There’s a good chance you have at least one fantasy football draft in the next few days. It’s the last weekend before Labor Day Weekend and the start of the NFL season for most leagues to get together to select their teams. With that said, if you haven’t been preparing up until this point, there’s no better time than now to do so. Every NFL team has at least two preseason games behind them and player values are taking their final shape. Check out how my latest mock draft turned out below. Then run a few mock drafts of your own and see how you do as the fantasy football season approaches.
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Picking Eighth Overall in the Eighth 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 eighth 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- Ezekiel Elliott (DAL RB)
1.04- Alvin Kamara (NO RB)
1.05- Derrick Henry (TEN RB)
1.06- Saquon Barkley (NYG RB)
1.07- Jonathan Taylor (IND RB)
1.08- Davante Adams (GB WR)
1.09- Travis Kelce (KC TE)
1.10- Nick Chubb (CLE RB)
MY PICK: Davante Adams
I have the choice between my top-ranked wide receiver or tight end, and my eighth-ranked running back in the first round of this mock draft. I’m going to take the best player available every time. That’s Davante Adams.
Let me be clear. That doesn’t mean I dislike any of the running backs available with the eighth pick. However, I have another pick five selections away from this one. That provides an opportunity to evaluate who is available now and who could be available a short while later.
With that said, I know that early in the second round, I’ll have a good shot at Travis Kelce, one of my late top-10 running backs, or another one of my top-three wide receivers. On the flip side, if I did not take Adams here, I would not have gotten him in the second. If you have a guy, go get him!
2.01 – Tyreek Hill (KC WR)
2.02- Austin Ekeler (LAC RB)
2.03- Aaron Jones (GB RB)
2.04- Stefon Diggs (BUF WR)
2.05- Joe Mixon (CIN RB)
2.06- DeAndre Hopkins (ARI WR)
2.07- Najee Harris (PIT RB)
2.08- Calvin Ridley (ATL WR)
2.09- Antonio Gibson (WFT RB)
2.10- DK Metcalf (SEA WR)
MY PICK: Aaron Jones
Of the players off of the board after Adams, I would have only considered Kelce ahead of Aaron Jones with this pick of the mock draft. Instead, I feel I got incredibly lucky to have Jones fall to the 13th overall pick.
It’s not an ideal scenario to be investing this heavily into one offense with the first two mock draft picks. Yet, if you’re going to, you could do much worse than walk away with two Green Bay Packers.
The Packers scored the most points in the NFL last season averaging 31.8 points per game. With Aaron Rodgers back under center, it’s fair to say they have a good chance to do it again. So, building this fantasy football team around both their star running back and wide receiver is fine by me. You can bet I’ll be targeting Rodgers later on to triple-down on this commitment.
3.01- Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC RB)
3.02- Patrick Mahomes (KC QB)
3.03- Ceedee Lamb (DAL WR)
3.04- Darren Waller (LV TE)
3.05- A.J. Brown (TEN WR)
3.06- Justin Jefferson (MIN WR)
3.07- George Kittle (SF TE)
3.08- Keenan Allen (LAC WR)
3.09- Terry McLaurin (WFT WR)
3.10- Josh Allen (BUF QB)
MY PICK: Keenan Allen
This is the latest Keenan Allen has been available in the most recent mock drafts. I have been known to use my early third-round picks on him a few times before. His availability closer to the end of this round is not something I can pass up.
Conversely, this is the highest I have seen Ceedee Lamb go off of the board. It’s not out of the question that Lamb is capable of finishing in the top-five at the position. However, I would still rather have the safe consistency of Keenan’s floor that I’ve seen before.
Keenan is Justin Herbert’s clear-cut top target in the Los Angeles Chargers’ offense. Lamb is one of many mouths to feed in Dallas. This doesn’t mean Lamb isn’t going to be more, or as, successful as Keenan. I would just lean toward the player who averages 100 receptions per season in each of the last four.
