2018 Mock NFL Fantasy Draft: Winning Strategies Unveiled

Fantasy football enthusiasts know that a successful draft can make or break their season. That’s why mock drafts are so crucial. They’re the perfect way to hone your drafting skills, test different strategies, and prepare for the real deal.

The 2018 NFL season was no exception, and fantasy players were eager to see how rookies and veterans would stack up. In this article, we’ll dive into a mock NFL fantasy draft from that year, analyzing picks and providing insights on what worked and what didn’t.

Whether you’re a seasoned fantasy player or just getting started, revisiting the 2018 mock draft is a great way to sharpen your decision-making for future fantasy seasons. Let’s see how the choices panned out and what lessons they hold for upcoming drafts.

What Is a Mock Draft?

A mock draft is an essential tool in the toolkit of fantasy football enthusiasts. It’s a simulated draft that mirrors the format of actual NFL fantasy drafts but without the long-term implications. During a mock draft, players practice selecting NFL athletes for their fantasy teams to predict and study how actual drafts might unfold. This practice helps players gain insight into player rankings, average draft positions (ADPs), and draft trends.

Why Engage in a Mock Draft?

Engaging in mock drafts serves several purposes:

  • Testing Strategies: Fantasy players experiment with different drafting techniques. They might focus on snagging top running backs early on or waiting on quarterbacks to see how the team shapes up.
  • Understanding Player Value: Knowing when to draft a player can make or break a season. Mock drafts show how early or late a player typically goes, allowing participants to identify potential sleepers and busts.
  • Adaptability: Mock drafts throw curveballs at participants, forcing them to adapt. This is critical training for the real thing, where unexpected picks can throw off even the best-drafted plans.

Real-Time Learning

In real-time mock drafts, participants can also gauge reactions to their picks. For example, if a player consistently selects a quarterback in the first round and receives pushback, it may lead them to reconsider this strategy. Additionally, using mock drafts from previous seasons, like the 2018 season discussed in this article, provides historical perspective, enabling players to recognize patterns and adjust accordingly.

Mock Drafts and Community

Joining public mock drafts allows fantasy football players to interact with others, offering a sense of community and competition. They exchange ideas and learn from each other’s drafting styles. Given the anonymous nature of online mock drafts, there’s freedom to test out unconventional methods without fear of judgment or repercussions that come from league members in a real draft.

By participating in mock drafts, players are more prepared, adaptable, and confident when it comes time for the actual fantasy football draft. They’re equipped to make informed decisions that could ultimately lead to a season of success.

Benefits of Participating in Mock Drafts

Participating in mock drafts before the real fantasy football season begins is an excellent strategy to gain a competitive edge. First-hand experience in drafting can dramatically improve decision-making skills on draft day. By simulating the draft process, players obtain a deeper understanding of overall draft flow and trends that are likely to emerge during the actual event.

Testing various draft strategies is another benefit players can reap from mock drafts. They’re free to experiment with different approaches, such as zero-RB strategy or heavy WR strategy, without any repercussions that come with the live draft. This can help identify strengths and weaknesses in various drafting techniques, allowing players to refine their strategies before the big day.

Being exposed to a wide range of scenarios is also key to developing flexibility. During a mock draft, players see how drafts unfold when unexpected picks are made or when targeted players are taken earlier than anticipated. This exposure helps players enhance their reactive drafting ability, ensuring that they can pivot as needed and make informed decisions, even under pressure.

In the constant change of player values and sleeper picks, mock drafts are invaluable for staying updated on current trends. They reflect the most recent shifts in player stock, often influenced by pre-season performances and expert analysis.

Mock drafts serve as a live platform for understanding average draft position (ADP) and player value too. The value of a player is subject to change due to numerous factors such as injuries, trades, or shifts in team strategy. By engaging in mock drafts, players gain real-time insights into how the fantasy community views each player, equipping them with a better understanding of when to draft or avoid certain players.

