Tuesday, February 12, 2013

You Mocking Me? Practice Makes Perfect for Draft Day

Hey all you loyal followers!
We have launched a brand new website TopTeamFantasy in which we will be providing the same advice and analysis you have come to love, just from a bigger and better source!

The site is equipped with fourms (so you can all ask questions about your fantasy teams), as well as scoreboards, news and articles from our growing group of fantasy writers. We are hoping to continue serving you all from that new website!

Thanks!



By: Russell Shaffer

Let me start by saying your draft is not the end all, be all indicator of how your fantasy fortunes will fall. A good draft doesn’t automatically predict that you will win a championship any more than a lousy initial haul means you’ll be phoning it in by mid-season. Trust me, after 12 years of playing fantasy I’ve been on the plus and minus side of draft day results and I’ve both driven a virtual juggernaut into the ground and rode a giant dog all the way to a championship.

A lot of other things – including how well you comb the free agent list, your choosiness when using your waiver priority and the shrewdness of your trades – play just as big a part of your overall roster management as the draft itself.

All that said, your draft is extremely important and if you are serious about your fantasy team, you need to be prepared when the countdown clock hits: 00 and the pickin’ begins. It totally shapes the initial persona of your team, and if you are ever going to swing a blockbuster mid-season trade to get your team over the hump you at least need to start with something worth swapping.

That’s why prior to your draft you need to spend some time doing fantasy baseball mock drafts. How many is up to you (personally I find them a commitment-free way of having some fun experimenting with roster configurations) but I would recommend at least two or three...

Why?

Because nothing prepares you for the heat of battle quite like simulated battle. Why do you think the military runs incessant rounds of training missions or elite athletes spend countless hours on the practice field.

Yes, to quote Allen Iverson I’m "talkin’ ‘bout practice". Practice counts in fantasy baseball, too.
It’s not enough to read rankings lists or even set your own pre-draft rankings. While you think you’re good to go because you “have a plan”, chances are every other player in the draft room has a plan, too. And if your college roommate, the cool guy from the marketing department or your brother-in-law have the same plan as you; don't count on your draft going anywhere close to plan.

So you need to be ready when your plans go up in flames, you’re on the clock and the entire sequence of your remaining draft rests on how well (and how quickly) you can recover. In other words, you need to learn how to think on your feet.

Participating in mock drafts not only helps you hone your own draft day approach it lets you see the effect of different draft room trends and learn how to adjust. For example, are the other players taking the best available player at the top of the draft or targeting position scarcity? Is there an early run on top-of-the-rotation studs or are the other players waiting on pitching? Are prospects being taken high or falling until the late rounds? All of these variables can swing in multiple directions, and each scenario can have a significant impact on a draft’s outcome.

Doing lots of mock drafts also lets you see how draft order impacts your options and ultimately your selections. Everyone thinks having the 1st pick is great, but sometimes it doesn’t look so good when 22 elite players come off the board before you get to pick next. A late round position is usually met with groans, but being able to sandwich two picks within close proximity is not without its advantages. If you’re in a league that uses a randomly generated draft order it’s a big plus to enter the draft comfortable with picking from any spot.

Knowing your preferred approach and how that might play out if things go your way is important, and so is knowing how various contingencies based on draft room curveballs will impact your roster choices.

Fortunately, if you’re reading this close to when it initially posted you’ve got plenty of time to hit the mock draft lobby and brush up on your draft day approach before the real thing rolls around. Because when you’re on the clock for real remember those immortal words:

“This is not a drill”.

So better to let practice make perfect before it really counts. Good luck!

Follow Russell Shaffer on Twitter @RussellShaffer

1 comment:

Preeti Mittal said...

Doing the same thing. Lots of mock drafts.

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