Gut Check No.242: 2015 Upside Down Draft Strategy

Photo by Mike Morbeck.
Photo by Mike Morbeck.

Upside Down Drafting. High Stakes winners have used it, there’s a book on it, and it has even earned a different name. Waldman coined the original name. Learn about his UDD approach for 2015. 


If you aren’t familiar with the UDD Strategy here’s the basic explanation of the philosophy, the strategy, and its execution:

  • Average Draft Position is largely based on the previous year’s stats.
  • The difference between the RBs with preseason ADPs or RB1-RB2 and their end of season performance is significant.
  • Although generally lower than RBs, WRs sometimes have a turnover rate this high. However, the decision to draft RBs early is an ingrained process among many fantasy owners and this also matters when formulating strategy.
  • Turnover rates for the top handful of TEs and QBs is also generally lower than RBs and WR, which factors into strategy.
  • If a fantasy owner in an RB-centric environment opts to take non-RB positions in the opening 4-6 rounds of a draft and then focus heavily on mid-round and late-round RBs, he has a good shot of building a top-scoring team — even if his RB picks have mediocre outcomes.

There are several reasons why the outcome of the RB picks isn’t an integral part of the strategy. The quality of talent and production at the elite tiers of WR, QB, and TE is one. UDD Strategy relies on maximizing the opportunity to have the “pick of the litter” at these positions while most fantasy owners are focused on RB.

Another is the depth of talent a UDD team can generate at these non-RB positions. It helps the fantasy owner leverage his depth to build a better team during the season. I’ve found that my depth at WR, QB, and/or TE helps me make trades for at least one quality RB during the season and without losing an advantage at other positions in my starting lineup.

Developing trade depth should not be regarded as an accident — or at the very least, your strategy should be sound enough to encourage “happy accidents.” Some seasons, I’ve drafted UDD and acquired enough RB talent to upgrade positions where I was already strong. When this happens, your UDD draft created a significant deficiency of RB talent across your league and it generated a gap of production between your squad and potentially all but 3-4 teams in the league.

UDD works in PPR, non-PPR, and many flex leagues where fantasy owners can start 3-6 WRs or 1-3 TEs. If the starting lineup rules of a league allow a fantasy owner to field a crew of players where the non-RBs can vastly out-number RBs, then there’s a good chance UDD is a viable strategy.

For an in-depth explanation of the strategy, the number of years I have studied turnover at the positions, and the philosophy behind it, you can read the min-tome.

This post will examine the RBs I like for a 2015 UDD strategy. I’ll also supply three mock drafts in a 12-team PPR league with a 20-round draft and starting lineup of 1 QB, 2-3 RBs, 3-4 WRs, 1-2 TEs, 1 PK, 1 DEF.

Read the rest, including the RB Confidence List an see the three mocks at 

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