2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Davante Adams is positioned for another WR1 season

The 2021 fantasy football season is near. Let's look at Pro Football Network's latest mock draft and which players stood out as values.

Have you taken part in any fantasy football mock drafts? They provide you an opportunity to experiment with different draft strategies and positions. This 2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft setup was a 12-team half-PPR league with 18 rounds. The roster requirements were 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex, 1 K, and 1 DST. Let’s dive into some of my observations as we head into the final week of draft season.

2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Early-round selections

It is important to use the early rounds to build a solid foundation for your fantasy football team.

For analysis on the players listed below, be sure to check out our fantasy football player profiles and cheat sheet.

Rounds 1-2

Rounds Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4 Team 5 Team 6
1-2
Christian
McCaffrey
RB – CAR
Dalvin
Cook
RB – MIN
Alvin
Kamara
RB – NO
Derrick
Henry
RB – TEN
Davante
Adams
WR – GB
Ezekiel
Elliott
RB – DAL
Darren
Waller
TE – LV
Patrick
Mahomes
QB – KC
DK
Metcalf
WR – SEA
A.J.
Brown
WR – TEN
Justin
Jefferson
WR – MIN
Calvin
Ridley
WR – ATL
Team 7 Team 8 Team 9 Team 10 Team 11 Team 12
Jonathan
Taylor
RB – IND
Aaron
Jones
RB – GB
Tyreek
Hill
WR – KC
Saquon
Barkley
RB – NYG
Austin
Ekeler
RB – LAC
Antonio
Gibson
RB – WAS
Najee
Harris
RB – PIT
DeAndre
Hopkins
WR – ARI
Stefon
Diggs
WR – BUF
Nick
Chubb
RB – CLE
Travis
Kelce
TE – KC
Joe
Mixon
RB – CIN

Wide receiver Davante Adams’ average draft position (ADP) has risen now that fantasy managers know quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be under center in 2021. As a reminder, Adams has averaged 22 PPR fantasy points per game since 2018.

It was interesting to see Austin Ekeler and Antonio Gibson be selected at the tail end of the first round. Both players are in great offensive situations where they have a good chance to outperform their respective ADPs.

Saquon Barkley continues to divide fantasy managers. I’m not concerned about his knee injury from last season. Barkley has averaged 22.6 opportunities and 21 PPR fantasy points per game since his rookie season in 2018.

Another underrated running back in drafts is Joe Mixon. He averaged 24.2 opportunities, 94.3 total yards, and 17 PPR fantasy points per game in six active games before his foot injury in 2020. Now, Mixon is reunited with running backs coach and run-game coordinator Frank Pollack. He had the best statistical season of his career when Pollack was with the Bengals in 2018.

If you miss out on elite tight end Travis Kelce, then you should prioritize Darren Waller. He led the Raiders in targets (146), receptions (107), receiving yards (1,195), and touchdowns (9).

Rounds 3-4

Rounds Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4 Team 5 Team 6
3-4
Keenan
Allen
WR – LAC
George
Kittle
TE – SF
Allen
Robinson
WR – CHI
Clyde
Edwards-Helaire
RB – KC
Terry
McLaurin
WR – WAS
David
Montgomery
RB – CHI
Tee
Higgins
WR – CIN
Josh
Jacobs
RB – LV
Miles
Sanders
RB – PHI
DJ
Moore
WR – CAR
Diontae
Johnson
WR – PIT
Tyler
Lockett
WR – SEA
Team 7 Team 8 Team 9 Team 10 Team 11 Team 12
CeeDee
Lamb
WR – DAL
Julio
Jones
WR – TEN
Josh
Allen
QB – BUF
Mike
Evans
WR – TB
James
Robinson
RB – JAX
Robert
Woods
WR – LAR
Adam
Thielen
WR – MIN
D’Andre
Swift
RB – DET
Chris
Carson
RB – SEA
Chris
Godwin
WR – TB
Cooper
Kupp
WR – LAR
Amari
Cooper
WR – DAL

Jaguars running back James Robinson has seen a steady rise after Travis Etienne’s season-ending Lisfranc injury. Last season, Robinson averaged 21.4 opportunities and 18 PPR fantasy ppg in a featured role.

