When to Draft a Yahoo! Public League Fantasy Football Team

Common sense is generally an excellent guide for determining when to draft a fantasy football team. However, there can be other factors which influence this decision as well.

Logic dictates that a preferred time to hold a fantasy football draft would be after the NFL’s third preseason week of games. The third preseason game is considered a dress rehearsal for the regular season. Position battles are finally resolved and Week 1 starters are thereafter held out of game action to avoid injury.

For those owners who play in Yahoo! public leagues, there was an interesting episode at the end of August 2017 during which shrewd managers made an absolute steal in their drafts. On August 26, Kansas City Chiefs running back, Spencer Ware, suffered a season-ending knee injury during his team’s third preseason game. The next day, Yahoo! moved Ware down from #45 overall to #89 on their default list of fantasy players. Then on August 30, after tests confirmed Ware tore the PCL and LCL in his right knee, Yahoo! removed him from the default list.

Ware’s obvious replacement was third-round rookie Kareem Hunt out of Toledo. Hunt was outperforming Ware in the preseason, but at best was looking at a timeshare situation with Ware in the regular season. However, Ware’s injury thrust Hunt into the starting job for the Chiefs with no serious competition challenging him for the role. He was immediately an RB1 candidate moving forward in fantasy drafts.

Although this seemed obvious to seasoned fantasy managers, it took Yahoo! several days to move Hunt from the #2000 range in their default ranking. On August 27, when Yahoo! moved Ware from #45 to #89, there was no corresponding movement for Hunt. On August 30, when Yahoo! removed Ware entirely from their list, there was still no corresponding move for Hunt. Finally, on September 2, Yahoo! moved Hunt to #30 overall in their default rankings.

As stated in our article, “Online Draft Strategy and the Curious Case of Quarterback Matt Ryan,” many team owners who play in Yahoo! public leagues use Yahoo’s default listing of players as their primary guide when drafting their team. With Hunt’s name nowhere in sight among the draftable range of players, he was easily overlooked by most fantasy managers.

On August 30, I participated in three public league drafts on Yahoo! and was able to select Hunt in the fourth round each time (#31, #35 and #34 overall). That wasn’t a bad price to pay for the most productive running back in fantasy as of this writing – the end of Week 5. At this time, the ten most productive fantasy running backs were:

  1. Kareem Hunt (KC) – 22.30 fantasy points per game
  2. Todd Gurley (LAC) – 20.52 FPG (average draft pick = #22.6 overall)
  3. Leonard Fournette (JAX) – 19.08 FPG (average draft pick = #22.0 overall)
  4. Devonta Freeman (ATL) – 16.38 FPG (average draft pick = #10.2 overall)
  5. Chris Thompson (WAS) – 14.93 FPG (undrafted)
  6. Melvin Gordon (LAC) – 14.56 FPG (average draft pick = #10.4 overall)
  7. Doug Martin (TB) – 14.20 FPG (average draft pick = #101.0 overall)
  8. Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) – 14.14 FPG (average draft pick = #14.8 overall)
  9. Le’Veon Bell (PIT) – 13.90 FPG (average draft pick = #2.2 overall)
  10. C.J. Anderson (DEN) – 12.93 FPG (average draft pick = #71.2 overall)

I probably could have waited even longer, but I wasn’t willing to take the chance on losing out to another manager who may have also realized the opportunity to capitalize on Yahoo’s delay in moving Hunt into a proper position on the default list.

Both skill and luck play important roles in fantasy football, but paying careful attention to details can also yield a significant advantage over one’s competition – even by deciding when to draft your team.

Related articles at Fantasy Football Impact:

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Online Draft Strategy and the Curious Case of Quarterback Matt Ryan

Disclaimer: Fantasy football is a game of speculation; therefore, Fantasy Football Impact disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, regarding player performance or results associated with its opinions or advice.