AFL Fantasy Elite / Draft basics
2013 brings us a new style of game to play. It is a tried and true format that has been used in US Fantasy Sports for years. I have tried to put together a few thoughts that might help you get a head start on your league.
This is the first in the series of articles on the Draft Style game that is now taking the AFL Fantasy world by storm! Keep an eye out for plenty more upcoming articles from us. Check out Draft Central to see what we have coming up for you.
Amongst the changes we have seen to the DT, sorry Fantasy, landscape this year one of the biggest and from what I am seeing, the most popular, is the introduction of a Draft style game that is free to all to play. For many people this will be a whole new beast that may seem to be very scary and different. Well I would like to just provide a few thoughts on this style of game and try and help you get ready for it by introducing you to some of the terms and tactics.
One of the key things here is that this type of game isn’t new at all. It is the cornerstone of the vast majority of US fantasy sports. Over the past 12 years I have played NBA, NHL and NFL using this very format. There has also been AFL versions from Ultimate Footy over the past couple of years. So with this background and my understanding of the new AFL Fantasy Draft game here are a few things that might just help you when it comes your turn to play it this year.
There is no substitute for preparation
The single most important day in the Draft game is Draft Day! This is the day that makes and breaks your season. Given that each player is only available once in your league, if you stuff up one of your first few rounds of drafting then you are going to find it very hard to make your way back from there (but with the help we will provide, there is no chance this could happen to you). Knowing all available information is the key here, if Ablett is your first pick at selection 3 but he has hurt himself the day before in the NAB and is out for the first 5 weeks and everyone else knows but you dont, then you are going to be behind the 8 ball from the start!
When you head to your draft make sure that you have ranked your players and that you are sure of all of your players that you want and that you have options. You never know what the other people in your league will do. If I had a dollar for every time the player I was set to pick was swiped out from under me by the guy that picked before me….
As Anthony mentioned in the Draft Central article, it is a good idea to schedule your draft as close as possible to the start of the season, you don’t want to get caught out by a late injury in the last week of the NAB!!
What is this Waiver Wire you speak of?
So every player that doesn’t get drafted drops back into the pool, which is commonly called “The Waiver Wire”. This is where you find your replacement players when you want to get rid of an underperformer or a long term injury. The term Waiver comes from what happens when you drop a player. They go onto “waivers” for a period of time (usually a time set by the commissioner of your league). This means that there is a priority order (which is usually set to the reverse draft order) in which people can say they want to pick this player up. After that time has elapsed then they are fair game for the league and are a “Free Agent”. Check out the upcoming article regarding advice for Commissioners and this will all become clearer as much of this is customisable.
Their pain is going to be your gain!
It is always prudent to keep an eye on the players that are on this list. Use your watchlist and keep a keen eye on injuries throughout the season. Always be ready to pounce on a player whose circumstances are about to change. For example, if you hear that something has happened at training and Aaron Sandilands has hurt his toe again, then be ready to swoop on Jon Griffin before anyone else can get hold of him. This is where you are going to win this game.
A term you will hear a bit is “Handcuffing”. What this means is that if you pick a superstar early on, then later on in the draft when you are getting to your bench guys you might want to pick up that person’s backup, the guy that is going to get the minutes if he is out. So take my example above, you might draft Sandilands in the 3rd round. Once you get to your back up guys later on you might pick up Jon Griffin as one of your bench players. This means you have handcuffed Sandi to his backup, Griffin and you will have the guy that will walk in and get all the points should Sandi go down.
Trade Trade Trade!
One of the attractions for a lot of people is the ability to trade your players with your mates to try and improve your team and win your league. Whilst trading is fun, always make sure that you fully analyse the deal before you pull the trigger. Think about it very carefully. Remember the guy that is offering you a trade is trying to improve his team too.
These are just a few things to help those of you that haven’t played this style of game before and hopefully they will help you with your first try in the draft league format of the game. There will be a heap more articles on this site in the coming fortnight especially, and throughout the year in relation to this new game. DT Talk is your one stop shop for all things AFL Fantasy!
Tbetta, Anthony and myself are going to provide some great insight into this new game on AFL Fantasy. Look out for plenty of content on the AFL Fantasy Elite game.
Hit me up on Twitter @pkd73 for some chat and all things Fantasy AFL related.