Welcome to our Knowledge Base article on Redraft for Beginners! Below we outline the general format, basic strategy, and what makes it different from other fantasy leagues.
Redraft leagues were the most popular type of league for the first 25 or so years that fantasy football was around in the general population. This type of league requires only a one season commitment as your team is newly drafted every year. Full team drafts are done every year and roster management is done with only the current season in mind.
Redraft leagues, as opposed to best ball leagues, do require roster management. This added layer of strategy can result in huge differences in how teams approach their draft and how well they finish. Team managers are required to set a weekly lineup. Team managers are also able to add and drop players and make trades. This requires more time and attention to be successful than a best ball league.
Competition in redraft leagues typically consists of weekly head-to-head matchups against another team in the league. There is most often a regular season consisting of the first 14 weeks of the season. Weeks 15,16, and 17 are most often used for the playoffs. Week 18 is often not used because many teams in the NFL have already secured their playoff position and will sit their best players for the game that week.
The top teams in the league make the playoffs. Different leagues have different amounts of playoff teams but 6 or 8 teams is the most common format. Teams are seeded by how they finished in the regular season with the best team playing the worst team and all other first round matchups following the same. The winning teams advance in the bracket creating subsequent matchups the next weeks until a champion is crowned in week 17.
When drafting a team, team managers only need to consider the value of a player for the current year. There will be different starting lineup requirements in different leagues. Make sure to know what your league requires for a starting lineup, exactly how many of each position are required and if there are flex spots.
Flex spots allow players from various positions to fill that spot. If your league has flex spots check what positions are available to be played in the flex spot(s). The most common setup for flex spots is to allow running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends to be played in flex spots. Double check which positions are allowed for each flex spot in your leagues because some leagues allow a quarterback to be played in a flex spot. These leagues are superflex leagues. Check this article (tbd) for more information on superflex leagues.
The next thing to do is to check your league’s scoring settings. Different leagues have different scoring rules and these rules will directly affect the value of different positions and different players. Take a look here (tbd) for the impact of different scoring settings. With this knowledge in hand it is time to draft.
In your draft, the player’s performance this season is what you are concerned with. You should look to acquire as many players with the highest value as possible to fill your roster. With the ability to trade you can choose to draft players who are valuable despite already having the starting roster spots full at the position they play. This approach means you then trade these high-value players at positions you don’t need a starter at for high-value players at positions of need or for multiple players to fill out your roster. Check us out here for beginner trade tips, and more advanced trade strategies here.
The simplest approach is to draft high-value players to fill your starting roster positions and then to target the highest value players left to fill your bench with less concern about the position these players play. While drafting to fill your bench you do not need to be overly concerned with player positions but you should make sure to have at least one extra player at each position than the required starting quantity. This is so that you will have a player to slot in during bye weeks.
Be sure to check bye weeks of players, especially bench players. It is okay to draft a player who is a few spots down in rankings/value to ensure that they do not have the same bye week as your starters. Do not pass up great value on a player or slide too far down in rankings to avoid shared bye weeks though. In redraft leagues you are able to add players to your roster if you drop a player or have an unfilled roster slot. There are various types of free agency formats to use so be sure to check what format your league uses, for more information on different free agency formats check our Knowledge Base. If the need arises you can always pick up a player to fill in a starting spot.
The last part of strategy, and often, the toughest is setting your lineup each week. The simplest, and often, best approach is to set your starting lineup with the highest ranked player available in the available spot. I would recommend this approach for beginners (honestly for almost all team managers). Some players like to start players based on matchups and the rankings of a player’s opponent’s defensive ranking in applicable areas.( e.g. for quarterback and wide receivers a team manager would look at the opponent’s pass defense ranking.) Lastly, when setting your team’s starting lineup make sure you do not have any players on their bye week in your starting lineup.
Redraft leagues offer team managers the challenge of drafting as well as in-season roster management. The intensity of each week and the results of weekly roster decisions provide weekly rewards and heartbreak.The feeling of making the right decisions on who to start is something that can’t be experienced in a best ball league. The decisions made have weekly and season long impacts but do not have multiple season affects like in dynasty leagues. There is also less complexity to roster management versus dynasty leagues where many other factors besides this season’s performance have to be considered when building a roster.
Redraft leagues offer a middle ground in time commitment and strategy for fantasy football. I believe they are the best type of league for beginners to play in. With the knowledge gained in redraft leagues team managers build a knowledge base which they can use to transition into dynasty leagues if they choose to do so.
Have you participated in a redraft league? Give us your thoughts, what made it better or worse for you? Join the conversation below!
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A fantasy football degenerate with an extreme love for the game. The only position Sam has ever played in any form of competitive football is armchair quarterback.
An affinity for football and watching games together was a part of growing up for him and his three brothers. 30 plus years as a Vikings fan has made him a glutton for punishment and a believer that he can do something his hometown team can’t, put together a championship roster.
Now 22 years into his fantasy football general manager career he is here to offer insight, advice, and the same hope for championships that he desperately clutches to for his Purple People Eaters.