Fantasy Football 2014: Preseason Mock Draft Strategy and Mobile Cheat Sheet

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2014

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 15:  Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on December 15, 2013 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

For many football fans, the most wonderful time of the year is the start of fantasy football drafts, and the 2014 preseason has team owners mock drafting and breaking down the latest cheat sheets.

It’s still early to be analyzing position battles and rookie expectations, but many players are perennial fantasy juggernauts, and owners must be aware of and focused on those players in the early rounds.

Here is the latest mobile big board cheat sheet and a few strategies to employ during your next mock draft experience.

2014 Fantasy Football Mobile Top 25 Cheat Sheet
Rank PlayerBye Week
1Jamaal Charles, KC6
2LeSean McCoy, PHI7
3Adrian Peterson, MIN10
4Matt Forte, CHI9
5Peyton Manning, DEN4
6Eddie Lacy, GB9
7Jimmy Graham, NO6
8Calvin Johnson, DET9
9Demaryius Thomas, DEN4
10Marshawn Lynch, SEA4
11Drew Brees, NO6
12A.J. Green, CIN4
13Aaron Rodgers, GB9
14Dez Bryant, DAL11
15Brandon Marshall, CHI 9
16Arian Foster, HOU10
17Julio Jones, ATL9
18DeMarco Murray, DAL11
19Antonio Brown, PIT 12
20Doug Martin, TB7
21Le'Veon Bell, PIT12
22Jordy Nelson, GB9
23Alshon Jeffery, CHI9
24Rob Gronkowski, NE10
25Wes Welker, DEN4
Source: Donald Wood's Rankings

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 28: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions runs for a third quarter touchdown while playing the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on November 28, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

 

Donny’s Preseason Mock Draft Strategy

Using mock drafts during the preseason as your fantasy draft approaches will be the key to building a team that can win a championship. The most important step to learning from the mocks is to take them seriously.

Regardless of what mock draft website you use (I prefer Fantasy Football Calculator), you will find people who don’t take it seriously. As a fantasy owner looking to win a title, you must remain focused on the task at hand.

One of the biggest advantages to a mock draft is the ability to spot trends. The more mock drafts you participate in, the larger the sample size and the clearer the trends become. Whether it’s a player going far too early in every draft or a sleeper falling into the latter rounds, spotting trends is imperative to success on draft day. 

This is also the perfect opportunity to start judging value. Popular players or stars who had great seasons in the past always go higher than unproven talent, but one of the keys will be to find the less-heralded player later who yields the same type of numbers.

A perfect example this year will be owners overvaluing Mike Wallace and undervaluing Michael Floyd despite the fact that both are being projected to have similar numbers.

Mock drafts are also a great place to determine which of the players you like will be considered sleepers. If the backup running back you like is there after the 10th round in every draft, it’s a safe bet he will be there in your real draft as well. The latter rounds of mocks are also a great place to see who other people feel are sleepers and ensure you aren’t missing anyone.

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 11:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints calls out from under center in the first half against the Seattle Seahawks during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at CenturyLink Field on January 11, 2014 in Seattle, Washingto
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

While everything I've mentioned thus far can help you utilize the findings of your mock draft, the most important part of the process is developing a strategy on draft day. The players won't be the same from draft to draft, but your strategy should be set in stone before owners ever begin making their selections.

As usual, owners should be going for the best player available for the first three to five rounds before switching to a more position-conscious mindset. There is a deep field of wide receivers this season, so plan to focus on running back depth early.

When it comes to quarterbacks, you need to get an elite one early (Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers) or wait for value in the middle rounds (Tony Romo, Cam Newton or Philip Rivers). The same goes for tight ends.

Kickers and defenses should always be selected in the last two rounds, but the best leagues are won and lost between Rounds 10-13. It will be pivotal to find value and handcuffs in this portion of the draft to make up for bye weeks and injuries.

With all of the information gathered from completing the preseason mock drafts (do as many as possible), you should be ready for your real fantasy drafts.

The biggest rule, though, is to remember that fantasy football is all about having fun!