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AFL Fantasy Elite – Draft v Salary Cap Drafting Differences

When you research your team selection in Dream Team you are focused on a Guns as well as Rookies. However, in the Draft game the way you research and select your team is a whole new ball game! I have had a look at some of the differences and things to think about.


We are all used to selecting our teams in the Salary Cap style game that is now referred to as AFL Fantasy: Dream Team.  We all know about things like Guns n Rookies and Mid Priced Madness.  However, the way you select your team for the draft game is a whole new ball game.

As you have read so far in our Draft Central articles here on DT Talk the two types of games are very different and they require very different strategies in game play and more particularly in the drafting.  Let’s look at some of the unique points about drafting players rather than selecting players under a salary cap.

Round 1 Drafting

This is one of  your most important selections of the game.  Your first pick will be the one that you shape the rest of your team around.  The one thing you need to do is take the best possible player you can with your first pick.  This player needs to be someone that you would be more than willing to put the C on each and every week.

If you are in a 12 team league, and you have pick 5.  Depending on the drafting style you have, the next best possible pick that you can hope to have is pick 17.  Obviously, there is a massive difference between the 5th best scorer and the 17th best scorer.  Based on this, you need to ensure that the guy that you pick at 5 is someone you can depend upon each and every week to deliver.

Rookies have very little value in this game

In the Salary Cap game we need to pad out our squads with a number of rookies to ensure that we can afford all of our Premiums.  Well in this Draft game the rookies are not required at all!  Unless they are some superstar or you are in a really really deep league with lots of teams and massive rosters there isn’t much chance that you will actually get through all the good established players that would require you to select a rookie.

Every draft pick that you make should be for the best available player that you can get your hands on.  You need to ask yourself “Who is the guy that is going to get me the maximum points out of everyone left”.  The only time that you wouldn’t apply that is when you need to draft for position, or when taking positional scarcity into account – we will be covering this in more detail in later articles.

Diamonds in the Rough!

The guys that usually win these style of leagues are the ones that are good at picking the diamonds in the rough.  Everyone will have a pretty good group of players from their first 3-4 selections.  However after this point what coaches should be looking for is the guy that no one else is thinking about that will have that bust out season.

Let me give you an example.  In discussing this article with our very own Tbetta, he mentioned to me that in the 23rd round of his draft last year (so assuming that it was a 12 team league there were at least 276 players selected already) he selected Ivan Maric.  Now we all know that Maric went on to score at a premium level and be right up there with the best ruckman.  So your opponents may have selected Dean Cox in rd 2  but you have come up with a player that scored just as well but you did it much later in the draft.  So instead of having say 3 premiums like everyone else you have ended up with 4.

So if you can select the next break out contender then you are likely to be putting yourself in the box seat for a victory.  For many years now we have all heard how much of a fantasy stud Patrick Dangerfield will be, well it was getting a bit like the boy who cried wolf, but then in 2012 he really busted through that 70 – 80 pt barrier and showed us exactly what he can do by averaging 101.9.

The other guys that can be a bit like this are those that have fallen off the radar and are coming back from an LTI or were out of favour with their previous coach. While they don’t have any discounts like in Dream Team or SuperCoach, they may be undervalued by other coaches due to their injury or playing history.  Guys that would fall into this category are players like Mark LeCras or Brent Moloney.

When looking for the guys that are likely to breakout consider things like club changes or playing list changes.  Consider things like the benefit to Brian Lake after joining the Hawks, as well as the negative effect this could have on guys like Birchall or Suckling. It works both ways.

Anyway, I think you get my drift here, it is these guys, not the Super Premo’s that are going to win you this league (although the super premo’s certainly do help!). It is the depth of your squad that is important here.

 Positional Scarcity

When you are selecting your team in the traditional salary cap game you have time to work out who you want and tinker.  However, when you are in the thrust and parry of a draft you sometimes have to think on your feet.  In your draft you may see a couple of guys select a ruckman then another one and all of a sudden there are fewer quality guys on the board and it is your turn.  You were going to select another forward but if you don’t get a ruckman now, you may end up missing out on one of the top 8 ruckmen.  So you have to quickly change your strategy and find yourself the next best ruckman.

You just need to make sure you are always keeping an eye on what everyone else is doing whilst still executing your plans.


The thing to remember is that the planning you make for a draft league is very different to what you do when you are planning for your salary cap team.  Remember to have a plan but be prepared to change that plan depending on what happens, you won’t get the guy you want every time because everyone else probably wants the same guy!

Keep an eye on DTTalk for more articles designed to assist you in your Draft League.  Follow me @pkd73 on twitter for more thoughts and help on your team set up as the season draws closer.





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