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, 5th Pick
No running back scored more fantasy points in half-PPR formats than Kamara in 2020. The versatile back had exactly 81 receptions in each of his first three NFL seasons and then set a career high (83) in 2020. That said, he was on pace for a much higher career-best number before Drew Brees (ribs) missed four weeks. The only three games that Kamara failed to reach three catches came with Brees sidelined.
If the Saints utilize Taysom Hill as their starter, it would likely cap Kamara's upside and lead to more volatility in his weekly production. In 11 games with Brees, Kamara was a top-10 weekly producer in all but one game last season. In four games with Hill, Kamara posted weekly finishes (half-PPR) of RB25, RB36, RB9 and RB9, respectively.
The sky is the limit for Metcalf, who is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign (83/1,303/10). Through Week 9, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks passing offense were unstoppable and Metcalf had more than 90 yards in seven of his first eight games. Through Week 9, only Tyreek Hill had scored more fantasy points than Metcalf.
The only concern for Metcalf (and Wilson) is the Seahawks' desire to establish the run. Over the final eight regular-season games, Metcalf exceeded 61 yards in only two games. As great as Metcalf was in the first half of the season, he was tied with (now WFT receiver) Curtis Samuel as the WR25 from Weeks 10-17.
With a healthy Dak Prescott, Lamb began his NFL career with two 100-yard games and a minimum of 59 yards in each of his first five games. During that five-game span, Lamb scored the 11th-most fantasy points (Amari Cooper was 12th) and only five other receivers had more receiving yards (433). Based on his skill set, Lamb should eventually emerge as the 1(a) for the Cowboys to Cooper's 1(b) ... potentially as early as 2021. Prescott recently said of that his "expectations are super-high" for Lamb, whom he described as "a special playmaker that we're privileged to have and he'll be big-time and definitely have a breakout season."
With Cam Akers (Achilles) injured and Malcolm Brown now longer in L.A., the Rams will turn to Henderson, by default, for large workloads. It's possible that they add a veteran free agent before the start of the season as Henderson has dealt with his own share of injuries over the past year. That said, he has massive upside in what should be a much-improved offense with Matthew Stafford under center.
5.05 - Ja'Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Former college teammate Justin Jefferson dominated as a rookie in 2020. If Chase were draft-eligible last year, the 2019 Biletnikoff award winner would have been the first receiver off the board. Reunited with his former college quarterback, Chase should establish immediate chemistry. While Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd will still see substantial (perhaps equal) targets as well, Chase should emerge eventually as the team's WR1.
6.08 - Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos
Even though he was the third back off the board, some teams viewed Williams as "best back in the draft." With the Broncos moving up to get in front of the Dolphins to select Williams, it's likely that he emerges as the team's lead back sooner rather than later. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the Broncos parted ways (via trade or release) before final roster cuts. The 20-year-old back is a tackle-breaking machine.
Playing on the franchise tag in 2020, Prescott was dominant before his season was cut short by a compound ankle fracture. From Weeks 2 to 4, Prescott threw for a minimum (yes, minimum) of 450 yards in three consecutive games with a total of 11 touchdowns (eight passing and three rushing). As noted in our Dak Prescott 2021 Fantasy Football Profile, Prescott (three) had more 450-yard passing games than the rest of the league combined (two) in 2020. During that three-game stretch before getting injured, Prescott performed as the weekly QB1, QB4 and QB1, respectively. With a talented trio of wide receivers, Prescott has tremendous upside if he can stay healthy.
8.08 - 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).
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.
10.08 - Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins
Reunited with his former college quarterback, Waddle (as does Fuller) provides Tagovailoa with more speed on the outside.
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.
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 Chris 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.
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's worth an end-of-bench stash.
14.08 - Colts DST, Indianapolis Colts
Williams is a high-upside handcuff for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. If CEH were to miss any time, Williams would immediately become an RB2 (or better) in Kansas City's high-powered offense.
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