Networking and learning additionally come into play in mock drafts. Players can engage with peers, gaining perspectives and tips that can be priceless on the actual draft day. Given the interactive nature of mock drafts, they often double as informal forums where participants can discuss and share effective drafting techniques and predictions.

Importance of Analyzing Past Mock Drafts

When prepping for a fantasy football season, analyzing past mock drafts is a critical step. It gives players insight into how draft strategies have evolved over time. By looking back at mock drafts from 2018, for example, players can track the ascent or decline in the value of certain positions and players. It reveals trends in drafting that can be pivotal for making informed decisions.

Historical draft data is particularly valuable for understanding scarcity and overvalued assets. Identifying patterns in past drafts may signal which player types are frequently over or undervalued by competitors. Fantasy football enthusiasts who invest time in this analysis position themselves to pinpoint value picks that others may overlook.

Roster construction trends also become apparent when reviewing historical drafts. How early are quarterbacks being taken? Have strategies shifted towards a running back-heavy approach? Answering these questions can shape a draft strategy that exploits market inefficiencies.

Another key aspect of looking back is recognizing the impact of ‘hype’ players—those who emerged as draft season darlings only to underdeliver during the actual NFL season. This retrospective view can caution players against irrational exuberance based on pre-season buzz.

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Past mock draft data can often be compiled into tables, like the one below, which makes analyzing past trends more straightforward:

Year Position Average Draft Position (ADP) Notable Over/Under Performers
2018 QB 40 Player A, Player B
2018 RB 15 Player C, Player D
2018 WR 35 Player E, Player F
2018 TE 60 Player G, Player H

To not just survive but thrive in fantasy football, reviewing past mock drafts grants players that all-important edge. It isn’t just about picking a roster; it’s about forging a winning strategy molded by historical lessons and foresight into future trends. Engaging deeply with past drafts teaches players to look beyond the surface of rankings and projections, to truly understand the dynamics of fantasy drafting.

Overview of the 2018 NFL Season

The 2018 NFL season was a roller-coaster of high octane offenses and strategic defenses. With a significant number of games decided in the final minutes, fans and fantasy football players alike were on the edge of their seats. Key injuries and breakout performances redefined team dynamics and individual player values, both real and fantasy.

Patrick Mahomes‘s breakout season for the Kansas City Chiefs was one of the headlines of 2018. The young quarterback threw for over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns, placing him at the top of many fantasy leaderboards. His performance demonstrated the game-changing impact a high-scoring quarterback could have on fantasy football outcomes.

Offensive trends also shifted, with teams like the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints utilizing high-powered, multi-facet attacks. The surge of PPR (Points Per Reception) league popularity saw running backs who could catch passes, like Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey, rise in draft stock. Their dual-threat capabilities made them invaluable assets in the fantasy realm.

Coaching changes also affected player performances. The Chicago Bears, under Matt Nagy, saw a revitalization that led them to a division title. The innovative play-calling elevated the Bears’ defense to be one of the most dominant in the league, an important note for fantasy players picking defenses earlier than usual.

The 2018 season wasn’t just about the known stars; it was a year where rookies and second-year players made their mark. For fantasy participants, these emergences highlighted the importance of staying up-to-date on depth charts and being aware of potential breakout candidates, particularly in the late rounds of a draft.

With injuries altering the landscape, savvy fantasy players closely monitored waiver wires and injury reports. Those who adapted quickly to the changing landscape often found themselves in contention, leveraging their knowledge of player health and opportunity to optimize their rosters week by week.

Through the highs and lows of the 2018 NFL season, one thing remained clear: understanding the ebb and flow of player and team performances could be the difference between fantasy glory and disappointment. The intersection of talent, opportunity, and situation guided fantasy draft strategies and roster decisions, underscoring the depth of analysis needed for success.

Preparing for the 2018 Mock Draft

Savvy fantasy football enthusiasts know that preparation is key when approaching a mock draft. In 2018, with the NFL landscape shifting towards dynamic offenses, participants needed to do their homework to stay ahead of the curve. Here’s a blueprint they followed to prepare effectively:

  • Study Player Performance Trends: They assessed players who ended the previous season on a high note, showing potential for an uprising career trajectory.
  • Understand Team Offense Schemes: They reviewed coaching changes and new offensive schemes that could significantly affect player value.
  • Analyze Rookie Impact: Rookies were scrutinized, particularly those drafted to fill high-need positions on their respective teams.
  • Monitor Preseason Games: They gathered valuable information from preseason games, which shed light on player chemistry and potential starters.
  • Adjust Strategy for PPR Leagues: With PPR leagues gaining traction, they tailored their draft strategy to include running backs and receivers with high reception counts.

To craft a winning team, fantasy players paid close attention to updates on player injuries and recoveries during the offseason. They watched training camp battles closely, especially for key positions like RB1, WR1, or the elusive TE1, which can either anchor a team or leave a gaping hole in the roster. Breakout candidates from the previous year, like Alvin Kamara, became hot commodities due to their proven capability combined with another year of experience.

Amidst all the preparation, successful mock drafters didn’t underestimate the impact of sleeper picks. These often-unheralded players sometimes led to championship glory, highlighting the importance of deep research and player analysis. To get sleeper pick predictions right, they kept an eye on late-round players who were positioned to exceed expectations due to team changes or improved skillsets.

In short, preparation for the 2018 mock draft wasn’t just about who the top players were; it was also about understanding which players were poised to break out and which situations were primed for fantasy gold. Staying informed and responsive to the constant flux of the NFL was essential – drafting wasn’t just a science; it was an art.

Analysis of the First Round Picks

When examining the first round picks for the 2018 mock NFL fantasy draft, it’s essential to understand the heavy hitters and their projected impact. Typically, these picks set the foundation for a fantasy team’s success throughout the season. They should have a track record of high performance and be relatively safe bets when it comes to scoring consistency.

Key players often considered for first round selection include top-tier running backs, due to their high volume of touches and opportunities to score. For example, in 2017, players like Le’Veon Bell and Todd Gurley dominated possession, making them prime candidates for early selection in fantasy drafts. Their dual-threat ability as both runners and pass-catchers adds to their value, especially in PPR (points per reception) leagues.

Quarterbacks, while critical to actual NFL success, are frequently chosen later in fantasy drafts due to the depth at the position. However, an exception might be made for standout QBs who consistently put up big numbers, or if a league’s scoring system significantly rewards quarterback performance.

Analysis of wide receivers also plays a vital role in the first round. Players such as Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins are noted for their target volume and reception rates. Drafting a top wideout can give fantasy teams a significant edge, due to the potential for explosive plays and regular end zone visits.

The tight end position typically offers fewer elite options, making a player like Rob Gronkowski a tempting choice if he’s poised for a healthy and productive year. Nonetheless, the strategy often involves balancing the temptation for a high-scoring tight end against the need for robust running backs and wide receivers.

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When selecting first round picks, it’s also vital to factor in the offensive line effectiveness of each player’s NFL team, as this can heavily influence their ability to score fantasy points. Strong offensive lines can bolster a running back’s yardage, while a weak line may lead to quarterbacks and their receivers underperforming.

Position 2017 Top Performer
RB Todd Gurley
WR Antonio Brown
TE Rob Gronkowski

Insights and Lessons from the 2018 Mock Draft

Understanding the nuances and outcomes of the 2018 mock draft is crucial for both novice and seasoned fantasy football enthusiasts. One key takeaway is that drafting a balanced team is imperative. While it’s tempting to pick several high-profile offensive players in the early rounds, experienced players recognize the importance of diversifying their lineup with potential breakout candidates in the later rounds.

