Most of us are probably pretty familiar with doing mock drafts in preparation for the fantasy football draft season. However, there are a few strategies that can be used to get maximum benefit from mock drafts.
Here’s 4 strategies that can take your game to the next level:
- Replicate a league within a mock draft on a site such as ESPN or Yahoo! – The first step is to make sure the league is set up the same: same number of teams, auction or snake, even scoring system such as PPR or not. Then get the same draft slot as you will have in your league. I am in a couple 1-player keeper leagues so I will slot my pick in the flipped spot in the order (1-10, 2-9, etc.) Then I will take the player who would be my keeper or the closest thing to them, i.e.e same position, in the first round. Getting in a serious mock draft is essential. A mock where most or all draft slots are filled by real people and there are not crazy selections or bids being made gives the best impression of what could happen in your real draft. If there are a couple crazy picks early, you might as well leave. To get the best feel for what your league’s draft could be like, join an actual league draft. You should be committed to playing your team in good faith but the real objective is to see how people in a league similar to your real one are drafting players.
- Draft a bunch and watch for trends – Use multiple sites (ESPN, Yahoo, NFL) and try to get a feel for things like when runs at certain positions are happening, if lots of players are waiting on QBs, etc. Some of the same principles apply as when trying to replicate your league such as throwing in an actual public league draft for added realism and getting in mock drafts during peak times so all or most of the other participants are actively drafting. Remember, if even a couple positions in the draft are auto-drafted, the results are not reliable for diagnosing trends among actual players. Auto-picks will keep the players taken pretty close to the site’s player ranking.
- Run draft simulations for your league – Project picks for your league in a program such as Excel or on paper. Obviously you need to know your leagues draft order as well as any keepers players. An advantage of projecting picks is that you also know the owners in your league – be realistic but keep in mind clear biases that other owners in your league demonstrate such as blatant homerism or crazy love of a certain player. The key is to try to predict what options you will be looking at when you do your actual draft so you have a chance to analyze what the best option will be. There are a couple of ways to distribute players. I like to use my own list because then my options when picking are the worst case scenarios to me. The actual draft will give even better options! Otherwise use a list from a website so there is no partiality. If you want an impartial list of players to follow for your projections, the Fan Sports List 2016 Fantasy Football Top 200 is live!
- Test strategies – This is my favorite part of doing mock drafts! Try different tactics to see how they pan out. Take Cam early in one mock to see how the other positions pan out then wait to take a QB until much later to see who is left and how strong the rest of your team turns out. I have been doing mocks strictly for fun where I take Gronk with my 1st round pick no matter where it is. The results are usually pretty interesting.
Mock drafts are one of the best ways to get ready for draft day and these techniques will help you make the most of your time spent mocking.