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, 12th Pick
While I prefer starting drafts with RB (or RB/RB), few players (at any position) have as much upside as Hill to erupt for a massive performance in any given week. Setting a career high in touchdowns (17), Hill had 87 receptions for 1,276 yards and 13 carries for 123 yards in 2020.
Tampa's Rob Gronkowski finished as fantasy's TE8 (126.8) last season and Kelce (260.26, TE1) was so good in 2020 that he actually doubled Gronk up. Extending his 1,000-yard streak to five seasons, he set career highs across the board (105/1,416/11) in his age-31 campaign.
Regardless of how you slice it, Kelce is not only the slam-dunk TE1 heading into 2021, but he's worthy of drafting in Round 1.
If I were to redo this mock, I'd likely take my first RB before pick 3.12 99 out of 100 times. That said, I really like Carson here. 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 fantasy's 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.
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.
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, so I really like him as this team's WR3.
While Murray played all 16 games, shoulder and leg injuries slowed him a bit down the stretch. Even so, he finished his sophomore campaign as fantasy's QB2 (and was QB1 after Week 16). When healthy, Murray scored more than 20 fantasy points and finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in 10 consecutive games to start the season.
7.12 - Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos
Moving up to get in front of the Dolphins for the opportunity to draft Williams, it's likely that Williams emerges as the team's lead back sooner rather than later. The 20-year-old back is a tackle-breaking machine.
As noted in the pick above, I expect Williams to become the RB1 over Gordon. If I'm wrong, this pick is insurance. MG3 wasn't great last year, but he was productive down the stretch -- seventh in touches (120), seventh in yards from scrimmage (618) and ninth in half-PPR scoring from Weeks 11 to 17.
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. Not only has Allen led the team in that category in each of the past three years, he has 56.8% (25 of 44) of the team's rushing touchdowns over that stretch.
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.
In his four NFL seasons, Williams has averaged 736.5 scrimmage yards, 155.5 touches and 30.5 receptions per season with the Packers. While he remains his team's RB2 (to D'Andre Swift instead of Aaron Jones), Williams should get 8-10 touches per game even with both Swift and Williams healthy.
Many fantasy managers expected Hardman to take a step forward in his sophomore campaign, but his year-over-year production was nearly identical -- 26/538/6 (20.7 Y/R) in 2019 and 41/560/4 (13.7 Y/R) in 2020. With Sammy Watkins now in Baltimore and no significant additions to the receiving corps, however, Hardman offers upside at his late-round ADP.
It feels a little weird handcuffing a back (Carson) that plays reckless abandon and could miss games with a player (Penny) that has his own durability concerns. That said, Penny has been efficient -- 5.1 YPC and 9.3 Y/R -- on relatively limited touches.
Two seasons removed from a 1,000-yard campaign, it wouldn't be far-fetched for Brown to lead the wide receivers in production. That said, consistent weekly production is likely to elude the position group with Darren Waller dominating targets.
15.12 - Bills DST, Buffalo Bills
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