Value-based Drafting in Fantasy Football: The How’s and Why’s

October 26, 2023
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Fantasy football, with its myriad of choices and unpredictabilities, is akin to navigating through a vast, challenging maze. Within this maze, success hinges on making informed decisions, driven by a strategy that goes beyond surface-level knowledge of teams and players.

Enter the principle of Value-Based Drafting — the North Star for those looking to find their way in the complex world of fantasy football. VBD isn’t just about choosing top-rated players or those that have a momentary shine.

Instead, it’s a refined methodology that demands managers to assess each player’s value relative to others in their position, ensuring every pick yields the maximum potential return.

But why is this method gaining traction? Why does it resonate with seasoned managers and rookies alike? Because in the fluctuating world of football where injuries, surprise performers, and unforeseen tactics can turn tables overnight, VBD provides a semblance of structure and predictability.

This article delves deep into the intricacies of VBD, dissecting its components and illustrating its effectiveness. We will be offering a comprehensive guide that empowers fantasy football enthusiasts with a robust strategy for draft day success. 

Understanding Value-Based Drafting

In the realm of fantasy football, the myriad of drafting strategies can be both enticing and overwhelming, where the pursuit of the perfect draft strategy becomes almost an obsession, Value-Based Drafting (VBD) stands out as a beacon of innovation. This strategic approach has revolutionized the way seasoned players and novices alike approach their draft.

Born out of a desire to counter the traditional, and often predictable, drafting strategies, VBD sought to introduce a more calculated, data-centric approach to player selection. Instead of merely chasing the “best available” player, VBD emphasizes the importance of maximizing the value of each draft pick. This isn’t about sheer player performance; it’s about relative value.

While conventional drafting methodologies largely focus on selecting players based on individual projected stats, VBD takes a broader view. The essence of this philosophy lies in its principle of relativity. VBD doesn’t simply evaluate a player based on how they might perform. Instead, it measures a player’s projected performance against other players in the same position. The guiding philosophy? Don’t simply chase points. Instead, evaluate players based on their value relative to the “baseline” of their position.

The traditional drafting approach, while tried and tested, tends to be somewhat linear. There’s a general pattern, like prioritizing running backs early on, driven by the belief that they score the most points. But this method can often lead to missed opportunities, overlooking valuable players in other positions. VBD, on the other hand, introduces a level of dynamism. It’s not about the top scorers but about identifying those players who, when compared to their peers, offer unparalleled value. In doing so, VBD gives fantasy managers an edge, allowing them to recognize and capitalize on undervalued assets.

Why VBD is Essential for Fantasy Football Success

With the vast amount of data available and various strategies at one’s disposal, determining the best approach can be a daunting task. Enter VBD, a game-changing strategy that is instrumental in defining fantasy success. Let’s dive into why VBD is not just a trend but a crucial tool for any fantasy manager.

  • A Shift from the Conventional: Traditional drafting strategies, while reliable, tend to be predictable. Most managers prioritize positions, usually opting for running backs early on due to their perceived value. VBD, however, prompts managers to think differently. Instead of pigeonholing oneself into rigid positional expectations, VBD allows for flexibility based on real-time draft dynamics.
  • Maximizing Each Pick: Every selection in a draft carries weight, and it’s crucial to extract the maximum value from each pick. VBD isn’t about choosing the top scorer; it’s about recognizing which player provides the most value over other available options. This holistic approach ensures that each selection contributes significantly to the overall team.

In the heart of VBD lies the concept of relativity. The strategy’s genius is in comparing a player’s potential against a predetermined baseline for their position. This baseline usually represents the expected production from a replacement-level player. By understanding this disparity, managers can identify players whose production significantly eclipses their peers.

For instance, if two quarterbacks are projected to score 300 and 280 points, respectively, but the baseline for QBs is 250 points, the first quarterback’s value is higher, with a 50-point differential as opposed to the second’s 30-point difference. Such nuances are what VBD helps discern, giving managers a clearer perspective when making picks.

