Friday, July 16, 2010

6 Ways Mock Drafting Can Help You in 2010

Note: Welcome to the debut of my weekly fantasy football column. Sadly, the blog I had created to focus soley on fantasy football had to go the way of the dodo bird or skeelo, but his is a good compromise for me and I look forward to providing whatever insights or tips I can to help you this fantasy football season.

Last year, I participated in literally over 100 mock drafts en route to an outstanding fantasy football year. This year, the Mock drafting has come early and often! Some may scoff or even mock the mock drafting process, but here are some benefits to mock drafting:

1) Test your draft position – If you are in a league where the drafting order is based off of the previous seasons’ standings, you already know your slot and can draft in that slot time after time to get a feel for who might be there when you pick. If you don’t know where you’ll pick, it allows you to test out different slots and see where certain guys are being drafted. By the time I drafted, I had a rough idea of what guys would be available at the slots I was picking in first few rounds of my drafts. This really is an undervalued advantage on draft day. If a guy falls to you that hasn’t been around in most of your mock drafts, you know you’re getting good value.

2) Challenge your board – Even if you don’t have a full on ranking system or draft board, you still have a pretty good idea about who you like heading into a draft. Mock drafting allows you to test how much you like a player. For example, if you are picking 7th and you’ve targeted Drew Brees as your pick but suddenly a Ray Rice or a Frank Gore slips (it happens), what are you going to do? Luckily, a mock draft gives you the flexibility to test yourself and your board so that you’re ready come draft day so that if a surprise happens and a guy like Gore falls to you and you can take him knowing that you’ll already have an idea of another QB that could be on the board for you at a subsequent pick.

3) Try out drafting strategies – After listening to the experts prior to last year, I entertained the idea that a team that went WR, WR with its first two picks could be formidable. In several mock drafts I drafted Larry Fitzgerald and Randy Moss 1 and 2 just to see what my RB options were in that scenario. When the time came to draft a team in one of my leagues, I was confident enough in this strategy to know that it would 1) still leave me with good options at RB and 2) put pressure on the other teams in my league to snag WRs, leaving solid RBs to fall to me.

4) Find out what others are thinking – Fantasy drafts are completely unpredictable; however, the more mocks you participate in, the more exposure you have to the true unpredictability of the draft…and you may even be able to spot trends. If people are routinely taking Tom Brady or Drew Brees in the top 5 in your mock draft, then you know there is a chance that someone might reach for one of them in your fantasy draft. It helps you be ready for anything, and it will assist you in figuring out your rankings so that you can make the good picks when it counts. I did this last year with Ray Rice. I watched as he slipped round by round in many a mock draft and by the time I drafted each of my teams, I was able to snag him in a later round, because I knew he wasn’t high on the radar as he maybe should’ve been. This year, the guys that could help a quality player fall to you will be Andre Johnson, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees.

5) See and understand the rankings – Sometimes it’s difficult to contextualize player rankings until you see it in a draft format and see players come off the board. Knowing that Matt Schuab is the 6th ranked QB doesn’t mean much until you line him up against all of the other players in the draft to see where he might fall. If you just look at his ranking, maybe you take him in the 2nd round, when really you could get a #1 WR or #2 RB and still snag him as your QB in round 3 or 4. Plus, you’ll know exactly where the guys you like are. This is important for later rounds when you’re drafting more for potential. A lot of people when drafting only see what is immediately in front o f them on the screen, but if you’re sitting there in the 10th round and you know Wes Welker is listed in the late 100s early 200s because of his ACL injury, you can take him there and stow him away. It could help you get some really nice steals…particularly with rookies that have great upside.

6) It’s fun! – If you are a fantasy nut, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re looking to improve your standing, hear me now, thank me later. Not only will you learn a few things along the way, you’ll have a lot of fun doing it.

So there you have it. You may be mocked, but in the end, mock drafting could definitely help you in your 2010 fantasy football preparation more than almost anything else you can do to prepare.

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