With Fantasy Football drafts in full swing, everyone participating has their own unique strategies for how to draft their dream team depending on the type of league and the other people in each division. A great player in a PPR (point-per-reception) league may not be the best choice for a Standard league, and the intensity of a draft may not be as high for a league of friends trying something for fun compared to a group of hard-core football fans with money on the line. But under any of these and other circumstances, the goal of any draft is to collectively come out with the best team in place to score the most points every week and ultimately win the league.
Agency owners want a similar result in the business world. Whether building a team from scratch or adding new hires to a team that’s already on a winning streak, owners want to draft the best in order to see success and win big. Thoughtful strategy must be used in order to get the right team member at the right time. In drafts, timing is everything, and prioritizing certain players above others at certain points in time can make or break an owner’s overall draft.
Rounds 1 - 4: Draft Your Workhorses
No matter the type of league, a running back or wide receiver is usually your best option for your first pick. Most people new to Fantasy Football would think a quarterback is their first choice. They’re the playmakers, they’re flashy, and often, they are the face of the team. And while no team can survive without a decent quarterback, the super stars of many teams revolve around the workhorses: running backs and wide receivers. These players take the ball and make the magic happen. They score high point values for fantasy owners through raw talent and hard work to gain the extra yards, make the amazing catch, and bring that ball safely into the end zone.
Likewise, an agency can have the best manager out there, but if their team isn’t made up of talented, driven, and hard-working members, the owner cannot do it all alone despite being in charge of the team’s overall strategy. The senior level graphic designers, web developers, ads managers, social media managers, etc. should be your all-stars. They crank out the work, they put in the extra effort to think outside the box and bring the magic to each client’s strategy, and their passion for what they do usually results in a big play, or even a coveted touchdown (and the accompanying touchdown dance), more often than not.
Sure, a team or an agency can be moderately successful if you wait to draft decent players in these roles in later rounds. However, to truly maximize your opportunities for success, use your prized first picks to secure these superstars on your team. It’ll pay off in the long run.
Rounds 5 - 7: Build Your Depth Chart
I know. You’re chomping at the bit to grab your quarterback. And if you’re really antsy, you can go ahead and get the best projected in the league, but it’s often better strategy to keep building your team of running backs and wide receivers and hold off on your QB. Since running backs and wide receivers are the core of your points scorers in every fantasy league, filling the rest of your allotted slots for these players and a viable flex option is helpful. If one of your top picks has an off week, gets injured (especially common for running backs), or isn’t performing well, it’s critical to have great options to step into their role and succeed in doing so.
Your junior-level team members make up a large portion of your agency, and while they may lack the experience of their senior-level counterparts, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t talented. These members are consistent in their performance, and they deliver results. They should be able to step in when those ahead of them need assistance or have to take time off. While they may not have as many opportunities to shine, when given the chance, the right person for the role will thrive under pressure and rise to the occasion, making a positive impact with their efforts.
Round 8: Find Your Signal Caller
Quarterbacks are truly the face of their team, and love ‘em or hate ‘em, they make their presence known as the one person on the field for every play of the offense. They are often held responsible for the success (or failure) of their team, and the game is riding on their ability to carry out a game strategy, lead their team to the end zone, and win the game. At the NFL level, there is a lot of depth at quarterback compared to other fantasy positions, and no matter who you draft at this level, more often than not, a quarterback will post relatively good fantasy points overall. But a quarterback is only as good as his whole team. If the rest of the team is not already in place with the best available at each position, then despite the QB’s best efforts, the payoff won’t be a victory. It’s important to wait to grab this position at this time later in draft rounds to ensure the rest of the core of your team is comprised of the top playmakers.
Your Creative Director or Head Strategist is the equivalent of your quarterback. Any person with the qualifications to be hired in one of these roles is clearly good at what they do. However, they can come up with amazingly creative strategy all day long that pushes the limits and has the potential to score big, but if they don’t have a team behind them that can implement that strategy, then their strategy goes nowhere fast. Hire a Creative Director that can lead your team of talent, one that understands your company culture and team’s strengths and weaknesses, and finally, one that will push them to think differently, work harder, and produce more to reach that end goal.
Rounds 9 - 13: Build Up Your Backups
These rounds consist of finalizing your starting lineup and filling your bench with the best players you can get to backup your starters. Continue to add a variety of running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, and quarterbacks to build your team when dreaded BYE weeks force you to adjust your line-ups, injuries cripple your team, and surprise suspensions mess up your week’s projections.
Every team has to have backups in place when issues arise and pose a threat to goal completion. Life happens, and work has to be put on hold at the worst times. As an owner, build your agency with people who can learn, grow, and hold down the fort when the heavy-hitters have to step back for one reason or another.
Round 14: Secure Your Specialist
The kicker is one of a very small group of people in the game of football who needs to use their feet instead of their hands to make a play. The rules are different for them, and they play a large role in a team’s ability to add points to the board. Kickers don’t receive a lot of points for their efforts in fantasy leagues, hence why they are usually taken so late in the draft, but a good kicker can be a difference-maker in a close match-up against your opponent.
Specialists within an agency are valuable in that they are the only ones who can do what they do. Nobody else in the agency has their unique skill set, and they add that “extra something” to your client’s strategy that makes it even better. These team members are often brought in late in the game when their skills would benefit a specific client, but once their value is shown, they are often kept around to apply their expertise to other clients’ strategies as well.
Round 15: Somebody Has to Do the Grunt Work
Your defense is typically one of the final positions on your roster to fill. They typically don’t score many fantasy points unless they have a crazy week, and they are so undervalued that these members aren’t even drafted individually as players, but rather as an entire unit. Their job isn’t really glamorous, and it’s one of the toughest on the field but doesn’t get much credit. However, defense wins championships, and a good defense can be the difference in a win or a loss on your overall record.
“The Interns,” as they are collectively known, don’t get to do a lot of the fun stuff. They often get stuck doing the grunt work, and don’t get the recognition that they deserve. But without them, those ranking above them would not be able to do their jobs successfully because they’d have too many little busy-work tasks to worry about. A good intern helps their team by doing little tasks that make a big difference, and every now and then, they surprise everyone and contribute amazing insight and run it all the way back to score a touchdown.
Now you’ve got your team. Hopefully, it went according to plan, and you’ve got your dream team in place to win the whole league. But just because you have your perfect team, doesn’t mean that it will succeed without some strategy and attention every week. Owners have to pay attention to all of their team members, and put them in the best positions to maximize points each and every week. At times, that could be testing out a new strategy by moving positions around to see if the new strategy produces better results. Other times, owners have to make the tough decision to trade or drop a player who just isn’t cutting it anymore and is not providing the value needed to win big. These situations are ones fantasy and business owners alike will face with their own teams. But with a solid draft strategy from the beginning, the post-draft strategy will be a little easier, and the successes will be far more likely.