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100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 37: Mock Draft Analysis

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One of the cool features of buying my 2013 fantasy football draft package is that I break down a mock draft with each update. I think the actual players I select are less relevant than the thought process used to draft them. In my latest update to the draft kit, I take readers through my thinking in a recent Fantasy Pros mock draft…

If you guys aren’t familiar with the Fantasy Pros simulated mock draft area, you need to check it out. Normally, mock drafts take as long as regular drafts because you need to wait for people to select. The Fantasy Pros mock drafts are simulated using an aggregate of expert rankings. You pick, then all of the subsequent picks are computer-generated until you’re up again. You can complete an entire draft in about five minutes, and there’s tons of value in that. You can set your own league parameters and draft from different spots to get a fairly realistic feel for what will be available in various situations.

I recently completed a mock draft for you guys to check out. I set the starters to 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 2 RB/WR, and 1 TE (no defense or kicker). It was a 12-team league, and I had the sixth overall selection. By the way, ignore the rounds listed on the left.

I’m not going to explain every pick this time, but rather take you through my general thought process in a league like this. I think there might be more value in that than explaining why I took Mark Ingram in the 10th round, for example.

Heading into a draft with this sort of league structure, I think you need to prioritize running backs. With just two starting receivers and two flex positions, you could start four running backs if you want to do so. In general, I think that should be your goal—start running backs in flex spots when you can. They generally score more points than receivers relative to where they get drafted, and they’re more consistent week to week because they see a greater number of touches, thus reducing volatility.

I actually wanted to make it out of the first five rounds with at least three backs, but Peyton Manning fell to the fourth round. He was the final quarterback remaining in my top tier, and I don’t think you can pass up that sort of consistency in the fourth. I’m typically advocating a (semi) late-quarterback strategy this year because I like a bunch of guys in the middle rounds, but you have to be flexible.

For some reason, Frank Gore and Montee Ball dropped to the sixth and seventh rounds, respectively. I don’t think that will happen for you in a typical draft, but either way, I was planning to take running backs there once I drafted Manning because I knew some guys I liked would fall. If you take a look at the flex starters for each team, you can see why that was smart.

Every other team has two wide receivers in the flex spots. I’ll take Gore and Ball over any of those combos all day. Even if I were to grab players like Ahmad Bradshaw and Giovani Bernard in that range, I’d be satisfied.

If you look at the projected points for each team’s starters, you can see it was obviously the right strategy.

With more and more pass-heavy offenses, fantasy owners think they need to emphasize quarterbacks and receivers to keep up. In reality, it’s the other way around. More players at those positions are capable of posting starter-quality numbers, while the number of viable running backs is shrinking. That increases the running backs’ worth. While you need to be flexible on draft day, RB-RB (and maybe even RB-RB-RB) to start your draft isn’t necessarily a bad idea in a league like this one.

You can buy my 2013 draft package right here for $4.99.

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