The Gut Check No.369: Winning The 2nd Half of Your Draft


Waldman continues his examination of his ADP list and guides you through choices that you can win with.

Last week’s column walked you through a redesigned ADP list. The format of the list revealed salient points that became the basis for various draft strategies. The focus of the piece was the first 9-12 rounds of a draft.

This week’s column examines the redesigned ADP list covering the back half of a fantasy draft. A lot of people don’t think strategically enough about the second half of fantasy drafts. The extent of their strategic thinking is limited to individual players—handcuffing and making choices based on upside.

These are useful and important concepts. But the picks you make during the second half of your draft should be based on more factors than the roles, talent, and potential of the player pool. Knowledge of the league’s waiver wire rules is an obvious one.

The less obvious and equally important nuggets are points I’ve been making for years.  This week’s column will apply these insights as the basis of a second-half draft strategy.


The positions that sustain early-season performances the best: Here are the rates that each position sustained its top-12 performances after beginning the first three weeks of the season in the top 12 (2009-2013). The percentage in parenthesis for each position are the numbers for 2014 and 2015.

  • QB: 63% (58%, 42%)
  • TE: 63% (75%, 58%)
  • RB: 50% (30%, 25%)
  • WR 45% (42%, 50%)

Last year’s QB and TE figures appear to be an anomaly. If Ben Roethlisberger, Marcus Mariota and Tyrod Taylor didn’t miss a combined eight games, 2015’s retention rate would have been closer its five-year average. Despite last year’s exceptional results, I’d still roll with the idea that injuries are a greater factor for RBs and WRs than QBs and TEs.

In theory, the best starters to trade are the known commodities at quarterback and tight end. In practice, fantasy owners prefer to take their chances with the waiver wire—at least until November and an owner has exhausted all viable options.

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