There’s no wrong way to enjoy fantasy football. Play in major leagues, minor leagues, old leagues with friends, matches against strangers. However you choose to engage, I salute you.
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Today’s assignment was to discuss some of the pros and cons of early draft versus late draft. I’ve decided to expand on that theme and show both sides of some of the common design and setup decisions you might face.
Again, there are no wrong answers here. However you like your sandwich, go with it.
Debate 1: early drafting vs. let draft
The reason for drafting early
• Designing is fun, so why wait?
• If you can connect dots better than others – and sort through fuzzy depth maps and situations – you can be richly rewarded.
• Early draft sessions help learn the player pool, which can be beneficial for the second half of your draft season.
• Planning a league before the draft season really gets underway may be easier. My draft calendar tends to get thickly arranged in the last few weeks before the season.
Prepare the case for too late
• ADPs are more crystallized and position fights are mostly resolved. This may be a bug for some; for others, this is a function.
•Legacy value — many leagues have a set date right before the season and are happy to stick to it. One of my leagues always drafts the night of Labor Day, so our managers remember to clear the timeslot.
• By drafting close to the season, you are less likely to be bitten by summer injuries.
• Some high profile competitions are only available closer to the start of the season.
Debate 2: Snake Drafts vs. Salary Cap Drafts
The case for Snake Drafts
• They are less intimidating for novice or new players, and they are familiar territory for most experienced players.
• They are faster than salary caps.
• You can still draft well if you are forced to multitask during a snake draft; it’s not that stressful.
The case for salary caps
• The entire player pool is available to you. You will not be left out for any player.
• You may consider more deviant strategies and roster structure.
• More nuance and skill is required when sketching; if a snake draft is limit poker, a salary limit draft is high limit poker.
Debate 3: Live Drafts vs. slow drafts
The case for live concepts
• Everything is ready in a moment, managers work with the same information. (Compare this with slow drafts, where some managers “crouch” on their choices and set the clock to zero on each choice; there is optimization at play, but if every manager does this, it can taint the experience.)
• The running clock for each choice provides a cool sense of immediacy and pressure. It will get your juices flowing.
• The shared experience offers social value.
The case for slow drafts
• There is something new to look forward to every day.
• You can research unhurriedly for each choice.
• It is possible to navigate several slow trips at the same time without being hindered.
Debate 4: Competitions with a small selection versus competitions with a large selection
The Case for Small roster leagues
• Less intimidating for casual players.
• Many, perhaps most, managers will already be familiar with the effective player pool.
• Higher replacement value on the release cable in case of injury.
• Less activity on game day (a feature for some, I suppose).
The Case for Large roster leagues
• More challenging for veteran players, who often pride themselves on their in-depth knowledge of the NFL player pool.
• Injuries and outliers are less likely to change results; more data points per week and season will theoretically lead to more skill-based results.
• More activity follows on game day.