2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft 3.0
Mock Draft Monday is upon us once again with just days until NFL teams start arriving for training camp. As you complete your mock drafts this week, make sure you save your results afterward. This is one of the last opportunities to take note of these players’ fantasy football ADPs before values start to rise and fall based on training camp news, injuries, and other information. With these results, you will have the ability to compare who has drastically trended upward, as well as see who has taken a dip in cost and could be had at a cheaper price than originally expected in your drafts. In Mock Draft 3.0, I make my selections from the third overall draft spot. Success is where preparation and opportunity meet. Let’s see what this mock draft has in store this week.
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Picking Third Overall in the Third Mock Draft
The following mock draft was completed, simulating my strategy and results for a 10-team, one quarterback, Points 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 third overall pick in this mock draft and will make selections from different draft positions each week. For this mock draft, I will break down just the first 10 of the total 16 rounds as many Average Draft Positions, particularly for the later rounds, are bound to change once NFL training camps begin. Now, let’s get to it!
1.01- Christian McCaffrey (CAR RB)
1.02- Dalvin Cook (MIN RB)
1.03- Ezekiel Elliot (DAL RB)
1.04- Derrick Henry (TEN RB)
1.05- Alvin Kamara (NO RB)
1.06- Saquon Barkley (NYG RB)
1.07- Tyreek Hill (KC WR)
1.08- Travis Kelce (KC TE)
1.09- Jonathan Taylor (IND RB)
1.10- Austin Ekeler (LAC RB)
MY PICK: Ezekiel Elliot
With my top two targets, Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook, off the board, I knew I had a heavy decision to make with the third overall draft pick. Of the players I considered here, all with the potential to finish as the RB1 by the end of the season, I feel like Ezekiel Elliot has the best chance to do so.
In the last three seasons, Zeke has averaged just under 300 carries per year. With an improvement in his pass-catching role, as well, he hovers around 20 touches per game. Dallas, unfortunately, saw 10 different combinations of starting offensive linemen last season. They also lost starting quarterback, Dak Prescott, to a season-ending injury. With him on the field, the Cowboys averaged 30.1 points per game.
With a healthier line, Dak back on the field, and Zeke’s usual bell-cow role, this pick at third overall has a safe floor with a massive ceiling for the 2021 season.
2.01 – Nick Chubb (CLE RB)
2.02- Stefon Diggs (BUF WR)
2.03- Davante Adams (GB WR)
2.04- Aaron Jones (GB RB)
2.05- Cam Akers (LAR RB)
2.06- Justin Jefferson (MIN WR)
2.07- Deandre Hopkins (ARI WR)
2.08- Calvin Ridley (ATL WR)
2.09- Najee Harris (PIT RB)
2.10- Antonio Gibson (WFT RB)
MY PICK: Calvin Ridley
At this point in the second round, I noticed a lot of my top-ranked pass catchers were still on the board. While I would like to have solidified my starters at running back, there was better value at wide receiver that I could not pass on.
Calvin Ridley finds himself as the number one wide receiver in Atlanta following the Falcons’ decision to trade Julio Jones at the beginning of the summer. In the seven games where Julio did not play in 2020, Ridley recorded 50 receptions for 765 yards and 3 touchdowns on 79 targets. That’s approximately 11 targets per game. He does not need Julio to succeed and succeed he will in 2021 with a typically pass-heavy approach in Atlanta.
3.01- DK Metcalf (SEA WR)
3.02- A.J. Brown (TEN WR)
3.03- Michael Thomas (NO WR)
3.04- Joe Mixon (CIN RB)
3.05- Keenan Allen (LAC WR)
3.06- Darren Waller (LV TE)
3.07- Patrick Mahomes (KC QB)
3.08- Terry McLaurin (WFT WR)
3.09- George Kittle (SF TE)
3.10- Allen Robinson (CHI WR)
MY PICK: Michael Thomas
Well, I finally did it. I drafted Michael Thomas after expressing reluctance in the previous mock drafts. Again, at the top of the third round, the opportunity to land a player with Thomas’ ability at wide receiver outweighed my options at running back.
With Taysom Hill under center last season, Michael Thomas averaged almost 10 targets per game and topped 100 receiving yards twice. He never finished as a top-10 receiver in those games, but the target share was encouraging for the odds to any given week.
Even if Jameis Winston is named the starting quarterback of the Saints in 2021, his last full season as a starter, he threw for 5,109 passing yards in 16 games. With an extra game this season, I expect Winston to utilize the Saints’ top receiver in Thomas to try to achieve similar numbers.
At this point again, I took note that this is Patrick Mahomes territory. He as well as “The Big Three” tight ends, Kelce, Kittle, and Waller, are almost always gone by the end of this round.
