August is likely the month of your fantasy football drafts. You may have already had one and have a few more to go. With the majority of each teams’ preseason games kicking off this week, we’ll finally get a look at some of the players we’re considering to draft and lead us to a fantasy football championship. There is good and bad news coming out of each training camp every day. As all of this is going on, it’s that much more important to see how it affects the draft capital of each player. Stick with mock drafting as ADPs are shifting constantly. Let’s see how things look with just over one month away from the start of the 2021 season.
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Picking Sixth Overall in the Sixth 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 sixth 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 weeks 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- Davante Adams (GB WR)
1.07- Saquon Barkley (NYG RB)
1.08- Travis Kelce (KC TE)
1.09- Nick Chubb (CLE RB)
1.10- Aaron Jones (GB RB)
MY PICK: Davante Adams
For the second week in a row, I am leaving the first round of the mock draft with Davante Adams. Every draft is going to be different. Odds are, though, that with pick five through ten, or so, you could be faced with the decision of Adams or the next running back in your rankings.
This week, I chose Adams, not over Saquon, but over Adams’ teammate, Aaron Jones. Over the weekend, reports out of New York indicated that Saquon may not suit up for the Giants until Week 3. The best ability is availability. I want my first round pick to play as many games as possible.
Aaron Jones is more appealing to me as of late with Aaron Rodgers back in action in Green Bay. Not only did the Packers pay Jones, but his biggest competition for touches in previous seasons, Jamaal Williams, is now with the Detroit Lions.
Jones is worthy of more touches in this offense. I like his role to increase in 2021 and see more passing down work than second-year running back, AJ Dillon. All that said, Adams is the best wide receiver in the league. If this is his last season with Green Bay, and Aaron Rodgers, I don’t want to miss out on yet another dominant season from the two.
2.01 – Jonathan Taylor (IND RB)
2.02- Austin Ekeler (LAC RB)
2.03- Tyreek Hill (KC WR)
2.04- Stefon Diggs (BUF WR)
2.05- DeAndre Hopkins (ARI WR)
2.06- Calvin Ridley (ATL WR)
2.07- Joe Mixon (CIN RB)
2.08- Najee Harris (PIT RB)
2.09- A.J. Brown (TEN WR)
2.10- Antonio Gibson (WFT RB)
MY PICK: Deandre Hopkins
Ah, the sign of a trend. In back-to-back mock drafts, I’m pairing up Adams with DeAndre Hopkins with back-to-back draft picks. I love a stud running back as much as the next guy. Yet, this duo of wide receivers to build around is safe and hard to pass up on.
Hopkins’ quarterback, Kyler Murray, rushed for 819 yards and 11 touchdowns on 133 attempts last season. That was 40 more rushes than his rookie season when he finished as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. From 2019 to 2020, Murray only threw the ball 16 more times from one season to the next.
Murray is adamant that he is a passer first and that his rushing ability is a luxury. The Cardinals signed veteran receiver, AJ Green, and drafted rookie speedster, Rondale Moore. In addition, they brought in James Conner into the backfield.
All of the above tells me Arizona wants Murray to throw more in 2021 and Hopkins is his top target. I want Murray’s top target on my team if I can get him.
3.01- Patrick Mahomes (KC QB)
3.02- Keenan Allen (LAC WR)
3.03- DK Metcalf (SEA WR)
3.04- Darren Waller (LV TE)
3.05- Justin Jefferson (MIN WR)
3.06- Allen Robinson (CHI WR)
3.07- Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC RB)
3.08- Josh Allen (BUF QB)
3.09- Terry McLaurin (WFT WR)
3.10- George Kittle (SF TE)
MY PICK: Allen Robinson
Stop me if you’ve heard me say this before, but value is more important than positional needs this early in the draft. Actually, don’t stop me. This cannot be stressed enough as you start to prepare for your draft.
Here, in this mock draft, I was choosing between a third stud wide receiver or selecting my first running back, likely Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Passing on CEH doesn’t mean I dislike his 2021 outlook. I have actually predicted a bounce-back, breakout for the second-year back. I just value the potential to have a wide receiver trio of Adams, Hopkins, and Allen Robinson far more as the core of my mock draft team.
