Nowadays there’s countless methods of draft research and preparation you can delve into to prepare yourself for that all important draft while simultaneously enjoying a pinacolada on the beach.
Rankings, fixture difficulty trackers and sleeper articles are all great but there’s no greater research than taking part in a mock draft yourself, allowing you to see exactly where all your targets are likely to leave the board.
I was lucky enough to take part in what inadvertently turned out to be an “expert’s” mock draft at the end of last week set up by draft legend @ffgenie. The latest installment of the FREE FF92 draft kit is a full analysis of my picks in this draft, starting in part one with rounds 1-8…
Round One – Erling Haaland (F)
Drafting from fifth, I’d decided from the outset that Erling Haaland was going to be my first round pick. The top four pick themselves for me this season (every draft should see Son, Kane, Salah and KDB at the front in any order) so Haaland and Trent Alexander-Arnold were going to be my next pick.
The safer pick is TAA by some distance so in a mock I wanted to trial a riskier strategy to see if taking a bolder stance early on can still leave you with a solid roster in this season’s drafts.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that Kevin De Bruyne actually fell all the way to pick number seven in this one…not happening in a real draft, surely…
Round Two – Jarrod Bowen (M)
Jarrod Bowen is sure to split opinion over this summer’s drafts. The West Ham man enjoyed a dream season last time round with 12 goals and 10 assists, seeing him finish as the 2nd best midfielder and the 7th top scorer overall. However, most Fantrax managers seem wary of the West Ham star going into this season’s drafts with his current ADP at 17.
To be honest, I’m struggling to see why. It’d be a fall from grace if he didn’t deliver round two value at least this season and his form only began to fade when the grueling Europa League really started to kick in (even then he managed 4 goals and 2 assists in 7 starts).
Without that Europa League distraction, I see no reason for Bowen’s form to drop dramatically this season and I’m more than happy to get him on board in round two. Allan Saint-Maximin was my other target at this point and he went two picks later.
Round Three – Jadon Sancho (M)
From an overachiever being underdrafted, to an underachiever being overdrafted…if that makes any sense.
Jadon Sancho had a first season to forget at Manchester United and a first round pick of last season finished with just three goals and four assists. It can’t possibly be worse for him this time round and he started to show glimmers of the player that United thought they’d bought towards the end of the season.
I really wanted Martin Odegaard at this point and was frustrated to see him taken the pick before me (this happened a lot in this draft which is actually a good sign) and would also be tempted by Philippe Coutinho at this stage of the draft. Out of the three, I feel Sancho has the best upside, especially if you listen to the pre-season hype surrounding the Erik Ten Hag era!
Round Four – Michail Antonio (F)
Picking Michail Antonio in the fourth round as my second forward felt like a bit of a no-brainer. The West Ham hitman’s form certainly dropped in the second half of the season but he featured in 36 of the 38 games which is remarkable considering his past injury woes.
Antonio started the last season like a house on fire and there’s no reason he can’t do the same again this time around. I felt that I needed a second forward at this stage despite having no defenders yet (none of those available felt worthy of a 4th round pick) and I felt a lot more comfortable taking Antonio over Kai Havertz and Callum Wilson.
Round Five – Jack Harrison (M)
With two midfielders on board containing elements of risk, I felt I needed a more “risk-free”, solid option so went with Jack Harrison. The Leeds man wasn’t performing to his previous standard last season but showed signs of a comeback when Jesse Marsch took over.
There’s potential for some competition for the wide positions at Elland Road with Harrison, Dan James and Luis Sinisterra competing for two spots. I’m confident that Harrison and Sinisterra claim those positions eventually and Harrison gets a nice little boost from left footed set pieces following Raphinha’s departure.
With safety my thinking, John McGinn is arguably a more sensible pick but I’m confident that Harrison is the better pick thanks to the upside he offers (e.g. that hat-trick at West Ham last season).
Round Six – Matt Doherty (D)
Disclaimer: Djed Spence wasn’t officially a Tottenham player when this mock took place!
With no defenders on the roster, I felt like I needed to snatch one which is probably a mistake in hindsight. At this point in the draft, my strategy appears to be to stream defenders and I should’ve kept to my strategy rather than spending a useful pick on a player (admittedly a high upside one) who contains plenty of risk.
I still feel as though Matt Doherty is Tottenham’s starting right wing back but he has far too much competition for my liking. As well as Spence, Conte has Emerson Royal and even Lucas Moura to pick from if you take any notice of pre-season friendlies.
Looking back, Leeds man Sinisterra may have been the call (he went next pick) but I didn’t want to commit to a Leeds United handcuff. James Tarkowski or Ethan Pinnock could then have been my “useable defender” pick in the next round.
Round Seven – Pascal Gross (M)
I don’t hate this pick but I really don’t love it. Pascal Gross is a Fantrax favourite and is very often golden when he does start but it’s impossible to tell what Graham Potter is planning going into the new season and whether Gross features heavily. This was definitely heart over head here!
As I’ve already mentioned, the likes of Pinnock and Tarkowski would have been better here but even if I stuck to the strategy, a punt on a guaranteed starter in Harry Wilson would’ve been better here.
Round Eight – Brennan Johnson (F)
This is the first pick I came away from thinking I could’ve snatched some massive value from. Drafting in a team’s talisman is always a smart move and Brennan Johnson is precisely that. His current ADP is around 106 so grabbing him at pick 92 looks like a slight reach but I feel as though he’s a top class FWD3 this year.
Much of Nottingham Forest’s attack is expected to go through the exciting Wales international and I’m more than happy to spend a pick on him at this stage of the draft. I’d value Johnson far higher than the likes of Che Adams and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall who went just before him in this particular draft.