Remember that practice drafters may have different motives.
Always consider your audience. They advanced or beginners? Also, some sites distinguish single-year games from keeper setups in terms of mocking to make sure everyone stays within the same time scope of player valuation. However, if it's a randomly pieced room without a clear establishment of the conditions under which people are drafting, results could be deceiving, notably if you're mocking with strangers.
If you're putting together a team for 2013, and others are cultivating one for 2013-2018, you're not learning much.
Examine figures that are published as close as possible to your draft date, but don't bring an ADP list to your table.
Determine an idea of where players might go. Use your own rating system and denotation on your cheat sheets to mark which players have upside and downside, which assets may be over- or undervalued, etc. Get a general pattern on where position rushes tend to occur.
But trying strictly to follow any ADP set lines you up for trouble, and any belief that numbers always translate goes haywire pretty early in most drafts. By the time you reach Round 3 or 4, things really go nuts because of varying needs and strategies. Those without prepared alternate courses will be scrambling.
Thusly, and chiefly:
ADP should never ever ever ever forever ever (forever ever?) outweigh your own judgment.
ADP figures are useful because they monitor the practice methods of many drafters, but you must only keep this information as a loosely applied supplement to your own management and the other, more in-depth research you gather. Your flexibility and ability to read trends in your room is more important.
Information wins. Putting your strategy in a box ... doesn't.
Hope that cleared things up. Time for a self-high-five.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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