Allen Robinson has had Blake Bortles, Chad Henne, Nick Foles, and Mitchell Trubisky throwing him the ball so far in his career. He’s still managed three top-9 finishes at the position in five seasons he’s played 13 games or more. Now, Andy Dalton is under center, who can’t be much worse than the aforementioned quarterbacks.
Based on training camp reports, Robinson could be catching passes from rookie, Justin Fields, sooner than later. A good way to bet on potential, early success for Fields is by locking Robinson into your roster wherever possible. He has a top-5 wide receiver ceiling and is, therefore, a steal in the third round of this mock draft.
4.01- Julio Jones (TEN WR)
4.02- Ceedee Lamb (DAL WR)
4.03- D’Andre Swift (DET RB)
4.04- Mike Evans (TB WR)
4.05- Robert Woods (LAR WR)
4.06- Amari Cooper (DAL WR)
4.07- Chris Godwin (TB WR)
4.08- Adam Thielen (MIN WR)
4.09- Lamar Jackson (BAL QB)
4.10- Cooper Kupp (LAR WR)
MY PICK: Robert Woods
I know I don’t have a running back at this point in the mock draft. With eight running backs, I feel comfortable starting as my RB1 still on the board, and 10 picks until I am back on the clock, I feel confident in the opportunity to select one of them in the fifth round.
That said, I grabbed a piece of the Los Angeles Rams’ passing game that I have high expectations for in 2021. In the last three seasons, Robert Woods has seen a minimum of 129 targets each year. The team added a better passer in Matthew Stafford to keep that volume going making Woods an incredible value as my WR4 and starting flex player.
Ceedee Lamb is a player I was focusing on with this pick, but didn’t get that lucky. This is probably the last time we see Lamb this low in mock drafts. With insane training camp highlights and his HBO “Hard Knocks” debut tomorrow, his ADP is bound to increase.
5.01- Tyler Lockett (SEA WR)
5.02- Chris Carson (SEA RB)
5.03- Josh Jacobs (LV RB)
5.04- Kenny Golladay (NYG WR)
5.05- J.K. Dobbins (BAL RB)
5.06- David Montgomery (CHI RB)
5.07- Miles Sanders (PHI RB)
5.08- D.J. Moore (CAR WR)
5.09- Michael Thomas (NO WR)
5.10- Dionte Johnson (PIT WR)
MY PICK: David Montgomery
Chris Carson or David Montgomery were the running backs I was hoping to select in this round of the mock draft. As my RB1, I feel at ease with Montgomery’s projected volume as the Bears’ bell-cow back. I know I already have Allen Robinson on the roster. Let this pick be another testament to my belief that Justin Fields starts sooner than later for Chicago.
It would have been foolish to disregard the running back position had Montgomery been selected. The running backs in this round are the last handful of players you can roll out as RB1s to start the season.
If I miss out on any of these guys, with the mock draft roster I already have, I may even continue to wait until the sixth round. I would have taken a second-tier tight end instead, for that weekly advantage.
6.01- Kyler Murray (ARI QB)
6.02- Ja’Marr Chase (CIN WR)
6.03- Brandon Aiyuk (SF WR)
6.04- T.J. Hockenson (DET TE)
6.05- Kyle Pitts (ATL TE)
6.06- Tee Higgins (CIN WR)
6.07- JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT WR)
6.08- Dak Prescott (DAL QB)
6.09- Odell Beckham, Jr. (CLE WR)
6.10- Chase Claypool (PIT WR)
MY PICK: Kyle Pitts
The sixth round in a 10-team PPR league is probably the last chance of getting your share of Kyle Pitts in 2021. He already has his first highlight out of training camp staying with, and catching, a bobbled pass amongst multiple defenders.
With Julio Jones playing in Tennessee, that leaves a massive target share up for grabs in Atlanta. The Falcons didn’t use the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on Pitts and not expect him to get involved in owning Jones’ targets, once traded.
I think fantasy football managers will have to often decide between Hockenson and Pitts. Both of whom will be top targets in their respective offense’s passing attack. Luckily here, the mock draft made the decision for me as Hockenson went one pick before Pitts.
