Draft Strategy

Know your position in the draft

What if there was a way of gaining an advantage over your competitors in your draft simply by having knowledge of the position you have been given? Well you’re in luck because there is! This article runs you through the do’s and don’ts of how to approach your draft according to what position you are in.

Pick 1 or pick 10

If you have landed with pick 1 or pick 10 it is a mixed blessing. If you are pick 1 you have the pick of any player in the draft and the choice of picking the best player in the competition, and pick 10 you get 2 picks in the top 11. However the problem with these picks in standard leagues with snake drafts is that you have to wait 20 picks before your next pick, and then you get 2 in a row. With these picks, because of the long wait it is important to prioritise by your team needs, make sure you team is balanced for most of the draft. Because you don’t have the luxury of having a pick in the middle of every round like someone picking at pick 5 or 6.

I say most of the draft because for the first 5 rounds it is always my strategy to pick the best player available to you, know matter the position. You will always get a few opponents picking for positional scarcity early on, which will mean some top notch midfielders will slide down the board and into your lap. Even if you have a few top notch midfielders, and are a bit weaker on other positions, not to worry. The scoring power of great midfielders at the start of the season will have you off to a good start, and from there you can trade from a position of strength. When you are picking from picks 1 or 10 it limits you’re ability to always pick the best player available to about 5 rounds, rather than having a pick every round like at 4, 5 or 6.

Be sure to check out our rankings and latest mock drafts so you can predict when and where players will fall, since you have to wait so long for a pick if you are after a player you are willing to reach for you need to know ahead of time. For example our mock draft says Jack Redden will go at pick 43, however if you have pick 10 (having selections of 10,11,30,31,50,51) he probably won’t still be there at pick 50, so if you really rate him as I do you might have to reach for him with your pick 31.

Pick 2,3 or 8,9

These are my favourite positions to draft, just as pick 1 and 10 you get the luxury of taking 2 players relatively quickly. I love these positions because with the help of a handy draft day tip you can take exactly the 2 players you want to take with each pick most of the time. What I do in drafts if I am in these positions is take a printed off sheet of paper with a grid and for every pick someone makes I write down, not the player (because that’s too much work), but the position they selected (DEF, MID, FWD, RCK).

Here’s a crafty example to show you how this trick works. So you have landed with pick three and selected Scott Pendlebury, Pearce Hanley and Lance Franklin. You have 2 picks in the next 6 spots, See the table below.

Before round 4

1 2 3 4 5
MID MID Pendlebury (MID) FWD DEF
FWD FWD Hanley (DEF) MID MID
MID MID Franklin (FWD) DEF FWD
      MID MID
         

 

The natural way of thinking aligns to taking the next best midfielder (Rory Sloane), the midfield is where your scoring power comes from and having another solid midfielder will help your team.

However before making a decision about who to take have a look at what the teams with position 1 and 2 have in terms of position. As you can see in the table above it is very likely they are going to take at least 1 if not 2 defenders as they haven’t taken any yet. So picking with pick 3 in this situation I would take a defender (Michael Hibberd) with your fourth pick as you’re still likely to get the midfielder you want on the way back as the teams in positions 1 and 2 already have selected 2 midfielders in the first 3 rounds, making it more likely they won’t select another 1 with their picks.

After round 5

1 2 3 4 5
MID MID Pendlebury (MID) FWD DEF
FWD FWD Bartel (DEF) MID MID
MID MID Franklin (FWD) DEF FWD
DEF DEF Hibberd (DEF) MID MID
FWD DEF Sloane (MID) MID MID

 

Seeing the above table by using the simple trick of keeping track of the positions of teams those around you have taken you can gain a massive advantage, in this example you could have taken Sloane and someone like a Birchall but instead you have the more consistent and exciting defender in Michael Hibberd and you still get Rory Sloane.

Pick 4, 5, 6 and 7

Having a pick in the middle of the draft comes with its own advantages. For one you don’t have to think as far ahead as the players with picks at either end of each round. It also allows you the luxury of taking the best player available for a longer period of time. Because you don’t have to wait as long for each pick, you may have already taken 3 midfielders in the first 5 rounds of your draft, but it comes to the 6th round and Jackson Macrae has slipped down the draft board and is available to select, you can select him knowing that you don’t have to wait too long until your next pick where you can select another position and balance out your team later in the draft.

