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: 10 Teams, 8th Pick
One year after leading the NFL in touchdowns (19, 2019), Jones averaged a career-high 5.89 yards per touch for the league's top-scoring offense. Through four NFL seasons, Jones has averaged at least 5.5 yards per carry in three of them. Even though he missed two games and scored eight fewer touchdowns in 2020, he has finished as a top-five fantasy running back in consecutive seasons.
Even though I generally prefer to wait on tight end, I'm even more likely to invest early for an elite option like Kelce in a shallower league like this 10-teamer. Kelce is so dominant as a TE, only Davante Adams, teammate Tyreek Hill and Stefon Diggs would have scored more fantasy points than Kelce if he were a wide receiver. Kelce extended his 1,000-yard streak to five seasons and broke the single-season receiving yardage record (1,416) for tight ends in the process. In fact, he set career highs across the board (105/1,416/11) in his age-31 campaign.
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%). WFT signing Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2021 improves McLaurin's outlook and he's a top-eight fantasy wide receiver in my rankings.
It was a relatively disappointing season for Woods and the Rams offense in general. Woods tied a career high in receptions (90), but his receiving yardage (936) and yards from scrimmage (1,091) were three-year lows. Replacing Jared Goff with Matthew Stafford generates some optimism for all of the skill-position players. In fact, I have Woods ranked as my WR11 for 2021.
Tied with Davante Adams and Keenan Allen, no receiver had more games with double-digit targets than Johnson (10). The second-year receiver averaged only 10.5 Y/R, but he turned his 144 targets into 88 catches for 923 yards and five touchdowns. While he needs to cut down on the drops, Johnson should be one of the league's most-targeted wideouts in 2021 even though the team re-signed JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Filling in for a mostly-injured Christian McCaffrey in 2020, Davis performed as a top-15 (half-PPR) fantasy running back last season. Limited competition for running back touches makes Davis a back-end RB2/flex option in 2021 with Arthur Smith taking over as Atlanta's head coach.
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.
8.03 - 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.
Boyd had just one catch for one yard in Weeks 15 and 17 -- he was out in Week 16 -- as he failed to extend his 1,000-yard streak to three seasons. Through Week 11 (when Joe Burrow tore his ACL), however, Boyd was averaging 71.0 yards per game, which put him on a 16-game pace of 1,136 yards. Even though the Bengals drafted Ja'Marr Chase, a healthy Burrow keeps Boyd in the WR3 mix.
10.03 - 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.
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.
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.
Beginning his career by rushing for 1,000-plus yards and hauling in 35 receptions in back-to-back seasons, Lindsay missed five games but was also on the wrong side of Denver's timeshare with Melvin Gordon in 2020. Houston will be hampered often by negative game scripts, but it wouldn't surprise me if Lindsay ends the year as Houston's top-peforming fantasy running back. If that's the case, he's definitely worth the 14th-round investment.
15.08 - Patriots DST, New England Patriots
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