for dynamic sorting both across a player’s career and within a single season. Specifically, Andy likes to analyze the end of a season: did a player close out their campaign last year with a roar or a whimper?
This type of analysis delivers useful insights for player outlooks moving forward. For example, Justin Jefferson was the WR4 (overall) from Week 10 on last year; this speaks to the ceiling of the rookie phenom. On the other hand, Chase ‘Mapletron’ Claypool won over fantasy managers early with some massive performances, but posted five consecutive games as a weekly WR4 or worse towards the end of the season.
There’s no feeling quite like calling your shot on a sleeper (or breakout) and absolutely nailing it. By the same token, nothing garners relief like avoiding a bust that might have imploded your roster.
The Footballers know that drafting is not as easy as just taking the ‘next highest’ player (especially in later rounds). Expert drafters consider the full slate of potential outcomes: who is a good value at this pick? Who has breakout potential? Who could let your team down?
To that end, the UDK includes fully fleshed-out lists of Sleepers, Breakouts, Values, and Busts. These are constantly updated throughout the offseason to adjust for the goings-on of training camp and the constantly shifting surface of ADP (Average Draft Position). Last year, the UDK value list featured David ‘Mopportunity’ Montgomery and the breakout list Calvin Ridley; both delivered in spades, ending as the RB4 and WR4, respectively. A notable bust from the 2020 UDK? Newly minted Cardinals WR A.J. Green.
Injuries are – sadly – a part of football, and yet most fantasy managers are severely wanting in medical expertise. Fortunately, Matthew Betz, the Ballers’ in-house licensed Physical Therapist, is committed to providing deep dives into various injuries and their impacts. These reports are updated all off-season. The unfortunate meniscus injury to Jeff Wilson Jr., for example, has already been analyzed and discussed.
These injury outlooks aren’t just binary (in or out). Not sure if Dak will be limited on the ground this year? Concerned about the durability of Saquon over the season? The UDK injury reports will give you all of the nuances you need.
Draft day is the single most important day of the fantasy season, which is why the Ballers have been using tier-based drafting for years.
Instead of the old and tired ‘Top 200’ lists that make the rounds every draft cycle, tier-based drafting groups players positionally based on the similarity of their outcomes. Instead of just blindly picking the highest-ranked remaining player overall, this strategy allows you flexibility when building your team. Want to splurge draft capital on a Tier I RB, but still have two WRs above Tier III? Confident that you can hold off on your QB pick because there are plenty of Tier V signal-callers left?
This is Jason’s favorite tip – in part because of how different it is from standard ‘Top 200’ drafting – and the UDK provides all the tools you need to make this strategy a reality. Tiered lists will help you to fully customize your team and outlook and manage your roster’s strengths and weaknesses. Load up the rankings in the UDK app and leave the rest of the league in tiers (yikes).
The Red Zone Report in the UDK highlights player opportunities both in the Red Zone and inside the 10-yard line (the ’10-zone’). These are crucial statistics when projecting ‘positive regressions’. For example, a player might be getting lots of Red Zone looks that they just aren’t converting; if they continue with that workload, the touchdowns might start piling up!
The 2020 UDK noted Davante Adams and Nick Chubb as prime candidates for this trend. Both were seeing an abundance of Red Zone looks that didn’t quite find the end zone. Of course, in 2021, these two rode positive regression into the fantasy stratosphere.
Andy uses this report regularly when compiling his rankings. Zeke, for example, had 32 rushing attempts inside the 10 last year that led to just five touchdowns. If that touchdown rate returns to normal, stud fantasy numbers may be in store.
#FootClan, did you enjoy the 2020 UDK companion app? Guess what: the Ballers made it even better.
The 2021 version of the UDK app got a major makeover. Looks aren’t everything, though: you can still expect the same great content and analysis, all packaged in the flexible, accessible medium of a mobile app.
One of Mike’s favorite uses for the app is on draft day: he will color-code players based on his draft strategy (i.e., red = avoid, yellow = take a closer look, blue = grab in a later round). All fantasy managers know how chaotic the later rounds can get. Last year, I forgot that Antonio Gibson was still on the board and picked Adrian Peterson instead.
Don’t get tilted, get organized! The UDK app will help you stay cool, calm, and collected as you set your team on a path for success.
Honestly, with all of this (and much more), the UDK is a bona fide cheat code. You can order yours on the Ultimate Draft Kit homepage and if you want to learn more, peruse the 2020 edition of Ultimate Draft Tips. It’s time to set your sights on fantasy glory!