4.01- Julio Jones (TEN WR)
4.02- Lamar Jackson (BAL QB)
4.03- Josh Allen (BUF QB)
4.04- Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC RB)
4.05- Ceedee Lamb (DAL WR)
4.06- Robert Woods (LAR WR)
4.07- Mike Evans (TB WR)
4.08- Amari Cooper (DAL WR)
4.09- Chris Godwin (TB WR)
4.10- Adam Thielen (MIN WR)
MY PICK: Amari Cooper
As I just mentioned, three of the top quarterbacks and tight ends have been selected. Only two of the last 17 picks have been running backs. Therefore, with another pick, in five spots after this one, I felt confident in finding my second running back then and rounding out my starting wide receivers with this selection.
With Dak Prescott on the field in Dallas last season, as previously stated, the team averaged 30.1 points compared to 19.6 when he was absent. In his four, fully-healthy games, Amari Cooper scored the most points as a wide receiver and was WR2 on a points-per-game basis. I love that potential as my WR3 on this mock draft roster.
It was interesting to see teammate Ceedee Lamb go before him, as well as Mike Evans taken ahead of Chris Godwin. While these decisions will vary in every draft, try to get an idea of who your league favors when it comes to top fantasy football players on the same team.
5.01- Cooper Kupp (LAR WR)
5.02- D’Andre Swift (DET RB)
5.03- Chris Carson (SEA RB)
5.04- Dionte Johnson (PIT WR)
5.05- Travis Etienne (JAX RB)
5.06- Kenny Golladay (NYG WR)
5.07- D.J. Moore (CAR WR)
5.08- Miles Sanders (PHI RB)
5.09- Tyler Lockett (SEA WR)
5.10- Brandon Aiyuk (SF WR)
MY PICK: Chris Carson
With an established wide receiver corps, I entered the 5th Round eyeing the running back position. Chris Carson, compared to rookie, Travis Etienne, or 2020 let-down, Miles Sanders, was the safest option as my second back.
Carson re-signed with the Seahawks in March to return as the team’s lead running back for the next two seasons. When he’s on the field, he is as reliable as they come, having never averaged less than 4.2 yards per carry, posting his career best 4.8 per last season. He is a dependable starter to have as my RB2 here.
Of the players who went soon after Carson, I was more interested in safety than upside this early on in constructing my roster.
6.01- Chase Claypool (PIT WR)
6.02- David Montgomery (CHI RB)
6.03- Josh Jacobs (LV RB)
6.04- Tee Higgins (CIN WR)
6.05- Ja’Marr Chase (CIN WR)
6.06- Kyle Pitts (ATL TE)
6.07- Odell Beckham, Jr. (CLE WR)
6.08- Kyler Murray (ARI QB)
6.09- Mark Andrews (BAL TE)
6.10- J.K. Dobbins (BAL RB)
MY PICK: Kyler Murray
Usually, I am not interested in spending a high draft pick on a quarterback. There are 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL and only 10 start in this fantasy league’s format. That being said, with waiting, there are bound to be starters available later on in most drafts which leads to the ability to select more running back and wide receiver depth early on.
However, at the end of Round 6, and with my starting running backs and wide receivers already on the roster, there was an opportunity to draft the potential QB1 in Kyler Murray. Murray has thrown the ball an average of 550 times in his first two seasons. On top of that, he has racked up points with his legs, rushing for an average of 113 attempts per season.
While he does not run as much as Lamar Jackson, there is more balance to his game as a passer. The team added veteran receiver, A.J. Green, as well as running back, James Conner, to improve the offense all-around in 2021.
So far, this roster has a lot of upside with a player at each position with the potential to finish in the top-1 to 3 by the end of the season.
7.01- Dak Prescott (DAL QB)
7.02- Justin Herbert (LAC QB)
7.03- T.J. Hockenson (DET TE)
7.04- Dallas Goedert (PHI TE)
7.05- Will Fuller (MIA WR)
7.06- Courtland Sutton (DEN WR)
7.07- JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT WR)
7.08- D.J. Chark (JAX WR)
7.09- Devonta Smith (PHI WR)
7.10- Tom Brady (TB QB)
MY PICK: T.J. Hockenson
With the high ceiling strategy in mind, I decided to select my starting tight end in the 7th Round. By selecting T.J. Hockenson, I believe this team has a weekly advantage at tight end, in addition to other positions, over most teams in this mock draft league.
Hockenson will be just fine with a change in quarterback, from Matthew Stafford to Jared Goff. Last season, Hock more than doubled his reception and touchdown total from his rookie season and fell just 11 yards shy of doing so with receiving yards. Goff and Hocksenson have already reportedly been working on building a rapport together. This is great news as Goff threw approximately 21% of his passes last season to the tight end position.