4.01- Allen Robinson (CHI WR)
4.02- Robert Woods (LAR WR)
4.03- D’Andre Swift (DET RB)
4.04- J.K. Dobbins (BAL RB)
4.05- Chris Godwin (TB WR)
4.06- David Montgomery (CHI RB)
4.07- Mike Evans (TB WR)
4.08- Dak Prescott (DAL QB)
4.09- Julio Jones (TEN WR)
4.10- Amari Cooper (DAL WR)
MY PICK: D’Andre Swift
From here on out, everyone’s strategy is going to start varying in slightly different ways. I have to not only consider who the best value is now, but who may be available 15 picks later when I’m back on the clock.
That said, with Allen Robinson taken just before my pick, I put more of an emphasis on running back. There are still plenty of talented wide receivers available to complete my starting trio with Davante Adams and Keenan Allen. Running back is already getting thin and likely will continue to do so before my next pick.
Last season, Swift saw 56 targets out of the backfield which was the 12th most among running backs. Jared Goff isn’t a stranger to targeting running backs having thrown Todd Gurley’s way 81 or more times in back-to-back seasons in 2017 and 2018.
Swift is a great option as the 33rd player off of the board in this mock draft. He is seeing a ton of volume in Lions practice, even having missed a short period of time with a groin injury. It’s likely he could see a three-down role in this offense and finish as a low-end RB1 in 2021.
5.01- Cooper Kupp (LAR WR)
5.02- Adam Thielen (MIN WR)
5.03- Dionte Johnson (PIT WR)
5.04- D.J. Moore (CAR WR)
5.05- Tyler Lockett (SEA WR)
5.06- Brandon Aiyuk (SF WR)
5.07- Ja’Marr Chase (CIN WR)
5.08- Chris Carson (SEA RB)
5.09- Josh Jacobs (LV RB)
5.10- Michael Thomas (NO WR)
MY PICK: Chris Carson
So, 11 of the 14 picks between my last pick and this one were wide receivers. Go figure. Not everything is going to go according to plan and we know by now that’s okay. It’s important to stay flexible during a draft. Panicking about what everyone else is doing and missing out on players takes away from the focus you should keep on your own team.
With that said, I add Chris Carson here as a safe option at running back and reliable flex for this mock draft team. The Seahawks lost their identity last season. Early on, they “let Russ cook” allowing Russell Wilson to throw early and often, but then dialed it back, trying to establish the run more. On top of their lack of rushing, Carson missed time throughout the season with minor injuries.
However, in 2018 and 2019, the Seahawks respectively ranked second and third in team rushing attempts. Hiring new offensive coordinator, Shane Waldron, is a move that gets this team back on track toward their usual ground and pound style. He even adds an up-tempo style.
With Carson back for two more seasons after a contract extension, he’s going to be an integral piece of the Seahawks game plan in 2021. No other players available in the fifth round here offer that expected volume on their own teams.
6.01- Chase Claypool (PIT WR)
6.02- Darrell Henderson (LAR RB)
6.03- Tee Higgins (CIN WR)
6.04- Kenny Golladay (NYG WR)
6.05- JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT WR)
6.06- Miles Sanders (PHI RB)
6.07- Kyler Murray (ARI QB)
6.08- Myles Gaskin (MIA RB)
6.09- Odell Beckham, Jr. (CLE WR)
6.10- Kyle Pitts (ATL TE)
MY PICK: Tee Higgins
I’m going to take Tee Higgins a round after teammate, Ja’Marr Chase, every opportunity I get. Joe Burrow ranks 24th in 2020 passing attempts and only played in 10 games after a season-ending knee injury. He averaged over 40 pass attempts per game.
With Burrow back on the field, give me Higgins who logged two 115-plus yard games, four touchdowns, and saw 65% of his 108 targets with Burrow under center last season. Ja’Marr Chase is likely going to be a top talent in the NFL. However, he has not played in a football game since the 2019 College National Championship.
