Join the Footballguys Daily Update
Start your morning with our roundup of the most important stories in football - with the fantasy insight you need to make league-winning decisions. Delivered straight to your inbox, 100% free.
Note: This series is designed to take salary cap drafters of any ability and refine their skills to those of a seasoned veteran. The articles will go from simple concepts to the most advanced salary cap draft theories. Each article is designed to build on the previous articles in the series. For best results, read each article before proceeding to the concepts in the next article.
If you haven’t yet, it’s a good idea to go back and read the first three parts of this series before you dive into nomination strategies.
The nature of salary cap drafts is that they are unpredictable. There are so many variables you can’t control that it is even more critical to maximize your edges on the things you can control. Nominations are one of those things. Salary cap drafters notoriously give very little thought to who they are going to nominate and why. If you want to take your salary cap skills to the next level, you must become intentional with your nominations and think about what you’re accomplishing with each nomination you make.
Briefly, there are three stages of a salary cap draft:
Your nomination strategy should change based on those stages. Let's go through your path.
Debunking a Myth
There is a common salary cap draft myth that you should begin all your drafts by nominating expensive players who you don’t want in order to drain cap space from other teams. While the logic is fine, that isn’t an optimal strategy for a couple of reasons.
First, when a salary cap draft starts, most of the people in the room are excited to start bidding on the top players. You don’t necessarily need to nominate a top player you don’t want because they’ll be nominated soon, regardless. For example, let’s say you are out on Jonathan Taylor this year. If there are two or three managers (or more, he is still the RB5 in ADP this year) in the room that want Taylor, he is going to go for around $45-$50. If you nominate him, you are correct in thinking that someone has just spent a quarter of their cap on their top running back, so you aren’t competing with that person anymore.
But on the other hand, if three people are interested in Taylor, you are actually tying up $50 in the minds of all three managers who want him. You’ve effectively tied up $150 instead of $50. But when one person lands him, you free up the other two to bid against you for a different running back. Also, ask yourself, “How long is Taylor going to last before he’s nominated by someone else?” Usually, it won’t be long. Salary cap drafters love nominating the top players. So let someone else do it, and then use your nomination for something else.
The Better Strategy
A better thing to use your nomination for early in a draft is defining where your draft is headed. If you read Part 3 in this series, you have a few par sheets ready to go before the draft. With your first nominations, you should be laser-focused on finding out which par sheet you are using. If you don’t figure out what your strategy is until 30 or 40 players are gone, then you may lose the ability to shift your strategy effectively. For example, let’s say you want a top quarterback, but if you don’t get an elite guy, then you’re going to pivot to a top tight end. If you wait on Josh Allen and other top quarterbacks, you may have to watch Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews go off the board while you wait. Then it is too late to adjust. Defining your draft quickly is one of the most crucial things you can do early in a salary cap draft. Use your early nominations to try to accomplish that goal and push the draft where you want it to go.
Continue reading this content with a ELITE subscription.
An ELITE subscription is required to access content for Salary Cap leagues. If this league is not a Salary Cap league, you can edit your leagues here.
"Footballguys is the best premium
fantasy football only site on the planet."
Matthew Berry, NBC Sports EDGE