In our last edition of the guide to fantasy leagues, we talked about best-ball leagues. This edition will focus on redraft leagues.
What are redraft leagues? Redraft leagues may not be vanilla ice cream, but let’s call them mint chocolate chip. Some people think it tastes like toothpaste, but most people like it and most people enjoy the experience without question. If you’re in a casual league, like a work league or a family/friends league where you’re playing for low or no stakes, maybe a trophy, and the smack talk, redraft is your huckleberry.
In a redraft league, you are drafting a fantasy team in a snake format (draft #1 in the first round, #12 in the second, back to #1 in the third), and you are most likely starting a lineup of one QB, two RBs, three WRs, a flex (maybe), a TE, kicker and defense. It’s usually one point per ten yards rushing/receiving, one point per 20 or 25 yards throwing, passing TDs may be reduced to four points as opposed to six for other touchdowns (poor oppressed passing TDs), and you can play PPR (point per reception) or “standard” which doesn’t give that bonus.
Depending on your point of view, redraft can be the greatest thing since having Peyton on your team in 2013 and it can be like starting Trent Richardson every week. Here are five upsides and five downsides to playing in a redraft league:
- If you get into a casual conversation with anyone about fantasy football, whether you’re in the break room at work, at the DMV, or backstage at the CMAs, most likely they’re talking about a redraft league. You will enter the empathy zone when you hear tales of an injured RB or when the QB fails to get one lousy touchdown. There’s always the ultimate tale of woe, losing on a Monday night and to a stinking kicker no less.
- There is no limit to the amount of information you can get regarding redraft. Fantasy football analysis will seem tailored to you, because of the popularity of redraft leagues. If you pick up a magazine, whether in paper or online, or get an app, it’s most likely 90% about redraft.
- I call the third upside “no muss, no fuss”. Sure, you have to worry about waivers and figure out who to start, but it’s pretty straightforward. You’re going to play one person a week, and you have to adjust to that one matchup.
- ADP is your friend. If you’re drafting in a Yahoo league, for example, the site provides a handy-dandy “cheat sheet” of rankings. If your rankings differ from Yahoo’s, and I certainly hope that they do, you can get a potential advantage by knowing that “your guys” could slip a round or two later than expected.
- It’s generally frowned upon to say “I kicked your butt on that presentation last week”, but it’s perfectly socially acceptable to talk smack to your fantasy opponents, and that even includes your boss (note: bosses may vary). In my office in Atlanta, the number one important thing to know about each person is their school affiliation, and by that I mean Southeastern Conference. With a redraft league, you get that extra layer of satisfaction, especially if your alma mater just lost to Alabama by 42.
- If you’re playing in a standard redraft league, you’re probably playing with standard rules, and that can get tiresome if you end up in a few of them. There’s not a lot of fun to “only” starting one quarterback when the league is stacked with them. Rostering a kicker and a team defense is like being James Caan in Misery, tied to a bed, but hey, the TVs on and it’s football. Problem is, the game’s the Titans and the Jaguars.
- There is no limit to the amount of information you can get regarding redraft. Wait a second, didn’t I say that was a good thing? As our friend and fellow #teamdegenerate member Denny Carter says, too much information can be a bad thing. One site will tell you that Trent Richardson is a lead-pipe stone-cold lock to break out this year and another one will say that he’s the worst fantasy running back in history. At times, drinking from a firehose would be preferable.
- ADP can give and it can take. You can “use” a site’s default ADP for your purposes, but the issue is that it cannot be trusted. The vast majority of fantasy players do as much “research” as you do deciding what to order in the drive-thru. They take the best players from 2013, or a guy from their local team, or a player who has a reality show. That factors into ADP and turns it into a mess. Each draft is its own beast, so understand that ADP will only take you so far.
- Limited sample size can lead to frustration. In a redraft league in which you play one game against one opponent every week, you can have the second-highest score in the league and lose, or you can have the 11th-highest score in the league and win. The variance is higher the smaller your starting lineup is, and most redraft leagues have Smartcar-sized lineups.
- The final downside deals with the mental side. How do you take fantasy results? Do you grunt and nod when you win and gnash teeth/go cry in the shower if you lose? Imagine this feeling if you’ve spent ten hours a week studying (probably a low-end estimate for most readers here), and your opponent made a last-minute roster change based on “a feeling” and you go down in horrific defeat. Know thyself, and understand that your nuclear smack talk may come back to hurt you in the end.
A redraft draft is a great “starter” league, and with some tweaks, can become your favorite and most challenging league of them all (because like potato chips, we can’t just have one league). Keep calm and draft on.