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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Know Your Role

Many leagues will post the draft order or nomination order one hour before the draft.  Others will be selected earlier or even have a "slow draft" format with picks made via email.  Even if you only have one hour to prepare I can help you make the most of your draft position in serpentine drafts.  With auctions, the same advice has extremely limited effect.  (Though not zero.)

The best position in a serpentine draft for this strategy will be one or two spots from the so-called "wheel" picks.  People refer to the first and last spots in the draft as the "wheel" because at that point the order 'wheels' back around allowing the same person to pick twice, reversing the picking order.  (i.e. In a 12-team draft the last team will get pick #12 and also pick #13.)

Let's assume for this exercise that you are picking 10th in a 12-team snake draft.  Your job is to get as much information as possible on the drafting patterns and fantasy sports acumen of the folks picking 11th and 12th.

If you luck out, you'll find that these two people are pretty average and usually take the best player available.  This will give you an excellent idea of who they are likely to select with the next four (two each) picks after you select your guy.  You, of course, will be very well prepared for your draft and in any given round you will have several players lined up in your queue at several different positions.  The strategy here is obvious - take your top two options and pick the one that is lower on your league's website's ranking order.  The managers in slots #11 and #12 are more likely to take the better-ranked player so you have a much better chance of getting the two players you target if you take them in the order of how they are ranked on your site.

There is another hidden value of being near the wheel.  It gives you a bit of time between your close picks to be sure of the second in the pair, and more importantly it will give you tons of time on the other side to get your queue right and do that last-minute fact checking.

For these reasons, my favorite draft position is #3.  That said, there have been research studies that have shown the closer to #1 you pick the higher your chances of winning you league.  That is an extremely large sample size though, so I would say that each individual league is it's own animal and should be treated as such.

Drop me a line if you need any help this baseball season... I'm happy to help.