If you have been a fantasy footballer since its early days, you certainly
realize that preparation for your draft has evolved more quickly than
William "The Refrigerator" Perry could eat a triple cheeseburger.
In 1987, my first year in fantasy football, preparation for the draft
consisted of three hours on a beach in August reading Street &
Smith's annual pro football pre-season issue. At that time, the draft
was pure gut feeling -- no statistics -- just asking yourself "who
was good last year and who is likely to be good this year?"
By the early 1990's, I had graduated to a more academic preparation,
including several weekends of study and charting based on any number
of magazines. By the mid to late 1990's, the study and charting continued,
but my source had been narrowed to just one -- the annual pro football
statistical compilation prepared and published by STATS, Inc. Charting
touchdowns, yardage, completions, receptions, tackles, assists, sacks,
interceptions and field goals became an obsession in the late summer
weekends. I relied on pure statistics and on nobody's opinion but
By Y2K, draft preparation had entered the computer age. Suddenly (and
sadly for our friends who publish STATS), all of the information that
I had used in prior years was available to me by internet, and I could
cut and paste as I wished -- what a wonderful world indeed!
Then, 2002 arrived. I had already done all of my statistical compilation
by the end of May and was looking for more information on the internet
when I discovered that the diabolical minds who control cyberspace
had yet another weapon to prevent me from concentrating on my real
work and drag me down in to the mire of geekdom. I am, of course,
talking about the computer mock draft.
I discovered computerized mock drafting in June. Suddenly, life
was different. On the first day of addiction, my wife asked, "How
was work today, honey?" In a half-daze, sparked by staring
at a computer screen all day, the usual response of "Fine,
dear," was replaced by "Hey, I mocked with some guys from
Canada, and I duped them into letting Donovan McNabb slip into the
fifth round." This was followed by a sinister laugh, of course.
My wife looked at me with the puzzled gaze of a cat watching television.
Since that fateful day in late June, addiction has set in. I have
participated in almost 20 computerized mock drafts already. I have
drafted from the first position (1.01 for those in the know) all
the way up to the 12th position (you guessed it -- 12.01). I have
been afforded the opportunity to draft everyone from Marshall Faulk
to D'Wayne Bates. I have tested theories, tried drafting approaches,
and have even let the computer pick an entire team for me just to
see what would happen. I have been, for lack of a better term, "Stuck
in the Mock" (play eerie music from "The Twilight Zone"
now for full effect).
For those of you who have been there, you know it is a complicated
world to fully comprehend. For those of you who have not, here are
10 things that the site administrators don't tell you that you should
know about computer mock drafts:
These are just some of my thoughts. Now, back to mocking...er, I mean,
back to work!
- Most of the guys who participate seem normal. However, every
mock tends to include at least 1 person who firmly believes that
they are king of some cyberspace country. Do not to allow this
person to get your e-mail address.
- There is a hierarchy seemingly based upon the number of posts
that you have historically placed at the site -- it's clearly
quantity over quality.
- Note the term "guys" in point #1. For those of you searching
for the perfect companion on-line, don't look here -- women do
not participate in mock drafting. (For any women reading this
article -- tremendous ratio -- give it a shot if you're desperate!)
- Running backs are tremendously overvalued in mocks. I saw Thomas
Jones drafted before Rod Smith in one mock -- when this happens
in a real draft, we will see dogs and cats living together in
- Your work production will be affected. Repeat that to yourself
before you sign up for another draft.
- Never, never (I repeat, never) let the computer make your picks
for you unless you are just experimenting. I don't know how the
computer is programmed, but the time that I allowed this to happen,
I think my starters included Barry Sanders, Elvis Grbac and Rae
- Don't put too much stock in the final result of your mock. Just
because you were able to get Edgerrin James in the third round
of a mock, don't wait for him to be around at that time in your
- Make sure that you are not mocking with guys from your real
league, unless you want to try to throw them off by using odd
strategies. I was concerned because one of the guys in a mock
had a similar name to one of my real league members -- paranoia
set in, so I drafted 2 quarterbacks, a kicker and a defense in
the first 4 rounds.
- Prepare to be held up more than you would have expected. No
matter how much guys promise that they will pick in 2 minutes
or less, it seems that somebody has a work emergency or just doesn't
care and ends up taking 12 hours to pick. You must learn the art
of pre-drafting and use it wisely. It will make your mocking world
so much easier, and it will prevent any nasty episodes where co-mockers
verbally flog you for holding up the drafting. It's silly, but
if you hold up the draft, the others make you feel guilty.
- If you are any good at this game, when it gets to the time of
your real draft, you are going to ignore what happened in your
mocks and ask yourself, "Who was good last year and who is likely
to be good this year?" It all comes down to your gut.