Fantasy Football Mock Draft 1.0

As we approach fantasy football draft season, I wanted to impart the best fantasy wisdom that I have for casual players. Mock draft…a lot. When you work through a mock draft – whether with friends or alone – you get a better feel for the draft board and see where a player’s ADP is at a value. You will be much more prepared when you have your real startup draft if you have mocked it several times before. Another pro to mock drafting before is developing your draft strategy. There are countless draft strategies for fantasy football drafts. A lot of times it depends on what type of league you’re in and where you are on the draft board as to what strategy you adopt. I am going to walk through a mock draft that I completed this week for a 10-team .5 ppr keeper league. For this particular mock, I adopted the ‘productive struggle’ draft strategy. This strategy requires the drafter to only select young (less than 3 years in the NFL) players to their team in hopes that they improve throughout the years. This draft strategy is great if you are in keeper or dynasty leagues, I don’t recommend it in typical redraft leagues. This mock draft was completed on FantasyPros and players’ ADP are based on their rankings. Enjoy my first mock draft of the preseason.

Roster Construction: 1 QB – 2 RB – 2 WR – 1 TE – 2 Flex – 8 Bench

Draft Results:

1.04 RB Jonathan Taylor IND

  • In looking at the draft board for 1st round RB’s the only one that fit my strategy and was at good value for 1.04 was the Colts RB Jonathan Taylor. Although I am not completely sold on his workload in 2021 (he has a Marlon Mack problem), he will continue to grow as a player and only improve in the coming years.

2.07 WR Justin Jefferson MIN

  • I was ecstatic when Jefferson fell in my lap late in the 2nd round. Getting a player that broke most rookie receiving records this late in the 2nd was so huge for my roster construction. I would have had a hard time picking between him if Najee Harris fell to this spot, but he was taken one slot before me. I was super happy to have one of the best young WRs moving forward. 

3.04 RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC

  • This pick was a no-brainer for me. 3.04 was always going to be CEH. If you read my previous article about buy-low RBs then you know how I feel about Clyde going into the 2021 season. So many people were burned by him last season (because they selected him so high in drafts). I expect him to take a massive leap with another offseason with this team and no Le’Veon Bell to vulture carries.

4.07 WR CeeDee Lamb DAL

  • Unfortunately, CeeDee Lamb only played 5 games with his starting QB Dak Prescott last year. In those 5 games, he was on pace for 93 receptions and 1385 receiving yards, which would have been very close to Justin Jefferson numbers. He played mostly in the slot last year, leading the league in 20+ yard receptions from the slot. I expect big things from him moving forward and I’m very happy to add him to Jefferson for a very solid starting WR corps.

5.04 RB Myles Gaskin MIA

  • Getting a possible workhorse RB for my team in the 5th round is an incredible value. When healthy last season, Gaskin produced consistent top-12 RB numbers. He is heavily involved in the passing game catching 41 of 47 targets in only 10 games. Having the clear number one rushing option on an offense that is trending in the right direction is huge and at such a value!

6.07 WR Chase Claypool PIT

  • MapleTron emerged in a big way last year with the Steelers. What some fantasy players might not remember is that he was very hot and cold throughout last season, though when he was hot he was HOT. I don’t love that Big Ben seems as if he’s lost his ability to toss the ball deep downfield, which is where Claypool thrives. This is a pick based on upside, if the Steelers find a way to get Claypool the ball consistently in big plays then he will be incredible for fantasy.

7.04 TE Kyle Pitts ATL

  • I was shocked to see Pitts still on the board in the 7th round. I am willing to bet that he will not be here in drafts by August. After the first few guys at TE, the position becomes a real crapshoot. Pitts has a massive ceiling, especially with Julio out of town. I expect a slow start to the season but when he adjusts to NFL play he will be great for fantasy.

8.07 QB Joe Burrow CIN

  • This is the oldest player on my team – he will be 25 in December. The injury concern is definitely there with Burrow, both recovery and having a bad O-line once again. I love the weapons that he has around him in 2021: Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and JaMarr Chase. If his O-line can keep him upright then he can do big things this season.

