How to Leverage Fantasy Football Mock Drafts

If you're looking to contend for a championship in your league this year, you need to go above and beyond in your preparation. In addition to following these fantasy football research tips, consider participating in mock drafts to help you understand potential scenarios of how your draft could play out. Check out the following basics of the fantasy football mock draft, as well as how to use what you learn to your best advantage.

What is a mock draft?

A mock draft is a term used in reference to the simulation of a sports league draft, or in this case, for a fantasy football league draft. The simulated exercise is, in essence, a way to practice a real draft for a fantasy football league.

This is an attractive option for avid players who want to have a good feel on what type of value each player has, and when they might be taken in the draft.

Savvy fantasy football players monitor the results of these drafts to get a better feel on when a certain player should be taken, or to gauge overall depth at certain positions.

How to join a mock draft

It's very simple to participate in mock draft. Major fantasy football hosting sites like NFL, ESPN, and Yahoo! will run mock drafts for free. Follow these steps to participate:

  1. Sign into your account on a major fantasy football site’s mock draft lobby (see a list of the top 6 fantasy football mock draft sites).

  2. Find a mock draft that has the same number of teams as your league.

  3. Find for a mock draft that has the correct draft type (snake vs. auction).

  4. Find a mock draft that has your pick selection slot available.

  5. Select a mock draft, sign-up, and launch the fantasy football mock draft simulator.

By selecting a mock draft that has your slot available, the same draft type, and the same number of teams, you will create a more realistic scenario of your actual draft.

Testing out different strategies and participating in mock drafts can have a tremendous impact on how well you fare in your real fantasy draft. It will give you a good feel on how late you could possibly take certain players, and which positions are in abundance or which are lacking options.

For example, if you rank all of the starting quarterbacks, you may decide there are a few tiers of quality. Perhaps 6 "elite" quarterbacks, 12 "good" quarterbacks, and the other 14 are lesser known or undesirable.

You clearly want to have one of those "good" or better quarterbacks as your starter, but what is good value? If you think the 6 "elite" quarterbacks have an equal chance of performing well, then clearly the one that's selected last would be the best value.

You could probably get him in the 2nd or 3rd round in most scenarios, whereas the likely equally competent quarterback that was selected 1st among quarterbacks (likely 1st round), would be lesser value, because you had to use a higher pick to get him.

You would do this with every position and decide which positions have more or less depth, and would naturally focus on positions with less depth, because the positions with an abundance are likely to be available later on, and the ones without will go more quickly.

You also have to keep in mind the individual players' average draft position, because certain players may not fall into this generic mold. Calvin Johnson, for example, is a rare specimen that any savvy fantasy owner would covet. Even though there might be dozens of great wide receivers available, rest assured, someone will take him in the 1st round.

The format of your league will largely determine what type of players will be selected and when. If your league requires two starting running backs, then it is a good idea to pick two of them up relatively early in the draft.

If you only start one, then you could probably get better value in a different position. And, if it's two plus a flex position that includes running backs, you might want to consider taking three running backs early.

In PPR (Points Per Reception) formats, a running back that catches the ball 60+ times a season (like Darren Sproles) is much more valuable than in non-PPR formats, but wide receivers overall will be even more valuable. Any scoring modifications in your league must be in your consideration.

You'll also need to keep in mind your opponent's selection, and a mock draft is a great place to practice this. If another fantasy owner has selected two running backs, and two wide receivers in the first four rounds, you know they're likely to select a quarterback or tight end next.

If you can get into the mind of your opponent and know what they will likely be selecting, you have put yourself at a great advantage. You could even conspire to pick the player you think they want and force them into a bad position and/or an advantageous trade for yourself.

Practicing all of these strategies together in your mock drafts will make you feel more confident and ensure that you get good value for your picks in your real fantasy draft.

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