Blog Post

The Best Draft Strategy for Fantasy Football: Answering Your Questions

Published BY
Sentitrac Team
December 28, 2023

There’s nothing like the excitement of a fantasy football player sitting down for their first draft. The anticipation of a new season fills the mind with the dream of holding the trophy at the end. But before you get to those dreams of fantasy football glory,  there’s another equally huge task at hand: drafting the team that will get you there. 

Draft strategy in fantasy football is imperative to season-long success — a lot will happen that’s out of your control throughout the season, but championship seasons can be won and lost on draft day. 

For those looking to brush up on their draft strategy in season-long fantasy football, we’ve assembled a baker’s dozen for you: 13 questions commonly asked about fantasy football draft strategy. 

Q: How Long Does a Fantasy Football Draft Take?

A: A typical fantasy football draft can vary in duration but often lasts 1 to 2 hours for a standard 12-team league. 

However, the time can fluctuate depending on factors like the number of teams, the length of time allowed for each pick, and the level of discussion and deliberation among participants. Plus, time fluctuates based on the number of players. Some leagues have more bench spots than others. For example, in a league with 12 roster spots the draft is 12 rounds, while another league has 18 roster spots, which is 50 percent longer.

Some drafts may finish more quickly, while others might take longer, especially if they involve deeper player pools or more extensive research.

Q: How Many Rounds Are in a Fantasy Football Draft?

A; In a standard fantasy football draft, there are typically 15 rounds but leagues vary from 10 to up to 20 rounds. Each round allows teams to select one player until their roster is filled with the required positions, such as quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, and defense/special teams. 

The most traditional form of fantasy football draft is the snake draft, where the order in which teams pick is reversed round by round. 

Leagues vary, typically anywhere from 10 to 20 rounds. Plan your draft strategy accordingly.

Q: Is it Better to Target Players in Fantasy Football on Winning Teams or Losing Teams? 

A: When targeting players in fantasy football, it's generally better to focus on those from winning teams. Players on winning teams often have more scoring opportunities, as their teams are likely to be in favorable game situations, leading to more passes, rushing attempts, and scoring chances. 

Q: What Positions Score the Most Points in Fantasy Football? 

A: In fantasy football, the positions that typically score the most points are quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers. 

These positions are heavily involved in the game's offensive production, leading to more opportunities for touchdowns and yardage, which translates to higher fantasy point totals.

Q: Which Positions Should I Target First in a Fantasy Football Draft?

A: Early targeting of running backs and wide receivers is often advisable in a fantasy football draft. These positions tend to have high fantasy point potential, so securing top-tier players in these roles can set a strong foundation for your team.

Obviously quarterbacks make alluring first picks because they typically score a lot of points, but there is a smaller range for quarterbacks so having strong  running backs and wide receivers is more important.

Ultimately though, who you target will depend on your league rules. In a PPR league, the wide receivers are probably a top choice, while in a non-PPR league you’ll want to target running backs. 

Q: How Many Running Backs Should I Carry on a Roster in Fantasy Football?

A: In fantasy football, carrying around three to four running backs on your roster is common. Having multiple running backs provides depth and flexibility, especially considering injuries and bye weeks during the season.

Q: What Position Should I Pick First in a Fantasy Football Draft?

A: Your first pick in a fantasy football draft should typically be a running back or a top-tier wide receiver. These positions tend to have the highest fantasy point potential and are crucial for building a solid foundation for your team. The choice between them often depends on your draft position and strategy.

Circling back to a point made earlier, in a PPR league, a pass catching running back can be extremely valuable. Just think about Austin Ekeler over the past couple years.

Q: What Is the “Zero Running Backs” Strategy of Drafting in Fantasy Football? 

A: The Zero RB strategy in fantasy football involves waiting to draft running backs until later rounds and instead prioritizing wide receivers and other positions in the early rounds. 

This strategy assumes the running back position is more volatile due to injuries and performance fluctuations, so it aims to secure elite wide receivers and then find value at running back later in the draft or on the waiver wire. It's a strategy that relies on the depth of the wide receiver position and the unpredictability of the running back position.

Q: What Round Should You Draft a Quarterback?

A: In fantasy football, it's generally advisable to wait until the middle to late rounds to draft a quarterback. Quarterbacks tend to be deep in talent, and you can often find value in later rounds while focusing on more critical positions early in the draft. The specific round can vary depending on your league's scoring rules and the availability of top-tier quarterbacks.

Q: How Should Fantasy Football Draft Order be Determined? 

A: The fantasy football draft order is commonly determined through a randomized method, such as a draft lottery or a computer-generated random order. It may also be determined from the previous season, where the winner gets the last pick. This ensures fairness and equal opportunity for all participants to select their preferred draft positions.

Q: What Positions Are Not Worth Drafting on Draft Day in Fantasy Football? 

A; In fantasy football, positions like kickers, tight ends (in deeper leagues), and individual defensive players (IDPs) are generally less valuable on draft day due to lower point-scoring potential or unpredictability. Consider them later in the draft based on your league's specific rules.

Q: How Do You Know if You've Had a Good Fantasy Football Draft Result? 

A: A successful fantasy football draft is characterized by having a balanced team, quality depth, strong starters in key positions, value picks, awareness of your league's scoring system, and flexibility for in-season adjustments based on player performance and injuries. 

But, ultimately, a successful draft is measured by your team's success during the season.

Q: What is the Best Way to Prepare for a Fantasy Football Draft? 

A: To prepare for a fantasy football draft, study player rankings, understand your league's rules, develop a draft strategy, stay informed on player news, and be flexible during the draft. Using tools like Sentitrac that utilize wisdom-of-the-crowd thinking can add another dimension to traditional research strategies.  Stay active throughout the season to manage your team effectively.

The Best Draft Strategy For Fantasy Football: Practice

It all sounds so simple at first: Build a fantasy football team that will put up points every week. That’s what so compelling about fantasy football is that it starts with such a simple premise. In reality, the game is much more complicated than that, and its what keeps you coming back time and time again.

If you want to improve your draft strategy for fantasy football, take advantage of all the fantasy sites that allow you to practice mock drafting. That way, when draft time comes along, you’ll be prepared to handle scenarios when they come up. 

Tips and Tricks