An Expert's Cheat Sheet for Dominating Yahoo! Fantasy Drafts
There is no singular perfect draft strategy for fantasy football. Drafts evolve as they progress, and rigid adherence to a predetermined strategy can be catastrophic to your team’s long-term potential. So no, this article isn’t the perfect draft strategy for those drafting on Yahoo! this summer. It will, however, serve as a handy guide with some tips, tricks and values to potentially exploit come draft day.
Before I get into all of that though, I have two general strategy reminders:
- Know your league
- Know your scoring system
I remind people every summer of the importance of knowing their league. Rankings, analytics, and strategy are all well and good, but if you have a die-hard Falcons fan in your league who is going to take Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, and Matt Ryan with his first three picks, that’s going to change the flow of the draft. My League of Record (i.e. most important league, h/t Adam Rank for coining the term) is a quarterback heavy league. In years past I could count on an early run on elite passers once the first one came off the board, so I’d build my strategy and approach around that nugget. Likewise, if your favorite analyst has a strategy article for a 12-team PPR league and you play in a 10-team standard superflex format, then the advice isn’t going to be as useful.
Before we start, it's worth discussing Yahoo's standard format. Much like ESPN and NFL.com, Yahoo! asks you to start one QB, two RBs, two WRs, one TW, one FLEX, one K, and one D/ST. However, there's one slight wrinkle: Yahoo uses .5 PPR instead of a full point PPR. You might be asking how this impacts your draft, and the answer is ... it doesn't. Not drastically, at least. The thing to remember with point shifts like this is that they affect ALL positions equally. So there's really no difference between .5 PPR and full-PPR for most players. It's the equivalent of drinking a half water, half coffee instead of a full coffee. You're going to get your caffeine, just one way takes longer. These suggestions are based on this type of format, so remember to adjust your approach if your league format differs from this standard set up.
PRINT: Jump to 16-Round Cheat Sheet
With that out of the way, it’s time to dive into how you can dominate your upcoming Yahoo! draft. Using the weapons in our 4for4 tool chest, such as the ADP Bargains tool and our stellar rankings page, as well as doing some mocks on Yahoo!, I’ve compiled a handful of tips and ideas to keep in mind as you enter your draft. Remember: these are not ironclad. But if you look out for these players, trends, and opportunities, I’m confident you can walk away feeling confident about your 2019 squad.
Wait on a Quarterback
By now, hopefully, this draft strategy tip feels as old as time. The kind of pearl of wisdom your grandfather would tell you every time you saw him (and sometimes multiple times in the same visit). On Yahoo!, quarterbacks are going in what we could describe as two waves. The top tier plus Kyler Murray are flying off the board before the end of Round 7, while the later-round sleepers are hanging around until the double digits. If the game flow and your team construction allow for it, grabbing one of those passers at the back end of wave one is fine. I’d still prefer to wait and scoop up Dak Prescott, Philip Rivers, Jameis Winston, or Lamar Jackson later.
Wait on a Tight End … Unless Travis Kelce Falls to You in Round 2
Kelce is the league’s clear-cut No. 1 tight end with Rob Gronkowski retired. Zach Ertz and George Kittle are next in the fantasy pecking order, and both could be third-round picks, but to me, there’s better value to be mined later in the draft if you let the non-Kelce options go. Vance McDonald is a nice middle-round option, while Jordan Reed, Delanie Walker, and Trey Burton all have top-10 upside and can be had around the deep double-digit rounds.
Running Backs: Mine for ADP Values
The elite tier of running backs in 2019 is magnificent. But once you get past the top five to six backs, the picture begins to get murky. However, the early to middle rounds feature some sneaky values that you can find via the ADP Bargains tool. Currently, James White, Austin Ekeler and Miles Sanders are going over 50 spots lower than their corresponding 4for4 rank, while Chris Carson is going nearly 40 spots lower. If you start your draft wide receiver or tight end heavy, these are names to circle who can give you RB1 upside at half the draft price.
Whether you land one of the top running backs early or not, it’s critical to land one of the stud wide receivers within the first two rounds. The drop after that top tier is precipitous, with the middle rounds filled with a lot of committee wideouts (i.e. Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks) or top wideouts on run-heavy teams (i.e. Kenny Golladay). Make sure to get a top-tier wideout (or two) early, then add a middle-round option with a safe floor. Emmanuel Sanders is a huge value right now on Yahoo!, so be sure to exploit his depressed ADP before it rises. After that, the later rounds are rich with young, talented, potential breakouts that it’s worth taking multiple shots at this group. Guys like Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jamison Crowder, and John Brown could end up being league-winners if their 2019 season unfolds favorably.
The Bottom Line
Pick and choose the recommendations above depending on how your draft flows. Hopefully, with a little bit of savvy and a little bit of luck, you’ll be ready to rock come Week 1. Either way, be sure to utilize 4for4’s Draft Analyzer tool. It uses your league’s scoring settings and 4for4’s rankings to help you strategize. For more information, check out Jennifer Eakins’ Draft Analyzer Walkthrough.
Lastly, this handy 16-round cheat sheet is compiled both by using 4for4’s ADP Bargains tool and my own general feelings on some players. Use it as much or little as you’d like.
Round-by-Round Cheat Sheet
- All Premium Content
- The Most Accurate Rankings Since 2010
- Expert Draft Picks w/ DraftAnalyzer
- Highest Scoring Lineup + Top Available Players w/ LeagueSync
- ...and much more!