This is it! The final stretch of the fantasy football draft season. On Thursday, the 2021 NFL season kicks off with the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they host the Dallas Cowboys. I’ve been mock drafting now for 10 weeks lending my advice along the way. If you’ve kept up with each of these mock drafts, or even just this one, I sincerely appreciate your time. Every minute spent analyzing the ever-changing values of these players and where to expect to draft them best prepares us when it’s time to put together our real championship rosters. Whether your fantasy football drafts are behind you, or scheduled in the coming days, check out how the final mock draft of the season plays out to see what the final verdict is on all of the potential studs, duds, and every player in between for the 2021 fantasy football season.
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Picking 10th Overall in the 10th Mock Draft
The following mock draft was completed, simulating my strategy and results for a 10-team, one quarterback, Point Per Reception league. The hypothetical roster consists of three wide receivers, two running backs, one tight end, and one RB/WR/TE Flex position. I drafted from the tenth overall pick in this mock draft and make selections from different draft positions each week. For this mock draft, I will break down 14 of the total 16 rounds to analyze as many players as possible. It’s important, with just a few days until the start of the season, to consider how to build the bench in fantasy football beyond the construction of a starting lineup. The last two rounds will always be my kicker and defense selections. Now, let’s get to it!
1.01- Christian McCaffrey (CAR RB)
1.02- Dalvin Cook (MIN RB)
1.03- Alvin Kamara (NO RB)
1.04- Derrick Henry (TEN RB)
1.05- Ezekiel Elliott (DAL RB)
1.06- Nick Chubb (CLE RB)
1.07- Saquon Barkley (NYG RB)
1.08- Aaron Jones (GB RB)
1.09- Davante Adams (GB WR)
1.10- Travis Kelce (KC TE)
MY PICK: Travis Kelce
Having the last pick in this mock draft, or any draft, is a blessing and a curse. I obviously get to choose two players back-to-back for the entirety of the mock draft without worrying about a player going between my picks. However, once my two draft picks are made, I have to wait for 18 more players to come off of the board before I’m back on the clock. So, every pick of mine better be worthwhile.
With that said, after ten weeks of mock drafting, it’s clear to me that having at least one of my top-12 running backs is important. Selecting Travis Kelce tenth overall doesn’t change that. I just want to take the opportunity to let everyone know he is a first-round fantasy football talent. Knowing I can still safely get one of those running backs with the next pick lends me the opportunity to make a statement here with Kelce.
Travis Kelce scored 60.9 more PPR fantasy points than the next highest-scoring tight end last season. Furthermore, the third-highest scoring tight end fell a whopping 143.0 points shy of Kelce’s total in 2020. As far as pass catchers go, Kelce would have ranked as the WR4 behind just Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and Stefon Diggs in total points. Kelce provides a weekly advantage against your opponent in leagues that specifically start one tight end. I like that advantage here to start the mock draft especially knowing how deep wide receiver can be.
2.01 – Austin Ekeler (LAC RB)
2.02- Tyreek Hill (KC WR)
2.03- Jonathan Taylor (IND RB)
2.04- Najee Harris (PIT RB)
2.05- Stefon Diggs (BUF WR)
2.06- Antonio Gibson (WFT RB)
2.07- Joe Mixon (CIN RB)
2.08- Patrick Mahomes (KC QB)
2.09- DeAndre Hopkins (ARI WR)
2.10- Calvin Ridley (ATL WR)
MY PICK: Austin Ekeler
So, of course, I am sticking to my word and selecting a top-12 running back here with Austin Ekeler. The new Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator, Joe Lombardi, spent the last four seasons as the New Orleans Saints’ quarterbacks coach. Yes, the positional coach for the team whose quarterbacks who lent to Alvin Kamara recording 81, 81, 81, and 83 receptions respectively out of the backfield in those four seasons.
Ekeler isn’t going to carry the ball 200 times this season. Guess what? Kamara never has either. Ekeler will, however, see close to 260 or so touches, most of which will be receptions. That’s his best skill set and with Lombardi calling plays, it’s the perfect fit. In a points per reception league, Ekeler is a money maker for any fantasy football team at the running back position.
