Fantasy Football 2021: Mock Draft Strategy, Cheatsheet Entering Preseason Week 1

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 10, 2021

Fantasy Football 2021: Mock Draft Strategy, Cheatsheet Entering Preseason Week 1

0 of 3

    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    Football is back.

    The NFL's 2021 preseason is here, which means fantasy football drafts are rapidly approaching.

    Hopefully, you've done some homework already, but let's be honest—that process is never finished. Between player rankings, strategy discussions and a host of sleepers-breakouts-and-busts breakdowns, you'll find no shortage of relevant, helpful information.

    Like this article, for instance, which will discuss some mock draft dos and don'ts, before providing our top-50 cheatsheet to help guide you through your draft.

Mock Draft Dos

1 of 3

    Steve Luciano/Associated Press

    Get Creative

    Because there are no season-long stakes attached, mock drafts allow for experimentation. You should take advantage.

    This is especially helpful if you start the process at the top of your draft. Ever wondered how a team might look after opening a draft with three straight receivers, three straight running backs or that top-tier quarterback you can never talk yourself into adding? Here's a real-world answer to that question.


    Make and Track Position Tiers

    A player's individual ADP may not be too revealing, since it could differ greatly from one mock to the next. But it is worth knowing where a similarly valued group of players goes.

    That does require some pre-draft preparation, since you'll need to compile the tiers before you can track them. Once you have them in hand, though, you can learn a lot by seeing the gap between the first and last players selected within that tier. If you'd be just as happy with both, that information might help you extract an extra round of value or two at your actual draft.

Mock Draft Don'ts

2 of 3

    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    Lose Sight of Reality

    While experimenting is encouraged, make sure it's the kind that can actually yield some worthwhile information. Picking a player well outside of his actual draft range tells you nothing, since that won't happen during the real thing.

    Similarly, don't build rosters you'd never assemble in real life. If you're using a pair of top-five picks on quarterbacks or making early investments in kickers and defenses, you're wasting your own time and that of all the other players in the same mock draft.


    Forget To Account for Personal Bias

    Are you the world's biggest Justin Herbert fine? Is your interest so sky-high that you'd spend one of your first four picks to get him? We wouldn't advise it, but if you go that route, make sure you remember you did when assessing the mock draft results.

    While mocks are just snapshots of various people's opinions, some of those opinions are more extreme—and likely less helpful—than others. If someone in your mock was only selecting players from their favorite team, favorite college or home state, remember to account for that inflation when going back over the results.

Top-50 PPR Rankings

3 of 3

    Nell Redmond/Associated Press

    1. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

    2. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

    3. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

    4. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

    5. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

    6. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts

    7. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

    8. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

    9. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

    10. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

    11. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

    12. Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

    13. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

    14. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals

    15. DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks

    16. Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills

    17. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

    18. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

    19. Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

    20. Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders

    21. Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team

    22. Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons

    23. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

    24. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

    25. A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans

    26. J.K. Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens

    27. David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears

    28. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

    29. D'Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions

    30. Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

    31. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

    32. Allen Robinson II, WR, Chicago Bears

    33. Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

    34. Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks

    35. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    36. Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders

    37. Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys

    38. Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams

    39. Darrell Henderson Jr., RB, Los Angeles Rams

    40. Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings

    41. Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams

    42. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys

    43. D.J. Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers

    44. Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    45. Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills

    46. Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks

    47. Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

    48. Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers

    49. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveand Browns

    50. Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals