Janet Mock is one of the most visible and important voices in activism—not just for the trans community, but for women, people of color, LGBTQ people and marginalized communities everywhere. From her brilliant books (Redefining Realness and Surpassing Certainty) to her invigorating speeches, she does not placate bigotry or misogyny by approaching it politely, as if there are two sides to equality. She fights for people who have not been fortunate enough to be accepted for who they are. It is a never-ending battle, and she does not waver in the face of it.
I’ve dressed Janet for the Oscars, the GLAAD Awards and the cover of Surpassing Certainty, but one of my favorite memories with her was when she and her husband Aaron came to my country house in Connecticut last summer. She spent the entire weekend poolside in a bikini, memorizing through and taking notes in a work binder she had brought from the city. She was preparing for an interview and wanted to get it right so badly, she couldn’t stop working, even on a mini vacation. She and I are a lot alike that way: it’s hard to relax when you love your work.
To me, Janet is a hero, a thoughtful friend and a sympathetic ear. I could not be more in awe of her accomplishments and excited for her future.
Siriano is a fashion designer
Mama Dopp always said, "If something is worth doing, it's worth doing right."
Yes, this is a fantasy football column, but I would like you to indulge me for a moment. Let's say you had an important test to take at school or work. This test will pit you against a number of your friends or colleagues and the one with the highest score will receive a special benefit, or a promotion ... let's just say, something of value. Kind of a big deal. So, in this scenario, wouldn't you study for that test? Write down a few notes, take a couple practice tests, maybe print off a study guide? Like, at least a little bit of effort, right?
Sorry for the sarcasm -- Mama Dopp raised me better than that -- but I think it's a pretty good analogy for why every fantasy football manager should mock draft (and more than once!) before the time comes to draft for real. And because anything worth doing is worth doing well, I have some tips for you on how to make the most of your practice rounds.
When you get into your first few mock drafts this year, there are a few main things to take notes on:
1. How did the first round shake out? Did anything surprise you? More RBs than you expected? If anything caught your eye, make a note of it.
2. When did Travis Kelce come off the board? And how long until the second TE was taken?
3. When did the top three QBs come off the board?
You don't need to remember everything, but understanding where players are being drafted is important. You can also look at our ADP page, which is continually updated and shows when a player is typically being drafted in ESPN leagues. We'll come back to ADP in a second.
Part of ending up with a team you like is knowing how to start. I love trying different draft strategies in mocks every year because the player pool is always evolving. I'll draft at least five teams with each strategy. Since you might not have the time get that many mocks in, keep your eyes peeled throughout August, as I try all of the mock draft strategies below and report my results!
1. WR early in the first round: Wide receiver will be the most popular position taken in the first round of many fantasy drafts this year, so why not start there to see how it works out? As a tip, grab your lead RB in the second or third round, unless you're going with a Zero-RB strategy, in which you bypass the position early on and load up elsewhere (mostly WR).
2. RB in the first round: Sometimes when everyone zigs, it's best to zag. With WRs potentially dominating the first round, being able to secure one of the top five RBs in this year's draft could be a nice pivot. Look at your roster at the end of the mock and compare it to your WR-in-the-first-round mock. Do you like one outcome more than the other?
3. Travis Kelce in the first round: Kelce is a surefire first-rounder this year. What he's done at the TE position in fantasy the past few years is borderline illegal. The advantage you get over the rest of your league is huge. If you take Kelce, you'll have to pay attention to finding values as the draft unveils itself, but deliver it a shot and compare your final roster to the other two mock trials you've done.
4. Draft one of the top four QBs early: Having a cornerstone at the QB position gives you a nice weekly floor to start from. This approach entails using a second- to fourth-round pick on a position you're usually not addressing until later in your draft. Just like the other mock trials, compare this final roster to your other teams. Does one stand head and shoulders above the rest? Maybe that becomes your preferred draft strategy this year.
As my Dungeons & Dragons buddies would say, if you've done a few mock drafts, that means you'll have plus-3 draft vision when the real draft rolls around. Too nerdy? OK, I'll tone it back down. The more you mock, the more you start to identify trends that can help you find value during the draft when it counts. For example, in most of your mocks you've noticed that T.J. Hockenson is going in the early fifth round, but for some reason you're midway through the sixth and he's still on the board. Maybe you didn't plan on taking a tight end that early, but his value (based on ADP) is just too good to pass up. Plus, with all the mocks you did, it's easier to read the room when you want to pivot like this. All of these practice reps significantly lessen the chances of making a last-second panic pick because you couldn't decide who you wanted to grab.
Really, this is the biggest advantage of all. At the beginning of this mock draft process, you can start by visiting Cheat Sheet Central to print one that fits your league setup. We have a cheat sheet for all kinds of leagues.
But as you do these drafts, you'll notice trends, like which players are going higher than expected, those who are falling and those people are staying away from. You learn so much! Then you can adapt your cheat sheet, move some guys around and bingo-bango -- now you're walking into that test giving yourself the best chance to win. When everyone shows up with the same cheat sheet, it's not really a cheat sheet anymore. It's just a sheet. But you put in the effort to tweak your board, one built from intel you gathered! Now you can feel confident in crushing your draft.
CBJ Foundation auctions are a great place for fans to grab unique team-signed items, while helping those in need. The auctions are held throughout the season - and at other times throughout the year. All proceeds benefit the Foundation's four pillars: pediatric cancer, education, health and safety and the growth and development of amateur hockey.
Fan can participate by visiting CBJauction.givesmart.com or by texting CBJAUCTION to 76278