Get Your Mock Draft On
By Guest Writer Jeremy Barbati:
Fantasy football is a game of strategy. Whether you are a free agency guru or a wily trader, the strategy that sets the tone for your fantasy season is in the draft. Just like great franchises in the NFL, success begins with a corps of players you build through savvy drafting. You don’t want to be caught with your pants down on draft day, and luckily there are several sites that offer mock drafts that are both fun and informative. NFL.com, Yahoo Sports, and ESPN all offer practice draft rooms where you can hone your skills, practice you trash talking, and learn from other fans.
Obviously, you can’t get your finger on the pulse of draft nation with just one, so repetition is key. At this point in the offseason, player rankings are sure change with training camp right around the corner. Besides injuries though, consensus top players are pretty much cemented as far as what rounds they will be off the board. As we move further into training camp, guys who are fringe starters can start generating buzz or may go the complete other direction and seem lost on the field.
While this may or may not affect official player rankings, you should factor such reports into your decisions. This could be the difference between getting a late round dud or a late round stud. Before Arian Foster’s debut, Texans camp as abuzz with excitement over this undrafted unknown. He was drafted around the fifth round on his way to the #1 scorer at RB. CJ Spiller and Alfred Morris were last year’s late round gems. Shanahan was high on Morris in July last year when he was just the #4 runner on the Skins’ depth chart.
Mock drafts are also great places to discuss and ask questions about certain players. Some people are surprisingly savvy and it’s always good to hear other opinions before making your final decision. Ask about players that are hurt or fringe starters. You run into fans who know more about their players that you do. If someone makes a questionable pick, ask them why. You need to be active to really get anything out of mock drafts. You only get as much out of it as you put into it.
The most important thing to take note of is where certain guys are being drafted, specifically who is being drafted late. The last few rounds are reserved for kickers and bench warmers, but also fliers on players with potential. The later the rounds go, the more rankings and draft positions deviate. Guys in the 200s will go 50-80 spots higher than their ranking. This is the part of the draft where you find those diamonds in the rough. Some examples this year would be WRs Vince Brown in SD and Cordarrelle Patterson in MIN or TEs Zach Ertz in PHI and Fred Davis in WAS.
Along with simple things like getting a feel for who is on bye on what week, mock drafting gives you a better understanding of dynamic player stock and gets you into the minds of other drafters. Be sure to practice at every draft position to be prepared for any contingency. Most importantly, they are fun! You can make some friends and start a league with guys you meet in mock draft rooms. One more word of advice, don’t feed the trolls. You will always run into an imbecile or two if you do enough mocks. Don’t take their hate bait and just walk away.
Happy drafting everyone!