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Furthermore, the fluctuating nature of the NFL – injuries, suspensions, and unexpected breakout stars – makes adaptability crucial. VBD provides the framework to adjust on the fly, ensuring that managers are not caught off-guard when unpredictable events inevitably occur.

While several strategies can lead to fantasy football success, VBD’s emphasis on relativity, flexibility, and maximizing value makes it indispensable. As the fantasy landscape continues to evolve, embracing dynamic strategies like VBD can be the difference between a middling team and a championship contender.

Implementing VBD in Your Fantasy Draft

The thrill of a fantasy football draft is unparalleled, with managers buzzing with anticipation and strategies. One such strategy that’s been garnering attention and results is VBD. But understanding its significance is one thing; implementing it effectively is another. Let’s break down how you can seamlessly incorporate VBD into your draft process.

  • Establish a Baseline: At its core, VBD is about determining how much better a player is compared to a replacement-level player at his position. To kickstart this process, establish a baseline for each position. This baseline typically represents the projected points for a player who’s just good enough to be a starter in your league. For instance, in a 10-team league that starts one QB, the 10th best QB’s projected points would be your baseline.

Once you’ve determined your baselines, you’re ready to calculate the true value of each player. Subtract the baseline points from a player’s projected points. The result is the player’s VBD value. For example, if a running back is projected to score 250 points and the baseline for RBs is 150, his VBD value is 100.

  • Tier Your Targets: While it’s easy to get caught up in the raw VBD numbers, it’s equally essential to identify tiers of players. Grouping players by similar projected point totals allows for flexibility during the draft. If you miss out on one top-tier player, you can still target another within the same bracket, ensuring minimal drop in value.

Diversifying your draft board with tiers ensures you don’t pigeonhole yourself into stringent guidelines. Instead, you can adjust your strategy in real-time based on draft flow, always aiming for the highest value pick available.

  • Stay Updated and Adapt: The NFL landscape is in constant flux, and a successful fantasy manager must be adept at pivoting. Keep an eye on preseason performances, training camp news, and any potential injuries. Any significant changes can affect a player’s projected points and, subsequently, their VBD value. Being proactive in adjusting these values ensures you’re always drafting based on the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Incorporating VBD into your draft strategy isn’t just about number-crunching; it’s a holistic approach that emphasizes preparation, adaptability, and seizing value at every turn. By establishing clear baselines, categorizing players into tiers, and staying updated on league happenings, you position yourself for a draft that’s not just successful but dominant. As you navigate the ebb and flow of your fantasy draft, let VBD be the compass guiding you towards unparalleled success

Challenges & Critiques of VBD

VBD has evolved as a formidable strategy in fantasy football. It offers a systematic approach, ensuring you get the best bang for your buck with each pick. However, like all strategies, VBD isn’t without its detractors and inherent challenges. Let’s dissect some of the most common critiques and obstacles associated with implementing VBD.

  • Over-reliance on Projections: VBD hinges on the accuracy of player projections. If these projections are off, even slightly, it can cascade into misguided VBD values. The dynamic nature of football—with its injuries, strategy shifts, and unpredictable player breakouts—means that no projection can be 100% reliable.

In the whirlwind world of NFL, variables like coaching changes, team dynamics, and evolving game plans can swiftly alter a player’s outlook. Relying heavily on preseason projections can sometimes lead managers to overlook the real-time nuances that shape a player’s performance.

  • Flexibility Concerns: While VBD provides a structured approach, some critics argue it may deter managers from being flexible during the draft. The draft is not just about numbers; it’s also about reading the room, gauging other managers’ strategies, and sometimes, going with your gut. An over-reliance on VBD might make managers resistant to adapting to the draft’s fluid nature.
  • Positional Value Overemphasis: The crux of VBD is to measure a player’s value concerning a baseline replacement at his position. However, this often leads managers to potentially overlook talent in favor of positional scarcity. For instance, two players might have the same VBD value, but one could be a far superior talent. Drafting based purely on VBD might cause you to miss out on sheer talent and potential game-changers.
  • Changing Landscape of Football: With the NFL becoming more pass-heavy, traditional VBD models, which often prioritize running backs, may need reevaluation. The prominence of committee backfields and the rising value of wide receivers and tight ends in PPR leagues challenge the conventional VBD wisdom.
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While VBD offers a systematic and logical approach to drafting, it’s essential to recognize its limitations. The best fantasy managers often blend the quantitative insights of strategies like VBD with qualitative judgment, staying adaptable, and responsive to the draft’s dynamic rhythm. By understanding the challenges and critiques of VBD, you can refine your draft strategy, ensuring a well-rounded and powerful roster.