Target volume emerged as a key statistic to watch, as players receiving a high number of targets generally translate to more fantasy points. Fantasy managers should be eager to identify trends in target distribution, as they can reveal which players could be poised for a breakout season.

Another lesson from the mock draft is that the quarterback position can often be filled later in the draft. It has become a common strategy to prioritize running backs and wide receivers early due to their higher scarcity and impact on a game-to-game basis. Astute managers are increasingly waiting until the mid-to-late rounds to select their quarterbacks, instead of using a valuable early pick.

Rookie projections also play a role in the strategy because while rookies can be high-risk picks, they offer significant upside. It’s important for managers to assess collegiate performance and pre-season training to predict their NFL readiness and potential contribution to the fantasy team.

Position Early Picks Middle Rounds Late Rounds
Running Back High Priority Balance with WR Handcuffs
Wide Receiver High Priority Secure consistent targets Upside players
Quarterback Lower Priority Value Picks Stream Options
Tight End Pick Top Tier Wait for value Late-round sleepers

Finally, the analysis of last season’s data points to the importance of an effective offensive line. Fantasy managers who overlook the impact of a strong or weak offensive line on a player’s performance may do so at their peril. Those who pay attention to these details tend to draft more effectively, as the time and space a player receives are directly linked to their fantasy output.

Evaluating Rookie Performances in the 2018 Season

Evaluating rookies can be a make-or-break decision in NFL fantasy drafts. Rookies are the wild cards in any fantasy lineup, with high potential for both breakout success and unexpected pitfalls. In the 2018 NFL season, several rookies made a significant splash, justifying their selection in fantasy football drafts.

Rookie running backs are often the most scrutinized due to the immediate impact they can have on a team’s performance. For fantasy managers who took a chance on them in 2018, players like Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb rewarded their faith with stellar numbers. Barkley’s explosive running ability and dual-threat as a pass-catcher made him an invaluable pick for any fantasy roster.

The wide receiver position saw impressive contributions from newcomers as well. Calvin Ridley and DJ Moore showcased their talents and solidified themselves as regular fantasy starters. Ridley proved to be a touchdown machine for the Atlanta Falcons, while Moore brought a dynamic presence to the Carolina Panthers’ receiving corps.

It’s not just about the stats; it’s also about assessing the opportunity and fit within the team’s offensive system. For instance, tight ends often have a steeper learning curve in the NFL, which usually tempers expectations for their rookie season. However, those who land in a system that prioritizes tight end usage can defy the odds.

When reviewing rookie statistics, it’s crucial to look beyond the basic counting stats and delve into more telling indicators such as:

  • Target share which reflects the trust a rookie has earned in their team’s offense.
  • Yards after catch (YAC), vital for receivers and indicative of their playmaking ability once they have the ball.
  • Snap counts, which can give insights into how integral a rookie is to the team’s game plan.

The table below highlights notable rookie performers from the 2018 season:

Player Position Team Key Statistic
Saquon Barkley RB New York Giants 2,028 Scrimmage Yds
Nick Chubb RB Cleveland Browns 5.2 Yards/Carry
Calvin Ridley WR Atlanta Falcons 10 Touchdowns

The Impact of Injuries on the 2018 Fantasy Season

Injuries are an inescapable part of the NFL, and they often have profound effects on fantasy football. The 2018 season was no exception, with several high-profile players suffering from injuries that disrupted many fantasy rosters. Availability is a key element in fantasy sports, and the loss of a star player can derail a team’s success.

Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook were among the running backs whose seasons were marred by injuries, causing headaches for fantasy owners who had drafted them early. Fournette struggled with a hamstring issue, while Cook dealt with a hamstring injury of his own, resulting in missed games and limited production.

  • Leonard Fournette’s Games Played: 8
  • Dalvin Cook’s Games Played: 11

At the wide receiver position, A.J. Green and Doug Baldwin served as cautionary tales. Green dealt with a toe injury that eventually put him on the injured reserve, and Baldwin played through a knee injury that limited his effectiveness and his stats.

