Draft Strategy

What is the Best Draft Strategy for My Mental Health?

While I had a great many things to be thankful for this holiday season, luck from the fantasy gods did not feel like one of them. It was a deeply frustrating season that was terrible for my mental health, as my dreams of the fantasy playoffs were dashed for the majority of my teams.

If I can take any solace from all this failure, it’s from the great variety of ways in which I managed to fail. My early-round wide receivers, like Alshon Jeffery, busted, and my late-round WRs, like Allen Hurns, did too. On one team, I took Doug Martin in the middle rounds, and on another, I took his backup, Charles Sims, later on. Somehow, they both managed to bust this year, which is particularly impressive given that both were top 16 running backs last year. I’m especially displeased by my Zero RB team, where neither of my top two RBs, Dion Lewis and Danny Woodhead, managed to stay healthy. However, let me take a moment to congratulate those who had the wherewithal to draft Woodhead’s handcuff, Melvin Gordon, a round or two earlier!1

Rather than continuing to wallow in self pity, though, I decided to take a more constructive route: looking back at my draft strategy to figure out what I could have done better. In particular, I wanted to figure out what approach would have improved my mental health by giving me a roster whose weekly lineups — despite byes, injuries, and busts — would leave me consistently confident going into each game.

While there are many ways to look at that problem, I went with the most naive one: test out every draft order. Thanks to a free trial offer for the Google Compute Engine, where I could use up to 32 computers simultaneously for a month, that was easily achievable.

  1. Why, yes, I am still bitter about that. Thank you for noticing.  (back)

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By Kevin Zatloukal | @kczat | Archive

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  1. Glad to see someone here bucking the trend of zero RB. I've felt there were things not being considered when picking the WRs first, and this has at least partially explained a potential advantage of going RB early. I hope to see more debate or discussion on this.

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