Allen Robinson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and David Montgomery are my favorite targets in Round 3 of drafts. Robinson has averaged 9 targets and 15 PPR fantasy ppg since joining the Bears in 2018. He has the opportunity to have a significant upgrade at quarterback with the arrival of rookie Justin Fields. While Chris Carson continues to be underrated, since 2018, he’s averaged 19 opportunities and 15.5 PPR fantasy points per game.

Rounds 5-6

Rounds Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4 Team 5 Team 6
5-6
Brandon
Aiyuk
WR – SF
Chase
Claypool
WR – PIT
Kyler
Murray
QB – ARI
Robby
Anderson
WR – CAR
Mike
Davis
RB – ATL
JuJu
Smith-Schuster
WR – PIT
Dak
Prescott
QB – DAL
Brandin
Cooks
WR – HOU
T.J.
Hockenson
TE – DET
Antonio
Brown
WR – TB
Gus
Edwards
RB – BAL
Courtland
Sutton
WR – DEN
Team 7 Team 8 Team 9 Team 10 Team 11 Team 12
Ja’Marr
Chase
WR – CIN
Mark
Andrews
TE – BAL
Myles
Gaskin
RB – MIA
Kyle
Pitts
TE – ATL
Jerry
Jeudy
WR – DEN
Darrell
Henderson
RB – LAR
DeVonta
Smith
WR – PHI
D.J.
Chark
WR – JAX
Kenny
Golladay
WR – NYG
Lamar
Jackson
QB – BAL
Michael
Thomas
WR – NO
Odell
Beckham Jr.
WR – CLE

Mike Davis carries more risk than he did a few weeks ago. Wayne Gallman signed with the Falcons after being released by the 49ers during final roster cuts. His presence could negatively impact Davis’ opportunity share this upcoming season. This preseason, Gallman totaled 153 rushing yards and averaged 4.5 yards per rushing attempt in three games. He filled in admirably for Barkley last season with the Giants.

Brandin Cooks continues to be a nice value for fantasy managers who prioritized the RB position in the early rounds. He enters this season as one of five active WRs to exceed 1,000 receiving yards in at least five seasons since 2015. Cooks has prospered with multiple quarterbacks.

Courtland Sutton, Kenny Golladay, and DeVonta Smith are also excellent receivers projected to see 100+ targets that you can prioritize in drafts.

Rounds 7-8

Rounds Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4 Team 5 Team 6
7-8
Kareem
Hunt
RB – CLE
Michael
Pittman
WR – IND
Tyler
Boyd
WR – CIN
Javonte
Williams
RB – DEN
Logan
Thomas
TE – WAS
Aaron
Rodgers
QB – GB
Trey
Sermon
RB – SF
Curtis
Samuel
WR – WAS
Zack
Moss
RB – BUF
Noah
Fant
TE – DEN
Michael
Carter
RB – NYJ
Damien
Harris
RB – NE
Team 7 Team 8 Team 9 Team 10 Team 11 Team 12
Russell
Wilson
QB – SEA
Deebo
Samuel
WR – SF
Chase
Edmonds
RB – ARI
Jaylen
Waddle
WR – MIA
Laviska
Shenault
WR – JAX
Corey
Davis
WR – NYJ
Will
Fuller
WR – MIA
Melvin
Gordon
RB – DEN
Raheem
Mostert
RB – SF
Jarvis
Landry
WR – CLE
Justin
Herbert
QB – LAC
Jonnu
Smith
TE – NE

Last year, Logan Thomas caught 72 of 110 targets for 670 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns on 74% of offensive snaps. He finished as a TE1 in 56% of his games in PPR formats and will play in the same offense for a second season for the first time in his NFL career. Thomas will also be catching passes from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. If you miss out on some of the top-tier tight ends like Kelce, Waller, or Kittle earlier in your draft, then you should pivot to Thomas.