7.01- Courtland Sutton (DEN WR)
7.02- Laviska Shenault (JAX WR)
7.03- Mark Andrews (BAL TE)
7.04- D.J. Chark (JAX WR)
7.05- Russell Wilson (SEA QB)
7.06- Aaron Rodgers (GB QB)
7.07- Justin Herbert (LAC QB)
7.08- Myles Gaskin (MIA RB)
7.09- Dallas Goedert (PHI TE)
7.10- Devonta Smith (PHI WR)
MY PICK: Aaron Rodgers
I couldn’t resist. I have Davante Adams as my top pick in this mock draft. Now, I get to stack him with the 2020 MVP, and a likely 2021 MVP candidate, Aaron Rodgers. That means, with the projected dominance Adams will likely bring to the table this season, I’ll benefit even more as Rodgers racks up points throwing the ball to Adams.
Truthfully, I somewhat regret the Kyle Pitts pick from a round earlier now seeing Andrews and Goedert go off the board. I know it’s a mock draft, and certainly fun to have Pitts, but now seven tight ends are gone through seven rounds.
I would much rather have spent that pick on Tee Higgins or Chase Claypool than drafted a tight end a bit later. The difference in production between Pitts and my opponent’s tight end each week may not be that far and away. However, the difference between my WR3 or flex, in Higgins or Claypool, and my opponent’s, has a better chance of providing a weekly advantage.
There’s nothing wrong with selecting a player you want to root for if they are drafted at a reasonable value. Kyle Pitts is a perfect example of that. He will be fun to support, but I question if his rookie season is worth investing in for fantasy football at the point at which he is being drafted.
8.01- Tyler Boyd (CIN WR)
8.02- Tom Brady (TB QB)
8.03- Jerry Jeudy (DEN WR)
8.04- Robby Anderson (CAR WR)
8.05- Darrell Henderson (LAR RB)
8.06- Will Fuller (MIA WR)
8.07- Ryan Tannehill (TEN QB)
8.08- Michael Pittman (IND WR)
8.09- Deebo Samuel (SF WR)
8.10- Mike Davis (ATL RB)
MY PICK: Darrell Henderson
For the second week in a row of the mock draft series, I select Henderson outside of the top-20 running backs drafted. Acting as my RB2, I love his projected volume and opportunity to score as the Rams’ primary running back.
The collection of Henderson, Myles Gaskin, Mike Davis, Kareem Hunt, and James Robinson are favorable targets to be RB2s that can, and have, put up weekly RB1 numbers. The ability to draft them in the seventh to ninth round range consistently has led me to prioritize wide receiver earlier in the draft more often lately.
Tom Brady and Ryan Tannehill going off the board in this round was eye-popping. This is a direct result of panic setting in after the Wilson, Rodgers, and Herbert run near the end of the seventh round. There are still a good number of quality quarterbacks available, especially in a 10-team league.
Don’t feel like you have to select a position because everyone else is. Staying in your own lane often paves the way for value at other positions.
9.01- Brandin Cooks (HOU WR)
9.02- Travis Etienne (JAX RB)
9.03- Jarvis Landry (CLE WR)
9.04- Chase Edmonds (ARI RB)
9.05- Antonio Brown (TB WR)
9.06- Kareem Hunt (CLE RB)
9.07- Michael Gallup (DAL WR)
9.08- Javontae Williams (DEN RB)
9.09- James Robinson (JAX RB)
9.10- Leonard Fournette (TB RB)
My Pick: Kareem Hunt
I think Kareem Hunt is the best of the bunch of running backs at this point in the mock draft. I contemplated spending my eighth-round pick on him instead of Henderson, so getting Hunt in the ninth was a bonus.
Hunt is the top running back handcuff to own in fantasy football as the listed backup to Nick Chubb. He has shown to have value on his own, especially as a pass-catcher when the Browns are behind in the fourth quarter.
I really like the values of both James Robinson and Travis Etienne here. Naturally, in the same backfield, fantasy football managers will be faced with the decision to choose one or the other. They both have the ability to produce in PPR formats and either are a fine option as an RB3 or RB4 with major upside in the ninth round.
