I’m sitting in what probably is my 100th mock draft this off-season at www.antsports.com.
Someone find the programmer so I can filet the SOB and hang him upside down to bleed slowly to death.
That’s how I feel as I rush around the site trying to check out the other team rosters, see who is on the clock, and who is available, all the while re-entering my password constantly because the little box that says “Remember Password” has Alzheimer’s. These aren’t the kind of distractions I want while drafting, but they are good preparation for the real thing.
Mock drafting for the fantasy football aficionado is like target practice for sharpshooters. The more you practice the better you get. And what many people fail to realize (this doesn’t slip by the sharks, you understand) is that there is an emotional component to drafting. In fact, the emotional aspect, often overlooked by the less experienced drafter, can make or break a draft.
Most draft boards have chat areas. I’ve seen some intense psychological warfare tactics used in them, some blatant and others sublime. There is a herd mentality to us that can be difficult to overcome, and understanding is the first step to overcoming this tendency.
For some of us, it is also the first step in exploiting it.
There are a hundred different theories on drafting. The Stud RB theory is probably the most viable, however I’ve seen that theory over-used in situations where there is more value at other positions, to the detriment of the drafter. Value Based Drafting, or VBD, is the rage for many nowadays.
In a direct quote, self-appointed VBD guru Joe Bryant explains VBD – In it’s simplest form: The value of a player is determined not by the number of points he scores, but by how much he outscores his peers at his particular position.
Hmmmm…so a wide receiver who might get 180 points is more valuable than a quarterback who might score 280? I won’t belabor the point. Feel free to read the article.
Whatever strategy you use, it can all go out the window during an intense draft session. Some people will tell you not to draft a defense or kicker until 6-8 have been selected. Others, myself included, feel that if the timing is right, it’s better to start a run on a position, thus getting the best player, than it is to be the tail on the dog, snuffling for crumbs. That, my dear football fanatic, is psychology in it’s simplest form.
Do you remember your first kiss? I mean the first one that counted. Family members don’t count, with the exception of cousin Daisy. Ahem, so, anyway my point is, the first time you were probably nervous. You sure as heck didn’t know what you were doing. The more you kissed, the better you got. Some of course get better than others. The psychology of kissing isn’t much different than the psychology of drafting. Both can be very exciting, or very disappointing. It’s all about practice, preparation and anticipation.
Mock drafting can help you determine how long you can wait for your super sleeper. What round is Kellen Winslow going in? Or Larry Fitzgerald, JJ Stokes, Michael Ricks, etc. How soon is the first WR, QB and DEF being selected? Having a better understanding of draft psychology can help you outwit the other guys when it’s crunch time. Never let them see you sweat while turning up the heat!
Mock drafts also allow you to work on drafting from a particular spot. In one of my long-time money leagues, I’m drafting in the 11 hole. So I’ve spent most of my mock drafts in that spot. You may not know what slot you’ll be in, but practice in the early, middle and late rounds will help you develop strategies for those positions.
Finally, there are a number of places you can participate in mock drafts. Some require payment. Don’t bite…too many free options are available. Do some digging around on the net. Search by “Fantasy Football Mock draft” and you’ll find plenty of goodies. Ant Sports is a Shark fav, and Jim Mesick from Kahuna Sports will announce free mocks quite often as well…but ya gotta swim in the tank!
Sharks have been mocking drafts (and each other) for months. Chum MIGHT mock once or twice, if they can spare the time between latte’s. Personally I get a charge from out drafting my league mates, shark style. There’s nothing better than hearing “OH NO…I was gonna take him next” followed by a thud as his draft notes hit the floor right after you stole a league-mate’s handcuff in the 9th round.
The moral of the story?
Be a shark – and help take a bite outta chum.