Now that the 2020 football season is over it is time to officially put a focus on the 2021 fantasy football season. This is a 15 round half PPR 2021 fantasy football mock draft where most of the teams were auto-drafted, however, two of the teams were actually drafted by fantasy players. Let’s take a look at how the draft played out while discussing value picks, reaches, and analysis of my draft picks in this mock.
2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 1-3
Not surprisingly, round one is the round of running backs, and much of it is a preference of which one you want. I feel like Saquon Barkley, and Ezekiel Elliott both fell much farther than they should in this particular mock. Saquon should be in the conversation for number two overall, especially in a half PPR league. When healthy, Saquon is locked into over 350 touches, including work in the passing game. That volume alone makes him a safe RB1 for fantasy, and with his explosiveness, he provides plenty of upside, as well.
Derrick Henry is not involved in the passing game, and while he just rushed for 2000 yards, I would prefer Saquon’s involvement in all aspects of the game. Henry is well worth a top-five pick this year, but I do still prefer Saquon over him. Elliott fell to 12 and I even considered him at eight over Aaron Jones, but I went with the upside of Jones, who may get a featured back job in free agency.
If Elliott falls to 12 in drafts, that is a major value at the end of the first round, just like Barkley, Elliott is locked into 350 plus touches when healthy. Dak Prescott should be back at quarterback for the Cowboys, which will cause defenses to decide which part of the Cowboys offense to stop. Elliott can be back to his elite form this year with more running room, and if players let him drop due to the disappointment of last season, that is something to take advantage of in fantasy. The three non-running backs in the first round are all very well deserving of those draft spots.
The second round starts off with a major reach; in a one QB league, Patrick Mahomes is not worth a pick in the 2nd round, let alone the start of the second round. Grabbing a receiver or your RB2 provides your team much more value as QB is as deep as ever in fantasy this year. Shortly after Mahomes is another massive reach in fantasy, with Darren Waller going at 2.4. While Waller is a top-three tight end, this is a major reach, and the receivers and running backs on the board provide more value at this point in the draft. For my pick at 2.5, I was able to get D.K Metcalf, who showed us last year that he can be a WR1 in fantasy.
He is still young, and the Seahawks offense will continue to grow, and he will compete to be the overall WR1 this year. He was as consistent as anyone can be early in the year when he only had two games below 10 half PPR points prior to week 15. However, Metcalf did end the season on a low note with three straight games below 10 half PPR fantasy points. His upside and consistency are still well worth the pick here in the second round, though. If you read my bold predictions article, you will know that I do not like Josh Jacobs this year, and going at this point in round two is too much of a price to pay for a running back with limited upside.
Round three is a round of value for wide receiver, seeing AJ Brown, Michael Thomas, Justin Jefferson, and Allen Robinson being drafted. Each of these receivers provides a solid floor due to their targets and efficiency which leads them to be safe WR1’s and they all have the upside to finish as a top-five receiver. Grabbing Joe Mixon here as my RB2 felt like a steal, we are less than a year away from Mixon being drafted in the first round. He is an incredibly talented player who can carry a large workload. We saw Cincinnati shut him down this past year which means he should come into next year healthy and ready to go.
Before this last year, Mixon had back-to-back 1100 yard seasons, he can still be utilized more in the passing game but as an RB2 any back you pick will have some deficiency to their game. With the upside, he presents this could be a major steal if he does fall into round three of drafts. With Josh Allen going here, I can say the same thing I said for all of the quarterbacks drafted in the early rounds, that the value is not there and you should wait in drafts to grab your quarterback. If any top quarterback starts to fall there is a point where they are worth the value of the pick, but at the ADP they were drafted at, the value is not there.
2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Rounds 4 – 6
Round four is another big round of value for receivers, emphasizing why running back is so valuable in the first couple of rounds. Each of the receivers in this round presents WR1 upside with a floor of high-end WR2. I was able to grab Terry McLaurin here, who is one of my favorite targets already in fantasy for 2021. McLaurin only saw less than seven targets twice last season and saw nine or more targets in seven of his games. Last season McLaurin saw his touchdowns regress but makes up for the lack of touchdowns with his consistent targets and receptions. Both running backs drafted here in round four are reaches, in my opinion.
Kareem Hunt is the premium backup in football, but being taken in round four over starting running backs on good teams is a major reach. If you looked purely at Hunt’s overall finish in fantasy last year, this seems like where he should be drafted, but if you go week by week, it shows that Hunt was not a consistent RB2 for fantasy. Hunt scored 10 or fewer points in half of his games last year and did not see as much work in the passing game as expected, only seeing five or more targets three times last year. Raheem Mostert would be worth a pick here in round four if we knew he would be the starting running back for the Niners, but that is far from a given.
My favorite value in round five is Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Before Le’Veon Bell signed with Kansas City, CEH was a top 10 running back in fantasy. CEH saw 15 or more touches in all but one game before week seven, where we saw his role change. The offense took a pass-heavy approach, and CEH saw his touches decline, which hurt him in fantasy. His role should only grow in his second season, and he showed potential in his rookie year. I grabbed Myles Gaskin to get an RB3 on my team, and I am not super happy with the pick. If Miami does not bring in any other running back and gives Gaskin the job, this is a value based on what he showed us last year; however, they can easily bring in some competition for Gaskin, limiting his value in fantasy.
