Ever wondered what the best draft position in Fantasy Rugby is? It’s first, right? Well, not necessarily. Here’s a quick explanation of how drafting works in Fantasy Rugby Draft. If doing an online draft, the order is determined randomly. This is often disputed due the propensity for the League Commissioner to get first pick seemingly more often than not… but we will take the site owner’s word for its impartiality.
Now that the draft order is determined, each player picks during the first round in order of their draft position. However, in the second round they each pick in reverse order. So the person who picked 10th then also gets the 11th pick and the person who picked 9th gets the 12th pick. Therefore the person who picked first won’t pick again until the very end of the second round, i.e. they will get the 1st and 20th pick.
In other words the person who picked first only gets one player in the top 19, whereas everyone else gets two. In fact the person who picked 10th actually gets two players out of the top 11.
The only situation where going first in the draft order is best is where there is a clear difference between the best and second best player. In the lottery of Super Rugby, this is rarely the case. As an example, in 2017 Damian McKenzie, the Chiefs outside back, was ranked first in the draft order based on a couple of amazing Super Rugby seasons where he ran lots of metres, scored lots of tries and, most importantly took the kicking duties from Aaron Cruden. When he has the kicking duties, McKenzie is gold dust in Fantasy Rugby Draft because you get the opportunity to have an extra goal kicker in the outside backs. Without the kicking duties he’s still a very good Fantasy Rugby Draft player because he is a running fullback in an attacking Chiefs team… but probably not the very best player available. As of the beginning of 2017 he looks to have returned the kicking duties back to Aaron Cruden.
Because you don’t get a second player choice until late in second rate leaves players with early draft positions more heavily invested in their first pick than players who go later. The risk can be seen by early draft favourite Nehe Milner-Skudder getting a season-ending injury in the first round in 2016, or Richie Mo’unga breaking his hand in the opening round of 2017.
The benefits of picking first and last
Other than getting the choice of any player you like, the other benefit to getting the first pick is getting two picks each round, back to back. This is also the benefit of going last. First in the draft order picks 1st, 20th and 21st while last in the draft order gets 10th, 11th, 30th and 31st. It’s a great opportunity to shore up a couple of positions in your team with no one getting in the way. However, you have to pick carefully because it’s a long, excruciating, 20 position wait for your next chance.
So what’s the best draft position in Fantasy Rugby?
Well, that depends on the quality of players available and how level the playing field is. I don’t believe you can tell who will top score out of the top four or five players in Super Rugby. However, there is a vast difference between the top five and the players 20 and above, so having to wait till the 20th pick for your second choice is a big disadvantage of going first.
My personal preference would be to go sixth, because as getting either the sixth and 14th gives you the opportunity for two really high ranked players without the pressure of gambling on one of the top five players.
My second preference would be to go last because you get two players in the top 11. The down side of that is waiting until position 30 to get another player.
What’s your favourite fantasy rugby draft position?