Mock drafts have become a staple of every fantasy sport known to man. It's a time that you can hone your craft or at least make ludicrous picks that you know will never happen in real life. The sooner you start mock drafting the sooner you'll catch draft day fever.
Drafting now will mean better results later on or at least it should.
Yahoo! captured a great conversation between one of their readers and their wife about his mock drafting habits. I promise it'll give you a good laugh.
Fantasy Football Mock Draft Advice
This exchange comes courtesy of Yahoo! and shows exactly how not silly mock drafting really is:
"My wife does not understand the rationale behind mock drafts. A typical conversation between us follows:
Her - "Are you drafting again?"
Me - "Yes."
Her - "Not a real draft, but a fake one, right?"
Me - "A mock draft."
Her - "Mock, fake…what's the difference? You're fake-drafting to prepare for a fake draft of real players for your fake team?"
Me - "Don't you have dishes to wash?"
"Expletives and solid objects are usually hurled in my general direction at this point, prompting me to retreat to the quiet solitude of my den where I can contemplate my draft strategy for my fake real fantasy draft via the wonder that is mock-drafting."
Mock drafting presents the perfect time to learn where you might want to draft, where you can find value and it allows you work out the kinks from last season. The biggest take-way from mock drafting should be finding some late round steals.
Don't Jump Ship In the Early Rounds
A mock draft can only be as great as the people that are in it - which means if the draft starts and theres already a few people missing, bail immediately. In all other scenarios I recommend staying until the others begin leaving. Although you might think staying through the late rounds is pointless I'd argue that you can get a feel for some later round picks that you'd like to target in your real draft.
There's nothing wrong with just doing a few rounds to know the beginning of your draft, but lets be honest thats not where you win your league.
It's on the waiver wire, it's in the later rounds of the draft, it's through knowing how your league members will draft. Being prepared for the picks they might make or the ones you want to make will make a world of difference come draft day.
Know The Entire Draft Board
Depending on your league you may already know what position you're drafting in for 2014 or you might not officially know until draft day. Don't be stuck in the mindset that your pick is the only one you need to know. It'll leave you very confused if the draft changes unexpectedly.
Being prepared will allow you to decide how you would pick if you were forced into this draft position or to have an idea of what players will be off the board before your pick comes up.
Now doing this in a mock draft isn't fool proof as you're not mock drafting with your fellow league members (at least you shouldn't be). Your league is bound to have it's quirks and each league member can skew the draft in a number of ways. This is meant to help you get a better feel for roughly who is being drafted where. The more you learn about the board as a whole the less rattled you'll be when things don't go according to plan in real life.
People Get Overrated and Over-drafted - Find Them
Every year there are players who rise and fall multiple rounds leading up to draft day. There are many great sites out there that have that information available to you. Looking at these statistics are great, however sometimes actually watching it happen in drafts will be more beneficial.
Sometimes people are forced to reach because they've ignored a certain position. Other times they've bought into the hype that this is the next best player in fantasy.
Being in these mock drafts will allow you to decide where you need to snag these guys, if you buy into the hype, or who you might be able to snag at a great price because your league members have bought in. Just keep your eyes and ears open as the offseason is full of bad fantasy football advice.
Different Strategies Give You Options - Test Them All
We all fall into patterns in life over the years and fantasy football is no exception. You likely follow a set way of thinking when it comes to drafting in the first two rounds (RB,RB or RB,WR or WR,QB etc.). I'm not asking or expecting you to abandon what you're comfortable with and have done for years. All I'm saying is examining using a different strategy could be the shot in the arm your team needs.
During these mock drafts try different combinations of players at different spots in the draft.
You may stumble upon some great opportunities based on how you expect your league to draft. You might also find that your original strategy was the way to go, however you'll never know for sure without testing out a few different theories.
Having a Bias Will Kill You
There are always going to be some players that you just love to hate. I recommend identifying these hates during a mock draft to help ensure you won't do it during the real one. It's easy to want to continue to hold a grudge, especially against Darren McFadden for instance. However there's a point when every player is worth a pick. Don't put your team at a disadvantage because they burned you in the past.
I'm not advising you to draft players with a bad history with one of your top picks.
In fact I'm encouraging you to use your bias when you're deciding between two players you have ranked right next to each other. I just don't want you to hurt yourself in the long run because you chose to pass on CJ2K (who finished as a top 10 running back last year).
Here's Why You Should Always Mock Draft
I can't overstate the importance of mock drafting. It's the perfect practice round leading up to the real deal. Remember these are only mock drafts. The results you get during your mock drafts don't guarantee that certain players will be available when it's your pick. This is supposed to be a guideline to help you develop the best team possible.
These tips will help give you an idea of things you can do to prepare for the real deal. Take the time to learn your strengths and weakness, before draft day.
The above photos are courtesy of NFL.com.