Back-to-school chaos. End-of-summer BBQs. Business travel.
Try as we might, life sometimes gets in the way of our favorite pastime.
Truthfully, that’s exactly what inspired this article. I was scheduled to take part in the fantasy football group’s weekly mock draft while flying back to Los Angeles after having been in the studio for the 2022 Fantasy Marathon. Rather than me relying on the Wi-Fi at 30,000 feet, one of our editors — Joe Kaiser — suggested testing out some autodraft strategies.
It was, by no means, a perfect draft. But I learned that a few selection-day tweaks could produce a solid squad.
Obviously, crafting a roster in real time remains the most recommended (and fulfilling) option, but ESPN Fantasy has made the autodraft feature effortlessly customizable. Doubling down during the season and working the waiver wire is still a must, but formulating your fake football team on the spot doesn’t have to be … autodraft can save the day.
To adjust your draft settings, go to My Team tab, then click on Edit Draft Strategy. Once you note the Pre-Draft Rankings tab, adjust the rankings by dragging and dropping.
It’s a one-stop shop for personal preference … and convenience.
1. Draft the position you want in the rounds you want ’em
Are you passionate about a Robust RB strategy? Or does the Zero RB approach intrigue you? Maybe you’re all about scooping Josh Allen early. Or, perhaps, you’re comfortable waiting on the QB position. Regardless, utilizing the autodraft feature allows you to set it and forget while implementing your preferred game plan.
Simply, adjust each round — specifying RB, WR, TE or FLEX — to reflect which position you want to prioritize when. The tool will take over and select the best available option when and where you’ve specified. This year I’m targeting the second tier of QBs so I chose the seventh round to select a QB in the hopes of acquiring either Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts or Dak Prescott (and it worked, as I landed Murray). If, however, you’re betting big on a Lamar Jackson bounce-back, then adjust for a fifth-round QB acquisition.
2. Auto-fade players you’re passing on
Maybe you’re out on Saquon Barkley. Or you’re a die-hard Titans fan who can’t bear to root for the Brotherly Love version of A.J. Brown. No matter.
If you have zero interest in a player, then simply keep him off your squad regardless of potential value.
To do so, go to the My Team tab, then click on Edit Draft Strategy. Once you see the Pre-Draft Rankings tab just adjust the rankings by dragging and dropping and exclude any player(s) you don’t want by clicking on the box next to their name.
You can also use this feature to prioritize your passion picks and improve their chances of joining your crew. (For example, the George Pickens hype has me cooling on Chase Claypool, who I definitely should have moved down before clicking save and submit.)
3. Limit the number players at certain positions
You don’t need two defenses. Or two kickers. Or even two TEs. To super-stock your bench with depth picks, load up on FLEX gets while setting positional limits.
This can be accomplished by filling out the min/max of each position for every round under the AutoPick Strategy tab.
I normally don’t take two QBs, but I was interested in highlighting the depth at signal-caller with this particular exercise. As has been a trend in these mocks, Aaron Rodgers fell … and landed on my team in Round 11. I would have preferred a player with more upside like Nico Collins (well done, Eric Moody) or Isaiah Spiller (on-brand Secret Squirrel move), but knowing one can nab last year’s MVP in the double-digit rounds certainly illuminates a variety of strategic possibilities.
Ultimately, there is no substitute for clicking and queuing while on the clock. When time isn’t on your side, however, ESPN’s autodraft feature delivers sizable control in creating your squad.
QB1 Kyler Murray, Ari (Pick: 7.2 | Bye: 13)
QB2 Aaron Rodgers, GB (Pick: 11.2 | Bye: 14)
RB1 Christian McCaffrey, Car (Pick: 1.2 | Bye: 14)
RB2 James Conner, Ari (Pick: 3.2 | Bye: 13)
RB3 Josh Jacobs, LV (Pick: 4.11 | Bye: 7)
RB4 Antonio Gibson, Wsh (Pick: 5.2 | Bye: 14)
RB5 Marlon Mack, Hou (Pick: 14.11 | Bye: 6)
WR1 Amari Cooper, Cle (Pick: 6.11 | Bye: 9)
WR2 Chase Claypool, Pit (Pick: 8.11 | Bye: 9)
WR3 Robert Woods, Ten (Pick: 9.2 | Bye: 6)
WR4 Jarvis Landry, NO (Pick: 10.11 | Bye: 14)
WR5 Marquez Valdes-Scantling, KC (Pick: 12.11 | Bye: 8)
WR6 DJ Chark, Det (Pick: 13.2 | Bye: 6)
TE1 Mark Andrews, Bal (Pick: 2.11 | Bye: 10)
K1 Graham Gano, NYG (Pick: 16.11 | Bye: 9)
D/ST1 Buccaneers D/ST, TB (Pick: 15.2 | Bye: 11)
Follow Liz on social @LizLoza_FF.
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