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, 8th Pick
With Joe Lombardi now running the Chargers offense, Ekeler has immense upside given his ability as a receiver. Injuries derailed his 2020 season, but Ekeler had 92 receptions for 993 yards and eight touchdowns in addition to a rushing line of 132/557/3. If he can stay healthy, he has top-five upside in full PPR formats.
Over his final seven games of the season including a playoff loss, Taylor handled a massive 156 touches, racked up 921 yards and scored nine total touchdowns. Excluding that playoff appearance, Taylor ranked top four in the NFL in touches, YFS and touchdowns from Week 11 on. Running behind one of the league's best offensive lines, Taylor carries plenty of momentum with him into 2021.
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%). Signing Ryan Fitzpatrick in free agency boosts McLaurin's 2021 outlook and he's squarely in the WR1 (top 12) mix.
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. Recovering from ankle surgery, Cooper is expected to return to practice after the Aug. 13th preseason game and play a few snaps before the regular season begins.
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.
Filling in for a mostly-injured Christian McCaffrey in 2020, Davis performed as a top-12 (PPR) fantasy running back last season. With limited competition for running back touches, Davis will have at least flex appeal, especially with Arthur Smith (most recently OC in Tennessee) taking over as Atlanta's head coach.
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. Not to mention, the offense should be more QB-friendly in 2021. It wouldn't surprise me if he makes a sophomore leap that catapults him into the top five or so QBs.
8.05 - 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.
While I prefer Moss over Devin Singletary, one concern for both is that Josh Allen has 25 rushing touchdowns over the past three seasons. That said, Moss has generated positive reports throughout camp and there's certainly some upside from his RB5/Round 9 draft cost.
In 2018, Williams had 10 touchdowns. In 2019, he led the NFL with 20.4 Y/R and posted his first (and only) 1,000-yard season. Not only were overall numbers (48/756/5) disappointing, but he had only four top-36 performances (half-PPR) out of his 15 games last season. That said, Lombardi said that he'd "bet on nice numbers coming from [Williams] on the stat sheet, that's for sure."
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.
When both Alvin Kamara and Murray are active, Murray flirts with stand-alone flex value -- especially during bye weeks. For any weeks that Kamara may miss, however, Murray becomes a must-start play. In the two games that Kamara missed and Murray was active, Murray had a total of 62 touches, 307 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns.
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. The former UDFA joins a crowded backfield in Houston, but I wouldn't be completely shocked if he's the top-scoring Texans back at the end of the season.
14.05 - Colts DST, Indianapolis Colts
After an injury-plagued rookie season, Campbell, a second-round pick in 2019, played only two snaps in Week 2 prior to a PCL injury that ended his 2020 season. Before the injury, he had 6/71 on nine targets and a nine-yard rush attempt in Week 1 last season. If he can stay healthy, he should challenge T.Y. Hilton and Michael Pittman as the team's most productive fantasy receiver.
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