3.01- A.J. Brown (TEN WR)
3.02- Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC RB)
3.03- DK Metcalf (SEA WR)
3.04- Darren Waller (LV TE)
3.05- Justin Jefferson (MIN WR)
3.06- George Kittle (SF TE)
3.07- Keenan Allen (LAC WR)
3.08- Terry McLaurin (WFT WR)
3.09- David Montgomery (CHI RB)
3.10- Allen Robinson (CHI WR)
MY PICK: Allen Robinson
Allen Robinson is consistently finding his way onto my mock draft teams. I’ve said it before and will say it one last time, he is a top-10 receiver who has had a dreadful collection of quarterbacks throwing him the ball. 2021 will be different with both Andy Dalton and, hopefully, sooner than later, rookie, Justin Fields. Robinson at the end of the third round is and has been, a steal all throughout draft season.
Back to Kelce, it’s nice to know Robinson is this mock draft team’s WR1 with a tight end who can put up WR1 numbers, as well. Couple those two with a high-volume pass-catching running back like Ekeler and you’re in a good position to start things off.
The “Big Three” tight ends of Kelce, George Kittle, and Darren Waller are always gone by the end of this round. Similar to wanting a top-12 running back, I’ve found that the mock draft teams I have a top-seven tight end on give me a boost of confidence ahead of this season. Kelce is the no-brainer top tight end on the best offense of these three. I’m happy to have him or wait until a bit later for someone like Logan Thomas before spending my third-round pick on Kittle or Waller.
4.01- Ceedee Lamb (DAL WR)
4.02- James Robinson (JAX RB)
4.03- Josh Allen (BUF QB)
4.04- Mike Evans (TB WR)
4.05- Josh Jacobs (LV RB)
4.06- Robert Woods (LAR WR)
4.07- Chris Godwin (TB WR)
4.08- Chris Carson (SEA RB)
4.09- Julio Jones (TEN WR)
4.10- Lamar Jackson (BAL QB)
MY PICK: Ceedee Lamb
This is where having to wait 18 more picks before my next gets tough. There is going to be a bigger scarcity at running back by the time I’m back on the clock in the fifth round. However, the wide receivers still on the board here have fewer question marks than the running backs.
James Robinson and Josh Jacobs will see the majority of the workload carrying the ball for the Jaguars and Raiders respectively. However, both could fall victim to negative game script with below-average offenses who need to pass the ball more to stay alive.
Chris Carson is a player I like more than both of the aforementioned backs, but I’m accustomed to selecting him in the fifth round. I’m not confident he will be there at the end of it when it’s my turn to take a pick.
The bottom line is, while I do like all of these running backs, they don’t offer the same upside, coupled with the safe floor on the Cowboys’ offense, that Ceedee Lamb has. I’m not in the business of drafting for positional need until a bit later on. Lamb is one of, if not the, best player available on the board, especially with quarterback, Dak Prescott, “definitely ready” ahead of Week 1.
5.01- D’Andre Swift (DET RB)
5.02- Amari Cooper (DAL WR)
5.03- Adam Thielen (MIN WR)
5.04- Cooper Kupp (LAR WR)
5.05- D.J. Moore (CAR WR)
5.06- Tyler Lockett (SEA WR)
5.07- Dionte Johnson (PIT WR)
5.08- Brandon Aiyuk (SF WR)
5.09- Tee Higgins (CIN WR)
5.10- Miles Sanders (PHI RB)
MY PICK: Miles Sanders
Of course, now, I’m going to look at drafting a second running back for this mock draft team. It’s a great time to buy the dip on Miles Sanders’ value. This is one of the latest positions I’ve seen him available in all offseason after having been an arguable first-round pick last summer.
The Philadelphia Eagles enter the 2021 season with new head coach, Nick Sirianni, the former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator. Last season, the Colts ranked ninth in scoring across the league. As it pertains to Sanders, the Colts’ rookie running back, Jonathan Taylor saw 119 carries in the final six games of the season.
Sanders and Taylor are alike in that they aren’t known for the abilities as receivers. The Eagles have Boston Scott and rookie, Kenneth Gainwell, to fill that void. However, given that Scott, the more experienced of the two, is only 5’6″, it’s unlikely Sanders surrenders his role in Philly as the lead ball carrier to either of them. That alone makes him a worthy RB2 on this mock draft team and in 2021 fantasy football.