It is always favourable to take the best player available, having a draft position in the middle of the draft allows you to do so more than players at either end of the draft, for whom this isn’t always an option as because they have to wait so long for a pick.

Do you have any draft day strategies you use that gives you an advantage over your opponents? What position do you think is best for picking your team in 2015? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Mock hunter

    March 16, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Hey Matt,

    just wondering when those mock drafts might be appearing online.

    if you had a choice of Beams and Swan with your first round pick, who would you be going for?

    Cheers

  2. Clinton

    March 5, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Hey FP, looking forward to another big year of ultimate footy (cat. Style) and reading your great articles. What are your thoughts on taking the best of the defender and forward positions early, given the extra depth of the mids this year? I found this strategy worked well last year and also gave me great trade bait to upgrade my mids. Thanks

  3. Feaster

    February 10, 2015 at 1:17 am

    In my league we can ‘trade’ draft picks. Last year I had pick 10 & I was dissapointed as I like spread-out picks. a light bulb went off in my head & I did a deal with Pick 1 where we would swap half our picks so we would have a pick every 10, starting at Round 5 (we flipped it after Round 11)
    He’s happy because he has Pick 1 & a pick every 10 selections. I’m happy because I have 2 top 11 picks & a pick every 10 – nice and spread out.
    Thought I would share my strategy with others. We both made the Grand Final last season :) I lost the GF :(

    • Matthew James

      Matthew James

      February 10, 2015 at 10:18 am

      So what exactly did you end up with in terms of draft picks? 10, 11, …?

      • Feaster

        February 10, 2015 at 11:14 am

        I had picks: 10,11,30,31,41,51,61,71,81,100,110,120,130,140,150,160,170,180,190,200,210,211
        Other guy had picks:
        1,20,21,40,50,60,70,80,90,91,101,111,121,131,141,151,161,171,181,191,201,220
        So in rounds 5,7 & 9 we swapped our picks (so i upgraded 9 spots in each of those 3 rounds). And in rounds 10,12,14,16,18 & 20 we also swapped our picks (so i downgraded in each of those 6 rounds). As its better upgrading earlier i only got the advantage in 3 rounds, compared to the other guys 6 rounds.
        Thoughts? Do you think one of us got the better deal? Thanks, keep up the great work!

        • Matthew James

          Matthew James

          February 10, 2015 at 12:35 pm

          It’s probably fair. I’d rather your side, getting the upgrades in the earlier rounds, as you can make up more ground later on.

          • Feaster

            February 17, 2015 at 3:52 pm

            I thought so to. If i could ask you 1 question:
            I noticed Sam Docherty is high up on your Def rankings list. Is he expected midfield time or a creative role off half back? Just trying to convince myself to do the same thing..

  4. Justin

    February 3, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    who would you be taking with pick 1 this year matt?

    • Matthew James

      Matthew James

      February 3, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      Rockliff for me. It can’t be anyone else, and I’m a big fan of mids in the first round

  5. Hamish

    February 3, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    any chance of doing this or a mock draft for a 12 team league would be much appreciated seeing the slight changes.

  6. Henry

    February 3, 2015 at 7:36 am

    When you say “take the best player available” do you mean the one with the best average?

    • Matthew James

      Matthew James

      February 3, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      No, it still considers positional scarcity. What Alex is saying, is that if you’re in the 5th round and you have 3 gun mids and 2 forwards, you would still take Callan Ward over Jarrod Harbrow, even though you have no defenders and Harbrow is the best remaining def.

      • Henry

        February 4, 2015 at 7:43 am

        Thanks Matthew.

  7. Adam

    February 2, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Hey Guys,

    Will you be running more mock drafts leading up to the start of the season? Further to that, will you be perhaps running some with the readers to get an alternative opinion on where players are likely to go?

    • Matthew James

      Matthew James

      February 2, 2015 at 7:07 pm

      Definitely going to be running some mocks. There’s a chance we’ll open a few spots up for the readers, so stay tuned to our social media accounts – most likely to let people know there.

      • Adam

        February 3, 2015 at 10:03 am

        Regardless of whether i’m able to take part or not, would love it as well if you guys posted the results each time (even under rankings or a gdrive file perhaps).

        Love your work guys, keep it up.

  8. Macsac

    February 2, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Some really usefull information in this article, however it’s exactly the same one as last year. I can’t see what’s been updated?

    • Matthew James

      Matthew James

      February 2, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      It’s been tweaked for 2015 – similar principles as last year, plus not everyone would have seen it.

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