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.
Non-PPR Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 5th Pick
As a rookie, Barkley was about as good as it gets. Technically, Todd Gurley was better (fantasy's RB1), but Barkley was the RB2 in his rookie season and led the NFL in scrimmage yards (2,028), scored 15 touchdowns and hauled in 91 catches. Injuries have kept him out of 17 of the team's past 19 games, but if his health cooperates in 2021, he has the skill set to finish as one of the top two or three backs in the league.
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.
With good health, the Barkley-Mixon duo could be as good as any RB duo in this draft. While I waited until Round 9 for my next running back based on how the board fell, I would have preferred to have added a third back before that point.
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 mix.
It was a disappointing season for Woods and the Rams offense in general. While he tied a career high in receptions (90), his receiving yardage (936) and yards from scrimmage (1,091) were three-year lows. That said, replacing Jared Goff with Matthew Stafford generates some optimism for all of the skill-position players.
Andrews missed a couple of games and Marquise Brown (58/769/8) outproduced Andrews (58/701/7) over the full season, but the third-year tight end led the team in YPG (50.1). Despite Baltimore's low-volume passing offense, Andrews has a total of 17 touchdowns over the past two seasons and has a little more upside in a non-PPR format.
Sutton missed nearly all of 2020 with a torn ACL, but he had a breakout season in 2019 with 72 catches for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns. Even though the team drafted Jerry Jeudy in the first round last spring, Sutton should reinsert himself as the team's top receiver and he's an upside WR3 heading into 2021.
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. It wouldn't surprise me if he makes a sophomore leap that catapults him into the top five or so QBs.
8.08 - Jerry Jeudy, WR, Denver Broncos
Jeudy had his moments, but it was generally an underwhelming rookie season given the Week 1 season-ending injury to Sutton. Per NextGen Stats, Jeudy's 31.46% share of his team's air yards ranked 14th in 2020. That said, he had a 46.0% catch rate on the year.
Both Sutton and Jeudy are viable WR3 options and Jeudy has the skill set to take a significant sophomore leap if the team gets steadier quarterback play.
Many 2021 mock drafts linked the Bills to a first-round running back. Instead of adding an early-round running back, it's a positive for the outlook of Moss and Devin Singletary that the Bills only added Matt Breida in free agency. While I prefer Moss over Singletary, a concern for both is that Josh Allen has 25 rushing touchdowns over the past three seasons. But in Round 9, I'll take the RB1(a) of a high-powered offense.
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. Excluding his one start, Pollard averaged nine touches over his final 11 games in which he appeared in less than half of the team's offensive snaps. Assuming good health for Dak Prescott and the offensive line, 8-10 weekly touches in this offense could lead to stand-alone flex value for Pollard on a weekly basis (or at least through the bye weeks).
A fifth-round pick out of Tulane, Mooney had a highly productive rookie campaign (61/631/4). Earlier this offseason, coach Matt Nagy talked up Mooney by saying that he "has a rare element of speed, combined with route-running, hands and passion. And commitment."
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. Teammate Davante Adams led the NFL with 18 receiving touchdowns, but Tonyan's 11 regular-season scores tied a position high with Travis Kelce. I don't typically draft a second tight end when I get a top-five option like Andrews, but there is good value here with Tonyan.
It was a disappointing season for Reagor and the Eagles in general, but the first-rounder is worth a flyer in the double-digit rounds.
14.08 - Football Team DST, Washington Football Team
Given Barkley's injury history, it makes sense to handcuff him with Booker.
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