I’m a traditionalist. Well, not really. But I’m very traditional when it comes to one thing: my fantasy football league: . 10 For me, it’s always been 10 teams, standard settings, snake draft, the same buddies from high school, redraft league, and those rules never change. So when my league’s lovely commissioner texted the league members this week that he was thinking of changing up our league, I was understandably shaken up. And when I say “changing up” I mean it: adding point-per-reception (PPR) and an auction draft and transforming our league into a keeper league. As other leagues ponder whether to adopt similar changes in the coming month, I thought I’d delve into the pros and cons of each of these proposals.
The first question is whether to adopt PPR in your league. Actually, the first question really is: what is PPR? PPR means that players are awarded points for every reception they pull in in addition to the points normally given out for yards earned and touchdowns. What this really does is skew the normal rankings you might find on your chosen fantasy website by boosting running backs who are notable pass-catchers, such as Le’Veon Bell and Matt Forte (and admittedly most of the top guys at the position, anyways), and rewarding wide-receivers like Antonio Brown who are ball magnets.
Those who suffer are the two-down running backs who come out on passing downs (think Alfred Morris) and wide-outs with gaudy yards-per-reception numbers who get great yardage off of a lower quantity of receptions, like DeSean Jackson. I have never been an advocate of the alternative settings; however, it does add a layer of intrigue to the setup. Beginner players, stay away, but more experienced ones should consider it. And I do not mean to belittle novices, but there is a lot more information out there about how to play fantasy with the standard settings, so it would be a smart choice to stick with them until you have your feet wet.
The second, and perhaps more interesting, question is what kind of draft your league should conduct. The traditional answer is a snake draft, but there has been growing momentum in the fantasy world for auction drafts, a system in which you can bid money on any player you want and build your optimal roster with much more control than is afforded by the whims of a snake draft. In my opinion, if you put in time to plan out your strategy and prepare accordingly, an auction draft can be an amazing experience and one I totally recommend. So you’re a massive fan of both Eddie Lacy and Jamaal Charles? Great, here is your chance to have them both on your team. Just prepare to be stingy afterward and find some low-cost high-upside sleepers to fill out the rest of your roster. If you’ve ever been that guy or girl who has seen that dream player of yours drafted in the slot right before you, an auction draft is the thing for you.
But please, if you’re going to be a first time auctioneer, do some mock drafts. Why? Because they are damn hard! Anyone can get lucky in a snake draft: stick to the default rankings, and you’ll be generally fine. Auction drafts, on the other hand, take strategy, restraint and a good poker face, things not easily achievable by calling out the next name on Matthew Berry’s top 300. It is important to find the balance between aggression and passivity, as it is easy to exhaust your budget quickly with several early purchases, but it is also important to snag enough players to ensure that you can field a competitive roster.
Now, no matter what draft option you ultimately choose, make sure to make it an experience. And by that, I mean make it a live draft. I’m not saying you have to go to Vegas, but use your draft as an opportunity to reunite with old high school buddies or longtime college friends. Nothing bonds people tighter than fantasy football; at least, that’s what I always say!
Until next time, fantasy lovers, play on.
Joe Lanzilla is a rising senior in the School of Foreign Service. Fantasy Football Corner appears every other Tuesday.
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