Why Drafting Near the End of a Round is Valuable
Drafting near the end of rounds (but not as the last pick in a round) can allow for a few advantages. If you are in a 12-team league and you are allowed to pick your own draft spot, consider that spots 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, and 11 might have more intrinsic value than 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 12.
In snake drafts that use a reverse draft order for subsequent rounds, drafting near the end of a round allows you to accurately predict which players might get selected between your own picks. If you hold the 11th and 14th overall picks in a 12-team league, for example, you could easily bypass specific players in favor of others if you know the sole owner drafting between you doesn’t need or want the player you intend to draft in the later round.
For instance, assume your pick is approaching in the fifth round and you are considering a running back and a quarterback. Only one person picks behind you before the round is over, and he already has two running backs, but no quarterback. In such a situation, it is easy to see why you should select the signal- caller, even if the running back is higher on your board.
Drafting in the middle of rounds doesn’t afford you this advantage. Yes, you don’t need to wait nearly two full rounds to make selections as is the case when drafting at the edge of rounds, but it isn’t possible to predict the players to be selected between any of your picks anyway.
Regardless, it is obvious the first and last spots in any draft are inherently less valuable, all things being equal, than other slots. You have to wait extended periods of time between picks, yet you cannot benefit from game theory in regards to your draft spot.