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You Are Preparing for Three (re)Drafts, Not Just One…

August 13, 2022 8:52 AM
August 13, 2022 8:41 AM


You Are Preparing for Three (re)Drafts, Not Just One…


*This report is written assuming a 12-team redraft, which is the most likely draft scenario the audience plays in by a wide margin. Adjust accordingly for 10 or 14 team leagues. Bigger leagues than that…you’re in a different game plan/universe.


It’s that time of the year.

The time where I get bombarded with ‘who should I draft with my first pick?’ inquiries. It’s the first question about a redraft plan, and the one labored over the most. In reality, the 1st-round of the 2022 redraft, no matter where you are picking, is the easiest round/pick you will make.

After studying and mocking all summer, I believe there are actually three redrafts within your redraft that you have to plan for -- and that big important question is not ‘who should I draft with my first pick?’, but ‘who are you going to get/target in the 3rd-round?’ The 3rd-round, above all rounds is going to dictate a lot of the direction of your entire redraft -- your 3rd-round plan should be the primary influence of your 1st and 2nd-round plan…which gets complicated because -- you don’t 100% know if your 3rd-round target is going to be there or not, and the whole pre-plan could crumble/need improvising on the fly.

I want to discuss, in a high-level overview, what I think the three drafts (or phases) within the redraft are…to help you with your planning. And that’s just what we’ll do here.

Before we enter the three-phase overview, I want to make a speech that I hope will resonate with you for your planning…

You are not going to win your league with your redraft outcome.

There is no silver bullet path where you draft it and forget it and set perfect lineups with your never-hurt players every week as you go undefeated. If you go undefeated in your Fantasy league, you’re probably playing in a silly league -- but somehow that doesn’t stop all of us from thinking we should be perfect and end up holding you and me and any news/input source accountable for these ‘losses’. Get off to a slow (1-2) start or even just (0-1) and then we tend to get desperate, panicky and abandon plans and chase butterflies and the season gets away.

If our seasons crumbled early, then we tend to look back and blame our draft results, as you somehow can’t remember you spouse’s/child’s/partner’s birthdate -- but can remember every player (who is succeeding in-season) that you were gonna take but you took ___ loser player instead, and you start proclaiming ahead about plans on how you’re never gonna draft a Detroit Lion again…or your never going to draft a running back first again…or your definitely going to take a top WR right away, yada, yada.

There is no perfect redraft plan I can give to you. If there was, I likely would keep it to myself…or charge a lot more for it. Any redraft is a fluid situation with a million variables sometimes playing out 30-60 seconds at a time.

The redraft unfolds in various ways and the best laid plans can get ruined. You might love your mid-August drafted team and then your 2nd-round pick RB that you ‘stole’/fell to you unexpectedly tears his ACL in the last preseason game or at the Week 1 walkthrough…and you’re already scrambling before the season begins. 

Fantasy Football (redraft) seasons are 16-17-18-round boxing matches or chess games with a minimum of a month of training ahead of the event. You’re not going to not-train, then show up to fight a worthy opponent given a quick cheat sheet on your opponent’s weaknesses, and then expect you’re going to go out and beat them to a pulp. You’re not going to do little-to-no work then take my (or anyone else’s) draft guide and somehow pick a perfect team and race all the way to the title clean. I’ll do all that I can, but Fantasy redraft events…Fantasy seasons…they are games within a game -- the best prepared, the best informed, the least panicked, the least emotional have the best chance to survive the gauntlet in the end…no matter how lucky or unlucky it started.

The fun, and the madness, of this game we play -- the enjoyment is in the planning, theorizing, tinkering, deciding, maneuvering…week in, and week out until the FF playoffs/season end. The redraft is just the first event, a big event, that starts our journey…but the journey really begins with all the prep/training you to develop a primary plan, but to also be so informed/studied that you can improvise smoothly if/when the unexpected twists and turns come in-draft.

There is no perfect draft…but we’re gonna try and have the best plan going in. We’re going to try and avoid all the traps and take advantage of the perceived player and positional values. Once we get our initial crew, then the 16-17-18-round/weekly fight begins -- and 25-33%+ of the guys you labored over, planned for to draft…they won’t even be on your team by Week 4-5-6.

Enjoy this preseason planning period…it’s probably the most fun part of the Fantasy season. But it’s just the beginning of the story, the beginning training for the fight. You wanna ‘win’ your draft -- be the most prepared…the most planned. And that might be easier than you think in 2022 -- because I propose most of the planning, the hardest part to navigate through this year’s redraft is the first four rounds. After Round-4, it’s going to get easier and easier.

Let’s talk about the redraft-three-drafts-within-one, the three phases…


Phase I (Rounds 1-2)

I previously mentioned that the 1st-round pick is the easiest. Why?

