StrategyAugust 1, 2011

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Value Based Drafting, 2011 Edition - 7 comments

By Adam McMahon

As the new fantasy football season approaches, regulars here at the Café see a tremendous increase in traffic. Routine Plays are where we find most of this traffic, as people seek advice to make 2011 the year they take home the championship. From “who to start” to “should I make this trade” its all about making your team better. I would like to re-introduce a tactic to help do just that, Value Based Drafting (VBD).

Let’s say you are trying to decide who to keep in your league. For the sake of the article, we will use standard Yahoo non-PPR scoring with 12 teams, two keepers per team. You have it narrowed down to these three players: Aaron Rodgers, Ray Rice, and Roddy White. At first glance, the decision seems easy. The number one ranked quarterback and a top-five running back, Rodgers and Rice.

Not so fast. If you keep Rodgers and Rice then you have to drop White, who should offer you points somewhere around 190, based on last year’s totals. You essentially start drafting in the third round because of your two keepers. If everyone keeps a wide receiver, the available players at the time you pick are something along the lines of Brandon Marshall and Dez Bryant. Points available at your pick: 110 and 100, respectively. A loss of about 85 potential points vs. keeping White.

Let us instead drop Rodgers, and keep Rice and White. Rodgers is worth roughly 300 points. The available quarterbacks when you draft in a worse case scenario will be something along the lines of Matt Schaub and Matt Ryan, if several teams decide to keep a QB. They are projected 260 and 250, respectively. A loss of 55 potential points vs. keeping Rodgers.

The choice here, although speculating as to who would be available, is to drop Rodgers and keep Ray Rice and Roddy White. It would save you from a loss of roughly 30 points in your season. That may sound like a small amount to worry about, but if you have ever lost a game by a few points like I have, this could be crucial to your overall win/loss total.

With VBD, you try not to decide on your keepers based on who is worth the most points overall. Instead, keep your players according to what kind of points will be available to you at the same position as the player in question. It’s all about value, and it doesn’t make sense to try and gauge value across different positions. You compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges.

Obviously there is no “exact” formula to guarantee a win. It takes good research, smart trading, timely waiver wire pickups, and a bit of good luck. Hopefully with the knowledge you gain from this article and the thousands of other bits of information available at the Café, you will be well on your way to hoisting the championship trophy. Good luck this season.

Adam McMahon is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Adam in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Venom.
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7 Responses to “Value Based Drafting, 2011 Edition”

  1. redskincow says:

    In this article, do you mean that by keeping Rice or Rodgers that you would give up your 1st and 2nd rounder? Or is the idea just to pick the two best players for keepers based on that player’s value compared to the depth at the position?

    If it’s the second scenario, then I would keep Rogders and White in a second. RBs can be found easily during a season. You cannot replace a top-flight consistent QB or WR.

  2. User avatar Venom says:

    The idea is to keep the best option when comparing potential points vs. who would likely be available when you draft. RBs may be easy to find due to injuries and so forth, but the point of the article is that if you can only keep 2 players, the potential points available in the draft at QB is far greater than the potential points available at RB or WR.

  3. User avatar bungle613 says:

    Nice piece Adam. Clear and concise.

  4. User avatar Venom says:

    Thanks Mike

  5. dewynerd says:

    this actually works. it’s the best strategy out there. when i did it last year, i went wire-2-wire in wins. went undefeated. it was the first time anyone has gone undefeated in 11 years in my league.

    but, the science isn’t exact. you still have to do research on who’s going to have a breakout season and FA. it helped drafting arian foster in the 4th round and picking up Michael Vick after the first game- both were undervalued. that was the tipping point for my season. and having a breakout game of those 2 and my vbd draft- it was like the perfect storm.

    if you need help with your vbd, then email me at

  6. redskincow says:

    Nowhere do you mention the pt difference between Rice and other RBs that would be available. I would venture to say that Forte, who finished similar or better to Rice in pts last year, will be available. Therefore, based on this +/-, keeping Rodgers and White is the best scenario.

  7. User avatar Venom says:

    The article was written to present a theory that taking a QB before a RB is not beneficial to your team.


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