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, 3rd Pick
Not only is Henry the back-to-back rushing champion coming off a 2,000-yard campaign, but he has led the league in rushing touchdowns in each of the past two seasons with 33 rushing scores in 31 games. While he's not as involved in the passing game as other top backs, Henry still scored the second-most half-PPR fantasy points.
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.
Allen missed a couple of games and was limited in others, but he finished with 100 catches for the third time in four seasons despite playing with a rookie quarterback. Although just shy of the 1,000-yard mark and averaging a career-low 9.92 Y/R, Allen tied his career high (set as a rookie in 2013) with eight touchdowns. Along with Davante Adams and Diontae Johnson, Allen was just one of three receivers to get double-digit targets in 10 games in 2020.
Thielen averaged only 61.7 YPG, but he scored 14 touchdowns in 2020. Only three receivers were targeted more often in the red zone than Thielen (19). While Justin Jefferson has moved ahead of him in Minnesota's wide receiver pecking order, Thielen remains a strong WR2 in fantasy.
Gaskin was off to a strong start through Week 8, but he only appeared in three games (Weeks 13, 16 and 17) after that point. Even though he missed six games, he ranked 15th among running backs in receptions (41). In addition, only three running backs had more receptions in the 10 weeks that Gaskin played.
The former seventh-round pick out of Washington has shown the ability to be highly productive and the Dolphins were unable to draft one of the top three backs in the 2021 NFL Draft. While I currently project a first-round running back to the Dolphins in my early 2022 NFL Mock Draft, Gaskin is a high-end flex for this team.
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.
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.
Once again, Fuller missed five games, but this time it was due to suspension. In fact, he will finish serving his six-game suspension in Week 1 of the 2021 season.
Fuller set career highs in receptions (53), yards (879), YPG (79.9), Y/R (16.6) and touchdowns (eight) in 2020. Before the suspension, he was on a 77/1,279/12 pace. Signing with the Dolphins lowers Fuller's upside with the corresponding downgrade at quarterback from Deshaun Watson to Tua Tagovailoa. (On a related note, Miami hasn't ruled out a trade for Watson.)
9.03 - Trey Sermon, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Not only does Sermon have the highest draft pedigree (third round) among the team's running backs, but the Niners traded up to draft him. Given his frame, balance and vision, the team could look to make him their featured back sooner than later (as much as Kyle Shanahan will feature an individual back, that is).
It was a down year (59/843/5) for Gallup, who averaged 26.4 fewer yards per game than he did in 2019. Of course, the offense as a whole struggled without Dak Prescott and Gallup had 50-plus yards in four of five games with Prescott and in only three-of-11 games without him.
While better in standard (non-PPR) formats, Edwards performed as fantasy's RB35 in half-PPR formats in 2020. Edwards has a minimum of 133 carries, 711 yards and 5.0 YPC in all three of his NFL seasons. While J.K. Dobbins will handle the bulk of touches, Edwards should approach double-digit touches per game and has stand-alone flex value.
There was a stretch (Weeks 3 to 8) last season where Gesicki had only zero or one catch in all but one game, but he was highly productive outside of that five-game span. The third-year tight end posted career highs across the board with 53 receptions, 703 yards and six touchdowns. There is more competition for targets in Miami this year, but Gesicki and my next pick are both on the TE1/TE2 border.
Smith missed three games last season, but the second-year tight end set career highs in YPG (28.1), Y/R (12.2) and touchdowns (five). With Kyle Rudolph no longer on the roster, the arrow is pointing up for the third-year tight end.
14.10 - 49ers DST, San Francisco 49ers
Perine averaged 6.6 YPC last season for the Bengals and he slides in as the RB2 behind Mixon with Bernard now longer on the roster. I considered handcuffing Henry with Darrynton Evans, but I think Perine is more likely to get large workloads if there's an injury to the starter and Mixon has greater durability risk than Henry.
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