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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Thoughts on Snake Draft Strategy this Year?

    I've been starting to prep fantasy this year and I was curious to see what people were thinking about the upcoming season. At this point I'm focused on general trends more than specific players (though not entirely), but feel free to add some opinions on specific players if you reply.

    RB is a crap shoot
    It seems like more RBs are getting old or coming off injury than the past few years. Add in the fact that the best free agent RBs seemed to join time shares and there are very few elite RB options that seem reasonably safe. If you can get one great, but this is a year where I'd be more willing to go for an elite QB in the 1st round and then aggressively target RBs in the next few rounds.

    Where to draft Gronk and Graham
    I'm always hesitant to target guys coming off huge seasons. Both players are certainly capable of repeating, but it seams more likely that they'll both have good years without being quite as ridiculous.

    Plus, there's bound to be at least 1 guy in most leagues that drafts them very early. If you want one of them you'll have to take them so early that you're only getting fair value for your pick even if they repeat last year's production. If they have a good season, but not the historically good season they had in 2011, your pick is now a reach. Those aren't the kind of picks that win fantasy leagues.

    Let's say for arguments sake you'd need to take Gronk in the 2nd round to get him. I think it's better to take a RB at that point. Most 2nd round RBs have a pretty decent chance at being a top 10 RB. If that happens you've probably exceeded the value of an average 2nd round pick. Plus you could grab a decent TE much later in the draft, and if he's any better than decent, you again have a good value pick.

    If Gronk falls to the 3rd round that argument becomes weaker, but personally I'd still be wary. As for Graham, right now I'm thinking of him has having similar value to Gronk 1 round later. So if Gronk is fair value in round 4 (which some will think is way too late) then Graham would be fair value in round 5.

    I'm conflicted on QBs!!!
    In most 'standard' leagues you'll only start 1 QB, so not many QBs will be drafted. Because of this I feel like there is always a QB lull at some point. If you're that guy that takes a QB right before the big lull, you're left realizing that you could have waited another several rounds to take the same guy or at least a guy of similar value. For this reason I want to wait on a QB.

    But then I feel like there's an increasingly persuasive argument to take a QB early. It's probably the most predictable position. If you use an early pick you're less likely to get hosed by injuries or competition for for targets or carries. A strong formula for a fantasy championship is hitting on a high % of early picks and then getting lucky with a few sleepers and/or waiver wire studs to put you over the edge.

    A top 5 QB pick is more likely to actually be a top 5 QB, so having a QB as one of your early pick seems to fit in with this approach. Plus, if a top 5 QB is more likely to be a top 5 QB, then a 6-12 QB must be less likely to be a top 5 guy, so there's less sleeper potential.

    I understand VBD (value based drafting) and why it tends to devalue QBs, but VBD does NOTHING to account for variability. The #1 RB may score way more than the #20 RB, but if you have little idea who the #1 RB back will be that doesn't do you much good. For this reason, I feel VBD overvalues less predictable position groups and undervalues more predictable position groups.

    So as I said I'm conflicted as to which way to lean: take a QB early or wait. You need to be flexible so I wouldn't want to commit to either approach, but I would like have a feeling for which approach I value more before draft day rolls around.

    I guess I should include WRs
    I hate taking WRs early. As I just pointed out, I think VBD overvalues position groups that are less predictable. Of the 4 major fantasy positions, WR is definitely the most unpredictable. That's why I I'm likely to wait and then take a bunch in the middle to late rounds. Thoughts?

  2. #2

    Re: Thoughts on Snake Draft Strategy this Year?

    Good thoughts. I agree with you that going QB early may be worthwhile this year...usually I wait, but unless there's someone in the later rounds with a ton of potential (like Stafford last year), it's risky. And I don't see anyone like that in 2012.

    Just finished a 10 team mock using a QB-early strategy. Drafted from the 5 spot, which is where I'll be in my main money league next month.

    1.5 - QB Drew Brees, NO:
    Top 4 picks are no real surprise - Foster, McCoy, Rice, and Rodgers. I pass on Calvin, CJ2K, and Mathews to take the best QB available.

    2.6 - RB Ryan Mathews, SD:
    If this happens in my real draft I'll be ecstatic. Mathews gets pushed down mainly because (as you wrote about), Gronk and Graham both get taken early in the 2nd. No interest in a TE that early, I'll grab a potential top 5 RB instead. If Mathews had been gone, other potential picks here included Forte, McFadden, Welker, and AJ Green.

    3.5 - WR Mike Wallace, PIT:
    McFadden and AJ Green almost make it back to me, but both get sniped right before I pick. Charles, DeMarco Murray, and Richardson were all on the board here, and all would have made an excellent RB2. But the pickings were getting slim on top WR, and I panicked a little bit. Probably would have done this differently if given another chance.

    4.6 - WR Hakeem Nicks, NYG:
    At this point all the top RB1 and RB2 are gone, so I'm looking at WR. Julio Jones almost made it here, but not quite. Nicks is by far the best of the remaining bunch that includes the likes of Dez, Steve Smith, and Brandon Marshall.