The Patriots open the season with rookie Mac Jones as the starting quarterback. This provides running back Damien Harris with an even higher ceiling. Now, he won’t have to worry about Cam Newton siphoning away rushing attempts. Harris got off to a slow start in 2020 because of an ankle injury. In 10 games played, he averaged nearly 14 rushing attempts and 69 rushing yards per game. Rookie Rhamondre Stevenson’s marvelous preseason resulted in Sony Michel being expendable, but Harris is still the Patriots back to have on your roster.

Rounds 9-10

Rounds Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4 Team 5 Team 6
9-10
Nyheim
Hines
RB – IND
Los Angeles
Rams
DST – LAR
Mike
Williams
WR – LAC
Ryan
Tannehill
QB – TEN
Jamaal
Williams
RB – DET
Marquez
Callaway
WR – NO
Elijah
Moore
WR – NYJ
James
Conner
RB – ARI
Devin
Singletary
RB – BUF
David
Johnson
RB – HOU
Jalen
Hurts
QB – PHI
DeVante
Parker
WR – MIA
Team 7 Team 8 Team 9 Team 10 Team 11 Team 12
Michael
Gallup
WR – DAL
Kenyan
Drake
RB – LV
Cole
Beasley
WR – BUF
Leonard
Fournette
RB – TB
Ronald
Jones
RB – TB
Tom
Brady
QB – TB
Marquise
Brown
WR – BAL
Darnell
Mooney
WR – CHI
Henry
Ruggs
WR – LV
Tampa Bay
Buccaneers
DST – TB
AJ
Dillon
RB – GB
Marvin
Jones
WR – JAX

Jamaal Williams and Kenyan Drake are solid RB3s who will see a larger opportunity share in 2021 than many fantasy managers expect.

Jalen Hurts averaged an astounding 26.3 fantasy ppg from Weeks 14 to 17 once he took over as the starting quarterback for the Eagles last season. He only played three quarters in Week 17 and finished as a QB1 in Weeks 14-16. His dual-threat ability provides him a high fantasy ceiling.

Fantasy Football Mock Draft: The importance of maximizing the later rounds

The double-digit rounds are great to identify sleepers or players who will outperform their ADP.

Rounds 11-12

Rounds Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4 Team 5 Team 6
11-12
Jakobi
Meyers
WR – NE
T.Y.
Hilton
WR – IND
Russell
Gage
WR – ATL
Rondale
Moore
WR – ARI
Giovani
Bernard
RB – TB
Sony
Michel
RB – LAR
Latavius
Murray
RB – NO
Tarik
Cohen
RB – CHI
Alexander
Mattison
RB – MIN
Kenneth
Gainwell
RB – PHI
Tevin
Coleman
RB – NYJ
Tyler
Higbee
TE – LAR
Team 7 Team 8 Team 9 Team 10 Team 11 Team 12
Tony
Pollard
RB – DAL
Matthew
Stafford
QB – LAR
Robert
Tonyan
TE – GB
Phillip
Lindsay
RB – HOU
Mecole
Hardman
WR – KC
J.D.
McKissic
RB – WAS
Dallas
Goedert
TE – PHI
James
White
RB – NE
Washington
Football Team
DST – WAS
Rashod
Bateman
WR – BAL
Pittsburgh
Steelers
DST – PIT
Gabriel
Davis
WR – BUF

Multiple reports have mentioned that Jakobi Meyers has been the Patriots’ most reliable and consistent receiver in training camp, picking up right where he left off last season. Meyers led New England in targets (81), receptions (59), and receiving yards (729). He also had the second-most receiving air yards (826) in 2021.

