Playoff Fantasy Drafting Strategies
The main goal of the postseason draft is simple - grab the best players on the teams that advance the furthest in the playoffs. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, so let's break it down a little further.
Identifying the Best Players
Identifying the best players to draft is dependent upon your Fantasy League's settings. Once you have logged onto FantasyPostseason.com,
go to your league's home page and select 'View League Settings'. Review this page very carefully, especially the
- Will your league be conducting a Live Draft or an Auto-Draft? In a 'Live' draft, each manager selects players in
real-time against others. In an 'Auto-Draft', our system automatically selects players for each manager. These selections are vital in many ways,
as they will also become your default picks in a 'Live' draft (should you either fail to appear, or fail to make a selection in time).
- Will your league be conducting a Snake Draft or a Banzai Draft? In a Snake draft, the draft order reverses so that the last manager to
make a selection in a round will be the first manager to make a selection in the next one. A Banzai draft is similar to a Snake draft, but the order
of the third round is switched to match the order of the second.
- What roster requirements are being enforced by your league? Are there no position restrictions? If there are, what exactly are they?
For baseball, will you be required to select a certain number of Pitchers, Infielders, and Outfielders? If so, how many players are required at each position?
- What stat categories are being tracked by your league, and at what value? Although your league may be tracking Runs, that category's value
may only be worth a small fraction to that of Home Runs or RBIs (categories that are set to 0 are not being tracked).
- What round multipliers have been set for your league? Although it is usually a no-brainer to grab the best players on the best teams, it becomes
imperative if the value for the championship round is exponentially larger than the preceding rounds.
Identifying the Best Team
It is easy to say that you want to grab the best players from the best teams, but how do you actually go about identifying the best team? Basically,
you've got a few ways to proceed on this...Seeds, Odds, Gut, or Homers:
- The safest approach is to assume that the higher seed will move on to the next round (i.e. #1 over #4, #2 over #3, and so on). In the championship round,
this means the #1 seed in one league (i.e. National League) will face off against the #1 seed in the other (i.e. American League).
- The next-safest approach is to assume that the team with the highest odds will move on. You may not be a gambler, but don't be a fool. Balancing
what the odds-makers say against the league seeding is usually a sound move. If you treat their word as gold, this means the final round will find the team
with the #1 odds in one league taking on the team with the #1 odds in the other.
- The next approach is use to your gut to determine who moves on. Truth be told, this is what usually separates the fantasy postseason manager superstars
from all the rest. The seeds and odds may say one thing, but in your heart of hearts you know full well the #3 seed is moving on to glory. With your word
as king, this means your predicted favorite in one league will battle for the title against your predicted favorite in the other (regardless of how highly
they are seeded or favored).
- The last approach is to go with the homer-approach and load up on players from your favorite team. All is good if that team happens to be the 1986 Mets,
but if your boys are going on a wing and a prayer, you can kiss that championship ring good bye; especially if you multiply your mistakes by avoiding
stud players on teams that make your blood boil.
Whichever option you choose, knowingly or unknowingly, you are coming up with a projected number of games for each team. Impossible to calculate you say?
Fear not; at FantasyPostseason.com, we make life a lot easier for you by working out a projected number of games based on seeds. At the end of the
regular season, we flag the postseason teams and assign a seed to each (i.e. #1 - #4 for each AL and NL team). We then assign a total projected number of
games per team (per round and by sport); we assume that the team with the higher seed will always advance in each round.
Bringing it Home
Whether you have chosen to accept our default projections or have gone out on your own limb, be sure to closely review your rankings and make sure you feel
good about them. Just because the numbers tell you one thing, doesn't mean you have to do what they tell you. Feel free to make modifications, but please be
careful not to fall into the homer-trap alluded to earlier.
Second, be sure to check for anomalies. The cream usually rises to the top, so make sure a role player is not sitting at #1 in your list. For example, a
player may have hit a paltry 2 home runs during the regular season, but he may have done so in only 2 games played for the whole year. This player might
appear to have the home-run hitting prowess of Babe Ruth if you are not careful! We have knocked out players who have appeared in a miniscule amount of games,
but there still may be a bench-warmer or two that slips through the cracks.
Third, be sure to check for injuries and postseason eligibility. If you squander your #1 pick on a superstar that is injured and out for the post-season,
you can wait until next year to collect your fantasy title.
Fourth, be prepared to react to what your fantasy league competitors are doing during the draft. For example, if the top two picks in the draft watch two
members of that stellar 1986 Mets squad go off the board, are you really sure you want to take the #1 player on some inferior squad, even though your numbers
tell you to? Probably not...it might behoove you to rethink things just a bit (but please move fast as the draft clock is ticking), and snatch up that third
best 1986 Mets player before you royally get left out in the cold.
Armed and ready, feel free to draft away. Draft well, and the Fantasy Postseason championship awaits you!