Draft Strategy

Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: Drafting From the 12th Spot

D'Andre Swift

Drafting From the 12th Spot

I’m like a kid on Christmas when it comes to the anticipation of learning what my draft spot will be in my fantasy football home league. The excitement as the not-so-jolly man with the beard (our Commissioner) delivers our draft order still gives me goosebumps. But, like a kid on the naughty list, this year I was given the equivalent of a lump of coal in my stocking; the 12th pick! I don’t know what I did to deserve it. I was very good this year! I read all of Matthew Berry’s articles. I listened to John Hansen on the radio every day. I liked every one of Evan Silva’s tweets!

I had to accept the reality that I had a bad pick and I needed to come up with a plan. I briefly considered auto-draft, but I knew Evan would block me on Twitter for that. So, I did a lot of research, dozens of mock drafts, hours of endless crying, and finally came up with a solution; The Draft Matrix! (Keanu Reeves is not associated with nor does he endorse this article in any way. I asked.)

So, what is the Draft Matrix? It’s just a cool name for a round-by-round draft guide I made to help me, and hopefully, others, decide who to draft in each round. It’s sort of like those interactive books where you choose what happens next. Maybe I should call this the Draft Your Own Adventure draft system. I actually kinda like that name. Please don’t steal it, Keanu.

The Draft Matrix works for standard or PPR scoring formats. It’s based on standard lineup requirements, so I wouldn’t recommend it for superflex leagues. All you need is the  Gridiron Experts Top 250 Draft Rankings as your cheat sheet. When the Matrix instructs you to draft the highest ranked player from two or more positions, simply choose the player ranked highest on the cheat sheet.

It’s pretty self-explanatory, but I suggest looking through it before you draft. There are some useful notes in the mid-to-late rounds to ensure you keep your roster balanced. I’m going to run through a quick mock draft on Sleeper.com using the Draft Matrix and we’ll see how well I did with the 12th pick.

Helpful Drafting Tips

Round QB RB WR TE Def K Notes
1 X X Draft the highest ranked RB or WR from Top 250 list
2 X X Draft the position you did not draft in Round 1
3 X X X Draft the highest ranked RB/WR/TE from Top 250 list. Look for one TE between rounds 3-9.
4 X X X Draft highest ranked RB/WR/TE from Top 250 list
5 X X X Draft highest ranked RB/WR/TE from Top 250 list
6 X X X X You should have at least two RBs and two WRs before drafting a QB. Look for one QB between rounds 6-9.
7 X X X X You should have 2-3 RBs and 2-3 WRs after Round 7
8 X X X X Draft highest ranked RB/WR/TE/QB from Top 250 list
9 X X X X After Round 9, you should have 3-4 RBs, 3-4 WRs, one TE & one QB
10 X X Only draft a TE/QB if you don’t have one
11 X X After Round 11, you should have 4-5 RBs, 4-5 WR, one TE & one QB
12 X X X X If you didn’t draft a TE between Rounds 3-9 or a QB between Rounds 6-9, draft a second one.
13 X X X X Use Rounds 13-14 for high upside/handcuff RB. TE or QB if a second one is needed
14 X X X X Draft a minimum of 5 RBs and 5 WRs
15 X Draft a defense this round
16 X Draft a kicker this round


Mock Draft Results

  • Round 1- D’Andre Swift (RB)
  • Round 2- Stefon Diggs (WR)
  • Round 3- Diontae Johnson (WR)
  • Round 4- David Montgomery (RB)
  • Round 5- Michael Pittman, Jr. (WR)
  • Round 6- Joe Burrow (QB)
  • Round 7- Marquise Brown (WR)
  • Round 8- Dalton Schultz (TE)
  • Round 9- DeVonta Smith (WR)
  • Round 10- Cordarrelle Patterson (RB)
  • Round 11- Rhamondre Stevenson (RB)
  • Round 12- Robert Woods (WR)
  • Round 13- JD McKissic (RB)
  • Round 14- Jamaal Williams (RB)
  • Round 15- New England Patriots (Def)
  • Round 16- Tyler Bass (K)

I don’t hate this team. It’s hard to be completely satisfied when you have the last pick, but I followed the Draft Matrix, and I think I drafted a team that will compete for a playoff spot. Keanu would be proud.

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