Fantasy Foundation: Block VII

VII. Utilize Mock Drafts

Every veteran fantasy football player understands the value of mock drafting.  Something an inexperienced fantasy football player may think is that mock drafting is a waste of time.  Here is what mock drafting is good for: knowing what is available at a certain draft position and which players are going when.  Here is why mock drafts can be bad: it is common to develop tunnel vision toward certain players after many mock drafts; that and every league drafts differently.

  • Learn which players are likely to be available at which pick.  When mock drafting, it is important to draft in a similar spot to the actual draft position.  The first four to six rounds are really all that matter, those of us who have done mock drafts before have likely noticed that people tend to leave after the second round and almost everyone is gone by the end of the sixth.  They aren’t intentionally being jerks and wasting everyone’s time (usually), it’s just that the more picks made, the more the draft will deviate from the standard.  What really needs to be focused on is who is available at the first couple of selections and see where that leaves the roster.  If a roster typically ends up with two WRs in the first two picks then look to see which RBs are available in the 3rd and 4th rounds.  If there are no RBs that fall into the 3rd and 4th rounds then look to take one within the first two picks and vice-versa.
  • Learn about ADP.  ADP is average draft position for those uninitiated, it is essentially a breakdown of the average pick each player is selected at in mock drafts (or even actual drafts) up until this point across various websites.  As good as ADP can be, utilizing mock drafts gives a more accurate representation on where each player is likely to go.  Use these tools together to have a better idea who may actually fall during a real draft.  Remember, just because every mock draft has the same few players go in the first few selections, there may be a wild pick early in any given league which will free up a great player.  Don’t be foolish, take that player if he becomes available and adjust the game-plan accordingly.
  • Don’t develop tunnel vision.  I can admit that I have been guilty of this in the past; doing many mock drafts in the same spot I see which players I typically get over the first four to six rounds and I start locking onto them in all my mocks.  This can prevent someone from drafting a potential value that may fall to their pick that they didn’t expect.  This may also make someone upset if a player they have been locking onto is taken before is expected.  A good plan-of-attack is to try different draft strategies from the same spot to see what usually works best.  Going WR/WR at the turn (12th and 13th overall picks in a twelve team snake draft) is usually viable but if no RBs are available in the 3rd and 4th rounds that are good enough to start then consider taking an RB during the turn.  Know what to do when a player being targeted is taken and don’t be shaken by it, a good draft is about drafting a well balanced team, not drafting a cookie-cutter team.  Trades are always available later.

* This is block 7 of an 11-part series that will be posted over the course of the next week.  It will then be posted in its entirety at the conclusion of the series.  Thank you for reading and be sure to come back tomorrow to the Overtime Network for the next blocks!