A Strategy for Making the Best of Your Draft

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “value based drafting” or “draft the best player available”, but what does that really mean? Taking the best player available blindly is a recipe for failure, however if the moves are calculated, they can bring you to the promise land.  Consider your fantasy draft as if you were an actual GM, I know it’s a little silly, but if you were an actual GM you would have to think that players have value other than their production on the team. They can also be flipped for someone who will make a greater contribution to your squad. Let’s say the best player available is a catcher. You already have one, and the one that’s available wouldn’t warrant a starting utility spot on your roster, then there is still at least one owner who needs a catcher in your league, which makes a perfect opportunity for you to grab this catcher, even though you own one already, and trade him.

Now that you have the main piece of your trade, you can reach out to owners who have a weakness at catcher and you can address your weakness, whether it be a position player or a pitcher, let’s pretend it is pitcher for our example. The most successful trades occur when two managers are exchanging fair offers. In this case, it’s crucial that you don’t overvalue your own players, all you want to do is make a significant enough upgrade to your team that it is worth a transaction.

Consider our example with player names, if you took Wilson Contreras, then Salvador Perez was the best available player a couple rounds later and you scooped him too. Contreras ADP is 106 according to FantasyPros.com while Salvador Perez’s is 141.

Drafting a pitcher around ADP 170, would land you someone like J.A. Happ and it sets you up for a pretty good trade. Since you already have an everyday catcher, Perez is putting up stats on your bench, you might as well get some return on him. Meanwhile, a manager that is in serious need of a catcher, but can afford to take a knock in pitching would bite on a trade like this.

You Give You Receive
Salvador Perez (C) Julio Teheran (SP)
J.A. Happ (SP)

As stated, your team only loses depth by adding Perez, it doesn’t lose weekly production, and if you want to own a backup catcher, getting the best available free agent from the waiver wire works fine if it means you can upgrade a position. You are unable to find pitchers as good as Teheran on the waiver wire day in and day out. Now and a again a prospect comes up and you can get lucky, but most of the time, you are dealing with much worse quality on the waiver wire. Making deals of your own, may not result in rewards of Julio Teheran or someone at his 106 ADP, but again, as I said before, as long as your upgrade is significant, it’s worth it.

Value is subjective, if I am short on pitching and you offer me J.A. Happ, he’s valuable. If I’m in a keeper league, and I have Mookie & Trout, I’m not interested in hearing trades for outfielders.

It’s impossible to build a perfect team from the draft, but as displayed above, it’s possible to get the pieces necessary to eventually have that championship team.