Draft Strategy

FFPC Rookie Draft Strategy

When devising a strategy for how to attack upcoming high-stakes fantasy rookie drafts, the first bit of advice may sound familiar: Take Saquon Barkley with the top pick. After that, it gets a little more complicated. That’s because roster construction and management in high-stakes leagues tend to focus far more on the short-term than typical dynasty leagues. For example, in the FFPC, where I’m in the second year of taking over a team in a 12-team, $500 buy-in league,1 the format generally mimics the rules of the contest’s annual redrafts: 20-man in-season rosters, a $1,000 waiver-wire budget, PPR scoring (with 1.5 PPR for tight ends). In these dynasty leagues, there is no taxi squad, but teams can put up to three players on injured reserve in case of season-ending injuries. The draft is seven rounds, and there are no contracts or salary caps; once drafted, you can keep a player for the entire duration of his career. Of course, that almost never happens. As mentioned, FFPC dynasties are hyper-focused on the short term, and players can change teams multiple times a season. For example, three weeks after Dalvin Cook was lost for the year last October, with my team in prime position for a playoff spot, I traded him plus my 2018 first- and second-round picks for Kareem Hunt2 and a 2018 third-rounder to a team that was out of contention.3 Hunt cooled off the second half of the season, and in retrospect I likely overpaid, but there were lessons here that apply to these leagues more generally.
  1. FFPC dynasty leagues start at $77 and go up to $5,000, so, particularly at the higher buy-in prices, it’s understandable if owners are in a constant state of “win now” urgency.  (back)
  2. Hunt had previously been traded about a month after the rookie draft. Last July, the new owner offered me Hunt and Mike Wallace for Stefon Diggs (I also owned pre-injury Spencer Ware, the Chiefs starter at the time), but I turned it down.  (back)
  3. I made the playoffs but finished fifth; the picks I traded ended up being the 1.08 and 2.08.  (back)

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By Monty Phan | @MontyPhan | Archive