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Fantasy EPL Draft Strategy: Winning On The Fantasy Pitch

Our Fantasy EPL Draft Strategy Guide looks into key tactics to consider when undertaking your all-important Fantasy EPL Draft!  We give you hints and tips on which types of Premier League players you need to prioritize in the early rounds of your draft, as well as which players you should be drafting in the later rounds.

This is essential reading for any Fantrax Draft Manager!  Look out for our upcoming Draft Rankings for the new season, which will really help you out with your preparation.  It’s time to talk EPL Draft Strategy for now though!

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EPL Draft Strategy Guide

Now then, this is why we’re here.  The Draft.  The endless hours, days, or possibly even weeks of preparation comes down to an hour or so of your life.  Mess this up, and you’re in for a season of pain… come out of the draft with a half-decent team, and the next nine months of your life will be far more pleasurable.  You’re reading our EPL Draft Strategy Guide, so you’re off to a good start in any case!

Drafting Tactics

There are lots of different approaches for EPL draft strategy, but to be honest, a lot of drafting comes down to personal preference.  However, it is imperative that you go into the draft with a strategy for which positions you want to fill at which points of the draft.  Having a plan, no matter how loose it is, will help you immensely during the draft.  Your specific strategy will come down to personal preference.  Hopefully the information below will help you consider when is best to draft certain types of players though!

Perhaps the most important thing to remember though is that the draft will not go according to plan.  You need to be adaptable throughout.  Look at your specific situation as the draft is unfolding.  You need to weigh up if you think your fellow managers will draft players that you want to draft.  Always keep an eye on which positions your fellow managers are yet to draft.  Looking at things in this way will hopefully reduce the stress involved in the process!

Decide on an EPL draft strategy that suits your preferences prior to the draft, and have a good idea of the players you want to bring in at certain times. Make sure you’re adaptable throughout the draft though – the pressure is almost certainly going to get to you!

Drafting Basics

New to drafting on Fantrax?  Here’s a quick lowdown of what you need to know:

  • A Fantrax draft is 16 rounds long, meaning you will pick 16 players in total
  • The draft follows a “snake” format – it goes in numerical order and then reverses to make the draft order fair. If you draft in first position, you have to wait until all other managers have picked their first-round player, as well as their second-round player, before you get to pick again.  You will then pick first in round three, and last in round four., and so on.
  • You only need to draft one goalkeeper, so adding extra outfield players is recommended

Our recommended squad consists of:

  • 1 Goalkeeper
  • 4 or 5 Defenders
  • 6 or 7 Midfielders
  • 4 or 5 Forwards

Best Position to Draft?

Perhaps the most important part of a draft, apart from selecting your players, is picking which position you would like to draft in!  Generally speaking, a snake draft works out pretty fair no matter where you draft in the order.  However, managers will have a preference on where they draft in the order.  There are also certain “sweet spots” in the order that may be favorable.

Let’s break it down a little further (this is all hypothetical/probable):

  • Draft in the first few picks in the order and you’ll get an elite player in the first round.  Followed by a very good or good player by the time the second round comes round to you
  • Pick in the middle rounds of the order and you’ll get either an elite player or a very good player in the first round.  Followed by a very good player in the second round
  • Draft in the final picks of the order, and you’ll get a very good player in the 1st round.  Followed by a very good player in the 2nd round

Looking at this breakdown of the kind of players you could draft in the first couple of rounds, things look fairly even.  This is all down to personal preference too.  Some managers may be desperate to get their hands on Haaland, Salah or Kane, and will therefore gladly draft first, second or third so that they can get one of them.  They will then have to deal with the fact that their second-round pick won’t be as good as if they drafted in the middle rounds.  On the other hand, some managers may prefer to draft later on in the order and guarantee themselves two very good players in the first two rounds.  This all depends on the manager.

Draft “Sweet Spots”

We mentioned above that there are certain Sweet Spots of where to draft.  The thinking here is that you can draft in the middle-ish of the draft order and pick up an elite player in the first round.  You also have a good chance of picking up a very good player by the time the second-round picks come back round to you.  Therefore, the Sweet Spot will enable you to gain the best combination of first and second-round picks.

12 Person League: The Sweet Spot is probably pick four in the order; you’ll be guaranteed one of the elite players in this spot, and should hopefully be able to pick up a very good player in the second round. Drafting fourth would guarantee you one of Salah, Fernandes, Haaland or Kane. Hopefully by the time you chose your second pick you can get hold of someone like Olise, Eze, or MGW.