    5.5 - WR Brandon Lloyd, NE:
    Options at RB here included Helu, Bush, McGahee, and Greene...and while I need an RB2, I'm underwhelmed by those options at this point. So I round out by WR stable with a WR3 who has top-20 potential. I love Lloyd in NE, and I think he and Brady can do some great things. Other WRs here included Colston, Harvin, Austin, and Bowe.

    6.6 - TE Antonio Gates, SD:
    Vernon Davis gets picked right before this, and I sense a TE run coming. Decide to get in front of it and grab the best available option. I'm a little wary of Gates' injury history, but not enough to keep me from pulling the trigger.

    7.5 - RB Isaac Redman, PIT:
    At this point I feel I'm pretty well off at WR, and I've got top options at QB and TE. I've got a really good RB1, but it's past-time to add to the stable. I'm late to the buffet, pickings are best bet here is to just grab a handful of guys that I like, and hope that one or two can pan out into a decent RB2. Redman is the first pick. I'm fairly certain I won't get 16 starts from him, but he should do well in the early part of the season, while the rest of my RBs are finding their legs.

    8.6 - RB C.J. Spiller, BUF:
    I was targeting Doug Martin here, but he gets sniped two picks before mine. I almost took him in the 7th, but it felt too high. My mistake.

    9.5 - RB James Starks, GB

    10.6 - RB David Wilson, NYG

    11.5 - RB LeGarrette Blount, TB

    12.6 - WR Laurent Robinson, JAX

    13.5 - TE Jared, Cook, TEN

    14.6 - Steelers D/ST

    15.6 - WR Jon Baldwin, KC

    16.5 - K Matt Bryant, ATL

    Final Roster:
    QB Brees
    RB Mathews, Redman, Spiller, Starks, Wilson, Blount
    WR Wallace, Nicks, Lloyd, Robinson, Baldwin
    TE Gates, Cook
    DEF Pitt
    K Bryant

    In summary, this is why I hate going QB early. It puts you behind the 8-ball everywhere else. I was damn lucky that guys like Mathews and Nicks fell to me, or this could have ended up a lot worse. I didn't even get a backup QB, because in the mid-late rounds I was so focused on filling my gaping hole at RB2, that by the time I was done, every decent QB2 (and WR3/4) option was off the table.

    Maybe a better option would have been to go Brees/Mathews, and then stick with RB and get Charles/Murray/Richardson instead of Wallace in the 3rd. I still would have landed Nicks in the 4th as a WR1, and could have added better WR2/3 options in the middle rounds. I think I may feel more comfortable continuing to wait on QB, and grabbing a guy like Matt Ryan in the 6th-7th round, a solid if not spectacular QB1 who has a potentially high ceiling.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Re: Thoughts on Snake Draft Strategy this Year?

    I think part of the problem of taking a QB early is that there's a rough consensus in the fantasy football community that you can wait on a QB. Regardless of the actual value of a position, if most people in your league are going to wait on it you probably should too. Otherwise you run the risk of picking a guy early, and then several rounds later someone of similar value will still be available. Meanwhile, the position you didn't pick goes on a bit of a run, and when you come back to it you've lost a lot of value.

    In the end, I guess it's more about knowing how your draft will play out, but that can be an incredibly hard thing to do. I've seen people try to do this that end up drafting in a reactionary manner, picking at the end of a positional run, when you actually want to do the opposite.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Re: Thoughts on Snake Draft Strategy this Year?

    SteelFan, I had a few more thoughts on your mock that I didn't have time to post this morning.

    - Ryan Matthews - Great value in the 2nd round. I guess I should start hoping for some TE reaches in my draft so I can find someone like this in the 2nd.

    - Mike Wallace - I feel like if I'm going to take a Steelers WR this year it's going to be Antonio Brown. I think he has potential to put up identical numbers and can be had much later. I looked at a couple sites that track ADP and in 10-team leagues Wallace was going 4th round while Brown was goign 6th or 7th. Being a Steelers fan, I expect you have a better feel for this than I do. What are your thoughts on this?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Southern York County

    Re: Thoughts on Snake Draft Strategy this Year?

    Do not take a wide receiver before the 4th round. The position is absolutely loaded.
    Follow me on twitter at @dandrews66

  6. #6

    Re: Thoughts on Snake Draft Strategy this Year?

    Quote Originally Posted by dandrews View Post
    Do not take a wide receiver before the 4th round. The position is absolutely loaded.
    Agreed. The only two guys I would make an exception for are Calvin and Julio.

    I still think the strategy this year is to go QB and RB early - whether that's spending a first round pick on Rodgers or Brady, or looking for Stafford in the 2nd round. Ryan is the only guy I would consider waiting for, and as the preseason goes on, he's going to keep climbing up draft boards.

    RB falls off quickly - after that tier of Richardson, Lynch, and the Jacksons, there's no one I really trust to start every week. Martin? Promising, but a rookie. Bradshaw? Maybe. Greene, Turner, Bush, Stewart? No thanks.

    Meanwhile, WR is as deep as I can ever remember. WR1s are still around in the 4th - Nicks, Bryant, Harvin. Quality WR2s like Decker, Bowe, Brown, VJax are available in the 6th. Hell, you can wait until the 13th-14th round, grab a guy like Collie or Cobb, and they'll make spectacular WR3s with upside.


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