Rounds 13-14

Rounds Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4 Team 5 Team 6
13-14
Joe
Burrow
QB – CIN
Sterling
Shepard
WR – NYG
Mike
Gesicki
TE – MIA
Amon-Ra
St. Brown
WR – DET
Bryan
Edwards
WR – LV
Hunter
Henry
TE – NE
Jalen
Reagor
WR – PHI
Todd
Gurley
RB – FA
Emmanuel
Sanders
WR – BUF
Marlon
Mack
RB – IND
Carlos
Hyde
RB – JAX
Ty’Son
Williams
RB – BAL
Team 7 Team 8 Team 9 Team 10 Team 11 Team 12
Baltimore
Ravens
DST – BAL
Nelson
Agholor
WR – NE
Rhamondre
Stevenson
RB – NE
Randall
Cobb
WR – GB
Trey
Lance
QB – SF
Salvon
Ahmed
RB – MIA
Rashaad
Penny
RB – SEA
New Orleans
Saints
DST – NO
Jared
Cook
TE – LAC
Chuba
Hubbard
RB – CAR
Terrace
Marshall Jr.
WR – CAR
Jamison
Crowder
WR – NYJ

Rounds 15-16

Rounds Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4 Team 5 Team 6
15-16
Parris
Campbell
WR – IND
A.J.
Green
WR – ARI
Matt
Ryan
QB – ATL
John
Brown
WR – FA
Tyrell
Williams
WR – DET
Trevor
Lawrence
QB – JAX
Indianapolis
Colts
DST – IND
Darrel
Williams
RB – KC
Buffalo
Bills
DST – BUF
Larry
Rountree
RB – LAC
Malcolm
Brown
RB – MIA
San Francisco
49ers
DST – SF
Team 7 Team 8 Team 9 Team 10 Team 11 Team 12
Evan
Engram
TE – NYG
Justice
Hill
RB – BAL
Mark
Ingram
RB – HOU
Rob
Gronkowski
TE – TB
Tony
Jones
RB – NO
Wayne
Gallman
RB – ATL
Damien
Williams
RB – CHI
Kadarius
Toney
WR – NYG
Darius
Slayton
WR – NYG
Baker
Mayfield
QB – CLE
Christian
Kirk
WR – ARI
Tre’Quan
Smith
WR – NO

Rounds 17-18

Rounds Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4 Team 5 Team 6
17-18
Justin
Tucker
K – BAL
Gerald
Everett
TE – SEA
Justin
Jackson
RB – LAC
New England
Patriots
DST – NE
Cleveland
Browns
DST – CLE
Jerick
McKinnon
RB – KC
Cole
Kmet
TE – CHI
Jason
Myers
K – SEA
Jason
Sanders
K – MIA
Wil
Lutz
K – NO
Ryan
Succop
K – TB
Greg
Zuerlein
K – DAL
Team 7 Team 8 Team 9 Team 10 Team 11 Team 12
Kirk
Cousins
QB – MIN
Darrynton
Evans
RB – TEN
Boston
Scott
RB – PHI
Sammy
Watkins
WR – BAL
Devontae
Booker
RB – NYG
Kansas City
Chiefs
DST – KC
Rodrigo
Blankenship
K – IND
Marquez
Valdes-Scantling
WR – GB
Daniel
Carlson
K – LV
Tyler
Bass
K – BUF
Younghoe
Koo
K – ATL
Harrison
Butker
K – KC

Closing Remarks

My recommendation is to take part in as many fantasy football mock drafts as possible in the short time remaining. You will get a much better feel for players’ ADP (average draft position), sleepers, late-round steals, and the chance to experiment with different draft strategies. It’s also important to start mock drafting in your league format.

Additionally, you should use all of the resources at Pro Football Network to conduct research and build personalized fantasy cheat sheets. Mock drafting won’t guarantee a fantasy football championship, but it’s better to learn your lessons in a mock instead of your live draft.

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