Updated: Jul 27, 2021
Mock Season, as we like to call it, is well and truly upon us. Fantasy EPL Mock Draft requests and invites have been flooding the #DraftPL Community Twitter feeds like there is no tomorrow. Totti attempts to make sense of why it is that we do mock drafts for Draft Premier League, how we should approach them, and what conclusions we can get out of them.
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Where can I Mock?
As mentioned in the intro, there are loads of opportunities to find Mock drafts happening in your time zone, at your convenience. Two main sources I would like to mention though are ourselves, the Draft Society, and ChrisisIes. We organise an "exclusive" #InnerCircle Mock Draft every week, usually on Sundays, that we then analyse from a bunch of different aspects. Chris however, is your man if you just want a Mock with no strings attached. He is a relentless Mock Draft hoster and if you follow him on Twitter, you are bound to find one (from his thrice daily) that suits you. He is a must-follow.
There is obviously a third option: You can always set up your won Mock Draft. It is very easy: You just start a league on Fantrax, as you would if you were setting up a proper league, and under commissioner/League Setup/Draft, you set the time and date for your Mock, then you are free to invite managers to join. If you tag us on Twitter, we will aim to RT to get you the people you need.
Why should I Mock?
What is a Mock Draft?
A Mock draft is a simulation of draft day. It is usually set up as a standalone league in Fantrax, for lack of a better option. Its main aim is to get you the real-time preparation required for your own draft day.
What is it good for?
The main benefit of mock drafts is that you are actually drafting with and against real people. You can build models, you can build ranks and tiered ranks, but at the end of the day, you cannot predict how real people will draft. The main thing you are unable to account for when putting together ranks, and thinking about which player would be available at which spot, is how managers build rosters. Mock Drafts will give an idea of where your own ranks may have outliers (players you are higher/lower on than the community) and which part of the draft will have managers prioritise roster construction above player value.
It is usually in your best interest to get involved in Mocks that are similar to the league you are prepping for. It may be fun, but it is of no use to you to get involved in an 8-team Mock, when all your leagues are 12-teamers. You should also consider your fellow managers when you get involved in Mock Drafts. Are you in a league with a lot of managers with limited draft experience? Try to find Mocks that have beginners. Have you been drafting with the same group of guys for years and years? Try to find Mocks that have a lot of experienced drafters in them.
N:B: I advise against being in Mocks with your actual league mates.
How should I Mock?
I have found that there are 2 distinct methods of approaching a Mock Draft and you should consider both options when preparing for your own Draft Day.
Checking player value
At the early stage of Mock Season, I would suggest that you consider doing a few "quick mocks". These mocks do not require you to do a lot of preparation and serve one purpose: calibrating your ranks.
For this method, you only need one thing, your ranks. When joining a Mock to test your ranks, it is imperative that you do NOT pick your targets, that way, you can see how far they fall or how early they are picked. When testing out your ranks, the best method to consider is always picking the player whose ADP is closest to where you are picking, that way, you are not compromising the sample.
After the draft has been completed, you can add green or red arrows to the players who have a discrepancy between your ranks and the actual draft position they were taken in the draft. To really calibrate your ranks you have to go for quantity over quality. The more mocks you do, the more trends you can discover that go beyond ADP numbers.
Getting familiar with your position
Once your league has decided on draft positions, you can start planning your picks. Once you have put together your ranks and tentatively decided on which players you would be targeting in certain draft spots, it is time to do some Mocks. For this tactic, I would recommend getting involved in a Mock that has "pre-screened" managers (like for example the ones we run for the Inner Circle members) because you will want an experience as close as you can get to your actual league.
The main aim of this tactic is to familiarise yourself with the draft board when your pick is up. To actually learn something from a mock draft you will need to pay attention and note down the following information and trends:
When you are on the clock
Are you looking for value or position?
Which players are available from the list you are considering for that draft slot?
Which players have been picked, who you have ranked lower than their actual draft position?
Ask the managers why they picked them at the spot they did? Personal preference? They had them ranked higher? Why?
Think ahead for a few picks, how many of the players you would be comfortable drafting at this spot have a chance of making it back to you for the following spot?
When you are not on the clock
Consider players that are falling further than their ADP or the rank you have them at
Consider players who have been picked earlier than their ADP or the rank you have them at
Consider how managers are building rosters
Try sectioning the draft into 3 parts. Rounds1-3, 4-9, 10-16.
Which team do you like the best after each section ends, why? How can you emulate them from your draft spot?
It is pretty clear from this short explanation, that with this method, you should go for quality of quantity. There is no reason to do more than 2 or 3 "deep dive" Mocks if you are actually able to follow up with the questions I have suggested to take your preparation to the next level.
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