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Scott Fish Bowl Mock Draft Takeaways

Justin Dunbar @talkmvp looks at Scott Fish Bowl mock draft data to identify trends to exploit during 2021 SFB11 drafts.


Happy Scott Fish Bowl season, everyone! Monday, which marked the beginning of #SFB11 drafts didn’t even need to come on the Fourth of July weekend for it to feel like a holiday!

We’ve analyzed the optimal draft strategies for SFB looking at last year’s results, but how did members of the #NerdHerd prepare for this year’s draft! Luckily, we can utilize our new mock draft tool to find all of the answers we are looking for! The Mock Draft Tool, available on the app store, not only allows you to prepare for your dynasty drafts, but also adjust based on the scoring, draft style, draft order, and the number of teams. It truly is a remarkable tool put together by our wonderful development team, and I cannot recommend using it enough to gain an edge in all of your leagues. Plus, it even can be used to prepare specifically for the SFB!

That is where we will be focusing on. By this point, various SFB drafts are at different stages. We can still look at mock draft data to get an idea of what the public was hoping to accomplish in their draft. Which players are they targeting/avoiding? What positions are they looking to strengthen early on? How can we use this to improve our late-round draft strategy! Let’s look at six key takeaways from this year’s mock drafts!

Positional Allocation: Quarterbacks Going Early, Wide Receivers Not So Much

In our previous piece on the optimal strategy, we mentioned that the top-performing teams clearly targeted running backs and quarterbacks earlier on. Waiting for wide receivers and tight ends in the middle rounds of the draft seems to be the trend. So far, the public has also maintained that belief.

Among players drafted ten or more times, everyone picked in the first round was either a quarterback or a running back. In fact, only three running backs had an average draft position in that range. Is this a sign that quarterbacks are going to continue to be more valued in the Scott Fish Bowl? I believe so.

Remember, the SFB has a much different scoring setting than traditional leagues. You not only have the option to have a quarterback in a flex spot, immediately giving them more value, but the scoring caters much more to rewarding “real-life value”. Penalties are put in place for taking sacks, incompletions, and interceptions. This means that we cannot target players benefitting from “garbage-time” production the way we can in standard formats. Should you follow suit? I don’t think there is a clear-cut question. Taking running backs with each of your first two picks also was found to be a successful strategy. The extra value created at the position based on others rushing to take quarterbacks earlier opens up great opportunities to stray away from the crowd in a way backed up from the data. What this really means, though, is that wide receiver isn’t a position to invest in early. Not only is there so much depth at the position, but it isn’t one coveted early on. You can likely afford to wait later on to solidify your pass-catching corps.

The Quarterback Market

We know that quarterbacks are being targeted as premier assets in mock drafts. It makes sense to investigate the quarterback market further. Since ADP can be skewed by the number of times these players were drafted (fewer times drafted = less reliable ADP), let’s look at how many times some of the game’s most notable quarterbacks have been taken in mock drafts:

  • Patrick Mahomes- 47
  • Josh Allen- 19
  • Kyler Murray- 60
  • Dak Prescott- 13
  • Lamar Jackson- 35
  • Trevor Lawrence- 76
  • Justin Herbert- 83
  • Russell Wilson- 12
  • Joe Burrow- 38
  • Jalen Hurts- 39
  • Aaron Rodgers- 14
  • Matt Stafford- 39
  • Kirk Cousins- 27
  • Tua Tagovailoa- 20
  • Tom Brady- 41
  • Ryan Tannehill- 53
  • Carson Wentz- 23
  • Matt Ryan- 15
  • Baker Mayfield- 29
Courtesy of The Philadelphia Inquirer

With an ADP of 1.04, Patrick Mahomes appears to have established himself as the first overall pick in mock drafts. Josh Allen shows up as the next player drafted. Yet with only 19 people drafted the Bills quarterback, a noticeable tier gap between Mahomes and him. Instead, this might be where running back Christian McCaffrey gets taken. In turn, it sets up the stage for other quarterbacks to be taken later on in the first round. The people appear to be buying into Kyler Murray’s early start to the season, likely seeing the high floor he provides. His rushing in a scoring system that gives a half-point for every rushing first down is incredibly valuable.

With the next tier of quarterbacks, Dak Prescott and Russell Wilson haven’t been picked frequently by the public, whereas Lamar Jackson has a bit more faith. The scoring settings don’t favor Wilson well, considering his propensity for taking sacks. There is less downside with Jackson in a less pass-heavy offense; pass attempts correlates less to success in the Scott Fish Bowl than standard leagues.

It’s always easy to buy into young players that appear to be on the rise, and that’s quite evident by the public’s faith in Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence. This could be an indication that they are more likely to be “reached” for in the SFB. If you’re willing to take a gamble on Aaron Rodgers playing this season, perhaps you can take advantage of the fact that others may be less willing to take a risk on him. From there, there isn’t a clear-cut preferred quarterback later on. Matt Ryan and Tua Tagovailoa might offer value if they truly look like less appealing options. The same might not be said of the rookie quarterbacks. Zach Wilson (69), Trey Lance (46), and Justin Fields (53) were all frequently drafted players who might go earlier than expected in Scott Fish Bowl drafts.

