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: 16 Teams, 8th Pick
Based on this mock's settings, each team starts two RBs and two WRs in addition to a flex (RB/WR/TE). If there are a minimum of three WRs to start, I likely would have taken a receiver here, but I feel really good about my Jones/D.K. Metcalf start.
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.
2.09 - D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks
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.
The Ravens have had a 1,000-yard rusher in back-to-back seasons. Unfortunately (for the team's running backs), that player is quarterback Lamar Jackson. For a team that loves to run the ball, however, Dobbins could potentially be a steal if the coaching staff follows through on an offseason "main offensive point of emphasis" (getting the RBs more involved in the passing 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.
5.08 - Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
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.
Missing half of the season, Mostert finished the year with 677 scrimmage yards (84.6/G) and only three touchdowns on 120 touches (15/G). There is some concern with the team trading up to draft Trey Sermon in the third round, but Mostert makes the most out of his opportunities with career averages of 5.6 YPC and 10.0 Y/R.
Williams' 2020 numbers were a bit disappointing (48/756/5) and he finished as a top-36 (half-PPR) weekly wide receiver in only four of 15 weeks played last year. Before that, however, Williams scored double-digit touchdowns in 2018 and led the NFL in yards per reception (20.4) in 2019, his only 1,000-yard season. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi has said that he'd "bet on nice numbers coming from [Williams] on the stat sheet, that's for sure."
8.09 - A.J. Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers
With 21/124/2 against the Titans in Week 16, fantasy managers got a glimpse of what Dillon could do in a lead-back role. With Aaron Jones re-upping with the Packers, however, that won't happen as long as Jones is on the field. Unlike Jamaal Williams, who's now in Detroit, Dillon isn't much of a receiver out of the backfield, but his upside is through the roof if Jones were to miss any time. As the league gets deeper, I'm more likely to handcuff in obvious situations like this.
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.
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 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.
Smith missed three games last season, but the second-year tight end set career highs in YPG (28.1), Y/R (12.2) and touchdowns (five). With Kyle Rudolph no longer on the roster, the arrow is pointing up for the third-year tight end.
With DeAndre Hopkins dominating targets, Kirk's targets dropped from 108 (8.31/G) in 2019 to 79 (5.64/G) in 2020. The vast majority of his fantasy production including all of his touchdowns occurred during a five-game stretch from Weeks 4-9 (20/343/6, 17.15 Y/R, WR7). It's possible that Kirk is the team's second-most productive receiver even though I have the trio of Kirk, Rondale Moore and A.J. Green all grouped closely together in my projections.
13.08 - Colts DST, Indianapolis Colts
15.08 - Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears
Once Fields takes over the starting gig, the former Buckeye will be in the weekly streaming mix. With Wilson as this team's QB1, streaming Fields is unlikely as long as both are healthy, but he's a high-upside backup if Wilson were to miss any time.
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