Draft Strategy - Value Based Drafting

Value based drafting (VBD) is a strategy that assigns a value to every player on your draft board by comparing that player's projected fantasy points to the projected fantasy points of other players at his same position.

The concept is fairly simply - outscore your opponent by enough points at enough positions and you should win. It doesn't really matter whether you outscore him at the QB, RB, WR, or TE position - as long as you outscore him by enough at your strong positions to carry the day.

The devil is in the details. VBD requires projected statistics for each player on your draft board. An average of prior years' statistics is a good starting point. The projections should factor in personnel changes on the player's team, trend information (is the player's production improving or declining), the age of the player, off-the-field issues, coaching changes, etc.

Armed with solid projections, the calculation of each player's value is then fairly straightforward. Using the scoring format of your league, the projected fantasy points for each player on the draft board is calculated. Then, compare each player's projected fantasy points to his positional peers. For example, if your league starts 2 RB's and there are 12 teams in your league - you would calculate the average projected fantasy points of the top 24 RB's. This average is referred to as the "baseline".

Then to see whether each RB on your board is projected to outscore the average starting RB in your league, subtract the baseline from each RB's projected fantasy points. A positive result indicates that the player has positive value relative to the projected average starter in your league.

After performing this calculation for each position, every player on your draft board now has a value. Sort the list by value and you have a custom VBD board.

Maximizing value with each pick increases your odds of winning. Remember your goal is to outscore your opponent - players sitting on your bench aren't going to help you do that. So, fill the starting spots on your roster before taking a backup QB, WR, or TE. If the value is sitting there for the taking at the RB spot you would likely be well served to take a back-up in favor of other positions. This is because of the relative shortage of RB's.

There are roughly 40 starting RB's in the league - 32 teams, with some tandem situations. That means that in a 12 team league that starts 2 RB's per team, 60% (24/40) of the starting RB's will be on the fantasy field each week. That's a pretty shallow 40% sitting on fantasy benches each week to protect against injury and to use during bye weeks.

Contrast that with QB's. There are 32 starting QB's in the league. In a 12 team league that starts 1 QB per fantasy team, 38% (12/32) of the starting QB's will be on the fantasy field each week. That leaves a much deeper fantasy bench of 62% of the NFL's starting QB's.

Fantasy Strategies is a big fan of value based drafting. Our custom draft guide calculates the value of each player and gives you a guide that you can use to compare players across positions. If you haven't already given it a try, you will want to check out the free version of our guide. Just register for a free account on the site and then you can set up your league(s) scoring format(s) to calculate your custom guide.

The free version is based on last year's actual statistics while the premium version uses our current year projections. The premium version also gives you additional information to help you with your draft. You can check out the differences between our free and premium products here.

Our VBD draft guide can also be used with other drafting strategies. Give it a try - you're going to find it to be a useful tool in your arsenal. Good luck with your draft!

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