Devy Draft Strategy Guide (2022 Fantasy Football)
The difficulty of devy is that there is no right strategy for your drafts. Your draft strategy will always depend on how you built your NFL roster and how deep your devy drafts are, but that’s what makes the format so exciting. In beginner-friendly leagues, there might be a cap of 1-2 college players that you can have on your roster so that roster construction can be more straightforward. You could have as many as ten players on your devy rosters in advanced leagues, which changes how you should draft. That’s the fun of devy, but those challenges can be daunting for first-year players. In this piece, I wanted to dive into some general draft strategies that I use in my devy drafts to help you in your leagues. Let’s dive in!
Preparing for Your 2022 Devy Drafts
First and foremost, you will need to prepare a little differently for your drafts than you usually would for a regular fantasy draft. There are a bunch of resources out there that you can use that are either free or paid, but this is how I would approach your draft:
- Know the league scoring format to help you rank your devy prospects
- Follow the top devy analysts in the fantasy space
- Find devy rankings (free and paid)
- Find mock drafts to help guide your strategy
- Create a tier ranking system for prospects
One of the essential strategies you can implement is creating a devy “Big Board” that lists where you have each position in tiers. It’s something that I have been doing for over seven years in every devy draft I have ever been in. It keeps you honest and stops you from over-drafting middling RB prospects over elite WRs based on team needs.
Unlike many in the devy landscape, I take the best player available no matter what. Most won’t agree with this strategy, but I see players as assets and tradeable ones. As a manager, it’s your job to build up your teams with high-value players, and the best way to do this is by drafting the best players regardless of position. It’s one reason why I value top-end freshman running backs in devy. TreVeyon Henderson from Ohio State is littered all over my devy rosters because of this strategy, and now I have a top three asset in all my leagues. Those types of investments allow flexibility when managing your NFL team and give you the trade capital needed to make runs at winning a championship.
Value Top-End RBs
Even though I always look to draft the best player available, I realize the value of top-end running backs in devy leagues. I mean running backs that I am confident will be valued in the first round of rookie drafts when I say top-end. That list is small, but if any running back has a first or second-round grade for you, then that should be your pick. This also means that you should draft incoming freshmen in at least the second to third round of startup drafts. I know that may sound like a reach, but they are too valuable to pass up, and the return on investment is what you are looking for when playing devy, as I outlined above. Also, be sure not to reach on running back prospects out of need. One of the biggest mistakes I see devy managers make is drafting mid-tier running backs thinking they will be the next Javonte Williams when in reality, the hit rates on running back prospects like Williams are less than 5%. Don’t reach at the position and instead use other assets to trade to fill your NFL roster if that’s a position of need. The last thing you want is to draft Michael Carter ahead of players like Jaxon Smith-Njigba. That’s a losing draft strategy.
Don’t Overdraft QBs
Finally, my most significant piece of advice is not to overvalue the quarterback position even in Superflex leagues. Based on the misses we have seen at the quarterback position the past few years, which have included the likes of Spencer Rattler, Kedon Slovis, DJ Uiagalelei, and JT Daniels, it’s time to rethink how we draft the position. Currently, there are just five quarterbacks that I feel comfortable taking in the first four rounds of devy drafts: Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, Quinn Ewers, Jaxson Dart, and Caleb Williams. Even every single one of those guys comes with risk, though, and I could realistically make an argument why each should be avoided in drafts. Therein lies the problem with the quarterback position right now. One piece of advice that I have is to make sure the NFL side of your roster is secure at the position, and I always try to come away with two top 12 quarterbacks after the NFL startup. If you couldn’t secure those types of quarterbacks on your NFL roster, then look for quarterbacks with a Konami upside that start at one of the top ten colleges in college football. That’s the best way to eliminate risk. Another rule I have is not drafting incoming freshmen in my devy drafts. Unless you feel like a quarterback is too big of a value to pass up, I will almost always draft another position. There are just too many unknown factors when trying to scout high school quarterbacks.
If you haven’t made the jump into devy yet, I highly recommend trying the format out. Start by gauging interest with people you know personally. I have always found that the best devy leagues are with managers you know and who are willing to keep the league going for years. If you do not have enough interest to form a full league, consider Safe Leagues, or search devy leagues on Twitter. There are many resources to find these leagues, and they are starting every day. Not only will devy leagues provide you with the upper hand in rookie drafts, but they are also a challenge. I have always wanted to test my fantasy skills against the best as a competitor. In devy leagues, you test everything you have ever learned about fantasy and scouting. Anyone can draft Saquon Barkley in the 1st round of a fantasy draft. But can you be the guy that took Joe Burrow in the 8th round of a devy draft before his breakout senior season that led to a Heisman trophy? Or be the manager that drafted Javonte Williams before his breakout season? The satisfaction that comes from outsmarting your league-mates is second to none. If you thrive on competition, devy leagues should be your go-to league. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to reach out to me at @Daboys_22 on Twitter my DMs are always open!
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