THE IMPORTANCE OF MOCK DRAFTING
As we approach June, fantasy football season is ready to burst at the seams. Rankings are tinkered and adjusted daily, podcasts are beginning to fire up into mid-season form and of course, people are doing mock drafts. One of my favorite parts of the offseason is spending countless hours completing mock drafts to refine my draft strategy. Mock drafts have become one of my offseason necessities due to the natural unpredictability of drafts. Every league has one or two wild cards who seemingly don’t pay attention to ADP (Average Draft Position) or natural draft flow. While that’s one of the aspects that makes fantasy football fun, it can also be frustrating if you have a plan going into the draft and within two rounds it’s been absolutely destroyed. This article will cover some of my tips and tricks to use while mock drafting this offseason so you can have a leg up on your fellow league mates come your official draft day.
First things first, constructing your mock draft correctly is the most important part of the mock draft. If you play in 10-person leagues, then drafting for an 8-person or 12-person league does you absolutely no good. The whole idea of a mock draft is to practice building your ideal team with variables as close to your own draft day as possible. Mock drafting with the correct roster construction is also a huge key. If you have a league that has a specific roster setup, then it is best to have your mock draft set up to mirror that league. Practicing in a close to draft day environment is a huge help when it comes to your actual draft day.
Next up on my list of mock draft importance is experimenting. Now, this doesn’t mean consistently taking players 15-20 spots ahead of ADP just to see what is left, but don’t be afraid to reach a little here or there. If you typically don’t take a quarterback before round 5, consider taking Patrick Mahomes in the 2nd or 3rd round just to get a feel for what your roster could look like if you decide to pull the trigger a little earlier than expected. If you usually draft only running backs in the first three rounds, try not taking one until the 4th or 5th round to see how comfortable you would feel in that situation. Mock drafts are meant to be serious, but only up to a certain extent. With experimenting comes the process of drafting from different spots. Now, unless you have already determined the draft order for your draft, I recommend drafting from multiple different draft slots. If you only like to pick 10th and only practice drafting from that spot, you’ll be extremely unprepared if you don’t draft 10th in your actual draft. This doesn’t mean you need to practice drafting from each slot, though I would recommend it. You should, however, practice from the bookends of your draft as well as somewhere in the middle to be the most well rounded for your eventual draft.
While there are multiple different platforms that can be used to mock draft, the two I prefer are Sleeper and ESPN. Sleeper is great because you can start a mock draft and edit everything about it. Whether it is the number of teams, players, positional breakdowns or even just the time limit in between picks, all are adjustable when using Sleeper. You can also invite people to participate in the drafts with you, which is a great way to practice getting used to that human wild card element mentioned before. Another helpful feature when using Sleeper is the ability to choose to draft just against the computer which will draft loosely based off ADP. When it comes to mock drafting with ESPN, you join a draft lobby that has preset roster positions and scoring type. The only downside to this is that you must wait for a full lobby to fill the league, and it can be time consuming, which brings me to my final piece of advice. My final piece of advice for mock drafting is to not be an asshole. Now, this may be an obvious statement, but it needs to be heard by some people out there. If you are going to spend the time to join a mock draft lobby, wait the 5-10 minutes for the draft to start and then leave the draft to just auto-draft, find something better to do with your time. The whole point of mock drafting is to have fun with it and no one likes being stuck in a draft with 8 people auto-drafting the player with the next highest ADP. If you want to know what your team could look like by doing that, just pull up any fantasy experts top 200 player rankings and go down the list picking players within two picks of your draft slot. If you choose to auto-draft in a mock draft that takes 20-25 minutes, don’t waste the time of the people who are trying to improve their fantasy football game.
While I know that mock drafting may seem like a waste of time to some, I highly recommend trying it out at least once or twice. I had never been a fan of doing mock drafts until about two years ago, and that’s when I saw an improved performance in my drafting abilities. It seems like a commonsense thing to say, but it’s true; practice makes perfect. When it comes to drafting, I don’t believe there is such a thing as perfect, but mock drafting helps you get pretty dang close. Even if it doesn’t, it allows you the benefit of knowing what to expect and to be ready for some of the moves that may catch your other league mates off guard. Thanks for reading, join those mock drafts and as always, stay dreamin!