The quarterback position suffered its share of setbacks, too. Jimmy Garoppolo’s season-ending ACL injury in Week 3 was a significant blow to teams that had drafted him as a breakout candidate.

Fantasy owners learned to be particularly vigilant with their waiver wire strategies in the face of these injuries. Staying informed on player health and potential backups became more critical than ever. Fantasy success in 2018 often hinged on the ability to adapt quickly to the ever-changing injury landscape.

To manage risk, savvy fantasy players diversified their rosters and avoided over-investing in injury-prone players. They tracked the reports from practice sessions and pre-game warmups closely to make well-informed decisions each week.

Player Position Games Played Injury Type
Leonard Fournette Running Back 8 Hamstring
Dalvin Cook Running Back 11 Hamstring
A.J. Green Wide Receiver Unspecified Toe
Doug Baldwin Wide Receiver Unspecified Knee
Jimmy Garoppolo Quarterback 3 ACL

Unforeseen Surprises and Disappointments in the 2018 Mock Draft

The 2018 mock NFL fantasy draft was a rollercoaster of emotions for fans and participants alike. As with any fantasy season, there were players who wildly exceeded expectations and others who fell short, causing frustration and late-season scrambles to adjust rosters.

Surprises were plentiful, as relatively unknown players made significant impacts. Patrick Mahomes emerged as a breakout star, launching himself into the top echelon of fantasy quarterbacks. Few predicted the sheer magnitude of his success, and those who took a chance on him in the later rounds were richly rewarded. Likewise, James Conner stepped into a starting role due to Le’Veon Bell’s holdout and delivered performances that made him a fantasy powerhouse.

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On the flip side, disappointments were equally impactful. Le’Veon Bell’s season-long holdout blindsided many fantasy team owners who used their first-round pick on him. High draft picks like David Johnson and Odell Beckham Jr. struggled to live up to their expected output due to a combination of team dynamics and injuries, leading to lackluster fantasy points.

The draft also saw its fair share of late-round gems, critical for those looking to maximize value. Players like George Kittle and Phillip Lindsay were often picked up as afterthoughts but ended up being key contributors, outperforming many players chosen in the earlier rounds.

Fantasy football aficionados often look to the mock drafts to guide their strategies, but the 2018 season served as a stark reminder that the unpredictable nature of football can upend even the most well-informed predictions. Savvy fantasy owners know to balance the insights from mock drafts with a flexible, responsive approach to player performance and opportunities throughout the season.

By keeping a close eye on backup players poised for breakout performance and monitoring the waiver wire, fantasy owners can pivot away from underperforming high picks to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. It’s these dynamic decisions that can often define a fantasy season, turning potential disappointments into championship triumphs.

Key Strategies That Led to Success in the 2018 Mock Draft

Successful fantasy players in the 2018 mock NFL fantasy draft often shared common strategies that allowed them to outperform their competitors. By analyzing the patterns of those who succeeded, vital tactics emerge that are noteworthy for any fantasy football enthusiast.

Robust Research was paramount. Those who invested time in understanding player statistics, injury history, and off-season movements consistently made more informed picks. Regular reviews of expert analysis and staying abreast of the latest NFL news proved invaluable.

Next, Adaptive Drafting played a critical role. Savvy drafters recognized the fluidity of rankings and pivoted as the draft unfolded. Instead of sticking rigidly to a pre-draft checklist, they reacted to other players’ picks and adjusted their strategy accordingly.

Incorporating a Value-Based Drafting approach yielded impressive results. Managers who identified undervalued players and drafted them at the right time often ended up with a roster full of potential breakout stars. Recognizing the real worth of a player beyond their average draft position (ADP) was a game-changer.

A crucial strategy that set some managers apart was a keen eye for Rookie Talent. Rookies can be wildcard picks, but in 2018, managers who had done their homework and snagged promising rookies like Saquon Barkley were handsomely rewarded.

