How draft-based fantasy footy works

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After my last article on the draft-based NRL fantasy footy, I had a few people asking how it works. So I’ve taken the time to outline a few things about how this version of the game takes place.

The first thing you do is get a group of mates together. The numbers I found worked best were either eight or ten people – anything less than this makes the game too easy, anything more makes it feel kind of stretched.

Another big thing is to pick a group of mates that love footy as much as you do and will likely stick this out to the end. When players drop off it ruins the league as you watch a team that’s full of injuries start while some of the stars of the game reside on their bench.

Most websites have the option to select team sizes, but I really think its best to field a full team of 13 with maybe four on the bench.

Once you have your league set up, the next step is draft day. While this can be done online, it’s much more fun to do this at one person’s house with a BBQ and some beers.

How you pick your draft order – who gets the first choice and second choice and so on – is up to you, but the more creative ways are the most fun.

Draft day is about watching your mates struggle between choosing players they know are good scorers while trying pick players they like. And half the fun is picking up a player that you know someone else is ready to pounce on.

The most important thing to remember with the draft-based game, as opposed to to the salary cap version, is that rather than trying to accommodate all the big names into your team with a budget, you have no money to spend on a player.

You pick someone up when it is your turn to draft and then you have exclusive rights to that player.

For example, if you pick up Cameron Smith with that lucky first draft pick, he is on your team and no one else can use him for as long as you have him.

You do have the option, however, to drop him from your team for any reason. Someone else can pick him up, meaning that they now are the only person to have him on their team.

Another big difference between the draft-based and salary-based games is the way that trades work.

In the salary cap game, you start out with a set number of trades at the start of the year and are usually limited to two trades a week.

In the draft game, you have an unlimited amount of trades for the year enabling you to make as many as you want per week.

And the trades you make are between the other players in your league.

Say you realise that your backline is pretty weak while your forwards look pretty potent. You then have the option of scouting other teams in your league to see who has that player that will make all the difference to your team, and then trying to figure out who you’re willing to part with.

If making a trade that will help out both you and a mate is not something that you like the sound of, you then have the option of going to the waiver wire.

The waiver wire is a pool made up of all the players that were not picked up for any team during draft day. After lockout at the end of each round,  each coach has the option of putting in a bid on the waiver wire.

Depending on your position on the ladder, last place usually gets first priority on the waiver, depending on your likelihood of picking certain players up.

For example, if George Burgess was overlooked during the draft yet you see him have a stellar game, you can then put in a bid to have him come into your team while dropping one of your current players.

If, however, you do not have first priority on the waiver and the person who does also puts in a bid for Burgess, you then lose him and you will get your next available highest priority pick.

The waiver usually only lasts for a short period, normally 24 hours, and when it is over all unsigned players go into the free agent pool where anyone can pick up whoever they want in a first-come, first-served fashion.

I hope this helps some people out there and that more get involved in the draft game next year.

For more incentive to give it a try have a look at American televisions show The League, which is a comedy about five guys taking part in their own NFL fantasy league.

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