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Schwamm Sez: Draft Prep (2)

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For reference, previous Shwamm Sez posts can be found here:


Intro:  Introduction


Basics (1):  Know and Understand Your League's Scoring

Basics (2): Know Your Opponents

Basics (3):  Know the Talent

Basics (4):  Be Consistent, Not a Homer


Draft Prep (1):  Player Analysis Tools


A look at the analysis tool I consider the cornerstone of successful drafting...




For my money, this is by far the most important pre-draft evaluation tool.  In my last post, I described tools you can use to determine who you’d like to target, and maybe reinforce why you think they’ll tear it up for you.  An ADP analysis will tell you when you should grab those guys. 


If you haven’t used them before, almost every fantasy site compiles stats for all the leagues that have either drafted or run mock drafts, and compiles a list of where each player goes “on average”.  In more advanced sites, you can filter the lists to conform to your league’s scoring setup, or at least something close to it.


I average ADP rankings from a dozen or so sites, which I use to start my final pre-draft analysis document, and I try to take “expert” big boards from various sites into consideration too (some people draft directly from these, so they can give you some guidance if you know of anyone using them).  The idea is to identify roughly where players are going to go in my draft(s).  I also take time to note what the earliest, average, and range is for each player. 


Maybe you think this is odd because it would likely have very little correlation to the big board I created… but it is very intentional.  I want to focus on getting the players I want, but want to get them as late in the draft as I possibly can so as to avoid reaching for them beyond roughly where they “ought to” go.


If you value Luck as the 3rd best QB, for instance, it is useful to know he can be had in the 6th or 7th round in most leagues.  By holding off on taking him until where he typically goes, you are gambling a little.  Someone else could have a similar strategy and snag him before you.  This approach, though, allows you to collect better talent, at better value, in the earlier rounds and still have a great shot at getting the guy you want later.  I mitigate the risk by not getting too hung up on individual players wherever possible.


What I typically like to do is to use the positional rankings I compiled to warn me that I might miss a critical player grouping.  Then I use my big board to compare against the ADP board, and use the differences to grade players as a reach, a push, or a value.


If I have someone graded several rounds higher than where the ADP boards have him, he is a value.  Conversely, if I have him graded lower, he is a reach.  If a value is substantial enough, it might merit bumping that player up a round (I try hard not to go more than about 1 round as a loose rule, but pulled the trigger 2 rounds early for Arian Foster, for example, in 2010 when I knew a couple opponents were eyeballing him) to make sure you get him.  If a reach is sufficient enough, it might merit you removing that player from your board altogether.


I'll get more into merging the ADP and big boards into a tool to take into your draft war room, and explain how the value/reach information colors that "cheat sheet", in my next post.

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