9.04 WR Jerry Jeudy DEN

  • The highly touted Alabama product showcased his skills as best he could in 2020 with bad QB play. He is a polished route runner and can stop and start on a dime. Drew Lock capped his upside and is still a threat in 2021. Denver brought in Teddy Bridgewater from Carolina, who sustained 3 top-tier WRs in DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, and Curtis Samuel in 2020. I’m unsure who is going to be throwing Jeudy the ball this season but he has shown me enough to trust in his skill moving forward. Who knows, Denver might still make a deal for Aaron Rodgers or Deshaun Watson.

10.07 WR Devonta Smith PHI

  • The 2020 Heisman trophy winner is a huge value in the 10th round of drafts. With Jalen Hurts, hopefully, improving as a passer and no other real competition for targets, Smith could be in for a big rookie season. The Eagles clearly think so because they traded up for him in the NFL Draft. If he is there late in the 10th round then take him. 

11.04 RB Michael Carter NYJ

  • This is the spot in the draft where I realized that I hadn’t taken an RB since the 5th round. I have never regretted building a dynasty or keeper team around QBs and WRs but you do still need to invest in the RB position to win. If everything goes Carter’s way he could be handed the keys to an offense that is trending in the right direction for the first time in a long time. The 4th round pick could become a workhorse in this young offense with an improving O-line. I like that possibility in the 11th round.

12.07 WR Henry Ruggs LV

  • The first WR taken off the board in last year’s draft was disappointing in 2020, to say the least. Ruggs was utilized more as a decoy than a field stretcher with real YAC potential as he was used in college. The speedster could improve on last year’s numbers based on everything that is coming out of Raiders camp. His bust possibility is baked into his price in the 12th round, but if he hits, he could be a league winner at this value. 

13.04 QB Trevor Lawrence JAX

  • The highest praised QB since Andrew Luck went 1st overall, as expected, to the Jacksonville Jaguars. At one point in time that would have been a curse on his career. Jacksonville had a reputation as the place that good prospects go to die. Now there is a glimmer of hope coming out of the sunshine state. Urban Meyer came out of retirement to coach the team, the massive amount of 1st and 2nd round picks in the coming years will lead to an influx of youth on this roster. I cannot say anything about Lawrence that has not already been said. He is a great prospect with high upside. I am happy to have him as my QB2.

14.07 WR Rashod Bateman BAL

  • Teams like the Ravens pass for so few yards because their rushing attack is so lethal. I am typically not interested in any pass-catching options from teams like this unless it is the No. 1 option. I think that as a prospect Bateman might be the best WR Lamar Jackson has ever passed to. I like his chances to sprint up the depth chart in Baltimore and take over as the team’s WR 1. I don’t expect too much from him in terms of points but at this point in the draft, I’ll take a flyer on him. 

15.04 WR Elijah Moore NYJ

  • If half of the things coming from NYJ beat writers are true then Elijah Moore will set the world on fire with his receiving numbers in 2021. The hype for this prospect coming from New York is unreal. He might struggle early competing for targets but I think there is a good chance that he is the best WR on this team. 

16.07 TE Adam Trautman NO

  • Trautman has been the last pick I make in drafts for months now. I don’t understand why his ADP and ranking are so low. I know there are huge questions as to who the starting QB will be but Trautman is alone on the TE depth chart. Sean Payton has always loved to creatively scheme for his TE’s and with so many vacated targets I think that Trautman is in a great position to succeed early and often in 2021. I love pairing him with Pitts here because Trautman can start early in the year until Pitts becomes acclimated.

Positional Depth Chart:

QB: Joe Burrow, Trevor Lawrence

RB: Jonathan Taylor, CEH, Myles Gaskin, Michael Carter

WR: Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, Chase Claypool, Jerry Jeudy, Devonta Smith, Henry Ruggs, Rashod Bateman, Elijah Moore

TE: Kyle Pitts, Adam Trautman

Overall, I love this team and the draft strategy worked super well for where I was on the draft board. Because this team is built around youth and longevity they might struggle early on in the season to produce. Once the rookies adjust and start producing the sky’s the limit for this keeper team. If you have questions about keeper leagues or any other draft strategies be on the lookout in the coming weeks for another article describing fantasy football league types and strategies titled Fantasy 101.

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