I mean, look at the top 12-15-20 ADP options…they’re all good/great players. Some we deem better than others for various reasons, but we could be ‘right’ about one of them to start -- and then that player breaks a wrist Week 3 or 9…and then it’s not about scouting or strength of schedule or great touch count projections. There is no obvious/perfect 1st-round player to pick -- they’re all good-great and have a case for why they are there -- and by season’s end only half of them will perform as top 12-15-20 guys, but not because ‘they suck’…it will be some other variable (injury, their QB injured, etc., their O-Line destroyed).

Every top 10-15-100-200 player has a ‘if he could just’ (positive) or ‘but what about’ (negative). So, you could go round and round about ordering/ranking the top 10-15 players -- but they’re all viable.

Keeping it simple -- you can hardly go wrong with most/all the top 12-15. Why do you believe there is some mystical/holy pick among them? Take Christian McCaffrey…is he going to get hurt again, or is he going to stay healthy and blow away the RB field in PPR? Do you think I know the true answer to that? Your theory is as good as mine.

Should you go RB-RB rounds #1-2…or go WR-WR…or go RB-WR or WR-RB? Those are deep questions, but it’s not (to me) a question of positional strategy. It’s a question of player specifics. The entire draft is player specific…and round/value specific. Zero RB…heavy RB…all the different redraft theories -- I don’t really pay attention to any of them. Every new redraft year is a snowflake. I always build my draft plan by identifying players who I think bring the best value throughout the draft…players (with an S) and build around the most amazing value players on my board -- and they are almost always 2nd-5th-round players that I’m setting as a foundation/building my plan around.

I think, in 2022, my 3rd-round plan/player has more effect on what I plan to do 1st-2nd-round then just incessantly debating ‘should I go RB-RB off the bat or not’? And then what I plan for the 4th-round on top of the 3rd-round goes with it…the 3rd-4th combo has a great effect on the 1st-2nd-round, because of the lack of value options in the 3rd/4th this season.

I think you can only really settle on a 1st-2nd-round plan after you identify the likeliest plan for the 3rd-4th-round.



Phase II (Rounds 3-4)

I know what you’ve been thinking for 5-10+ minutes now… If our 1st-2nd-round picks depends so much on the 3rd-round, then how can we make a real plan since we’re not gonna really know who we’ll get in the 3rd-round until we get there.

Ahhh…that’s the whole puzzle for you/me to figure out. I didn’t say it would be easy.

The 3rd-round is so key for a couple of reasons…

1) I see only two players (today) that I really want, that I see great value in, who are tracking as likely there in the 3rd-round. *Who these two players are…you should know from all my various mocks and reports on FFM the past month+.

2) Those two players are likely not going to be there/will be taken ahead of us, depending on how late your 3rd-round pick is. And if those two are gone…there’s a deep void of a bunch of players I like the 5th-7th-round ADP options just as well/better, especially at RB and WR. 

If those two player options are likely to be gone round 3…then we gotta find/settle on a plan – it may be reaching for a player, which isn't a bad thing…then ‘ditto’ the 4th-round.

We gotta have ‘a plan’ (or plans) for the 3rd-round…then the 4th-round. We can’t just love our first two picks, and everyone will because they are all good players then wait and see what’s there in the 3rd. You gotta have an assassin’s plan/s for the 3rd…then 4th. 

3) A wild card could hit the 3rd-round as a top 2nd-round option falls all the way to an early 3rd-round option and now you’re confronted with taking the falling gem…or sticking with the pre-plan…and if your 1st-2nd-round picks were based on the 3rd-round plan, then this wild card value falling into your lap may not be at the right position you wanted/needed/planned for…but it may not matter, you’ll take the raging value talent that shockingly fell, if it exists…and then you improvise from there.

4) The 4th-round is even worse with players I am not wild about where there are similar/better options coming in rounds 5-8. So…what are you gonna do about the 4th-round…which will somewhat be based on what just happened in the 3rd-round, which was a plan that set up your 1st-2nd-round plan?

*My next mock/s redraft will start with a discussion of my 3rd/4th-round plan ahead, depending upon my draft slot, etc. I will lay the 3rd/4th plan out before I start, then we’ll see how it plays out. 

The first 3 rounds of players, by ADP, today, are probably not going to change too radically. They may shift around a little, but the top names will be the top names. With (if) weeks to go until your actual redraft, with all these preseason games/clues about to be revealed -- all you can really focus on (the most) right now is doing 3-4 round mocks to see how the different combinations are coming out, find what you like, what’s achievable…and what is the best ‘what if ____ falls to me’ plan B path.

What players do I think make the most sense in rounds 1-4? Depends on your draft slot. Depends on your scoring system. Depends on your league’s incessant thirst for any living, breathing RB. We’ll continue to discuss details/specific player or player’s names to consider all week for the next few weeks of the redraft season -- and as the preseason game outcomes/injuries can and will affect plans.


