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The Salary Cap Roundtable Series
Joining a salary cap league can be intimidating for even a seasoned fantasy football player. Fortunately, the Footballguys staff has experience in this format and will help you. Over the summer, we'll cover various topics ranging from basic to advanced strategies.
What tools helped you when you were starting out with salary cap leagues?
Having average salary cap values from a source you trust is important. You don't need to follow these rigidly or it will handcuff you in the draft. Think of these average values as more of a preparatory tool. The numbers from a good value sheet will give you the starting point from which you can build out your strategy. Each individual salary cap draft will have its own tendencies and price fluctuations, but knowing average values ahead of time will tell you if what is happening in the draft room is out of line with expected outcomes.
While you must be flexible in a salary cap, you must also have a baseline of salary cap values you trust. That serves as your skeletal system. It's much easier to adjust an existing set of values (to deal with inflation or deflation in the live salary cap) than it is to just bid on feel as you might be able to in a redraft league.
These days there are great calculators (like our Draft Dominator) that dynamically adjust salary cap values in real-time to match what's happening in the room. But be mindful of how quickly a real salary cap can go and first-timers may find it difficult to both update salary cap values in their app while also strategizing their own roster plans.
The best data to have is prior salary cap values in your specific league. While no two salary caps drafts are similar, individual managers do have tendencies. Some tend to avoid paying for elite-tier players and build their roster with a bunch of middle-tier players. Others like to push aggressively and pay at the top, having confidence they can find bargains for $1 or $2 late in the draft. Some may like to pay for a specific position or avoid paying high marks for other positions. If you have the data from prior salary cap drafts, you should be able to parse out patterns and help codify your go-to-market plan.
If you can view previous drafts from the same league it will give you an indication of how much each player or each level of player from various positions and rankings is going for. From there, you can begin to surmise specific cost patterns and see who is a value based on cost and average ADP from traditional drafts. For example, if there is a player who has an ADP of mid-second round pick, and you're finding a dip in dollar value, compare to others in that grouping, that may be a player you want to target.
If you cannot view previous results from your league or a similar league be sure to have data that shows the average value of each player by position.
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