Mock drafts, depending on who you talk to, are either very important for your draft day preparations, or they are a complete waste of time. I’m part of the former group, and I’ve been doing mock drafts for this year’s draft since the lobbies opened in May.
Yesterday, a friend of mine was texting me about the one he was doing, and like many others, he was worried about certain aspects that fantasy players feel they should be concerned with, but in actuality, they needn’t be.
Here are five things that you’ve been told about fantasy football drafts that are actually myths.
1. I should worry about bye weeks
Unless you’re taking a backup quarterback, you really don’t need to worry about where your players’ bye week falls. This year, all of the bye weeks are packed between Week 4 and Week 12 of the NFL season. Weeks 5, 6, 7, 8 and 12 feature two teams on byes, while four teams are on byes for Week 4, 9, 10 and 11.
As far as fantasy relevance goes Week 4, Week 9 and Week 10 seem to take the biggest hit. My aforementioned friend texted me about his concern that he has too many players on bye for Week 9.
My response to him was simple — who cares?
Look at your team that you drafted last year. Then, go to Week 9. How many players from your draft were actually on your team? For me, it was five players. That’s it. By the time the Week 9 or Week 10 bye weeks happen, your roster will look so different that you’ll have the replacements needed. Also, remember that if it’s hurting you, it’s more than likely hurting your opponent with so many fantasy-relevant options taking a break that week.
Aside from taking the backup quarterback, if you so choose to, the only concern you should have over a bye week is taking too many players — or a kicker or defense, for that matter — with a bye week in Week 4. At that point, is it worth rostering an extra kicker or defense, or are you willing to cut the Arizona, Denver, St. Louis or Seattle defenses after just three weeks of using them? For players in Week 4, I still wouldn’t be too concerned. I would more than likely just use it as a tiebreaker, if anything.
2. I have to draft a backup quarterback
Actually, you don’t. You can make the case for or against taking a quarterback early or waiting until late in the draft for a signal caller, and both arguments hold weight. However, you don’t need to take a backup quarterback in your standard 10- or 12-team league.
If you take one of the big three — Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers — when will you ever bench them? The answer, if healthy, is never. So what, you’ll need a bye-week replacement. In your standard league, the waiver wire will be filled with the likes of Alex Smith, Sam Bradford, Carson Palmer and quarterbacks who emerge from out of nowhere.
The only time you need to draft a backup quarterback is if you’re unsure of your No. 1 guy. Guys like Jay Cutler, Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick all have high ceilings, but they also have injury/inconsistency concerns. In that case, it may be an OK idea to grab another quarterback in the late rounds. But even if they flame out, you can always just turn to the wire and grab a more-than-capable option.
3. I have a strategy, and I’m sticking to it
This goes back to the mock drafts that take place leading up to your actual draft. It’s good to practice different draft strategies to see how they work for you, and it’s OK to like one of those a lot. Recently, I went with the zer0-running back strategy from the No. 7 position. I didn’t draft a running back until the sixth round, and I actually liked the way my team turned out.
The trap that people fall into is finding a strategy and forcing themselves to stick with it no matter what. While I liked the way my team played out in that draft, I’m not married to that strategy in the least bit. Your actual fantasy draft will change, and it will force you to adjust to the flow of the draft. If you draft No. 9, and your strategy is to grab two of the top six wide receivers on the board, great. However, if a stud running back slips through the cracks, don’t pass up on him just because it goes against your strategy.
4. *Insert team* has an easy Week 16 match up, so I’ll target them
You know what’s funny about strength of schedules? They change each year. Remember how good the Houston Texans were supposed to be last year? People had high hopes for the Chicago Bears defense a year ago, and we see how that turned out. The NFL is so parity-filled that schedule really means nothing to me.
There are teams that come out of nowhere each year to have a great defense, and the teams we think have a great defense, end up not doing so well. This goes back to the bye week strategy that we spoke about in item No. 1. At the most, I’ll use it as a tiebreaker, and that’s in extreme cases only. If I see that Michael Crabtree has to go against the Seahawks and the Cardinals in Weeks 15 and 16, while Pierre Garcon gets to go against two of the dreadful defenses in the NFC East during the same week, perhaps I’ll take Garcon over him.
5. I really want this guy, but he shouldn’t come off the board for another round or two
Who cares? I mean really. What sites don’t tell you is that whenever you’re in a draft room, the rankings you see are just the rankings that their experts put together. They shouldn’t be used as the holy bible, where you feel you must follow them.
If you want a player, grab him. It’s your team, after all. Sure, you might be reaching, but everyone has a player who is “their guy.” If you think that Matthew Stafford will join the elite ranks this year, and you don’t think he will come back to you in round four or five, take him in round three.
My challenge to you is go to different sites and take part in their mock drafts. Take a look at their rankings. They are all totally different. Some sites have Montee Ball as a first-round pick, while others have him going in the early third round of a 12-team standard draft.
If you see a player that you want, grab him. It’s as simple as that.