I'm in full on fantasy football mode.
I can't eat, sleep, or write articles without thinking about fantasy football.
I've created a league for my fraternity.
I've created a league for some online friends.
I've spent every hour upon the hour doing research upon schedules, depth charts, and the most trivial stats the internet can offer; all in the name of getting that extra "umph".
I also know that I'm not the only one.
I've stated many times that true fantasy football knowledge comes from admitting you know nothing and can not predict the future.
You can only make predictions based on the present.
So my ultimate goal is to scour the present for enough information to make it my own fantasy football gift of knowledge.
If there is one thing I do in fantasy football better than most, it's drafting players.
I never reach for players to early, I make the right reaches when I need to, I gamble on the right rookies, etc.
One of the most under-rated facets of preparation for fantasy football are mock drafts.
Every year, ESPN runs mock drafts up until seasons beginning.
I go through nearly a 100 mock drafts per fantasy preseason in an attempt to gain knowledge as to how the rest of my drafts will play out.
My preseason chart looks like an NFL playbook.
These mock drafts provide solid intel as to how people around you feel about certain players. They let you know if the general public thinks a certain guy is over-rated or under-rated. They let you know how early you're going to have to reach for a guy.
All of this is vital information.
My goal is to chronicle one mock draft a day and jot down my inner monologue, allowing you, the reader, and insight to the mind of a guy who cares way too much about fantasy football.
Before I start this journal of sorts, let me give you a few draft trends that I live by when it comes to fantasy football:
1.Never trust a Vikings receiver. Ever.
3. Taking too many rookies leads to bad teams. Taking the wrong rookies leads to average teams. Taking the right rookies leads to titles.
4. If a Quarterback or Wide Receiver is in the AFC West, take them. All four teams have porous pass defenses.
5. Your first two picks are your rocks. These are the consistent guys. Don't take risks here. Don't get cute. Take the best player but don't get fancy. After that, the rest of your draft should be a balance of risk and consistency.
6.Players are ranked on a bang vs. buck theory. If I can get Brian Westbrook in the 3rd round, he is a top 3 RB for the price you paid for him.
And with that, we are ready to go!
3rd Pick-Steven Jackson RB-St. Louis
I enter the draft with the 3rd pick. Not bad. If this was a real draft I would do everything I could to trade down. The top two picks are a tier above everyone else.
Since you can't trade in mock drafts I go with Steven Jackson over Matt Forte and Jones-Drew.
Jones-Drew is an unproven risk and I prefer Jackson over Forte. Very simple.
Brees goes 9th. I have a feeling people will reach for him all day.
I jot this down in my "things to look for" list.
18th Pick-Steve Slaton RB-Houston
I lucked out. Slaton is ranked as the 16th best player. I have him ranked as the 4th. I would have taken him 1st round but I had a feeling I could get him in the 2nd round.
It was a gamble I was willing to take and it paid off. Slaton is going to be a top three running back if you can get him in the 2nd round.
If you get him in the 2nd round you increase the bang for buck theory I live by.
My eyes now set to Roddy White. I have the 23rd pick, five away. Roddy White is 8 spots down and covered up by receivers like Reggie Wayne and Terrell Owens, both huge draws.
23rd Pick-Roddy White WR-Atlanta
Another steal for me. Personally I have him as the 3rd best receiver behind Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson. Megatron is stuck on a horrible team and Roddy has protection in the run game, Tony Gonzalez, and a very good quarterback.
The first three rounds are essential. These are the rounds that will set your team for the first four weeks.
It is around week 4 that people decide to start making trades.
My usual order for this round is: consistency, consistency, potential.
38th Pick-Kurt Warner QB-Arizona
The biggest mistake I see people make is not taking the best player when he is there, and instead try and fill their roster as soon as possible.
Yes, I plan on reaching for McNabb next round but it is always good to
A. Have a superstar backup you can trade
B. Have a back up for risky players with injury histories.
Rounds 1-3 make your team good. Rounds 4-10 make you a champion.
43rd Pick-DeSean Jackson WR-Philadelphia
My big reach of the draft. This is either going to cost me because I passed up on the now under-rated Braylon Edwards, or turn my team into a juggernaut.
I took him now because McNabb, Knowshon Moreno, and DeSean Jackson were on the board.
I didn't think I would be able to get all three and receivers hadn't been taken yet.
Just my luck, someone reaches for Moreno right after I pick.
I jot that into my "things to watch list" as well.
58th Pick-Tony Romo QB-Dallas
Someone unexpectedly reached for McNabb. It's still a win-win. Romo will have a bounce back year and he is going VERY LATE as you can see.
I jot his place into my "things to watch list"
This makes me glad I grabbed Warner earlier.
63rd Pick-Lee Evans WR-Buffalo
I, like many others, have had Lee Evans ruin many a fantasy team over the past three years. His lack of consistency is frustrating.
I think T.O should fix that.
78th Pick-Owen Daniels TE-Houston
Expecting a big year from Owen Daniels this year. He and Cooley are the last bastion of top tight ends.
Don't reach for any TE except Jason Witten. There are lots this year.
I look up and see Beanie Wells is still there with 10 spots between he and the top.
I have the 83rd pick, five away.
This is a good thing.
83rd Pick-Beanie Wells RB-Arizona
Beanie Wells is my first serious risk. Roddy White and DeSean Jackson are potential.
Beanie will be the starter. Downside is the Cardinals have a horrific schedule against top run defenses.
I now go and search for my mid-round steals. They are:
Kevin Walters WR Houston.
Michael Crabtree WR San Francisco.
Donnie Avery WR St. Louis.
Lance Moore WR New Orleans.
They're all there, with Donnie Avery being the lowest rank.
98th Pick-Kevin Walters WR-Houston
A. Someone jacked Crabtree right before this pick.
B.As you can see, take Houston Texans players
C.Kevin Walters should go in the top 50. He never will. Reach for him.
D.Lance Moore is still here despite Drew Brees passing for 5,000 yards. People are dumb sometimes.
103rd Pick-Donnie Avery
This is called a steal.
With Holt gone Donnie Avery will be the man in St. Louis.
With how bad their defense is, you can expect the Rams to be pass happy.
Thus why I drafted the pass-catching Steven Jackson and the speedy Avery.
This concludes Day One of my Mock Draft Breakdown.
Stay tuned for the next installment when I update the following "Things To Watch":
Donovan McNabb's position.
Steve Slaton's second round steal ability.
People reaching for Drew Brees.
Tony Romo's fall from grace.
I will also be tracking how many wide receivers are drafted in the first three rounds so you know when you pounce.
Until then, happy mock draft hunting!