Fantasy Drafting 101

Fantasy 101: Ignore allegiances

When preparing for your draft, you’re going to be scouring through a whole bunch of names to hopefully draft and start in your fantasy team. The players that will stand out will be the ones that you go watch every week – the guys you pay your hard-earned to see – or your favourite players.

The question that arises is where in the draft do you take your favourite player, or players from the club you support? Should you take them earlier, and have a weaker team full of players you like? Should you avoid them, and have a strong fantasy team full of players you hate? I’ll take you through two different perspectives on this, so you can better make this decision for yourself.

The team you love

The first perspective is that if you draft players from your own team, you’re going to enjoy going to the footy that bit extra and cheer for those players a bit more. Even if your AFL team is horrible and not playing well you might stick around until the end of most games, just to see if the guys you drafted kick a couple more goals to get your fantasy team over the line. There’s nothing wrong with this type of thinking – fantasy football should be enjoyable – but it’s far from a tried and true championship-winning plan.

The team that wins

The second perspective is that you should be drafting the best player available at any point in the draft. If you decide pre-draft that you want to draft a certain player who plays for your AFL club, then you are far more susceptible to reaching for him too early and missing out on players who have a higher average draft position (ADP). When you throw away your allegiances you can get great value by picking up someone who’s slipped down the draft board lower than his ADP because others have drafted with their heart and not their head.

Fantasy draft based games are fun, therefore it is important to have some players who you like in your team. If you draft by taking the best player available for your team, while maintaining the balance of positions and still don’t like the players in your team, don’t worry. You’ll be able to trade for players you like from a position of strength, since you most likely will have a decent team from the start.

Cheating on your fantasy team

Everyone has someone in their league that they know they sell their favourite teams players to. Don’t let yourself be that person. I’ve been in leagues where this has been the case, and the first thing I’d do in that situation is offer a Dons fan Essendon players, for example, at a massively inflated rate just to improve my side. That person wearing their teams colours on their sleeve while coaching their fantasy side is always going to lose out on deals, and technically cheat on their fantasy team with their AFL team. The 2 teams can be mutually exclusive, just don’t be romantically and emotionally involved with both at the same time, otherwise the outcome won’t be pretty, and it’s your fantasy team that will take the hit.

In my opinion you shouldn’t be drafting your own team’s players if they aren’t the best player on the board. Don’t be the guy in your draft that takes a Carlton player in every round (my older brother did this drafting for the first time last year, not even kidding!). But if the next best available guy is also one of your favourite players, then don’t second guess yourself, go for it.

I’m a Pies man and there is every chance I’ll get a couple of Magpies on my team. However it definitely won’t be at the expense of my fantasy line-up. Be ruthless and selfish and do what’s best for your own team, not the one you support.

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