This evening my fantasy football league here in New Hampshire held its annual draft. I spent the last few weeks analyzing stats, scouring the news services and participating in mock drafts...and, as you might imagine, the draft went nothing like what I had expected.
Well, it did to a minimal extent—Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice was there for me when I selected third (of the 14 teams in my league). After that, my draft diverted from the expected course and, as a result, my team looks nothing like what I expected.
Not that that is a bad thing—as I am quite satisfied with the result.
I am a devotee of Value Based Drafting (VBD), the statistical mechanism by which you measure each player against a base line. It is not based on how many points a particular player will score during the season, rather how he performs against his peers at his position.
While I will not make selections based solely on these projections and analysis, I use VBD as a guide to help me make tougher decisions (more on that later).
As I said earlier, the draft went nothing like what I had expected. Things move more slowly in a 14-team league. Our rosters are not as star-laden as most leagues (as opposed to a 10-team league where only 150 players are selected in 10 rounds, in our league we dig deeper into NFL rosters, selecting 210 players).
Additionally, if you pick early or late in a round in a 14-team league, the character of the draft can swing wildly between picks, and the composition of your team can be greatly affected by those swings.
You will need to be flexible and make several adjustments on the fly, as I had to do tonight.