Wednesday, August 4, 2021

2021 Fantasy Football Half-PPR Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 8th Pick

The best way to become good at something is to practice. So, what should you do if you want to draft a better fantasy football team?

Practice, of course!

Leading up to the start of the 2021 NFL season, we will use the 2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator (powered by FantasyPros) to complete fantasy football mock drafts.

We will use a variety of scoring formats -- PPR, half-PPR, standard scoring and even 2-QB leagues, league sizes and draft slots. The goal is to give you a good representation of the team that you may be able to construct given your league settings and the rationale of why we made the picks we did.

+ Our mocks will be tracked here: Fantasy Football Mock Drafts.

That said, nothing beats practicing yourself so (check out the simulator) and complete a mock in a matter of minutes.

Half-PPR Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 8th Pick

1.08 - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

The offense went off the tracks when Dak Prescott sustained his season-ending injury and the offensive line injuries further impacted Elliott's production. Even if Tony Pollard (Round 10 handcuff) earns a few more touches in 2021, Elliott should rank near the top of the league in workload. In fact, only three backs had more than six games last season with at least 20 touches -- Derrick Henry (14), Dalvin Cook (11) and Elliott (11).

2.05 - Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Ridley closed the season the same way he started it -- with 100-plus yards in four of five games. Along with Davante Adams (six) and Stefon Diggs (three), Ridley was one of three receivers to finish as a top-two weekly fantasy receiver at least three times in 2020. Ridley finished last season with 90 catches on 143 targets for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns and should be a top-five fantasy wide receiver in 2021, especially with Julio Jones in Tennessee.

3.08 - Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Cooper finished 2020 with a career-high 92 receptions for 1,114 yards and five touchdowns. It was his third consecutive 1,000-yard season and fifth of his career. In 41 games as a member of the Cowboys, Cooper has averaged 73.9 yards per game. Recovering from ankle surgery, Cooper is expected to return to practice after the Aug. 13th preseason game and play a few snaps before the regular season begins.

More: CeeDee Lamb 2021 Fantasy Football Outlook

4.05 - Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks

Few teams want to "establish the run" more than the Seahawks so returning to Seattle on a two-year deal was Carson's ideal landing spot. Even though the Seahawks let Russell Wilson "cook" in the first half of the year, Carson performed as a weekly fantasy RB13 or better in four of the team's five games before their Week 6 bye. In fact, he was a top-five performer from Weeks 1 to 5. Coming out of the bye, Carson sustained a foot injury in Week 7 that kept him out of several games. Carson's physical running style lends itself to a greater propensity to get banged up, but he's an undervalued RB2 in fantasy this year.

5.08 - Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Claypool scored 11 touchdowns -- nine receiving and two rushing -- in the regular season and added two more receiving scores in the team's playoff loss to Cleveland. Re-signing JuJu Smith-Schuster to a one-year deal puts a dent into Mapletron's upside in year two, but it wouldn't surprise me if he was the team's top-producing wideout in 2021.

More: Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 NFL Mock Draft Roundup

6.05 - Chase Edmonds, RB, Arizona Cardinals

The former fourth-round pick has averaged 4.4 yards per carry and 7.2 yards per reception over his first three NFL seasons. With Kenyan Drake out and James Conner in, Edmonds should be Arizona's RB1 and has an opportunity to perform as a fantasy RB2 in 2021.

More: Chase Edmonds 2021 Fantasy Football Outlook

7.08 - Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers

The reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, Herbert had at least 300 passing yards and/or multiple touchdowns in 13 of his 15 starts as a rookie. Even with a new coaching staff in place for the upcoming season, the second-year quarterback should benefit from a more normal offseason as he enters the season already entrenched as the starter. Not to mention, the offense should be more QB-friendly in 2021. It wouldn't surprise me if he makes a sophomore leap that catapults him into the top five or so QBs.

8.05 - Michael Carter, RB, New York Jets

Opening camp with the first-team offense, Carter is the 1(a) option in the backfield even if the offense deploys a committee approach this season. The rookie out of UNC averaged 8.0 YPC as a senior and finished his collegiate career with 82 receptions.

More: New York Jets 2021 Fantasy Football Projections

9.08 - Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans

Averaging a career-high 76.7 YPG, Cooks finished his first season in Houston with 81 catches for 1,150 yards and six touchdowns. From Week 5 on, Cooks had at least 59 yards in 10 of 11 games. During that 11-game span, he averaged 6.5 catches and 92 yards per game.

Given Deshaun Watson's uncertain status as we approach the 2021 season, it's reasonable to project lower year-over-year numbers for Cooks, even with Will Fuller now in Miami. At the same time, he should be the recipient of as many targets as he can handle, so I like him as a high-upside WR4 for this team.

10.05 - Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys

If Zeke misses any time, Pollard is a high-upside handcuff. Despite playing fewer than 50% of the team's offensive snaps every week except for the game Ezekiel Elliott missed (Week 15, 90%), Pollard had at least eight touches in 10 of the team's final 12 games. Assuming good health for Dak Prescott and the offensive line, 8-10 weekly touches in this offense could lead to stand-alone weekly flex value for Pollard.

11.08 - T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Depending on how quickly Carson Wentz (foot surgery) is able to return, there is some upside for speedy veteran receiver here.

More: Indianapolis Colts 2021 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

12.05 - Robert Tonyan, TE, Green Bay Packers

Entering 2020 with 14 career receptions, Tonyan scored nearly as many touchdowns (12 counting the playoffs) as he had career receptions prior to last season. While teammate Davante Adams led the NFL with 18 touchdown receptions, Tonyan's 11 regular-season scores tied a position high with Travis Kelce.

More: Green Bay Packers 2022 NFL Mock Draft Roundup

13.08 - Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins

It's not uncommon for me to punt tight end and then double-down with two back-end TE1 options. The third-year tight end posted career highs across the board with 53 receptions, 703 yards and six touchdowns.

14.05 - Ravens DST, Baltimore Ravens

15.08 - Harrison Butker, K, Kansas City Chiefs

16.05 - Breshad Perriman, WR, Detroit Lions

Injuries to Tampa's wide receivers allowed Perriman to close 2019 strong -- three 100-yard games and 25/506/5 over his final five games -- but those numbers were even better than his full-season numbers (12 games) as a Jet (30/505/3) in 2020. Perriman has missed multiple games in every season other than his rookie campaign (2016). Continuing his tour around the league, the former first-rounder is as good of a bet as any to lead the team's wide receiving corps in targets, which makes him a last-round dart throw to consider.

- View Full Mock Draft Results

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