My personal issue here is that the later you draft in the order, the later you draft in the third round. This is exceptionally important. If you decide to draft 8th overall rather than 3rd you will get a better player in the second round, but you will get a worse player in the third round. If I had a choice of where to draft this season I would honestly take 1st in the order. You get the overall best player (Salah, Fernandes, Haaland or Kane based on your preference), followed by the 24th and 25th overall picks. This means you get the best player, plus two of the best 25 players. If you drafted in 5th you could get Alexander-Arnold, Saka, or Trippier, followed by the 20th and 29th best players. If you drafted 9th you could get Odegaard, followed by the 16th and 33rd best players. Take the best player in the game, followed by two really strong assets in the second and third rounds. By the time the fourth round comes around the difference between the players will be marginal.

8-Person League: The Sweet Spot here is probably to pick two in the order, as you’ll be guaranteed Haaland or Fernandes, and will likely be able to pick a very good player in the second round. The Sweet Spot is less important in an 8 person league though, as there will be a much better spread of players available. Honestly, its much less important where you draft in an 8 man snake draft.

Our upcoming Draft Rankings will enable you to test out these theories before your draft.  Use this to gauge who you will be able to draft in the first few rounds of the draft, based on the size of your league.  For example, if you draft 1st in an eight-person league, you will get the 1st, 16th, and 17th best players.  If you draft fifth in a 12-man league, you will get the 5th, 20th, and 29th best players.  Play around and see what calibre of players you would be able to draft in the first few rounds; depending on your league size, and position in the draft!

Other Strategies

Lots of people talk about these “Sweet Spots” in the draft order, or weighing up how late in the first round order you could draft and still be able to pick one of your favorite elite players.  Another drafting strategy that we’re seeing more and more of, is choosing to draft either at the start or end of a snake draft order.  This was you have two picks in a row, and can plan your picks and strategy a lot better.  If you have two picks in a row, then you’re not constantly watching who other managers pick, and hoping that the player you want will come back around for your next pick.  If you have two picks in a row, you can happily choose two players you like, and then re-evaluate your next picks when the order snakes back around to you.

Also, if your waiver wire order at the start of the season is set to be the reverse of the draft order, then the manager drafting in the final slot will get the benefit of having those two picks in a row, and also the benefit of being top of the waiver wire order.  This is especially important this season, as the transfer window is open for nearly a month after the season starts.  Therefore, being top of the waiver order will be a HUGE advantage.  So, if your waiver processing order at the start of the season is the reverse of the draft order, we would recommend taking last spot in a snake draft order! 

Fantasy EPL Quick Draft Tips

On Fantrax, the player positions closer to real-life are actually followed.  Using Opta data and statistics, players such as Mohamed Salah and Raheem Sterling are rightfully classified as forwards.  This means that wide forwards and wingers are classified as forwards.  The result of this is that there are a lot of top-quality forwards to go around in a draft on Fantrax.  The midfielders pool can feel fairly limited, however. This needs to be factored into your EPL draft strategy!!  Drafting a top-quality midfielder during the early rounds is recommended.  A passing midfielder who scores goals is the ideal Fantrax midfielder!

Due to the intelligent nature of the scoring system, there is usually a good spread of points across the positions.  Defenders such as Luke Shaw or Reece James can easily outscore the best attacking players due to statistically playing well.  An elite midfielder or forward, followed by a very good midfielder or forward, followed by one of the best defenders, is a good Draft Strategy!

Examples of good combinations from the first few rounds:

  • Fernandes, Watkins, James
  • Haaland, Eze, Shaw

Drafting three players who will average around 12-14 points per game in the first three rounds should put you in a good position!

EPL Draft Strategy By Position

⚽️ Drafting Forwards ⚽️

As we’ve pointed out above, Fantrax rightfully classifies wide forwards and wingers as forwards using Opta statistics.  This makes sense based on players’ average positions during matches!  This means that there are a huge amount of forwards to chose from.  16 forwards averaged over 10 points per game last season!

Despite the fact that there is a bigger pool of forwards, as well as a bigger spread of points in Fantrax leagues, you should still be targeting an elite forward in the 1st round of your draft.  The likes of Kane, Salah, and Haaland should be the top targets.  Grab yourself an elite forward if you can.  It’s so much more fun when your best player gains points for actually scoring goals!!