Phase III (Rounds 5+)

What we do from here (5th-round) starts to get easier, in a sense…on three-fronts…

1) This is where we are always a step ahead…when we get past the obvious 50 players everyone is targeting. If you’ve been with FFM for a little or long while, you know this is where the money is made. If you’re keeping up with all the football news and theories -- the names to come, as we go make way more sense to you than they will most/all your competition. Instead of fighting over the same stuff, now we’re being more creative and taking players ahead of natural ADPs, as league mates are laughing at your radical moves…or scared of what you know (if you’ve been working personnel miracles for a while in front of their faces) that they didn’t…but now, it’s too late for them.

All the scouting work that I do is on display to shine for the next 10-25+ rounds. All the scouting work, consideration of my scouting, and total preparation work you do makes the remaining draft feel like a breeze…where it gets to be more of a ‘blur’ and ‘autodraft’ mode for most others.

The names/players don’t mean as much to the mainstream followers here…they’re starting to draft a bit blind, blurry, straight from a draft guide or draft platform’s ranking -- while you’re planned out and have conviction on many players to go. This is where we win the draft, typically.

We’re at the stage where you’re mostly left drafting as you versus the draft platform’s rankings putting 10+ recommended (next highest ranked) players in front of people’s faces on the screen to bait/lead them, as well as you versus them drafting players with a higher NFL Draft profile in the recent 1-2 drafts.

You make your list of players to target…double-triple-quadruple the amount of names than you can actually draft…and you just go shopping. We’ll have those names/targets discussed all August.

2) Based on your round’s 1-4 plan execution, you know what to prioritize next among a lot of names you’d love to have. You can’t have them all…but if your 1-4 plan is fairly flawless/want according to plan, then your plan for the next 4 rounds is able to be planned around the first 4…and then it’s definitely off-to-the-races after round 8.

The deeper the draft goes, the more advantage you and me are at.

3) This redraft is loaded with undervalued assets rounds 5-8. Just when the redraft starts moving away from the obvious players into the planned/studied, a very nice number of players are there for the taking -- and we’ll likely take them a round ahead of their ADPs to execute the plan.

The biggest problem to face is how to shove 10 pounds of gold in a 5-pound gold-holding bag. There are so many middle round gems you’ll have identified from round’s 5-6-7-8+ that your biggest problem is trying to pick which ones to take, knowing you’ll be sad when some of your desires are taken by another. If you have 10 desires and for rounds 5-10…you literally cannot take them all. It’s a blessing we often see as a curse…cursing ‘our guy’ was taken. It’s a good problem to have…too many players/options identified.


Side Note: Rounds 5-10 are hard to plan for 2-3-4 weeks ahead of your draft…because ‘magically’ many of the gems we’ve been discussing the past six months are moving up the draft boards when reality strikes. It’s part of ‘the game’. When you’ve scouted well/stayed informed well and all these player’s valuations are really understood, then all of them ‘mean’ something to you -- it’s a good thing. It’s a bad thing when those hidden gem players start being discovered by others, and they move up on the platform’s draft rankings and someone takes them as a dart throw and doesn’t have any real attachment/valuation/knowledge of the player -- it’s like they don’t deserve it…our sensibilities are offended.

Hey, you can’t have them all.

Get to trading for them after the draft…or chase them in-season. But know that a week into the season, you’ll fall in and out of love with 10-20 different players a week based on one game. You won’t miss those lost redraft guys for long…and you’ll fall in love again…and again…and again with others.



The Wrap-up…

Your plan for rounds 1-4…getting comfortable with a plan (and plan B) is a priority weeks ahead of your redraft (or Best Ball).

Specifically, what you’re gonna do/what you lock into as a plan for round 3…sets the tone for what you would like to plan to do rounds 1-2…which then all helps figure out round 4. Feel good about round 3-4, and the rest starts to fall in place.

If you play in a league where you don’t know your draft slot ahead of time (like you draw out of a hat right before the draft starts), so you really can’t prepare -- then you’re not in a serious league, and thus if you generally practice mocks from various spots and keep up with the player valuations in August, you’ll draft on the fly better than the unprepared competition.

Your study, your planning, your prep, your conditioning…your love for the game (Fantasy) a la Tom Brady…your obsession is an advantage. You might have a Fantasy prep obsession/problem that your spouse is concerned about -- but it’s gonna help you ‘win’ the draft. ‘Winning the draft’ is feeling like you controlled the draft, it didn’t control you.

And then when it is all over, no matter how perfectly or not the redraft worked out -- we’re very likely gonna lead the league in transactions week-to-week and lead the league in rejected (by others) trade proposals. We can fix anything broken.

Injuries are coming…Monkeypox is coming…adjustments will be needed, as always -- stay patient and understand your player valuations. This is a very long game of Fantasy, a 5+ month Monopoly game or poker tournament. Be prepared and patient. We’re playing the long game here. It starts with the redraft.

Enjoy the prep for all it’s worth! https://youtu.be/ZF4d17PUb3M




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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>