Maximizing draft picks and finding hidden gems: Exploring Value-Based Drafting in Fantasy Football.

What is Value-Based Drafting in Fantasy Football?

At its core, VBD is about assessing players against a predetermined baseline for their position. This baseline typically represents the expected production from a replacement-level player.

This strategic approach allows managers to maximize each draft pick and identify players whose potential significantly eclipses their peers. It also helps them recognize hidden gems in their drafts.


In the vast landscape of fantasy football drafting strategies, Value-Based Drafting (VBD) stands out as an innovative method. It emphasizes relative performance, ensuring that your draft picks are the highest-value players available. But it isn’t without its critics and inherent challenges.

To calculate a player’s VBD, you subtract their projected points from a baseline for each position. For example, if a quarterback’s projection is 180 and the baseline for QBs is 50, his VBD is 100. The idea behind this system is that it helps you evaluate a player’s potential by comparing them to the worst starter at each position.

However, relying too heavily on projections can be dangerous. In the whirlwind world of NFL football, coaching changes and evolving game plans can dramatically alter a player’s outlook. This can lead to misguided VBD values. To avoid this, you should always be prepared to pivot and adjust your strategy based on real-time news and information.


Fantasy football is a tumultuous landscape that requires a delicate balance of precision and strategic foresight. With the right tools, managers can conquer this complex maze and dominate their leagues.

Traditional drafting strategies can be linear and predictable, often relying on pre-determined positional priorities or individual projected stats. VBD adds a crucial element of dynamism by evaluating players relative to a baseline for their respective positions, ensuring that every draft pick yields the highest possible value.

The bedrock of VBD is VORP, or “value over replacement player.” This is determined by subtracting a projection for a given position from the average score across all positions in the same scoring system. This gives managers a comparative analysis to identify which players stand out above their peers, providing them with an informative edge over their opponents. In addition to VORP, VBD also relies on the concepts of VOLS and VONA. These are based on comparing the player under consideration to the worst starter at his respective position.


In a fantasy football league, you win by scoring more points than your opponent. And while it is important to identify players that score more points than their peers, it is equally crucial to know which positions are favored by your league’s rules and scoring system. VBD does this by calculating a player’s projections against a baseline player at each position. The result is a number that indicates how many points a player will outscore the baseline quarterback, running back, wide receiver, or tight end.

This relative evaluation is why VBD has gained traction as a revolutionary approach to fantasy drafting. It empowers managers to think differently and optimize each draft pick, enabling them to discover hidden gems. Unlike traditional drafting strategies, VBD accounts for the unpredictable nature of the NFL by focusing on relative value rather than fixed rankings and projections. VBD also allows managers to adapt to shifting dynamics in the league, including injuries and unanticipated breakouts.


VBD has shifted the paradigm of fantasy football, empowering managers to think differently and maximize each pick. This data-centric strategy focuses on relative evaluation, helping managers identify hidden gems in the draft. It also challenges the traditional, predictable drafting strategies that tend to focus on linear, pre-defined positions and individual projected stats. For example, conventional wisdom dictates prioritizing running backs early in the draft based on the assumption that they score more points.

Using VORP, VOLS, and VONA, VBD allows managers to establish baselines for each position and identify players that offer unparalleled value over these projections. This approach helps managers avoid relying on subjective opinions that can easily skew the results.

However, calculating the various statistics involved can be time-consuming, and many fantasy managers use a VBD cheat sheet to make the process more efficient. These can be found online or through several fantasy websites. They can be customized to fit specific league settings, making them a great tool for aspiring VBD masters.

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