Draft Strategy: The ten minute guide to your draft

There’s an old saying among draft managers, whatever sport it is you play: “you can’t win the league on draft night, but you can lose it!”

In our latest draft kit article, we give you our very own approach to draft night so that you can see how we navigate our way through it. We will be sharing a few of our secrets at each stage of the draft to ensure you don’t panic and go into the new season with the strongest possible squad!

Round 1

This is the easy part. Or at least it should be!

If you have no other plans going into your draft (please make other plans too), you should know exactly who you will be going for in your first round. If you are lucky enough to know in advance where you are drafting from then you can make very specific plans for who it is you’re going to get.

You should anticipate who you intend to get in advance and then plan your next picks around that. However, if there’s an unexpected faller (for example, if Mo Salah falls to you at pick 6), adjust your pick accordingly and be ready to adapt your strategy if it isn’t the position you anticipated.

I have my top 12 in my ranks ready to go in the order that I will take them and haven’t seen any evidence from numerous mock drafts to persuade me otherwise.

Rounds 2 and 3

Some pieces of priceless advice for this crucial part of the draft:

  • Don’t take risks – James Ward Prowse is going in the second round of most drafts and I can see why. Not all that exciting but you’ll be thankful for him in those tight matchups that can go either way. I took Willian in the second round of one draft last year. Big mistake, lots of regrets!
  • Take part in plenty of mocks – Mock drafts will help you to plan your second and third round picks almost to the detail of your first round pick. You should still have an idea of who will drop to you.
  • Be ready for those fallers – The likes of Trent Alexander Arnold and (more likely) Raheem Sterling will be part of round two this season. Be ready to pick them up and don’t let them fall past you!
  • Load up on midfielders – The midfield depth isn’t huge this season. I will probably leave the first three rounds with two midfielders. Maybe even three…
  • Resist the urge to go for elite defenders unless they are fallers. In my opinion, only Trent Alexander Arnold and Lucas Digne should be taken right at the start of drafts this season. Resist Luke Shaw and Joao Cancelo if possible.

Rounds 4, 5 and 6

It’s time to take some CALCULATED risks! If you’re happy enough with your first three picks, it could even be the time to reach for a few that you have a lot of faith in for a bounce back season.

Dwight McNeil is one of those that fits into the category of safe enough to take at this stage but shouldn’t be taken in the top three rounds, while the likes of Roberto Firmino and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang are likely to fall to round four and probably can’t be ignored at this stage! This is where those solid, risk three first three picks comes in handy!

My own preference at this stage is to use my first five picks to load up on midfielders and forward and then aim for my top defender in round six (which this season looks like being someone like Vladimir Coufal or Reece James). Having said that, I would be keeping a close eye on who is left in that defender pool. If there’s several of the likes of James Tarkowski and Aaron Cresswell left, I’d be more tempted to wait until round seven for my first defender and instead choose to get a Milot Rashica or Solly March in to boost my midfield further.

Round 7-10

At this point, I’m getting at least one decent defender in and focusing on the sleepers I have written down as possibles ahead of the draft. The majority of the sleepers we have highlighted in our previous articles are most likely to be available at this stage of the draft.

Sleepers part one

Sleepers part two

Sleepers part three

Sleepers part four

I have two other targets in the middle section:

  • Aim to boost the parts of my team that are lacking
  • Aim for the players who start the season with favourable fixtures – Those mid rangers with limited draft value may suddenly gain a lot of trade value if they have a hot start.

Dont be tempted to take a goalkeeper at this stage!

Rounds 11-16

Here you have five or six rounds to set yourself up for Gameweek One and pick out those punts that can go on to win you the league!

Make sure you’ve done your research on the promoted sides as there is every chance that there’s the next Matt Doherty lurking in these later rounds that will give your squad a massive unexpected boost.

Also, try to stay ahead of the curve on possible transfers within the Premier League. The likes of Tammy Abraham and Ross Barkley may still be on the board at this stage and will prove to be great value if they secure a move to another Premier League side.

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