6.01- Gus Edwards (BAL RB)
6.02- Kyle Pitts (ATL TE)
6.03- Odell Beckham, Jr. (CLE WR)
6.04- Kyler Murray (ARI QB)
6.05- Ja’Marr Chase (CIN WR)
6.06- Kenny Golladay (NYG WR)
6.07- Chase Claypool (PIT WR)
6.08- JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT WR)
6.09- Mark Andrews (BAL TE)
6.10- Michael Thomas (NO WR)
MY PICK: Gus Edwards
Gus Edwards is one of the biggest risers in Average Draft Position this fantasy football offseason. The Ravens enter 2021 as the team with the most rush attempts in each of the last two seasons. A lot of that can be attributed to the unbelievable skill quarterback Lamar Jackson has running with the football. Yet, even subtracting his 156 attempts last season, Baltimore still ran the ball an additional 399 times, with just one running back on the current roster who significantly contributed to that total: Gus Edwards.
One of the biggest stories out of the preseason is second-year running back, J.K. Dobbins, tearing his ACL in the team’s third preseason game. He’s obviously done for the season. That leaves Gus Edwards to lead the way as the lead back in this offense. Unfortunately, Edwards isn’t a huge value in PPR formats. He has just 18 total receptions in his three-year career. Still, Edwards is going to get fed in an offense that likes to run the ball, especially in the red zone.
7.01- Devonta Smith (PHI WR)
7.02- D.J. Chark (JAX WR)
7.03- Myles Gaskin (MIA RB)
7.04- Courtland Sutton (DEN WR)
7.05- T.J. Hockenson (DET TE)
7.06- Jerry Jeudy (DEN WR)
7.07- Chase Edmonds (ARI RB)
7.08- Kareem Hunt (CLE RB)
7.09- Antonio Brown (TB WR)
7.10- Mike Davis (ATL RB)
MY PICK: Mike Davis
Mike Davis is probably the player I have the most of on these mock draft rosters. He is the lead running back of the Atlanta Falcons, playing for his hometown, coming off of a career year. His new head coach, Arthur Smith, also spent the last two seasons coordinating the Titans’ offense in which Derrick Henry won back-to-back rushing titles. Just saying.
Davis isn’t Derrick Henry. Of course not. No one is. He does have pass-catching ability and is going to spend the early part of the season, at least, as a three-down back. This past week, the Falcons waived Davis’ projected backup, Qadree Ollison, in favor of steady veteran, Wayne Gallman. They obviously believe Gallman is a better player, fit, or both behind Davis, but it will likely take some time before he’s worked into this offense. Davis is an option to start as a high-floor RB2 any given week, making him a solid potential flex on this mock draft team.
8.01- Robby Anderson (CAR WR)
8.02- Aaron Rodgers (GB QB)
8.03- Deebo Samuel (SF WR)
8.04- Brandin Cooks (HOU WR)
8.05- Russell Wilson (SEA QB)
8.06- Javontae Williams (DEN RB)
8.07- Darrell Henderson (LAR RB)
8.08- Tyler Boyd (CIN WR)
8.09- Dak Prescott (DAL QB)
8.10- Michael Pittman (IND WR)
MY PICK: Robby Anderson
After three straight running back picks, I turn my attention back to wide receiver. Given that I have Kelce’s potential as a top “wide receiver” each week, I knew I could wait to fill my WR3 position in this mock draft. Being able to plug in a player as good as Robby Anderson this late in the draft shows how deep the wide receiver position really is.
Anderson is coming off of a 2020 season where he recorded a career-high in receptions (95), yards (1,096), and touchdowns (4) in Carolina. Now, he links back up with quarterback, Sam Darnold, who was Anderson’s teammate with the New York Jets.
I believe Darnold can be just as good, if not better than Teddy Bridgewater was last season with the Panthers. Clearly, the team does, too, as they’ve moved on from Bridgewater after trading for Darnold. As a top option in this passing attack, reunited with his former quarterback, I love Robby A. completing my mock draft starting wide receiver trio.
9.01- Will Fuller (MIA WR)
9.02- Melvin Gordon (DEN RB)
9.03- Jarvis Landry (CLE WR)
9.04- Corey Davis (NYJ WR)
9.05- Raheem Mostert (SF RB)
9.06- Leonard Fournette (TB RB)
9.07- Laviska Shenault (JAX WR)
9.08- Jaylen Waddle (MIA WR)
9.09- Damien Harris (NE RB)
9.10- Justin Herbert (LAC QB)
My Pick: Justin Herbert
In a 10-team league, I often wait to draft a quarterback. “Waiting”, to me, means the 10th round or later considering there will be free agent options that can provide weekly starter numbers. However, seeing Herbert still on the board in the ninth is too good to pass up on.