We think its personal preference when you pick up the rest of your forwards.  There are a lot of them to go around, but if you have the chance to pick up two good or great forwards in the opening few rounds, then you should take that opportunity!  Our upcoming Fantasy EPL Draft Rankings will help you decide which forwards are best to draft when.

🎯 Drafting Midfielders 🎯

As we mentioned, there are a limited number of top quality midfielders, as wingers are actually classified as forwards on Fantrax!  From the pool of midfielders, you’re looking for players that gain a fair amount of attacking returns, but those who will also gain good points for key passes or successful crosses.  A passing midfielder who scores goals is the ideal Fantrax midfielder!

We would recommend picking up a top-quality, goal-scoring forward in the first round, and then looking towards picking up a midfield beast in the second round.  Fernandes should be considered a first-round pick, and potentially the best player in Fantrax.  If you have the chance to draft him in the first round, then certainly take it!  Otherwise, try and pick up a midfielder such as Eze, Mitoma, Olise, McNeil, or Foden in the second round.

You should draft a very good or good midfielder in the opening three rounds.  Due to the limited number of top-quality midfield options, you need to bring in a midfielder early doors.  Otherwise, you run the risk of having a poor midfield selection further along in the draft.  The rest of your midfield comes down to personal preference of when to pick them up.  You could judge when to pick up certain players based on how the other managers have been drafting.  Know your fellow managers!

You should be streaming a couple of midfield spots throughout the season.  Therefore, make sure you take a gamble or two towards the end of the draft.  If the midfielder doesn’t work out, just drop them and pick up someone else after the first few weeks of the season!

🛡 Drafting Defenders 🛡

Now when to start drafting defenders… that’s the big question for Fantasy EPL!  Last season there were huge defender hauls, with the likes of Alexander-Arnold, Trippier and James taking leagues by storm at certain points of the season!!  We would recommend picking up one of the elite defenders in the third round if you’re able to.  James, Shaw or maybe even Porro are going to be worth it, based on their high average scores per game last season.  They could even be drafted in the second round in larger leagues!  Don’t be afraid to go early on a defender on Fantrax.  Especially a wing-back who will be fixture-proof due to key passes or successful crosses! Trippier was a revelation last season, and should be considered a first round draft pick this year, alongside Trent.

The key point here is that defenders offer a lot more value across the board in the sophisticated Fantrax Scoring.  Due to the fact that it’s not just attacking returns and clean sheets that impact the scoring system, defenders can easily rack up points for aerials, interceptions or clearances.  Try and spread your defender picks across your draft, mixing between all of the positions as you undertake your draft.  It’s worth leaving one or two of your defender picks until later on in the draft though.  There will be surprise players that you’ll want to pick up throughout the season.  Pinnock is a great example from last year. You need to be streaming your defenders throughout the season, so taking a punt of two towards the end of the draft will be worth it.  If it doesn’t work out, you can easily drop them and move on during the season.

🤚 Drafting Goalkeepers ✋

Drafting your goalkeeper in a Fantrax league is a pretty simple task; goalkeepers score notoriously poorly on this scoring system.

Leave drafting your goalkeeper until late on in the draft!  Potentially take Raya, Leno or Pope in round 12 or 13, but for anyone else you’re best off just leaving your goalkeeper pick until the final round.  Fantrax Leagues only require one goalkeeper to be in your squad.  Therefore there will always been starting goalkeepers in the free agent pool!  Streaming goalkeepers is very common, as they will have very little impact on your squad in the grand scheme of things.

Don’t waste a high draft pick on your goalkeeper!

Top Drafting Tips

  • It’s imperative you go into the draft with a strategy for which positions you want to fill at which points
  • Make sure you’re adaptable throughout the draft though – the pressure is almost certainly going to get to you!   The draft will not go to plan!!!
  • Look at your specific situation as the draft is unfolding.  You need to weigh up if you think your fellow managers will draft the players that you want to
  • Do as many Mock Drafts as you can – this is the best drafting preparation possible
  • Read our Fantasy EPL Draft Rankings!

Find our 23/24 Fantasy EPL Preseason Content here! And make sure you also check out the 23/24 Draft Kit from our official EPL content partners The Draft Society for Draft Rankings, Team Previews, Draft Strategy, Transfer Analysis, 22/23 Season Projections, and so much more!

Follow The Fantasy Football Chaps on Twitter @TheFFChaps for all the latest!

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