The Importance of Fantasy Football Mock Drafting

It's that time of year ... the fantasy football season is just around the corner. You have to start prepping for the draft. Like any good MBA, you can't just jump into the project unprepared. No, you have to to your homework going into this important project.

That's where one of the staples of the fantasy football preseason, the mock draft, comes in handy. A mock draft is just that -- a practice run at drafting your fantasy football team. You are on a draft board and draft from a certain position each round. The mock draft is a very important preseason activity -- so important I think it should be a fantasy football ritual for any owner aspiring to win their league's title.

Some scoff at the importance of mock drafts, saying they are not necessary, and worse, are a waste of time that could be instead used on studying players. Another criticism of the mock draft is that that each real league draft is so unique that there's no real way to prepare for one.

However, I think the mock draft is vitally important for several reasons. First, it lets you test out various draft strategies. With a mock draft, you can see how you feel about your team's roster if you draft two RBs to start; similarly you can test and see how you like your team's balance if you decide to burn a pick on a stellar QB in one of the first couple of rounds. You also can (and should) try drafting from different positions in a round (top, middle, bottom) and for different size leagues. What's nice is that you can try all this out with no penalty to you; if you decide to get innovative with your strategy during your actual draft, though, your season could go down the drain.

Another important aspect of mock drafting is you can get a feel for how others out there value players. Of course, if you are in a league that you've been in for a while, you'll know how the other owners tend to draft -- even then, you can use the mock draft to get a leg up on your compatriots, knowing which players are tending to be over- or undervalued.

I figure that the mock draft is like war games -- you can never fully prepare for every eventuality BUT you can be so well drilled that you can handle most situations adroitly.

I'm Sold, Now What?

So you want to mock draft? Then you need to find a mock draft host. I think the best mock draft site is Fantasy Football Calculator.

Fantasy Football Calculator hosts free-to-join mock drafts 24/7. It is very easy to sign up: Just hit the "Join a Draft" button on the home page. You'll then be directed to a page with a list of upcoming drafts. The good thing is you won't have to wait long to draft -- usually a draft, if not several, will be starting with then next 2-3 minutes after having reached the page. Just name your team and join. (I usually don't bother with any draft that will start in less than a minute; generally by the time you make your selections you can't get in.)

Make sure to take the mock draft seriously. The site asks that you do so, and most other mock drafters do this with the intent of seriously researching and honing their draft skills too. If you make a mockery of the mock draft, there is no point to the exercise.

Another plus to using Fantasy Football Calculator is that it also has a few other nice features. The site retains past mock drafts, so if you don't feel like actually taking part in one, at least you can study a few; the good thing is that they are listed by number of rounds, teams, and human vs. automated participants. This makes it easy to conduct some research germane to your upcoming draft.

Lastly, Fantasy Football Calculator has a page devoted to ADP -- not "All Day" Adrian Petersen, but Average Draft Position. ADP is another very useful resource because -- while not infallible by any means -- it is useful for knowing when to reach for a player or when it is likely safe to wait a bit and instead fill another roster need.

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