At this point, it’s going to be hard to deny James Robinson the opportunity to carry the ball based on what he did last year in that offense. Selecting Travis Etienne in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft spoke more to Etienne’s talent, to me, than Robinson’s lack thereof. These two can coexist and will see their fair share of targets in rookie quarterback, Trevor Lawrence’s, first season.
10.01- Curtis Samuel (WFT WR)
10.02- Raheem Mostert (SF RB)
10.03- Trey Sermon (SF RB)
10.04- Damien Harris (NE RB)
10.05- Melvin Gordon (DEN RB)
10.06- Mike Williams (LAC WR)
10.07- Marquis Brown (BAL WR)
10.08- Jaylen Waddle (MIA WR)
10.09- Ronald Jones (TB RB)
10.10– Michael Carter (NYJ RB)
MY PICK: Melvin Gordon
Since I didn’t spend a high pick on a running back, it’s important to select depth at the position that has plug-and-play potential any given week. Melvin Gordon could very well start Week 1, if needed, as a cheap veteran back with a heavy workload in Denver, especially early in the season.
I know the Broncos spent a second-round pick on Javontae Williams in April, but until I see any signs of him commanding this backfield, Gordon is the ball carrier to own. Not to mention he went one round after Williams in this mock draft.
There is also a financial aspect to Gordon’s role in Denver. Not only was he given $13.5 million in guarantees, but an additional $2 million was earned at the start of this training camp. In the final year of his deal in Denver, he’s also due approximately $500,000 if he plays in every game.
At just 28-years old, and having averaged 4.6 yards per carry last season, I have no problem investing in Gordon in the tenth round at a position of scarcity.
11.01- David Johnson (HOU RB)
11.02- Devante Parker (MIA WR)
11.03- James Conner (ARI RB)
11.04- Zach Moss (BUF RB)
11.05- Jamaal Williams (DET RB)
11.06- Darnell Mooney (CHI WR)
11.07- Henry Ruggs (LV WR)
11.08- AJ Dillon (GB RB)
11.09- Mecole Hardman (KC WR)
11.10– Kenyan Drake (LV RB)
MY PICK: Darnell Mooney
As a standalone player, Mooney is looking like a steal in the eleventh round of this mock draft. All of the reports out of Bears training camp are glowing, particularly when discussing his route running. The second-year receiver, with better quarterback play, could be primed for a breakout in 2021.
Assuming he sees more than the 98 targets he did in 2020, Mooney has weekly WR3 potential in fantasy football.
For this mock draft team, he is added insurance in the event Allen Robinson misses time. It’s not a widely discussed strategy to handcuff wide receivers. With Mooney as the Bears’ WR2, and available in the eleventh round, this is one of the more unique opportunities to do so at a discount.
This added value behind Robinson gives him a slight boost over Ruggs and Hardman who were selected soon after.
12.01- Marvin Jones (JAX WR)
12.02- Logan Thomas (WFT TE)
12.03- Russell Gage (ATL WR)
12.04- Robert Tonyan (GB TE)
12.05- Corey Davis (NYJ WR)
12.06- Elijah Moore (NYJ WR)
12.07- Matthew Stafford (DET QB)
12.08- Noah Fant (DEN TE)
12.09- Rashod Bateman (BAL WR)
12.10– Tony Pollard (DAL RB)
MY PICK: Corey Davis
Time will tell if Davis is the Jets receiver to own in 2021. With how solid my starting wide receivers are, I could have went with the hype and upside of Moore, or Bateman, here.
Davis, on the other hand, is probably going to be the target share leader in New York as a trustworthy veteran pass catcher for rookie quarterback, Zach Wilson. That’s worth a twelfth-round pick regardless of the team.
In hindsight, each round that passes, I wonder if selecting Aaron Rodgers when I did was the right move. Seeing a player like Stafford available at this point in the mock draft makes me regret my decision a bit.
I won’t be disappointed by Rodgers in 2021, but selecting a better positional player then and getting Stafford now could have had a better overall outcome over the course of the season.
