How Do I Draft a Player in Fantasy Sports ?
When many people think of fantasy sports, they immediately think of their favorite players. As a sports fan, you can probably name a couple of ideal draftees right off the bat. Here’s the catch: you may not always secure the players you want, and those you think you want may not always deliver the performance you need to succeed in fantasy sports.
What Is the Process for Drafting a Fantasy Sports Player? Drafting a player in fantasy sports happens during a certain timeframe after you’ve joined a league but before the game starts. Team owners (the game players) typically take turns drafting players they believe will make up a strong team during the contest (game or season). As a team owner, you’ll want to secure your top few candidates early in the draft to create a strong team.
Types of Drafts
Fantasy sports drafts vary based on the sports platform you use. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with any variations your chosen platform offers. Here are some of the most common types of drafts you’ll find across fantasy sports platforms, including daily and season-long games:
- Snake style draft/standard draft. In this type of draft, team owners choose their players in turns, with one turn for each position/player. The drafting program will assign you a number for your turn. The individual who chooses first on the first round doesn’t get to choose first on the second round, however. The draft style moves backwards after the last team owner chooses his or her first player. A snake or standard style draft provides all team owners with a fair opportunity to select their most strategic players.
- Auction style draft. An auction style draft allows team owners to bid on players. Every player has an assigned value, and every team owner has budget constraints. A team owner must strategically bid on players to secure high quality team members without sacrificing additional team positions. For instance, if you have $300 to spend on 10 players, you may not want to spend $200 on your star player and have only $10 to spend on everyone else.
- Auto-pick draft. Some platforms will use algorithms to create teams for team owners who may not have the time or willingness to create a strategic team of players. Most auto-drafts use current rankings, future projections, and individual pre-draft owner rankings to create a competitive team for team owners.
Are All Fantasy Sports Drafts Live?
Fantasy sports games, like other online gameplay, involve competition between real people, not against a computer. Most fantasy sports drafts are live events that take place within a certain window of time. You may be able to enter the draft site a half hour before the draft starts, and some platforms offer a mock draft area where new gamers can practice their drafting techniques.
On many sites, the only requirement for a draft start time is the presence of all team owners. Once all the league members are present, you can start working on your draft.
Are Drafts Modifiable?
After your initial draft, you may realize that one of your players isn’t the ideal teammate for your roster. You might have an opportunity to ask your league commissioner (league captain) to make your proposed changes. Unfortunately, individual team owners can’t typically make changes on their own or at will. Look at your platform’s rules for modifying a roster after the draft has been completed.
Tips for Drafting Players in Any Fantasy Sport
Fantasy sports often seem confusing for beginner players because every platform has a slightly different approach to rankings/point accumulation, and every sport differs. Whether you play fantasy football or fantasy baseball, understanding the criteria for drafting candidates on your own will help you make strategic choices as a novice gamer or a seasoned veteran. Consider these tips for drafting your first fantasy sports players:
- Consider your draft order. When you can bid on or select a player, consider the position you’ll select as well. In football, fans may think they should select a quarterback first, but many seasoned gamers look for high quality running backs before any other player. Instead of looking at the total fantasy points a player accrues, consider the cross positional value. In other words, look at the difference between the top performer’s rankings and the rankings of the last person who might be considered for the position within the league draft. Strategically, it may make more sense to draft a position with a wider range in point differences first. For example, let’s say you have 15 team owners in your league. If the difference between the best and 15th best quarterback is 60 points, and the difference between the best and 15th best running back is 121, you have a better likelihood of maintaining a strong lineup if you invest in a running back before you hit a significant points drop-off. You can apply the logic of the cross positional value strategy to any sport in the fantasy realm.
- Rely on others’ insights. Online, you have access to many professional opinions about player performance, fantasy draft strategies, and other resources. Read the latest information about your sport of choice to discover your competitive edge. Understand your player pool before the draft ever begins, so you don’t have to scramble when your competitor captures one of your top choices.
- Avoid the hype. If you’re interested in the strategy behind the game, don’t let the media hype surrounding certain players throw you off. Choose proven performers who play consistently well based on reported statistics and meaningful projections.
- Remember the bench or handcuffs. If your star players stop performing well, or one suffers an injury, you may want to consider adding some well-rounded players who can pick up the slack and help you maintain your competitive position in the league.
Fantasy sports can be as competitive as the real world sports they follow, but the process of selecting and drafting your players should be fun. Practice in a mock draft, and use free games to hone your technique and keep the game fun without risking real money.