The 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year was one of the top waiver-wire additions of last season. Herbert threw for 4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns as a rookie, adding five more scores on the ground. He finished his rookie fantasy football campaign as the QB6 carrying a lot of buzz into this season.
With a “normal” offseason under his belt, Herbert is a good bet to finish in the top-10 at his position again. To make note of him again, Chargers offensive coordinator, Joe Lombardi, is taking on this job, and Herbert, after four seasons working with Dree Brees. The Chargers are going to score a lot of points. Having both Herbert and Ekeler stacked together on this team is one of my best mock draft investments yet.
10.01- Trey Sermon (SF RB)
10.02- Michael Carter (NYJ RB)
10.03- Curtis Samuel (WFT WR)
10.04- Michael Gallup (DAL WR)
10.05- Ronald Jones (TB RB)
10.06- Tom Brady (TB QB)
10.07- Matthew Stafford (DET QB)
10.08- Cole Beasley (BUF WR)
10.09- Kenyan Drake (LV RB)
10.10- Marvin Jones (JAX WR)
MY PICK: Trey Sermon
Trey Sermon just has the feel of a “league winner” to me. His collegiate rushing attempts, yards, and touchdowns don’t exactly jump off of the page. His 6.5 yards per carry average is the stat that sticks out to me, though.
Sermon is the San Fransisco 49er’s 2021 third-round investment from this year’s NFL draft. He is to help fill the vacated rushes left behind by Tevin Coleman, Jerrick McKinnon, and, currently injured, Jeff Wilson, Jr.
The elephant in the room is starting running back, Raheem Mostert’s, inability to stay on the field. He averages nine games played per year in five seasons with the 49ers.
Sermon is a hot commodity in this Kyle Shanahan offense that is built on success running the ball an average of 32.1 times per game.
If Sermon is available this late in your draft, snatch him up. He doesn’t need, and shouldn’t be expected to, start right away on any fantasy football team in 2021. Give the rookie time to get comfortable. If in fact, Mostert cannot stay healthy, Sermon slides into the starting role as the lead back on a fantasy-friendly run offense. I think he may be a common denominator player on a lot of fantasy playoff teams.
11.01- Marquis Brown (BAL WR)
11.02- Russell Gage (ATL WR)
11.03- Mike Williams (LAC WR)
11.04- Zach Moss (BUF RB)
11.05- Devante Parker (MIA WR)
11.06- Henry Ruggs (LV WR)
11.07- Sony Michel (LAR RB)
11.08- James Conner (ARI RB)
11.09- AJ Dillon (GB RB)
11.10- Darnell Mooney (CHI WR)
MY PICK: Darnell Mooney
One more of my mock draft trends continues into the final week of draft season. Darnell Mooney is my Allen Robinson insurance policy. Mooney can, and will, have weekly value of his own. His likeliness of starting on this mock draft team is low, given that I have Robinson. He would slide in as a starter though if Robinson were to miss time for any reason.
At this point, I’m the happiest I’ve been with my starting lineup through 10 rounds of almost any mock draft. Given that my starting tight end is the best in the biz, the rest of the mock draft is likely just stocking up on running backs and wide receivers. I have no need for quarterback or tight end depth behind the starters I currently have.
12.01- Marquez Callaway (NO WR)
12.02- Rashod Bateman (BAL WR)
12.03- Noah Fant (DEN TE)
12.04- Logan Thomas (WFT TE)
12.05- Elijah Moore (NYJ WR)
12.06- Mecole Hardman (KC WR)
12.07- Ryan Tannehill (TEN QB)
12.08- Devin Singletary (BUF RB)
12.09- Jalen Hurts (PHI QB)
12.10- David Johnson (HOU RB)
MY PICK: Marquez Callaway
Another big riser in ADP this off season is undoubtedly Marquez Callaway. A lot of early training camp reports had Callaway as the receiver to watch in New Orleans this season. However, fantasy football managers often want to see tangible evidence before spending a draft pick or waiver claim on a hyped-up player.
Well, we all got our wish two weeks ago as he posted a 5/104/2 receiving line in the Saints’ second preseason game. With star receiver, Michael Thomas, sidelined until at least Week 7 with a recovering ankle, Callaway is going to be the leader in targets out of the gate on this team.
