How to Ace Your Dynasty Draft with a Shortage of Premium Picks (Fantasy Football)
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Last year felt like your year. You assembled an exceptional roster that had a legitimate chance of winning your league’s title. So you did it; you shoved all of your chips in the middle, traded valuable draft capital to fill those remaining holes, and went all-in on winning it all in 2019.
While I hope that strategy paid off for you in the form of a championship trophy, it’s likely that your bold in-season approach has left you with a shortage of premium picks in your upcoming dynasty or keeper draft.
Have no fear. You can still put together a good draft that keeps you in contention for the upcoming season. Here are some tips that will help you do just that.
Play it Safe
Your main goal in the draft will be to make the most of your small amount of premium picks. One or two busts can sink your team’s hopes for the upcoming season.
So while it might not be in your nature, you need to play it safe with these picks. Take as many proven, reliable commodities as you can, preferably players who have shown consistency over a significant sample size. Look at both cumulative season stats and game-by-game performances to get a good gauge of players you can count on weekly.
And while injuries are wholly unpredictable, I recommend not using premium picks on players with questionable injury history, or players coming off of a significant injury. There might be plenty of upside, but there’s also just as much downside. If you put your hand on the stove, chances are you’ll get burnt.
Trade Down When You Can
I recommend trading down in your dynasty or keeper draft in all situations. In this case, trading down is a great way to regain the picks you lost the year before.
Obviously, don’t pass up good players just for the sake of adding assets. But a couple of trades during your draft could turn your shortage of picks into a surplus.
When looking for potential trade partners, target owners who are coming off of a rough season. These owners will likely be more desperate to make a splash in an attempt to get back into the playoffs. Chances are you could convince them to overpay to move up in the draft if there’s a player they really love or a positional need they have to fill.
If you decide to trade down, remember not to solely focus on recouping picks in this year’s draft. Try to get future picks in return too. More draft capital provides a greater chance of long-term success.
Turn Players Into Picks
Another way to add more premium draft picks is to trade away players on your current roster to move up in the draft. These could be players on expiring contracts, or players you simply don’t value as much as other owners on your team.
Take an honest look at your roster leading up to the draft and look for players you view as expendable. In particular, I recommend looking at players – particularly at running back – who are nearing the end of their prime. They likely still have a couple of productive years left in them, which means they could command an impressive haul from a short-sighted owner in a trade.
Treat your players as assets and don’t get too attached. Remember that any player can be had if the price is right. A flexible mindset can help you turn a depreciating asset into valuable draft capital.
Target Positions of Scarcity
You can’t afford to waste the limited premium picks you have on a quarterback and tight end. The quarterback position is arguably the deepest in fantasy, depending on your format. And no tight end is worth taking in the earlier rounds of a dynasty draft.
Instead, use those premium picks to take any bell-cow running backs and top-tier wide receivers available. Even though the NFL is a quarterback-driven league, running back is still the most scarce position in fantasy football. And since there’s so much randomness at wide receiver these days, it’s especially important to land a trusted stud early.
Once you’ve got a nice group of tailbacks and receivers, then you can begin to address quarterback and tight end. Remember last year’s MVP, Lamar Jackson, had an ADP of 106 last summer. Meanwhile, Mark Andrews, the No. 2 tight end in standard leagues, and Darren Waller, the No. 4 tight end, had ADPs of 140 and 194, respectively. There are plenty of gems to be had. Just be patient and don’t waste a precious early-round pick on either position.
Matt Barbato is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Matt, check out his archive.