Fantasy Football 201

I was going to title this “Fantasy Football 101” but I think that really needs to be a discussion of basics, like “know your scoring system” and “never draft a kicker before the last round”.  I cover that here.

This post is about how to draft for value.  How to get the most bang for your buck.  How to win your league.

This started when I read some comments at one of my favorite fantasy football sites,, where readers were responding to their “Combination Top-100 PPR Rankings“.  Here’s what I said there:

I’m amazed at how many people posting comments don’t “get it”. These are RANKINGS, not draft positions.

For example, look at Witten, RANKED 19th overall, but with an ADP of 42.  Absolutely no one (I hope) would take Witten with the 19th overall pick, because there are others (RB’s and WR’s) you need to get that early.  But if you got him with the last pick in the 3rd round (36th overall) you’d have gotten GREAT value!

I look at it this way – take the ADP number and subtract the rank number. The bigger the difference, the better the value.  And the more likely you are to win your league.

Look at Turner – ranked 18, but going at an average draft position of 3.  I’ll be happy to let him go that early in the first round!  I’ll win my league by taking someone like Fitzgerald or Jackson at number 5 or 6, then getting a better ranked RB (like Gore or Portis) in round 2.

It’s all about the value that player gives you at a particular point in the draft.  I really like Reggie Bush in PPR, and if I can snag him in the 4rd round (his ADP is currently 44), I’ll be ecstatic!  Number 14 value with pick 44?  I’ll take that all day long.

You can read about an actual draft system called “Value Based Drafting” at many other sites, including who also have an excellent fantasy football magazine you can download – for free.  Get the full 21.4 MB PDF of the magazine here.  (Click on the other link to download portions of it.)

I see people posting comments on sites all the time that say things like “Even in PPR, I don’t see AP going past #3. Let alone the 7th RB off the board. care to splain?” (This one is from the same article I referenced above on that motivated me to write this post.)

The person who wrote the post “Mike”, is one of the people I was writing about.  He doesn’t “get it.”  Adrian Peterson is a great running back, and he is going to be one of the top 3 picks in basically every draft this year.  Last year “All Day” led the NFL with 1757 rushing yards on 364 attempts. He also caught 21 passes for another 125 yards.  He scored 10 touchdowns.  And he finished 9th among running backs in PPR leagues!

Here is a list of running backs who scored more points in PPR leagues last year than Peterson.  In order they are: Williams, Forte, Turner, Jones-Drew, (Thomas) Jones, Tomlinson, Slaton, and Westbrook.

Back to “Mike’s” comment.  You are correct in that AP won’t go past #3.  But I wouldn’t take him with one of the first 3 picks.  There’s simply no value there.  Want to see who I’d draft with one of the first 3 picks?  Look at my personal PPR rankings.

Rankings are simply someone’s personal projection of who will finish the season with more fantasy points than the next player ranked.  I currently have Peterson ranked 6th among RB’s.   Last year was a great year for Peterson by any standard – do you think he’ll do even better this year?   He could finish as the #1 RB as far as I know – but I don’t think he will.

So I’ll let someone else take him in the top 3.  If I have one of the first 3 picks, I’ll take MJD, SJax, Forte, or Chris Johnson in a PPR league.

I don’t remember where I read this, but someone earlier this year wrote something like “Even if you absolutely, positively, 100% KNEW that DeAngelo Williams was going to be the #1 point producer in Fantasy last year, you’d have been STUPID to take him with a top 10 pick.”   Why?  Because you could have gotten him with a pick between 45 and 55 (he went at 50 in my league last year) and used that first round pick on ANOTHER top point producer – like Tomlinson, MJD, or Westbrook.

If you would have had Williams and MJD on your fantasy team last year, you would have had to REALLY screw up the rest of your draft to not be one of the best teams in your league.  You win when you take into account value at the time of your pick.  Getting first round value in round 3 or 4 is what wins championships.  Getting 5th round value in round 7 or 8 is what wins championships.

Yes, there will be injuries.  Yes, there will be unexpected surprises like Williams last year.  But by getting value with every pick in every round, you set yourself up to have a great year.


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