Callaway is a low-risk, high-reward dart throw this late in the draft. It’s yet to be seen what his role is with Thomas back, but it’s worth stashing him on the bench to find out.
13.01- Dallas Goedert (PHI TE)
13.02- Nyheim Hines (IND RB)
13.03- Robert Tonyan (GB TE)
13.04- Sterling Shepard (NYG WR)
13.05- Joe Burrow (CIN QB)
13.06- Jamaal Williams (DET RB)
13.07- Jalen Reagor (PHI WR)
13.08- Mike Gesicki (MIA TE)
13.09- Trey Lance (SF QB)
13.10- Tony Pollard (DAL RB)
MY PICK: Tony Pollard
Tony Pollard is another player I can’t seem to pass up on in these mock drafts. This doesn’t signify my lack of faith in Ezekiel Elliott. I just believe that if Elliott were to fail, fumble, or fall victim to injury, Pollard is a proven player who could produce top-10 weekly numbers at running back.
Of the running backs left, Pollard is the most significantly valuable handcuff. No, I do not have Zeke on this roster. Yes, it’s still okay to add his backup anyway.
Handcuffs often don’t even come in to play until the fantasy football trade deadline anyway. When teams start to envision their own playoff push, they try to build their bench with the handcuffs of their players to be ready for anything. Prioritizing handcuffs in August and September is often a waste of time. There’s no telling who’s going to get hurt this early. Especially if star players don’t get hurt, handcuffs just tie up a bench spot that could be used on a high-upside player elsewhere.
Pollard is different as his opportunity behind the Dallas offensive line would be special. The above advice for handcuffs applies more to managers with Christian McCaffrey who want to use a late-round draft pick on Chubba Hubbard.
14.01- Jakobi Meyers (NE WR)
14.02- Kenneth Gainwell (PHI RB)
14.03- James White (NE RB)
14.04- J.D. McKissic (WFT RB)
14.05- Trevor Lawrence (JAX QB)
14.06- Latavius Murray (NO RB)
14.07- Carlos Hyde (JAX RB)
14.08- Alexander Mattison (MIN RB)
14.09- Tyler Higbee (LAR TE)
14.10- Philip Lindsay (HOU QB)
MY PICK: Jakobi Meyers
Jakobi Meyers is a legitimate candidate to lead the New England Patriots in receptions. Now that Mac Jones is the starter, I feel even better about that statement. It’s yet to be seen if Meyers’ mini 2020 breakout was just flukey high volume without any competition for targets. He led the team in targets, receptions, and yards last season. I love using this late of a pick on him in case he does it again.
Luckily in none of these mock drafts were a defense or kicker selected earlier than the fifteenth round. Please do not draft those positions unless you are somehow sure they are going to be matchup proof any given week.
If a few of your league mates decide to draft those positions earlier than one should, thank them, and continue to stock up on value at positions that matter more.
QB- Justin Herbert
RB- Austin Ekeler, Miles Sanders
WR- Allen Robinson, Ceedee Lamb, Robby Anderson
TE- Travis Kelce
FLEX- Gus Edwards
BENCH: Mike Davis, Trey Sermon, Darnell Mooney, Marquez Callaway, Tony Pollard, Jakobi Meyers
Mock Draft 10.0 CONCLUSION
Travis Kelce is the ultimate roster anchor. Seeing his name at the tight end position provides an advantage at a position many are scrambling to find consistent scoring at. Having Kelce is like having an extra wide receiver in the starting lineup. It’s worth noting that he has a Week 12 Bye so there’s not need to roster a backup tight end if Kelce is on your team.
Volume is, and always has been, the name of the game. When I look at this mock draft team, I see players that are going to be on the field a lot. They can’t score points if they don’t touch the ball and they can’t touch the ball if they’re not on the field. Make sure you target players that are targeted in their respective offenses to produce.
At the end of the day, get players you want to root for. I’m not sure I’ve made that clear during this draft season. It’s important to walk about from your draft liking your team. You should look forward to believing and rooting for your fantasy football team. If at any point in your draft you need a tiebreaker, go with the fan in you that brought you to this game in the first place.
The 2021 mock draft series is a wrap! There’s something to learn in every mock draft. I hope following along with my thought processes each week and seeing drafts play out helps in any future drafts you may have. Good luck and have fun this season!
Now, are you ready for some football?
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