Again, of the other players selected in this round, I felt my pick was more of a sure-thing. I decided to lock in one more piece to my starting lineup before taking prospective bench players.
8.01- Michael Pittman (IND WR)
8.02- Robby Anderson (CAR WR)
8.03- Brandin Cooks (HOU WR)
8.04- Tyler Boyd (CIN WR)
8.05- Russell Wilson (SEA QB)
8.06- Aaron Rodgers (GB QB)
8.07- Myles Gaskin (MIA RB)
8.08- Mike Davis (ATL RB)
8.09- Jerry Jeudy (DEN WR)
8.10- Deebo Samuel (SF WR)
MY PICK: Mike Davis
If the Falcons do not add another running back ahead of Week 1, I would expect Mike Davis’ ADP to rise as training camp progresses. As of now, he has little to no competition for touches coming out of the backfield and could provide weekly RB2 value to fantasy football teams.
In this mock draft, I considered the fact that of my starting running backs, Carson has missed an average of two games in the last three seasons. So, when considering depth, I looked to add backs who I could plug in as starters if needed without missing a beat.
If Davis can see 250 touches, in new head coach Arthur Smith’s offense, that has been a success for Derrick Henry, then he is a tremendous value at this point in the mock draft.
9.01- Jarvis Landry (CLE WR)
9.02- Curtis Samuel (WFT WR)
9.03- Kareem Hunt (CLE RB)
9.04- James Robinson (JAX RB)
9.05- Javontae Williams (DEN RB)
9.06- Chase Edmonds (ARI RB)
9.07- Melvin Gordon (DEN RB)
9.08- Laviska Shenault (JAX WR)
9.09- Raheem Mostert (SF RB)
9.10- Antonio Brown (TB WR)
My Pick: Kareem Hunt
It’s all about value at this point in the mock draft. While my mock draft team could use a few more wide receivers, my previous experience mock drafting has shown me that the position is deep.
So, instead of targeting Laviska Shenault, Antonio Brown, or Marquis Brown, I felt running back Kareem Hunt was the best player available in the 9th Round. While Nick Chubb is viewed as the starting running back for the Browns, Hunt holds independent value that fantasy football managers shouldn’t shy away from.
Both Hunt (RB8) and Chubb (RB13) finished as top-13 running backs in a Cleveland offense that took a step forward. With one of the best offensive lines in football and much-needed head coaching continuity with Kevin Stefanski, expect much of the same from Chubb and Hunt in 2021.
10.01- Marquis Brown (BAL WR)
10.02- Leonard Fournette (TB RB)
10.03- David Johnson (HOU RB)
10.04- Michael Carter (NYJ RB)
10.05- Darnell Mooney (CHI WR)
10.06- Kenyan Drake (LV RB)
10.07- James Conner (ARI RB)
10.08- Corey Davis (NYJ WR)
10.09- Devante Parker (MIA WR)
10.10– Jaylen Waddle (MIA WR)
MY PICK: Corey Davis
With two running backs behind my starters, I turned my attention to wide receiver and selected Corey Davis in the 10th round. Having just signed a three-year, $37.5 million deal, Davis is expected to have a huge role in this Jets offense.
Acting as rookie quarterback, Zach Wilson’s, number one receiver, I would expect Davis to lead the team in target share in 2021. On top of that, the Jets are likely going to be playing from behind in most games, lending to a fantasy-friendly, pass-heavy offense late in games. That’s just more work for Davis.
Rather than decide between Devante Parker and Jaylen Waddle as the top target in Miami, Davis’ role in New York is more carved out with a lot of potential.
QB- Kyler Murray
RB- Ezekiel Elliot, Chris Carson
TE- T.J. Hockenson
FLEX- Mike Davis
Mock Draft 3.0 CONCLUSION
This time around, I filled out my starting lineup in this mock draft rather than strengthening my bench early on. I never firmly decide to do one or the other, but rather consider the value in each round as the mock draft starts to move along.
In doing so, in this mock draft, I think this roster has a trustworthy floor with a weekly ceiling to score the most points in this league. When I look at this starting lineup, every player has a solid role and projects high volume in their respective offensive in 2021.
As for my bench, I have three running back handcuffs in Hunt, Pollard, and Murray. I did not feel the need to roster a backup quarterback or tight end with the caliber of starters I selected in this mock draft. There will always be free agents available at those positions if needed.
So far, this team appears to be the best-rounded in the three mock drafts I have done. I did notice four of my 16 picks were Dallas Cowboys. While I think they have an extremely fantasy-friendly season ahead of them, I would like to avoid drafting that many players on a single team moving forward.
Hopefully, by now, you are noticing patterns of your own in mock drafts you complete. If not, mock draft some more and start taking notes. Preseason football is upon us! Good luck!
For more Rankings and Analysis please check out our full 2021 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.
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