by Brad Crainer
I’m not one to try to make anyone feel bad for being in any kind of a Fantasy Football league. As a matter of fact, the first league I ever joined had only 4 teams. I think I may have lost every game that first season because I had to set my team to auto-draft and three humans against a computer is not the way you want to set up your roster. Since that time, I’ve had a run of 8 straight years of successful drafting while in a six-team league. We’ve already discussed the merits of a six-team Fantasy Football league, so now we’re going to talk about draft strategy. This week: Snake Drafting in a Six-Team League.
Snake drafts are terrible. I mean that in the best possible way. My personal feelings are that snake drafts allow for the least amount of strategy and ingenuity and really take away from the feeling of crafting your team. Instead, you’re just hoping you get a good draft position and that you can craft a pretty decent team in the first few rounds. You hope for some solid players in the middle rounds and pray to God that you land at least one successful sleeper in the later rounds. With that being said, here is what I have found to be a successful draft strategy for a six team league with a snake draft.
The first thing you want to do is figure out how many players you are going to be drafting. A standard league may look something like this:
1 – QB, 2 – RB, 3 – WR, 1 – TE/FL, 1 – D/ST, 1 – K and 5 – Bench Players = 14 players
The numbers may vary. I personally don’t like forcing anyone to take a TE, considering that there are only 2-3 TEs worth having in a given season. So in my six-team leagues I will typically run with 2 Flex positions, 2 WR, and 2 RB. Still, none of that really matters for this strategy.
My strategy is to work from the bottom up. Basically, your bench players, kicker, and defense are going to be your last seven picks. Don’t even think about reaching for a kicker you really like or an “elite” defense before you’ve rounded out those starting positions. All of your damage over the course of the year is going to be done in the first seven rounds.
This strategy does get a bit skewed based upon draft position. The common thinking is that you need to get your QB or an elite RB first, but that is only going to help you if you’re in the first 5 picks. If you have position 6 in the draft, the elite RBs that are guaranteed to get you max points are gone, and so are Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck. Therefore, take the best available position player. You’re in a six-team league, there is definitely going to be a stud available somewhere, likely at WR. I’m talking Demaryius Thomas, Antonio Brown, or Rob Gronkowski. Someone that is just leaps and bounds better than everyone else at their position. This first round is where you get your franchise player, your one Tier 1 player. Again, if you have an earlier pick, you have to take Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck and then hope there is still something available for you when it’s your turn again at pick 10, 11, or 12.
Keep in mind that, after your pick, it could be some time before you get another chance to pick again, so make sure you are happy with your selection. That first pick needs to be someone that, barring injury, you can bank on every week of the season. After round one, here is the rest of your first seven rounds:
Round 2: RB – There just are not enough of these to wait around. Take the best you can get. If you’re in a PPR league, look at Matt Forte, LaVeon Bell, and Jamaal Charles.
Round 3: WR – again, you may still be able to get one of the top tier WRs at this stage.
Round 4 (early pick): WR – catches are everything, man. This is a passing league, after all.
Round 4 (late pick): QB – you couldn’t get one of the best, but you want to make sure you don’t get a piece of hot garbage (I’m looking at you Eli).
Round 5 (1st pick WR/QB): RB – if there is still a serviceable running back that you know is likely to get the majority of the rushes, this is your time to take him.
Round 5 (1st pick RB): WR – Gotta round out that starting line-up, and that means get the best available wide receiver you can get your hands on.
Round 6: TE/FL – If you need to pick a TE, this is the time to do it. Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski are gone (and if they’re not jump at them!). So find someone serviceable, maybe a TE for a team with a young QB (MIN or TEN).
Round 7: Whoever else you’re missing for your starting lineup.
Rounds 8-12: Honestly, these rounds don’t really matter with the exception of making sure not to waste your opportunity at position players by taking…
Round 13-14: D/ST and Kickers. These are your last two positions you need to fill. I do not believe in “elite” defenses from a fantasy perspective. The Steeler’s were notoriously good at that D/ST spot, but then last year they spent half the season with no turnovers! Bank on position players, hope for points from your defense and kicker. If anyone takes a kicker before the final round, they are cuckoo for cocoa puffs.
Things to remember: You may want to get a back-up QB. I would personally wait until after the 10th round for this. Also, keep track of BYE weeks. You only have three options: plan around the BYE weeks during your draft, worry about them later and pick up a free agent if you need to, or just draft people who have the same BYE week and plan to take a loss that week. I’ve actually successfully completed each of these strategies, so it’s really Manager’s choice.
In the next segment, we are going to discuss the much more difficult and exciting: Auction Draft!
Have questions? Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org