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Mock draft practice a must

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - "Practice? We're talking about practice?" ranted the "great philosopher" Allen Iverson in 2002.

Just as it was important for Iverson and his teammates to practice so as to get to know one another's tendencies, it's important for you to participate in practice fantasy drafts to get an idea of what the "other guys" are thinking.

Is Houston's Arian Foster, who led all scorers in 2010 with 356 fantasy points, the No.1 pick or is it Adrian Peterson or perhaps Chris Johnson?

Will the possibility of a Johnson holdout allow you to get the star Tennessee running back a little cheaper than you would normally expect?

When will the first quarterback be selected and will it be Aaron Rodgers, Michael Vick or someone else?

How high are the two standout rookie receivers, A.J. Green and Julio Jones, being picked?

These questions can be answered only by participating in mock drafts.

While you could try to organize 10 or 11 of your friends, it's much easier to do your testing online. Plus, you don't have to reveal your planned strategies to the guys you are likely playing against when it really counts.

For my money (actually its free), I like to use to fantasyfootballcalculator.com. They offer a wide range of mock drafts from eight-team to 12-team, standard, flex and PPR drafts. You can also select the position you want to draft from so that you will be prepared for any circumstances.

But whatever site you like, its important to get the resulting information.

In my most recent mock draft, a 12-teamer, I noticed that LeGarrette Blount (2.10) and Hakeem Nicks (2.07) went higher than I expected.

In another surprise, Oakland running back Darren McFadden cracked the first round. McFadden put up some good season-long numbers because of two 50+ point weeks in 2010, but he didn't produce week in, week out, as you would prefer to see from your first round pick. There were four weeks where he didn't even post 50 yards on the ground.

Meanwhile, Philip Rivers, who threw for a league-leading 4,710 yards along with 30 touchdowns during a year in which most of his receivers were either hurt or holding out, went a little lower than you would have thought. He was the sixth quarterback off the board behind Vick, Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Rivers really had only one bad week all season (Week 11 versus Indianapolis).

Participating in mock drafts allows you to test strategies or change your game plan in mid-draft to see what the results will be without ruining your entire fall and winter on a failed or flawed scheme. There is no downside and the drafts go very quickly.

So to you and Mr. Iverson I say "get out there and practice, practice, practice."

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.


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