Merging VBD Strategy with Maincard’s Innovative Platform

In the realm of fantasy sports, there’s a new titan on the block: Maincard. Emerging as a leading fantasy management platform, Maincard is not just another player in the game; it’s redefining the game itself. With its commitment to educating the new generation on the intricacies of smart contracts, NFTs, and cryptocurrencies, Maincard is setting the gold standard in how fantasy sports interact with the digital age.

At its core, Maincard’s allure lies in its uniqueness. Each Maincard is one-of-a-kind, consisting of nine meticulously designed layers or attributes that are randomly amalgamated at the moment of the card’s minting. This ensures an unparalleled experience where no two cards are identical. Now, imagine harnessing the precision of VBD with this platform. By aligning VBD’s analytical approach with Maincard’s distinct attributes, fantasy managers can craft a team that isn’t just powerful but also unparalleled in its individuality. This synergy ensures that managers aren’t just playing by the numbers but are weaving in a layer of strategy that is innovative and avant-garde.

But the fusion of VBD and Maincard isn’t just about creating winning teams; it’s also about seizing lucrative opportunities. Maincard’s integration of blockchain technology opens up a world where playing smart also means playing for tangible rewards. By optimizing VBD strategies on Maincard, managers aren’t just competing for bragging rights but for real earning opportunities. Each decision, each draft, and each strategy can potentially translate into a source of income, making the fantasy experience both exhilarating and rewarding.

The confluence of VBD and Maincard is revolutionizing the fantasy sports landscape. It’s a melding of analytics with innovation, tradition with technology. For fantasy managers, this integration promises not just a game but an immersive experience, where strategy meets opportunity, and where every play can lead to both victory and reward.


The world of fantasy football is not static; it pulses, evolves, and transforms with the times. As with any competitive domain, resting on laurels isn’t an option. Historical strategies might carry a nostalgic allure, but the key to true dominance lies in constantly recalibrating and aligning oneself with the innovations of the present. The introduction and subsequent rise of VBD serve as a testament to this evolutionary trajectory. VBD isn’t just another method; it’s a reflection of the fantasy manager’s pursuit of excellence, precision, and strategic foresight.

But, while methodologies like VBD are crucial, they are just one piece of the puzzle. Modern fantasy football isn’t just about drafting the right player; it’s about leveraging the right platforms, tools, and technologies. In steps Maincard, a pioneering fantasy management platform that perfectly encapsulates the zeitgeist of today’s digital age. With its intricate blend of smart contracts, NFTs, and a user experience that offers tangible rewards, Maincard isn’t just a tool; it’s a game-changer.

So, as the world of fantasy football continues its relentless march forward, the question isn’t just about how to play, but how to lead, innovate, and redefine the game. Embrace the nuances of VBD, harness the power of platforms like Maincard, and step into the future of fantasy football. The arena awaits, and with the right strategies and tools, domination is not just possible; it’s inevitable. Step forward, take charge, and let the games begin.


What is Value-Based Drafting (VBD) in fantasy football?

Value-Based Drafting, commonly known as VBD, is a strategic approach in fantasy football that focuses on maximizing the value of each draft pick. Instead of merely selecting players based on individual projected stats or rankings, VBD assesses each player’s value relative to others in their position. This ensures that every selection yields the maximum potential return, offering managers an advantage in identifying undervalued assets and constructing a balanced, potent roster.

How does VBD differ from traditional drafting methods in fantasy football?

