Autodrafts are awful. You always end up with someone else’s team, and you miss the best part of the fantasy season.
Fortunately, sites have predraft rankings. Unfortunately the system is mostly broken. But together we can make it work.
My first fantasy draft of the year was Saturday. Alas, real life trumped fantasy life. As soon as I realized it, I shivered as the term aaaauuuuutooooodrrrrraaaaaffft echoed hauntingly in my brain.
Predraft rankings have never helped me get a team that I want. Maybe a player or two, but it’s impossible to get even half an enjoyable roster. Until my draft Saturday.
I’m not giving you a guarantee that you’ll have a perfect autodraft using this strategy, but it’s going to put you in a position to at least have a not-so-awful draft.
I still produced a few stinkers with this method — including three pitchers who won’t be ready for opening day (yuck) and getting eight and a half outfielders — but the positive is that I got wins on 19 of 25 picks. I consider that a successful autodraft and despite it being a shallow 8-teamer, owe most of the fortune to my prerankings method.
Value is not an option in an autodraft
The most important first step to successful autodrafting is punting everything you know and love about value when it comes to fantasy baseball.
Understand that you need to set up the system to reach for players — and sometimes reach hard. You also need to make it nearly impossible to pick other players. Had I been a little more diligent with the avoids, my draft probably would have been even better.
Knowledge. Get some. Use it
From here on out, I’m going to assume you’ve devoured the contents of our 2010 fantasy baseball rankings page (sleepers, busts, ADP, Composite rankings) and that you’ve browsed a couple other sets of rankings.
You need to know the kinds of players you want to get and the kinds you want to avoid.
With that in mind, go to your predaft overall rankings, usually the top 50 or 100. Begin moving any player you really want up 10 spots. If there’s a player you really, really want, move him up 15 spots or more.
By doing this the computer will pick any player you want a full round before most of the other people in your league will even see him on their draft board.
Use the same method for any players you do not want. Slide some down 10 spots, slide some down 15. Some of them you might want to send to the very bottom of the list.
Follow this same method throughout the list and be sure to go deep. If you have a 10-team league with 25-man rosters, make sure you check the top-250.
Don’t stop at the minimum
The next important step is checking beyond that mark. Look at the next 50 to 100 players. There are a handful of players who you’d rather own than several of the players in the top 250. If there aren’t, that means you need to go back to the 2010 fantasy baseball rankings page and actually read the stuff.
Put them in the top 250. Higher if you want to make sure you get them.
Now that we have the basic rankings out of the way, scroll back through quickly looking for discrepancies or players you might have missed.
For instance, if five similar players are ranked together, make sure the guy you want most is at the top of the five. It sounds trivial, but
Adjust for roster/scoring setups
The next and final step is looking at your scoring system/roster settings. Maybe the league doesn’t have an innings pitched rule that you can, for lack of a better word, exploit by picking more relievers or more starters. Maybe it’s a five outfielder league — like mine was on Saturday — or a two-catcher league.
In either case, you want to tweak your rankings to make sure you take advantage.
To account for the higher number of outfielders (with the UTIL we can play six every day), I bumped every outfielder that I wanted to roster up one more spot.
It’s not at all scientific (I don’t have any percentages or, actually, any statistical proof of any kind) however, it’s common sense if you stop and think about it.
So, I’ve finally found an autodraft method that works for me. How about you? When you face the dreaded autodraft because of a birthday party or some such gathering, how do you prepare/cope? Let us know in the comments.