I know he is Burrow’s former LSU teammate, but there is likely some rust to shake off having sat out of football for that much time. Getting a piece of this high-passing volume Bengals offense is something to strongly consider for the 2021 season. I just think Chase is going to have a hard time living up to his fifth round ADP, especially early on.
7.01- Courtland Sutton (DEN WR)
7.02- Devonta Smith (PHI WR)
7.03- D.J. Chark (JAX WR)
7.04- Jerry Jeudy (DEN WR)
7.05- Mark Andrews (BAL TE)
7.06- Lamar Jackson (BAL QB)
7.07- Travis Etienne (JAX RB)
7.08- T.J. Hockenson (DET TE)
7.09- Antonio Brown (TB WR)
7.10- Michael Pittman (IND WR)
MY PICK: T.J. Hockenson
The Lions aren’t going to win many games in the 2021 season. In fact, they’re likely going to play from behind more often than not. Therefore, I would expect Jared Goff to be busy throwing the ball most of the game, especially in the fourth quarter.
So far out of training camp, tight end, T.J. Hockenson is a standout in the passing game. Considering the Lions have one of the worst wide receiver corps across the league, Hockenson has a chance to lead this team in target share.
With that in mind, in the seventh round of this mock draft, getting an advantage at the tight end position is a move I believe is worth making. Hockenson has a better chance to make the top-five than not this season based on volume alone. Chasing volume seems to be the theme so far for this mock draft team.
8.01- Brandin Cooks (HOU WR)
8.02- Aaron Rodgers (GB QB)
8.03- Mike Davis (ATL RB)
8.04- Russell Wilson (SEA QB)
8.05- Robby Anderson (CAR WR)
8.06- Justin Herbert (LAC QB)
8.07- Tyler Boyd (CIN WR)
8.08- Kareem Hunt (CLE RB)
8.09- Deebo Samuel (SF WR)
8.10- Chase Edmonds (ARI RB)
MY PICK: Mike Davis
As we get closer to Week 1 of the 2021 season, Mike Davis further cements himself as the starting running back for the Atlanta Falcons. Being able to land a starting running back, with pass-catching ability, in the eighth round of this mock draft is a steal.
I already have three running backs on this mock draft roster. The running back position, however, is one that sees it’s fair share of injuries. Adding a player like Davis to the bench, with the ability to start any given week, is a fantastic asset at this point in the mock draft.
I am admittedly disappointed in missing out on Aaron Rodgers by just one pick. While I don’t always look to target quarterbacks this early in most of my drafts, drafting Rodgers with Adams and Jones could be a high-powered mega stack that carries this team on a weekly basis.
With the missed opportunity to add Rodgers to this roster, the quarterback position is less of a priority for me. I would have liked to invest that much more in the Packers offense, but it doesn’t make or break this fantasy team considering the large number of options still available at quarterback.
9.01- Javontae Williams (DEN RB)
9.02- Jarvis Landry (CLE WR)
9.03- Curtis Samuel (WFT WR)
9.04- James Robinson (JAX RB)
9.05- Will Fuller (MIA WR)
9.06- Jaylen Waddle (MIA WR)
9.07- Marquis Brown (BAL WR)
9.08- Laviska Shenault (JAX WR)
9.09- Raheem Mostert (SF RB)
9.10- Leonard Fournette (TB RB)
My Pick: Laviska Shenault
With four strong options at running back, and a starting tight end, selecting a wide receiver here becomes more important. Of those available, Laviska Shenault has the best chance to be the top receiver on his own team.
In 2020, as a rookie, Shenault led the Jaguars in receptions and was third in targets. With the first overall pick, Trevor Lawrence, now at quarterback, and a full NFL season under his belt, Shenault’s volume and production is likely to increase. He is a player that Jacksonville coaches have been hyping up since early on in the off season.