Lastly, a focus on Positional Scarcity ensured that successful players navigated the draft’s positional runs wisely. By understanding the depth of each position and the scarcity of elite talent, they knew when to target specific positions before a significant drop-off in value.

These strategies, combined with a willingness to take calculated risks and an adaptable mindset, laid the groundwork for success in the 2018 NFL fantasy mock draft. Fantasy managers who integrated these approaches often found themselves ahead of the curve, boasting strong, well-rounded teams capable of navigating the unpredictability of the NFL season.

Lessons Learned from the 2018 Fantasy Season

The 2018 fantasy football season shed light on the importance of in-season management. Successful fantasy managers didn’t just draft well; they also demonstrated prowess in making astute waiver wire pickups and strategic start/sit decisions. As injuries and bye weeks unfolded, those who pivoted quickly ensured their rosters remained competitive.

Flexibility emerged as a critical trait among the top fantasy managers. Adhering too strictly to a pre-draft plan without accounting for the dynamic nature of the NFL often led to missed opportunities. Managers who embraced change and adapted their strategies to the evolving league dynamics often saw better results.

Another key takeaway was the advantage of targeting players in high-powered offenses. Teams with robust offensive systems, such as the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams, provided a wealth of fantasy points for their respective players. Managers who recognized these trends and positioned their rosters accordingly often enjoyed a hefty point surplus on a weekly basis.

Here are some notable highlights from the 2018 season:

  • Managers who prioritized tight ends late in the draft often found value. The tight end position, being notoriously volatile, reveals that waiting on drafting a tight end can lead to comparable production to early-round picks.
  • The Zero RB strategy—where managers delay drafting running backs in favor of wide receivers and other positions—was a topic of much debate. Yet the landscape of the 2018 fantasy season displayed that this approach required a highly active and astute approach to the waiver wire to be successful.

Monitoring emerging trends and integrating them into draft strategy proved beneficial. The managers who stayed informed and nimble often experienced the dividends of these efforts. They realized that applying season-long vigilance was just as crucial as the initial draft and that staying engaged with league dynamics could drastically influence their fantasy outcomes.


Reflecting on the 2018 mock NFL fantasy draft underscores the essence of agility in fantasy football. Successful managers understand that the draft is just the starting point and that real victory lies in proactive in-season management. By capitalizing on the right players from high-octane offenses and making savvy moves throughout the season, they stay ahead of the curve. Remember it’s the ability to adapt and the willingness to dive deep into the waiver wire that often separates the champions from the rest. Keep these strategies in your playbook and you’re well on your way to dominating your next fantasy football season.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key lessons from the 2018 fantasy football season?

The key lessons include the importance of in-season management through waiver wire pickups and start/sit decisions, the need for flexibility and strategy adaptation, focusing on players from high-powered offenses, and the benefits of drafting tight ends later.

How important is in-season management in fantasy football?

In-season management is crucial as it can significantly impact your team’s performance. Making the right waiver wire pickups and weekly start/sit decisions are key aspects of managing your team effectively throughout the season.

Why is flexibility vital for fantasy football success?

Flexibility allows managers to adapt to league dynamics, injuries, and player performance variability. Successful managers adjust their strategies accordingly, which can lead to better decision-making and potentially higher fantasy points.

Should you target players from high-powered offenses?

Yes, targeting players from high-powered offenses such as the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams is beneficial. These teams tend to score more points, increasing the fantasy value of their players.

What is the debate around the Zero RB strategy?

The debate centers on whether avoiding running backs in the early rounds of the draft is an effective strategy. Some managers prefer to prioritize other positions first, although this approach can be risky and is often contingent on league trends and scoring settings.

How can monitoring trends help in fantasy football?

By monitoring emerging trends and staying engaged with the football landscape, you can make informed decisions that may give you an advantage over other managers in your league. It helps in anticipating player breakouts and understanding shifts in team strategies.

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