Welcome to the 43rd installment of the “The Wrong Read.” This article series started as one that reflected on recent podcast episodes and extended the ideas discussed there to logical conclusions with broader applications. Since then it’s become a space for me to write about whatever I want, with irregular references to various podcast episodes.
Scott Fish Bowl drafts kick off on Monday. We’ve had quite a bit of coverage, including projections, a historical perspective on scoring, and advice on general draft strategy. One of the best ways to prepare for an upcoming draft, however, is to do a mock draft first.
A mock draft lets you plan out your picks in each round in advance, to a degree. And one of the new tools that’s part of the FFDRAFTPREP suite of Excel tools, included in a RotoViz subscription, allows you to do just that. I’m going to use the 2018 Draft Dashboard to do a mock draft for #SFB8. But you can use this tool to set up a mock draft for any sort of league format you are in.
The first and most important thing to do when setting up a mock with the tool is to make sure you have your league settings and ADP set correctly. The combination of ADP and roster settings are going to have the largest impact on where players are drafted, so it’s imperative that you get these things right, or as close as possible.
Reliable Scott Fish Bowl ADP is hard to come by. There have been a number of mock drafts organized, and ADP has been compiled from those. However, many people use mock drafts to try out strategies that they might not necessarily employ in an actual draft. Additionally, by the later rounds of a mock draft, many participants may have more or less tuned out and are not being especially thoughtful about their picks. The sample size also presents issues. For this reason, I wanted to use ADP from real drafts if possible.
The unique #SFB8 scoring settings make this difficult. ADP for point-per-first-down leagues is practically non-existent, much less with both superflex and tight-end-premium elements. However, considering that first downs are tied to volume, it’s unlikely the PP1D feature will have a major impact on ADP. Therefore, we can probably get pretty close by using ADP from TE-premium superflex leagues, like those offered by the FFPC.
It’s not perfect, because unlike FFPC superflex leagues, #SFB8 scoring does not award a full point per reception to running backs or wide receivers.1 And it also includes some nontraditional quarterback scoring rules, including six points per passing touchdown, and a four-point penalty for interceptions, with an extra two-point penalty if an interception is returned for a touchdown. These idiosyncrasies of QB scoring will likely have a large impact on individual QB ADP, but not on the ADP of all QBs relative to other positions. That is to say, these scoring settings might change the way the market values one QB compared to another, but not the way it values QBs compared to WRs. So FFPC superflex ADP is sufficient for our purposes.
Once we’ve settled on which ADP to use it’s time to set up the league. Here’s how I did it:
I set the ADP Source to “My ADP” because I’m going to import FFPC superflex ADP in another tab. I also kept the default RotoViz staff tiers, but if you want to use your own tiered rankings, you can import those too. Next you need to ensure your roster setup is accurate:
I gave myself the No. 5 pick2 and set the CPU Team Settings to “Mixed” to ensure some variety in how the other teams approach the draft. Once I imported FFPC superflex ADP as “My ADP” on the Data Import tab, I was ready to go. Here’s how it played out. I’m the Steelers:3
As you can see, my strategy, partly following our #SFB8 Contest winner’s advice, and partly following the advice of one of our runners-up, alohaxomega, was to take a TE-heavy, Zero RB approach. A few other teams had similar ideas, and one (Chargers) even waited longer than I did to grab their first RB.4 Interestingly, mine was the only team to go through four rounds without drafting a QB.5
With five TEs, my team is by far the strongest at that position. Since we know from our Contest winner that TEs are viable flex options in this format (which includes three flex spots), I’m OK with that. Injury rates are higher for TEs than WRs, but as demonstrated by dpowensj, another #SFB8 Contest runner-up, taking the discount on perceived injury risk can be a league-winning move. However, considering that three of the starters must be WRs, I do wish my WR corps were deeper. Antonio Brown, Stefon Diggs, and Will Fuller are three of my favorite receivers heading into 2018, but my receivers behind them are unproven,6 giving me a shallow position group. I was planning to take a WR in the 11th, but Kyle Rudolph was too good a value to pass up there.
I’ve written elsewhere about the value of rookie RBs, and my hope was to be able to take even more. Nyheim Hines is the closest thing to a must-draft for me. Chase Edmonds is a high-value handcuff who can probably win leagues if David Johnson gets injured but has almost no value otherwise. Considering the heightened importance of the playoffs, illuminated by another of the #SFB8 Contest runners-up, ejnelson, rookie RBs can give you the upside you need to take down a large-field contest like the Scott Fish Bowl.
One entry in the #SFB8 Subscriber Contest also used the Draft Dashboard to run a mock draft, with somewhat different results. Will took Saquon Barkley with the ninth overall pick – a selection I love – and was able to still get two elite QBs. Whether QBs will last that long in this format is an open question, but it’s instructive to see another mock draft and to compare results. Try running a mock for yourself in preparation for #SFB8 drafts, which kick off on Monday, or for any upcoming league. And be sure to check out all our #SFB8 coverage, especially the strategy advice from our #SFB8 Contest winner, runners-up, and all entrants.
- This devaluation of receiving production will likely have the effect of making WRs even more undervalued compared to RBs. (back)
- That’s the pick I have in the Scott Fish Bowl. (back)
- While the Draft Dashboard does have the ability to create draft boards in spreadsheet form, I added the positions and the color coding for convenience. (back)
- And that same team did not take its second RB until the 15th round! It certainly speaks to the sophistication of Dave Caban’s amazing tools that the CPU in this mock would implement an even more extreme version of Zero RB than I did. I can’t imagine that happening with most mock draft software. Of course, whether this was a successful strategy for the CPU in this case remains open for debate. (back)
- And in retrospect I probably could have waited longer. I was hoping either Amari Cooper or Allen Robinson would fall to me in the fifth. They were the two picks right before mine. (back)
- While there’s plenty of risk in these picks, they generally follow the patterns for creating exposure to WR breakouts. (back)