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.
PPR Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 3rd Pick
If there's a concern with Henry, it's his relative lack of involvement in the passing game. That said, Henry more than compensates for his smaller role as a receiver with his dominant rushing production. Not only is he the back-to-back rushing champion coming off a 2,000-yard campaign, but Henry has led the league in rushing touchdowns in each of the past two seasons with 33 rushing scores in 31 games.
No running back scored more fantasy points in non-PPR formats, but Henry also finished second in half-PPR and third in (full) PPR as well. In other words, the limited passing-game role hasn't hurt his value much, even in leagues that reward a full point per reception. Regardless of format, Henry is a top-three option for me in 2021.
Mixon appeared in only six games in 2020 and he has now missed multiple games in three of his four NFL seasons. That said, Mixon had a minimum of 19 touches in the six games in which he appeared in 2020. Through Week 6, Mixon had more carries (119) than all running backs not named Derrick Henry (123) and was top 10 among running backs in targets (26). With Giovani Bernard now in Tampa, Mixon should be even more involved as a receiver.
While the team's quarterback play hasn't done him many favors, McLaurin managed to set career highs with 87 catches and 1,118 yards in his second season. While his Y/R dipped to 12.9 from 15.8, he set career highs in YPG (74.5) and catch rate (64.9%). Even though WFT didn't draft a QB in April, signing Ryan Fitzpatrick in free agency boosts McLaurin's outlook and puts him squarely in the WR1 (top 12) mix.
While Kupp averaged a career-high 6.1 receptions per game, he set career lows with 10.6 Y/R and only three touchdowns. Upgrading at quarterback with Matthew Stafford should provide a boost to Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and the offense overall.
From Week 2 until Week 11 (Joe Burrow's knee injury), Higgins scored the 19th-most fantasy points (half-PPR scoring) amongst wide receivers. With the Bengals drafting Ja'Marr Chase over Penei Sewell, it took some steam out of Higgins' opportunity to build upon his strong rookie season. On the other hand, A.J. Green and his 104 targets (6.5/G) are no longer on the roster.
It was a tale of two seasons for Wilson. In his first eight games, Wilson averaged 29.52 fantasy points per game and scored no fewer than 21.9. In his final eight games, he averaged only 17.08 and scored more than 21.9 only once during that span.
Despite Pete Carroll's prioritization to establish the run, Wilson has never finished worse than the QB11 (2016) and has finished as a top-six fantasy quarterback in five of the past seven seasons.
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 (or in this case, a flex/RB3) in 2021.
Shenault Jr. played only 10 snaps in Week 9 and then missed the following two games. Outside of those three games, the rookie had a minimum of three receptions in every game. Over the final five games of the season, he had 25 catches (on 36 targets) for 246 yards and four touchdowns and added six carries for 31 yards and he was the WR16 (half-PPR) over that stretch. With good health, there is breakout potential for Shenault in 2021.
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.
Thomas was the only tight end in the league to have a minimum of four targets in every game last season. While he was consistent throughout the season, he was especially productive down the stretch.
From Weeks 6 to 17, Thomas scored the third-most fantasy points with 58 receptions (third-most), 564 yards (third-most) and five touchdowns (tied fifth-most) amongst tight ends. Last year's breakout tight end will enter 2021 as a viable top-10 option even with the team bolstering its receiving corps via the draft and free agency.
Following his breakout season -- correction: breakout month (December 2019), it was a disappointing 2020 for Higbee and his fantasy managers. The fifth-year tight end saw a year-over-year dip in targets (60), receptions (44) and yards (521), but he did set a career high in touchdowns (five), though three were caught in one game. That led to inconsistency as Higbee finished as a top-10 fantasy tight end in only two weeks last season.
With Gerald Everett signing with Seattle and the team trading for Matthew Stafford, there is optimism for improved numbers from Higbee.
A surprise first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Penny has failed to live up to his draft pedigree. On relatively limited touches, however, Penny has been efficient -- 5.1 YPC and 9.3 Y/R -- and Carson's violent running style could lead to a missed game (or several). While it's become a cliche, Penny enters 2021 in the best shape of his life.
13.03 - Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens
Cornerback Marlon Humphrey says that the Ravens "got a pretty good one" with Bateman, their first of two first-round picks in 2021. It wouldn't surprise me if he outperformed fellow former first-rounder Marquise Brown even as a rookie, but no team averaged fewer passing yards per game than the Ravens (171.9) in 2020.
Myles Gaskin's six missed games opened up opportunities for Ahmed to have a few high-volume games. The UDFA exceeded 20 carries twice and had three separate games with at least 17 touches. On a relatively thin depth chart, he or Malcolm Brown will become hot waiver-wire commodities if Gaskin struggles with durability again.
15.03 - Bills DST, Buffalo Bills
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