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Strategy From Drafting at the End of a Round (Fantasy Baseball)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Apr 27, 2020

Beyond our fantasy baseball content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our Cheat Sheet Creator – which allows you to combine rankings from 100+ experts into one cheat sheet – to our Draft Assistant – that optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball draft season.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your league to make sure that everyone stays invested through the end of the season instead of dropping everything baseball-related for football, there are a few different incentives that you or your commissioner can add.

One of the better ones, though, is to make the consolation bracket mean something in a head-to-head league. Give those who weren’t fortunate enough to make the playoffs something to play for. For example, give the winner their choice of draft spot for the following year.

While having the power to decide where you want to draft is great and all, does it matter where in the round you draft from?

Well, Ariel Cohen wrote an article for RotoGraphs around this exact topic, and though he used just a one-year sample, he found that those who drafted in the middle of the round had a better chance to win their league based on a collection of data from NFBC leagues and the like. The difference between drafting seventh and third was a 15 percent increase in being able to take home the title at the end of the year.

But what about the front and back of the drafts? There are strategies to both, and though on the surface it sounds like drafting at the back of the draft is a punishment, you there are benefits and strategies that you can apply to leave your draft in a good position. 

Get expert advice during your draft with our fantasy baseball draft software >>

Grab Two Great Players

One of the downsides of a snake draft is that you are limited in who you can take, whereas an auction makes the entire player pool open to everyone. But working within those constraints, look at the advantage you have at picking at the end of the round as opposed to early. Sure, you miss out on the most elite players in the draft, but with the player pool so deep and talented, you can land two first-round players with your first two picks, whereas the drop off in talent from your second-round pick to the second-round pick of those who picked early is noticeable. 

It allows you to go hitter-pitcher if you want, or grab an elite arm to go with a top steals source. You’re able to have more control of the framework of your team from the get-go than the others are.

Start the Runs

Not getting left out of the positional runs in your draft is key to leaving the room with a team that you’re happy with. Since you’re at the turn and have two back-to-back picks, you’re able to control when the runs happen somewhat, if you want. You have a long way to go before you pick again, so if you want to be the person who takes the first closer, do it. Don’t want to miss out on one of the top catchers? Grab J.T. Realmuto at the Round 3-4 turn. 

Read the Room

One of the advantages of picking second to last as the draft goes on is being able to see what the person picking last has. If they have two hitters and no pitchers, you know that it’s likely they’ll take a pitcher with one of their next two picks, so a hitter that you like is more likely to fall back to you. 

As the last person in the draft, though, you’re able to see what every team has in the early going, and you can map out what you think will likely happen as the draft makes its way back to you.

Get Your Guys

As we mentioned above, you have a long waiting period between your picks, so you, more than anyone else in the draft, need to reach and get your guys when you want them. Throw ADP out the window. If it’s Round 5 and there’s a player with a Round 7 or Round 8 ADP, take them. With a sharp room, you’re rolling the dice that they’ll fall back to you.

This is especially important in the middle and later rounds of the draft, where everyone is looking to target their favorite high-upside and sleeper players. 

Use Your Queue

Along with using tiers during your draft, you should keep your queue built up as the draft goes on. You have a long stretch of time between your picks, which means you have time to prepare, but it also means that a lot of players that you’re hoping will fall back to you will be taken. You don’t want to be caught panicking because your first pick only has a few seconds left on the clock. Plan ahead and adjust your queue accordingly. 

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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