Rookies Are Being Targeted Heavily

It’s often easy to talk yourself into rookie players in fantasy drafts. After all, they are unknown commodities, greatly increasing their “upside”, in addition to their intrigue- they’re a complete mystery. Based on the mock draft data, that appears to be the case this year as well.

Courtesy of CBS Sports

Of the top 20 players taken most frequently in SFB mock drafts, 13 of them are rookies, and Robert Woods is the only player with more than a year of NFL experience. Mainly, this should be expected to occur later in drafts, where higher-variance picks are encouraged more, though I would caution the public to be mindful in investing in rookie players earlier on. Outside of running back, there is generally a steep learning curve from going to college to the NFL, which increases the “bust rate” of the pick. 

This information is useful in terms of being cautious taking rookie players, but also the extra value veteran players could have. If others are reaching for young players, more proven commodities may find their way being taken later than expected. As investigated previously, finding surplus value with each pick is a great way to build a winning roster, so I’d pay close attention to what could be a true market inefficiency here.

Davante Adams Continues To Be Faded 

On the surface, Davante Adams’ 16.4 ADP seems fair. That would place him as the second wide receiver drafted, following Tyreek Hill, which appears to currently be the consensus opinion on his overall value. So, all is good, right? Not quite.

Courtesy of PFF

Adams has been drafted in just FIVE mock drafts geared for the SFB. That’s it! Some of this is definitely due to the public generally avoiding wide receivers early on. However, there is probably more to it than that. Remember, Aaron Rodgers’ low mock draft count? I would bet there is a major connection here. The same risk in drafting Rodgers is applicable to Adams; should Rodgers not play, there are legitimate questions about the massive quarterback dropoff he’ll face going from catching passes from Rodgers to Jordan Love. 

However, to stand out above the rest, sometimes you have to take risks! If the market is fading Adams, there is a great chance he could go lower than expectations, which, you guessed it, adds to the surplus value he’ll provide! To top that off, I wonder if a Rodgers-Adams pairing in drafts might make a lot of sense as well if you truly want to gamble that Rodgers will play. At the very least, if you draft Adams, you not only stand to benefit if Rodgers plays, but also if he remains productive despite a worse situation, which is entirely plausible. We’re always looking for ways to get the best bang for our buck, and Adams’ expected slip in drafts could lead to that opportunity presenting itself.

Jonathan Taylor Is A Clear Target In The Second Round

On the converse, it’s clear that the mock drafters are fans of Jonathan Taylor. In mock drafts, he has been taken as the fifth running back off the board, ahead of the likes of Derrick Henry, Ezekiel Elliot, and Nick Chubb; his ADP (18.44) puts him right in the middle of the second round.

Courtesy of AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Apparently, that’s a spot the public is comfortable taking him. Outside of Ja’Marr Chase, Taylor was the most commonly drafted player in mock drafts. Meanwhile, compared to other top-two round selections, he stands out even more in that regard. While he has been drafted 126 times, Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara have been drafted a combined 16 times- that is astonishing! 

What should we take away from this? Whereas Adams’ low draft count signifies him potentially falling, Taylor may continue to rise up draft boards. If that is the case, it could be difficult to get the ideal value from selecting him. Now, that doesn’t mean you should avoid Taylor- this being a half-PPR scoring format with an extra half point per first down benefits him. Heck, I just drafted him in the second round in my SFB draft! That said, always be careful to make sure you don’t become too infatuated with a player that you don’t read the marketplace correctly. Look for the likes of Cook, Kamara, Elliot, and Henry to potentially present more value if their low draft counts are any indication of the sentiment surrounding them.

Cole Kmet Is Everyone’s Favorite Late-Round Tight End

We’ve talked a lot about the concept of fading the tight end position early, but you still need to find key contributors eventually. With the position being one more touchdown-dependent and thus more volatile on a year-to-year basis, it makes sense to try to find the next “pop-up” star later on in the draft.

Courtesy of Chicago Sun-Times

This year, Cole Kmet may be that guy later on in SFB drafts. He currently leads all tight ends in a number of times drafted, as the public seems to be enticed with the value he is offering with his current ADP (132.15). Tight ends take multiple years to progress generally, and with him taking a greater role with the team’s offense down the stretch, many seem excited about the idea of a breakout season from the Bears’ young tight end. At the same time, if he’s the same late-round tight end that everyone is targeting, there is a decent chance that he’ll be taken earlier than expected. With that being the case, someone like Adam Trautman of the Saints, who is also a second-year player who’ll play a major role in his offense, might offer better value. He currently has a slightly worse ADP (145.77), yet has been drafted more than half of the time less than Kmet. As they say: draft for value, not just specific players

Overview

SFB draft season is quite an exciting time! It marks the beginning of the fantasy football season and is simply a great competition that stands out above the rest. While we can start to gain an idea of the strategies the public is using based on mock drafts, preparation is just part of the sequence. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how our takeaways here play out with the actual draft themselves. Until then, I wish you the best of luck in constructing the best team possible! 

You can follow me on Twitter, @talkmvp. Meanwhile, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel and Podcast!

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