Traditional drafting methods are often linear and predictable, focusing on selecting players based on pre-defined positional priorities or individual projected stats. For instance, conventional wisdom might dictate prioritizing running backs early in drafts. VBD, however, introduces a dynamism to this process. Rather than merely chasing top scorers or following a set pattern, VBD evaluates players based on their value relative to a “baseline” for their position, focusing on those who offer unmatched value when compared to their peers.

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Why is establishing a baseline essential for VBD?

Establishing a baseline is crucial because it provides a reference point against which all players in a given position are evaluated. This baseline typically represents the expected production from a replacement-level player. By comparing a player’s projected performance against this baseline, managers can determine the true value a player brings over a replacement-level counterpart. This comparative analysis ensures that managers recognize which players provide the most significant advantage over other available options.

How does the concept of relativity factor into VBD?

The essence of VBD lies in its principle of relativity. Instead of evaluating a player solely based on their projected stats, VBD measures their potential relative to other players in the same position. This relative evaluation helps managers understand not just how a player might perform in isolation, but how they stand out when juxtaposed against their peers, highlighting the true value they bring to a fantasy team.

Why is VBD considered a revolutionary approach to fantasy football drafting?

VBD is deemed revolutionary because it challenges the traditional, often predictable, drafting strategies. By introducing a data-centric, calculated approach to player selection, it empowers managers to think differently, optimize each pick, and identify hidden gems in the draft. This emphasis on relativity and maximizing value has shifted the paradigm of fantasy drafting, offering a fresh, more nuanced perspective.

What are the potential pitfalls of relying heavily on preseason player projections in VBD?

Reliance on preseason player projections can be tricky. The dynamic nature of football—with injuries, strategic shifts, and unpredictable player breakouts—means no projection can be entirely foolproof. Variables like coaching changes, evolving team dynamics, and shifting game plans can swiftly alter a player’s outlook, potentially rendering early projections inaccurate. Over-relying on these can lead to miscalculated VBD values and, consequently, draft decisions that don’t pan out as expected.

How does VBD address the changing dynamics and unpredictability of the NFL?

VBD offers a structured approach that accounts for the unpredictable nature of the NFL. By focusing on relative value rather than fixed rankings or projections, VBD provides a flexible framework. This adaptability ensures managers aren’t caught off-guard by the league’s fluctuations, such as injuries or breakout performances, allowing them to pivot and adjust their strategy as the draft unfolds and the season progresses.

Are there critiques that suggest VBD might make managers resistant to adapting during drafts?

Yes, some critics argue that the structured approach of VBD might make managers less flexible during the draft. The emphasis on calculated values might deter managers from reading the room, gauging other managers’ strategies, or following their intuition. While VBD offers a logical approach, it’s essential to remember that drafts are also about adaptability, and an over-reliance on any one strategy might hamper this adaptiveness.

How has the NFL’s shift to a more pass-heavy game affected traditional VBD models?

The NFL’s pivot towards a pass-dominated paradigm has significantly influenced traditional VBD models. Historically, running backs were often the crown jewels of fantasy football, carrying disproportionate weight in VBD calculations. However, with teams increasingly emphasizing aerial attacks, wide receivers and, to some extent, tight ends have seen their stock rise dramatically in fantasy valuations. This shift necessitates recalibrations in the VBD framework. For instance, while running backs were once the primary targets in early rounds, elite wide receivers now often command those top spots. This evolving landscape has prompted a re-evaluation of baseline standards and relative player values in VBD, making it imperative for managers to stay attuned to league trends and adjust their drafting strategies accordingly.

Can the VBD approach be integrated seamlessly with other fantasy football strategies?

Absolutely. While VBD offers a structured, value-driven methodology for player selection, it’s fundamentally a tool—one that can be harmoniously blended with other drafting philosophies. For instance, managers can combine VBD with a “Zero RB” strategy, focusing on securing elite wide receivers or tight ends early and identifying undervalued running backs later in the draft. Similarly, VBD can be paired with a “streaming” approach for positions like quarterbacks or defenses, allowing managers to optimize value across their roster while planning to rotate through available players during the season based on matchups. Ultimately, the versatility of VBD lies in its emphasis on relative value, making it a complementary asset to a variety of drafting strategies, rather than a rigid doctrine.

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