6 Steps To Being An FPL Draft Strategy Boss
Draft fantasy football takes a while to get used to, especially if you’ve been used to playing the standard FPL game for years. What, there’s no budget? We can’t all have the same players?
The great thing is that tactically it runs rings around the standard format, where after a few weeks everyone has similar teams and it mainly falls down to luck and captaincy picks.
You also become far more invested in your players because you personally drafted them for the long run and you can’t just dump them for the newest fad striker who’s scored in two straight games, as someone else already owns them.
Be warned though, drafts move fast so if you can do a ‘mock’ or practice before the real thing. That minute goes very fast when you’re trying to decide between five different midfielders or taking a top defender in round four.
Here are 6 steps to bossing your draft:
1. GO IN WITH A STRATEGY
Even if you just scribble a few of your top targets down on a bit of paper 15 minutes before the draft, when the dust settles you can always tell who went into it with a plan in their head and who winged it or just chose the ‘top ranked’ player every pick.
They’re the ones scrambling late on to Google which defenders start for Huddersfield having filled their team with strikers and midfielders, or picked Tim Krul thinking he was Rafa’s number one keeper for Newcastle.
Don’t just write a list of players though – plan out which positions you will target in each round. This avoids you getting stuck late on with no defenders or third striker because you got caught up with your midfield.
Do yourself a favour though and don’t fall in love with certain players before the draft – it never ends well. You might desperately want Harry Kane in R1 but so does everyone else, so always have a good Plan B. And C. And if you are picking late on be ready for two quick picks if you are in a ‘snake’ draft.
2. DO NOT DRAFT KEEPERS EARLY
It’s a total waste of a pick early on, when you can be taking impact players instead or making sure your squad has depth for the inevitable injuries when they come.
The likes of Ben Foster, Fraser Forster, Lukas Fabianski all scored around 115 points last season which is perfectly acceptable when it results in you having a stronger defence/midfield.
Even taking ‘sure things’ like De Gea or Courtois isn’t always worth it – which Tom Heaton showed last season as he outscored both. Later on I’ll give you an example of how waiting for your keepers can pay off…
3. NEVER DRAFT BASED ON TEAMS YOU SUPPORT OR PLAYERS YOU LOVE/HATE
I am a die-hard Liverpool fan and in one draft I took Lukaku first, Pogba 2nd and Rooney in the 4th. ‘Nuff said. FPL draft winners don’t bear grudges or let team allegiances get in the way of victory.
By all means, ‘reach’ for your favourite player but the smarter managers in your draft will make you pay as they get better value in every round and end up with superior squads.
4. PLAY THE NUMBERS
Now, I won’t hate on you for taking a star midfielder like Sadio Mane, Delle Alli or Eden Hazard in the first round. HOWEVER, think about it.
Your squad needs 5 midfielders, but only 3 strikers. That means the top strikers are at a premium in terms of value – so don’t make the mistake of thinking the big points scorers were all created equal.
Choosing KDB over Lukaku means you having to settle for a second-tier striker when you could most likely have taken Lukaku AND got one of Liverpool’s star midfielders or a Chelsea/City attacker…
5. DON’T PANIC OR GET SIDETRACKED BY OTHERS
In one of my drafts this season, someone chose De Gea somewhere really stupid, like the 3rd round.
Then, when others saw him go, someone had a brain wave and picked Lloris and there was a ‘run’ on keepers while I sat there and collected the likes of Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas and Kieran Trippier to round out my starting XI, and despite not picking a keeper til the later rounds ended up with the excellent duo of Fraser Forster and Jack Butland.
The guy who ‘reached’ for De Gea? His third striker is serial under-performer and DGW killer Manolo Gabbiadini; he’s starting Xherdan Shaqiri, squaddie Oxlade-Chamberlain and Tom Ince every week in midfield and is already 23 points off the pace.
Pick a strategy and don’t be afraid to stick to it – you need to have some flexibility but if you see a ‘run’ like above – remember, that means good players at other positions are being overlooked.
6. CHECK THE WAIVER LIST STRAIGHT AFTER YOUR DRAFT
Unfortunately, if you are stuck playing the frankly pathetic official FPL Draft game, this isn’t easy (assuming your league hasn’t crashed numerous times during the draft and then for 24 hours afterwards like one of mine did).
For some unknown reason FPL leave every single player on the list and there is no option to search for available players only (at this time), meaning you have to trawl through every name to see who you could potentially pick up.
Pretty frustrating when it should be obvious being able to filter undrafted players only, but then they did also inexplicably take away half the fun of draft leagues by not giving you the ability to trade players.
Anyway, especially if you are in a smaller league, I can almost guarantee you’ll find someone who everyone forgot about that you can jump on if you’re fast enough. Or someone like Lossl who could be this year’s Heaton.
So go and check it now!
There you have it, 6 tips for winning your draft. Give them a go and let me know how you got on in the comments!