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Auto Draft Strategies

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How do you rank players to autodraft when the rest of the league is attending live?  It is a question I am trying to answer right now as I have a mixed league draft possibly occurring on the same day my wife goes into labor.

The first thing I did was scan through the list of pre-ranked players and removed every player who has been subsequently injured since the auto-rankings were released in February.  This has to be done because the eleven other teams will not draft the 88th rated player, Ervin Santana, until long after the autodraft feature has selected him as the top-ranked player available for your team.  

Amongst the other pitchers who merit serious Do Not Draft consideration (along with Yahoo! Ranks) are Cole Hamels (45) and Brandon Morrow (171).  For hitters, catcher Joe Mauer (52) is on the list right now.  If you feel comfortable getting any at those spots, the 4th round for Hamels, the 5th for Mauer and the 15th for Morrow, then leave them be.

Worse than drafting them is losing the open roster spot to one of these injured players.  While you may feel good about rostering Hamels or Santana or Mauer, you should think harder about the player you lost because an injured player took his spot.  I am not taking the chance on losing Brandon Webb (46) or Jose Lopez (172).

For Mauer, this is even more dangerous as the autodraft feature will see your Catcher slot filled and move on to drafting other positions.  Not until all the active rosters spots are filled will the computer begin taking bench players.  Even then, you need to hope a decent catcher is the highest rated remaining player at the time of your selection. 

Hence, there is a good chance the auto-draft  will pass on grabbing a quality second catcher until the end of the draft - if at all.  I'd much rather have Alexi Ramirez (53) and Ryan Doumit than Joe Mauer and Dioner Navarro.

As long as the other teams hew closely to the rankings, you should be fine.  At this point you can leave the autoranks alone.  I would suggest taking the time to move all of them to your own rankings as this will give you the freedom to try and strategize for positions scarcity and player runs.