10.01- Michael Gallup (DAL WR)
10.02- Damien Harris (NE RB)
10.03- Corey Davis (NYJ WR)
10.04- Melvin Gordon (DEN RB)
10.05- Trey Sermon (SF RB)
10.06- Mike Williams (LAC WR)
10.07- Russell Gage (ATL WR)
10.08- Michael Carter (NYJ RB)
10.09- Ronald Jones (TB RB)
10.10– Devante Parker (MIA WR)
MY PICK: Corey Davis
Corey Davis is the number one wide receiver on the New York Jets. The fact that he’s on the Jets is going to deter many fantasy football managers from selecting him in their drafts. On top of that, rookie quarterback, Zach Wilson, doesn’t carry the hype that Justin Fields, Trey Lance, or Trevor Lawrence have at this point.
Don’t let the narrative that Davis, or any player for that matter, being on a bad team steer you away from their volume on that said team. So far in New York’s preseason games, Davis has run just 12 routes and seen 10 targets from Wilson on those routes.
Using a 10th round pick on a team’s top receiver, and stashing him on the bench for now, could be a league-winning move if all goes well. If not, it’s only my 10th round pick. This is a player who was of importance to sign in free agency for the Jets knowing they were bringing in a rookie quarterback to develop. He likely won’t start over Adams, Allen, or Higgins for some time on this mock draft team, but if he plays well enough to consider him, then this pick pays off.
11.01- Darnell Mooney (CHI WR)
11.02- Noah Fant (DEN TE)
11.03- Marvin Jones (JAX WR)
11.04- Zach Moss (BUF RB)
11.05- Kenyan Drake (LV RB)
11.06- David Johnson (HOU RB)
11.07- Henry Ruggs (LV WR)
11.08- AJ Dillon (GB RB)
11.09- Jamaal Williams (DET RB)
11.10– Mecole Hardman (KC WR)
MY PICK: AJ Dillon
I do like to try to leave my fantasy football drafts with five or six running backs to start the season. It’s hard to find depth at the position, especially as the season progresses. So, adding as much as possible in the draft is a good way to start things off on the right foot.
In the 11th round of this mock draft, I have the choice between Aaron Jones’ backup, AJ Dillon, or D’Andre Swift’s backup, Jamaal Williams. Both of these players are top handcuffs for the 2021 season. They are unique in that they’re expected to have roles on their teams even with the aforementioned starters getting most of the work.
When it comes to this decision, Dillon is the better pick. Ironically, the Packers let Williams walk in free agency leaving behind four straight seasons of at least 146 touches. Dillon can slide in to handle that workload and is a top-10 option at running back if Jones misses time. In this case, the player on the better team is worth considering.
12.01- Rashod Bateman (BAL WR)
12.02- Elijah Moore (NYJ WR)
12.03- James Conner (ARI RB)
12.04- T.Y. Hilton (IND WR)
12.05- Logan Thomas (WFT TE)
12.06- Jalen Reagor (PHI WR)
12.07- Marquez Callaway (NO WR)
12.08- Nyheim Hines (IND RB)
12.09- Devin Singletary (BUF RB)
12.10– Tom Brady (TB QB)
MY PICK: James Conner
Speaking of vacated touches, Kenyan Drake leaves behind a career-high 270 in 15 games as the starting running back for the Cardinals last season. Chase Edmonds not only rushed the ball fewer than 100 times in 2020, but saw 36 less attempts than quarterback, Kyler Murray.
That said, bringing in James Conner on a one-year deal seems like a move to fill Drake’s role from last season. If so, as my sixth running back in this mock draft, I’m getting a supreme value here in the 12th round. Even if Edmonds sees an uptick in rushes, and Conner falls just shy of Drake’s 236 from last season, you’re not going to find many other backs this late that will come close to that volume.