13.01- Irv Smith (MIN TE)
13.02- Adam Trautman (NO TE)
13.03- Cole Beasley (BUF WR)
13.04- Tre’Quan Smith (NO WR)
13.05- Tyler Higbee (LAR TE)
13.06- Latavius Murray (NO RB)
13.07- Joe Burrow (CIN QB)
13.08- Devin Singletary (BUF RB)
13.09- Jalen Hurts (PHI QB)
13.10– Gus Edwards (BAL RB)
MY PICK: Latavius Murray
Latavius Murray is a common denominator in the majority of my mock draft teams. Especially on this mock draft team, that is strong at wide receiver, landing a player like Murray in the thirteenth round has a tremendous amount of upside.
He’s a good bet to record close to 200 touches as the compliment running back to Alvin Kamara. Furthermore, he has top-15 or higher weekly potential if he fills in as the starter for any reason.
I thought about selecting a backup tight end in this round. If for whatever reason Pitts, my starter, disappoints, I want to have another option on my bench. However, selecting a backup this late at tight end looks like it could be just as much of a guess as players on the waiver wire early on in the season. Landing running back depth, like Murray, is more valuable here.
14.01- Trey Lance (SF QB)
14.02- J.D. McKissic (WFT RB)
14.03- Randall Cobb (GB WR)
14.04- James White (NE RB)
14.05- Justin Fields (CHI QB)
14.06- Tarik Cohen (CHI RB)
14.07- Alexander Mattison (MIN RB)
14.08- Nyheim Hines (IND RB)
14.09- Giovani Bernard (TB RB)
14.10– Mike Gesicki (MIA TE)
MY PICK: Justin Fields
I do not advise drafting a quarterback, with the upside that Justin Fields has, if you already have a player like Aaron Rodgers on your roster. The fact of the matter is, Rodgers will likely never sit on your fantasy football bench.
Therefore, using a draft pick on Fields is a waste of potential talent that could have been spent on depth at running back, wide receiver, or tight end.
I admittedly got carried away with Fields hype during this mock draft. With Montgomery, Robinson, Mooney, and then Fields, this mock draft team is all-in on Fields’ 2021 rookie campaign. While I believe he succeeds immediately as a fantasy football player, investing that much in a rookie could backfire in a big way and tank this mock draft team’s season.
Selecting Fields, though, if you wait until the tenth round or later to select your starting quarterback, is not a bad idea. If you can get your hands on a safe option, like Matthew Stafford, and then spend a late-round pick on Fields, that makes more sense than what I did here. I just couldn’t help myself.
QB- Aaron Rodgers
RB- David Montgomery, Darrell Henderson
WR- Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins, Allen Robinson
TE- Kyle Pitts
FLEX- Robert Woods
BENCH: Kareem Hunt, Melvin Gordon, Darnell Mooney, Corey Davis, Latavius Murray, Justin Fields
Mock Draft 6.0 CONCLUSION
There is a noticeable trend of loading up on high-quality wide receivers earlier in the draft and figuring out running back later. I have not been opposed to the concept, especially in the last two mock drafts. You will want to lock in on a particular group of running backs toward the seventh to ninth round that all have RB1 upside any given week.
Stacking Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams isn’t going to lose me the season. However, it’s hard to justify owning that stack in this mock draft when quarterbacks, like Matthew Stafford, are available in double-digit rounds. I could have stacked Stafford and Woods for cheaper and selected a better skill position depth piece instead of Rodgers.
If you believe in a rookie quarterback to burst onto the scene, such as Justin Fields, and plan to roster him, don’t waste a high pick on a top quarterback. It’s better to use a later pick on a quarterback who has a safe floor with the intention of starting the other, like Fields, who provides upside.
I did notice a few players from previous mock drafts with a round, or even two, difference in ADP from previous mock drafts. Some players have risen while others’ value has sunk in the last few weeks.
As teams start to prepare and complete preseason games, keep an eye on the fluctuating values. It’s important to rethink a player who had an amazing preseason game sky rocket if they start to jump up above a stud who normally rests throughout the preseason during mock drafts.
As the month of August continues to move, and fantasy football drafts take place each weekend, keep up with mock drafts. They will give you a final idea of how your real draft could play out. Use the opportunity to your advantage to get an idea of what your 2021 teams may look like this season.
For more Rankings and Analysis please check out our full 2021 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.
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