Ramblings: How to Mock Draft; Review of Positional Depth

Alexander MacLean

2021-08-25

Building off of last week's Ramblings where I started discussing how I review and prep for my fantasy seasons, and the next big step is mock drafts. Yahoo mock drafts are open, and I have run through a couple before gathering some thoughts here. I have a bit of a usual routine in prepping for the season, and I'll outline it here, what I do, and why I think it has been successful.

First off, I play in six leagues right now, two dynasty cap leagues (which are all but irrelevant here) one eight-team full redraft H2H league, one twelve-team full redraft Roto league, one ten-team keep any six players H2H league, and one twelve-team keeper with a few more nuances, but the basics are that you keep six forwards, four defencemen, a goalie, and a prospect.

With that out of the way, my usual prep begins with outlining my lock keepers in my keeper leagues, and then looking to trade anyone outside of that list for the best draft pick value, keeping whichever couple of the close to equivalent non-lock players are left to fill out the rosters. For example, I have a ton of guys in one league I could keep at forward, but Brayden Point and Aleksander Barkov are the only locks, while players like Filip Forsberg, Ryan O'Reilly (faceoff wins are valuable), Max Pacioretty, and Oliver Bjorkstrand are players I would be happy to keep, but I don't have a huge preference. At that point, if I have one spot left, I trade away the three that net me the best value in return, and keep the last one.

From there, I start running through a few mock drafts. This isn't as simple as opening a mock draft and picking players though, there's a bit of an art to it. I go into the mock drafts with the mindset that I am drafting for my most complex league with the shrewdest group of GMs, and select whoever I would as though I was drafting there. That league is a 12-team league though, and to account for how well the GMs draft, I always run the 14-team Yahoo mocks in order to better mimic the actual available value at my picks. If you do this enough, you reach a comfort level in knowing about who should be available at your picks, and then by about the mid-point of the draft, there's an extra player on your roster that you hadn't accounted for in the mocks.

In these mocks, it's also important to focus on where the values are, and where the tiers are, both positionally, and for certain stats. The league I mock drafting for has goals, assists, plus-minus, shots, power play points, and hits as the skater categories. It being a Roto league, each stat is important. Obviously, you want the most well-rounded player at every pick, but what does that actually look like?

Well, I've found great success in this league ensuring that no skater I select is a slacker in the hits category (first round notwithstanding). The draft tends to run from the best offensive player to the worst anyways, with some GMs targeting guys like Ryan Reaves or