I play fantasy football in a league that’s been together since 1993. That’s 24 years of competing and trash talking.

Several guys in our league are fantasy studs. Our league commissioner, Sweet Lou, is a six-time champion. He co-hosts a live online sports show. He could go toe to toe with any so-called fantasy “expert,” if he wasn’t such a modest dude.

I am not a fantasy stud. I’m writing a book based on my league experiences. It’s called 24 Years of Sucking @ Fantasy Football.

As part of my research, I analyzed our league drafts going back 12 years. I wanted to measure the impact of draft position on a team’s chances for reaching the postseason and beyond.

Here’s what I found:

First pick vs. Last pick

Our league uses a 12-team snake draft. Over the past dozen years’ drafts, teams with the first pick reached the postseason 50% of the time. Teams with the last pick also reached the postseason 50% of the time.

In other words, picking first or picking last was a push. Teams with the first pick and the last pick reached the postseason the same number of times.

So what’s the best draft position?

Mid-pack is where’s it at. Teams drafting in the #6 and #7 position (out of 12) had the most success at reaching the playoffs.

Pick #6 and pick #7 each reached the postseason 75% of the time. Additionally, teams with the #6 pick were most likely to reach the championship game.

And…what’s the worst draft position?

There’s no competition. The worst draft position was #11. During that 12-year span, the #11 pick reached the postseason…once. That’s an 8% frequency.

By comparison the next worst position, pick #10, sent four teams to the playoffs during that same period. That’s a 33% frequency.

There’s a silver lining. That one time when pick #11 made the postseason? Sweet Lou took it home, all the way to a league championship.


Parting shots

Over the past 12 years, teams in our league reached the playoffs from every draft position on the board. But, draft position alone guarantees nothing.

For example: teams that picked first, middle and last all won league championships during that period. But, teams picking in those same positions also finished dead last.

Like Rihanna says: To win a fantasy title, you gotta werk werk werk, all season long.

Want more insights into winning and losing in fantasy football? Enter your email to reserve your free copy of “24 Years of Sucking @ Fantasy Football.”

All charts and data used in the book can also be downloaded for free here.

One thought on “Is it better to draft first or last in fantasy football? Try middle.

Leave a Reply