Draft Strategy- Value Based Drafting

In this draft strategy article, we are going to look at the new go-to drafting strategy- value based drafting.

It also has a lot of moving parts, meaning that I thought it best to give it the credit it deserves with its own section.

The system itself was originally muted in 1996 and has stuck around since for one reason: it works.

The principle of it is to help determine the value of how much he outscores his peers at his position, which makes sense. You aren’t looking to get the highest scoring players in your roster- you need to get the players that score the most while fulfilling positional requirements.

Value Based Drafting- Quick Example

A quick example to illustrate; imagine you have a team of four (1 x QB, 1 x RB, 1 x WR & 1 x TE) and matchup against one other team with the same requirement. The players score points as follows:

Player 1 would win based on the above. Now if the owners were to redraft their teams KNOWING the scoring, then who would be selected first? It would be the receiver from Player 1’s team, as he gives a huge advantage for the owner- +15 against the opposition. Even though he scored the third most points.

That is the over-arching principle of VBD- getting the players that give you the biggest advantage over your opposition, rather than the highest scorer.

The system can be broken down into the following parts:

  • Projecting Stats
  • Project Fantasy Points
  • Determine your baseline
  • Sort your list overall and by position
  • Determine the ADP of each player
  • Introducing Need Factor
  • Know when to deviate

Value Based Drafting- Projecting Stats

This is the bit that takes the longest amount of time, you need to try and make a (reasonable) projection for each player that you think is going to be drafted by a team. Fortunately, you can use the projections tool that you get as part of the draft kit. It takes a lot of the hard work out of the process for you- it is in fact pre-populated with information already!

Projecting Fantasy Points

This step is relatively easy once you have your stats- you just apply your individual scoring method to the stats that you have projected (again, this is covered in the projections workbook)

Determine Your Baseline

The next step is determining the baseline that you need to compare your projections to a baseline player. It can be any player that you want, but the most popular options are either;

  • The Average Starter
  • The Worst Starter

Then the baseline player at each position is given a VBD score of zero. Then you compare the projected points of any player to that baseline. An example (based on last season’s stats and a 12-team league) for QB is used below:

Using Average Starter Method (Average Starter is taken as the QB7)

Tom Brady was the QB7 with 331.92 points and gets a VBD score of zero.

Deshaun Watson was the QB5 with 357.32 points, so gets a VBD score of 25 (rounded result of 357.32-319.92)

Using Worst Starter Method (Worst Start is taken as the QB12)

Matt Ryan was the QB12 with 278.44 points, and gets a VBD score of zero.

Justin Herbert was the QB10 with 314.84 points, so gets a VBD score of 36 (rounded result of 314.84-278.44)

Sorting Your List

Up to this point, everything that we have done is on one position- but unless your league drafts very strangely, that isn’t realistic. So, you need to take all of the VBD scores that you have and then list them all by their score. That should then give you how you value each player over one another.

Determine the Average Draft Position (ADP)

So, you know the value of each player (as you would assign it)- which is great because you want to draft a team that you think will perform. But you want to try and grab as many of those players as possible and avoid ‘over-paying’ meaning you need to consider where players are being selected.

If you have a player with a VBD score of 40 but he is being taken a round before one with 30, then wait for the latter player to be selected before you grab the player you rank higher.

A key point here is : The VBD score is how the player is valued by you

Introducing Need Factor

When you start your draft your relative and absolute need are exactly the same- in that you need to select players from each position. However, as soon as you make your first pick that isn’t the case. Therefore, you can apply a ‘need factor’ to your VBD score for each player. That can be summarized in a table;

An example would be in a league where you only need to start one QB, until you select one there is no change to your VBD score. As soon as you selected one, all QB VBD scores are multiplied by 0.8, then 0.6 and so on. This therefore starts to give you an idea of the value of the individual players to your fantasy team.

Deviating from your VBD Score

VBD is a great way of completing your draft. But there comes a point at which you should expand your selection and look at other players. Once you are around halfway through your draft (which you should be crushing) there are other things you might consider, like;

  • Covering bye weeks
  • Selecting backups for starting positions (RBs for example_
  • Looking at favourable matchups

VBD- Summarized

So that’s it- how to work out VBD scores and apply that to your draft. The key things to remember are:

  • To win your league, you just need to outscore your matchup each and every week. You have to build a team that fulfil the requirements of your league’s rules, and that outscores your opponent. So, the players that score the highest relative totals are the ones you need to target (they might not be the highest scorer).
  • Each league has different scoring for players, as it depends on the league that you are in (scoring settings, roster requirements etc)
  • As mentioned above we have tools that do all of this for you- so you can rely on us to do the heavy lifting for you. Meaning you only have to lift the trophy!

Does that make sense? If it doesn’t or you want a little bit more explanation, let us know on social and we can help! You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to check out our other content in our draft kit!

Image Credit: Jim Brown – USA TODAY Sports