13.01- Matthew Stafford (DET QB)
13.02- Dallas Goedert (PHI TE)
13.03- Tyler Higbee (LAR TE)
13.04- Adam Trautman (NO TE)
13.05- Robert Tonyan (GB TE)
13.06- Irv Smith (MIN TE)
13.07- Joe Burrow (CIN QB)
13.08- Sterling Shepard (NYG WR)
13.09- Ryan Tannehill (TEN QB)
13.10– Rob Gronkowski (TB TE)
MY PICK: Sterling Shepard
This pick is a dart throw based on the fact that Kenny Golladay is still struggling with a hamstring injury at training camp. Shepard isn’t a 1,000-yard receiver and has never had more than 66 receptions in a season. However, his last two games in 2020, he saw a combined 22 targets, hauling in 17 of them for 189 yards and two touchdowns.
If Golladay misses time early, or at any point this season, Shepard is a player with an already established rapport with quarterback, Daniel Jones. Of the dart throws I can make at rookies or other wide receivers here, Shepard has the best chance to fill in as a flex play, or better, at some point this season.
I did consider Ryan Tannehill here given that I do not have a starting quarterback yet. It’s not a recommendation of mine to wait this long for a quarterback. However, I like both Tannehill and Hurts. Given that most of the other mock draft teams have their starters, I felt confident in landing one of them in the next round.
14.01- Tony Pollard (DAL RB)
14.02- Gus Edwards (BAL RB)
14.03- Jalen Hurts (PHI QB)
14.04- Philip Lindsay (HOU QB)
14.05- J.D. McKissic (WFT RB)
14.06- James White (NE RB)
14.07- Latavius Murray (NO RB)
14.08- Mike Gesicki (MIA TE)
14.09- Alexander Mattison (MIN RB)
14.10– Giovani Bernard (TB RB)
MY PICK: Jalen Hurts
My thought process proves to be correct as I land Hurts to start on my mock draft team at quarterback in the 14th round. In his four starts at the end of last season, Hurts was QB7 with a 23.74 points per game average. Now, he has a full offseason as the starter and the Eagles added wide receiver, DeVonta Smith, to Hurts’ arsenal of weapons.
Considering just the above, plus his 68 rushing yards per game, Hurts should not fall this low in drafts. I’ll be there to take select him any time that he does.
QB- Jalen Hurts
RB- Aaron Jones, D’Andre Swift
WR- Davante Adams, Keenan Allen, Tee Higgins
TE- T.J. Hockenson
FLEX- Chris Carson
BENCH: Mike Davis, Laviska Shenault, Corey Davis, AJ Dillon, James Conner, Sterling Shepard
Mock Draft 8.0 CONCLUSION
To some, having two star players on the same team may seem contradictory. If you’re going to pull it off, though, the Packers are one of the best teams to invest in for the 2021 season. Don’t let teammates on the same NFL team prevent you from having them as teammates on your fantasy team.
Detroit is going to struggle far more than the Packers, but the volume that Swift and Hockenson will see on this team is what’s important to cash in on. Teams with bad records still score touchdowns and move the ball. Don’t shy away from players just because of the jersey they wear.
In this mock draft, having Adams and Jones as my first two picks, I did keep tabs on where I may land Aaron Rodgers later on. Unfortunately, I missed out on him by one pick in the middle of the draft. Let this be a reminder that stacking can be a strong strategy, but don’t get bent out of shape if you can’t pull it off. I was able to land Mike Davis once the opportunity to get Rodgers passed me by.
Landing Jalen Hurts as late as the fourteenth round seems silly. He is the Eagles’ starting quarterback whose new coaching staff supported the ninth-ranked scoring offense in 2020, the Indianapolis Colts. That team had Philip Rivers under center. Hurt’s rushing ability alone is too good to pass up on as a starter in fantasy football. This pick erases any regret I have about missing out on Aaron Rodgers.
If you’re like me, then the bulk of your 2021 fantasy football drafts are this weekend. It’s never too late to mock draft and see where players are available in which rounds. Don’t show up to your draft unprepared!
For more Rankings and Analysis please check out our full 2021 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.
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