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How to Maximize Value During a Position Run (Fantasy Baseball)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Apr 26, 2020

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It’s become somewhat of a running joke with how much it is mentioned, but drafts are all about value. It doesn’t matter where you draft, how many picks you have, your scoring format, or what your draft strategy is. You want to leave with as much value as you can up and down your roster with each pick.

When it comes to positional runs, finding the value can be tough, but it’s an important part of your draft process.

Positional runs are where one person opens the floodgates by drafting a player at a position, and then the other players at that position start flying off the board. It can be scary if you’re picking right before the run ends, or if you’re picking right at the end of it, because you have little control over who is going to be available for you to take. 

*Sidenote: this is why auctions are and always will be superior to snake drafts so that you can have more of a say for who you want to take.

Even in the confines of a snake draft, there are some ways that you can have control over who you take and how to ensure that you don’t miss out on a run at any position.

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Ignore Platform ADP

Mock drafts are great. They give you an idea of where players will go and how early you need to act if you want to draft them. The keyword there is idea. 

When it comes time for the draft, it’s going to look a lot different. The best approach to take is to come to the draft with your own set of rankings. It can be on paper, in an excel sheet, or however else is easiest for you to manage them, but don’t rely on the draft board in the platform that hosts your league to guide your draft for you. There is a lot of value to be had that doesn’t align with the ADP, and that can help you get your guys when you want them.

Tiered Rankings

Taking the rankings a step further, turn your traditional rankings into tiered positional rankings. What that means is you break a position down by groupings of players. We did a whole series here at FantasyPros for our positional primers as an example to look at. This lets you know when a tier is beginning, and how many players are left in that tier.

Say the tier consists of five people. If you decide that you want a player from that tier, you should be willing to take any of them when it comes your time to pick. The first is obviously the best of the bunch, but there shouldn’t be a noticeable difference between the first and the fifth player.

Now, the golden rule is that you don’t take the first player in the tier, but you also don’t want to wait for the last player if you can help it. 

By taking the first player, you start said run, which is fine if you want that person on your team, but you also run the risk of having the other four players in your tier come back to you on your next pick, which could have allowed you to look elsewhere and fill a different need with your initial pick.

By waiting for the last guy of your tier, you run the risk of someone sniping that player out from under you, forcing you to miss out entirely and settling for a player in your next tier instead, which usually has a sizable difference in value and skill. If the last player in the tier falls to you, good, but don’t make that your plan.

Get Your Guy

We all have our guys that we want on our teams. The thing is, the person that you fancy is more than likely desired by at least half of the members of your league. 

If you want someone, get them. Don’t worry about their ADP. Don’t worry about taking them too early. If they have an ADP of Round 7, take them in Round 5. If you wait and they go in Round 5 or Round 6 after your pick, you will immediately kick yourself and regret not pulling the trigger on them. Taking your guys when you want to helps to eliminate falling victim to positional runs.

Plan Ahead

You should come to the draft with a plan in pencil and not pen, yes, but you should also know of some late-round draft targets that you can go after. If you miss the initial closer’s run, highlight some guys who you can grab later like a Keone Kela or Giovanny Gallagos. Did you miss out on the elite first basemen? Circle players like C.J. Cron who can give you elite production in a category for really cheap. 

You should take what the draft gives you, but you should also do a little bit of leg work to help you when you’re forced to pivot.

2020 Draft Kit: View printable cheat sheets, sleepers & mistakes to avoid >>


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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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