The value at receiver in the mid-rounds continues in round six. The running backs going in this round present minimal upside and could quickly lose their starting jobs if more competition is brought in. Tee Higgins is a great pick at this point in the draft. Higgins showed a great connection with Joe Burrow and had the talent to be a top-10 finisher in fantasy this season. From week two onward, Higgins never saw less than five targets in a game until week 17.
I was happy to grab Odell Beckham Jr as my WR3. We have gotten to the point where the years of OBJ being a dominant WR1 in fantasy are over, but he still presents some major upside as a WR3 due to his explosiveness and consistent targets. Beckham saw at least six targets in all but one game last year when he was healthy.
We also saw Baker Mayfield play better near the end of the year, so that will only benefit OBJ and his fantasy value. DJ Moore is another great value at WR in this round. Late in the year, Moore started to be the receiver he was drafted to be where he saw eight or more targets every game from week 11 onward. He took over as the WR1 in Carolina and should see his role grow, especially if Curtis Samuel leaves in free agency.
2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Rounds 7-9
Rounds 7-9 is where both quarterback and tight end value starts to come into play. In these three rounds, six quarterbacks all go. Each quarterback could be a weekly starter for fantasy and showcase why waiting on a quarterback is the right decision. I was able to grab Matt Ryan in round nine and would be very content going into a fantasy season with him as my starter. He is coming off a down season, but we saw Ryan throw the ball at least 30 times in every game, and he has plenty of weapons at his disposal to put up the fantasy points.
When you do wait to grab a quarterback until later and end up with a guy like Ryan, it is a good idea to follow it up with another high upside quarterback later in the draft. Also, in this block of rounds, we see the first defense being drafted. Do not drafter your kicker and defense early; wait until the final two rounds to fill these positions; it is not worth the value to take them early.
A.J. Dillion in round eight is a great pick, but he probably will end up going higher in drafts if Aaron Jones does, in fact, leave in free agency because of the fact he is taking over as the starter in Green Bay. Wide Receiver continues to show its depth here in the mid-rounds. Aiyuk, Chark, Cooks, Sutton, Anderson, Parker all are solid WR3 for fantasy with upside. Even Jamison Crowder provides a safe floor for fantasy as a wide receiver in these rounds.
2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Rounds 10 -12
As we move into the late rounds of the draft, this is where you should shoot for upside. I will address one aspect here, and that is the fact I got Robert Tonyan in round 12 because this site had him listed as a WR. Tonyan will go higher than this in drafts, but this is a good lesson to always go through whichever site your use and check for major inconsistencies in rankings.
If you look through the standard rankings they give, you can find values in the draft. Since Tonyan was buried in the WR rankings, he fell, and I could grab my starting TE much later because of it. Both running backs I went here are great value pickups late, Phillip Lindsay and Zack Moss. Both have roles on their teams already, and should they outperform the starter or the starter on their team goes down, they instantly become RB2s for fantasy.
Some other running backs with similar value go here in the late rounds: Tony Pollard, Alexander Mattison, Gus Edwards, and Darrell Henderson are all handcuffs to solid offensive situations. Should something happen to the running back ahead of them, they will provide great value in fantasy. These types of running backs are who you should be targeting in the late rounds due to the potential upside.
More quarterback value is shown in these rounds, with Matthew Stafford, Baker Mayfield, and Kirk Cousins all coming off the board and all with the potential to be a solid starter in fantasy if you waited on a quarterback. At WR, the value continues; Corey Davis showed consistency last year and if he is back with Tennessee is a steal in round 10. Mike Williams, Marquise Brown, Michael Pittman, and Parris Campbell are some of my favorite upside guys who were drafted in these rounds.
With Williams being tied to Justin Herbert, the upside is worth the gamble late. Brown has the explosiveness to win you a week as a boom or bust WR4. Pittman and Campbell are both young talented receivers, and depending on who the Colts get a QB, they could provide a lot of production this late in drafts.
2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Rounds 13 – 15
Rounds 13 – 15 should be the rounds where you take one final upside player and then your kicker and defense. I went with a second quarterback here to pair with Ryan, and I grabbed Carson Wentz. Wentz should be traded to a new team, and his talent is still enough for me to gamble on him as my backup quarterback here at the end of drafts. Many of the running backs here I am not a fan of; they do not provide a ton of upside for fantasy even if they were to take over as the starter for their respective teams. Sterling Sheppard is a name I want to highlight here late because he is an absolute steal in round 15.
Sheppard is a safe WR3 in fantasy due to his target volume, seeing at least six targets in all but one game last season. He does not provide a ton of upside but can be a steady presence for your fantasy team, especially this late in drafts.
In the end, my final team consisted of:
QB: Matt Ryan
RB1: Aaron Jones
RB2: Joe Mixon
WR1: D.K. Metcalf
WR2: Terry McLaurin
WR3: Odell Beckham Jr
TE: Robert Tonyan
Flex: Myles Gaskins
K: Rodrigo Blankenship
Bench: Brandin Cooks, Courtland Sutton, Phillip Lindsay, Zack Moss, Carson Wentz
Overall, I would feel very confident about this team coming out of a draft. I am very deep at receiver and have a solid starting running back core. My depth at running back is a bit lacking, though, so I might want to switch that up a bit. A name that went undrafted that I would add to this team over Wentz, if I were to drop him, would be Rashaad Penny. Considering his potential role in the Seattle offense this year, he is looking like a late-round steal.