Fantasy Football 2021: Examining Preseason Mock Draft and Cheatsheet

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 11, 2021

Fantasy Football 2021: Examining Preseason Mock Draft and Cheatsheet

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    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    There's no wrong way to prepare for a fantasy football draft.

    As long as you're doing something to get ready, you're moving closer to a league title.

    There are, however, better preparation methods than others.

    Reading and researching are right near the top, so bonus points for coming here. Mock drafting isn't far behind, as it provides a real-world, real-time glimpse at actual draft-day decisions and the impact of them.

    To help give you an idea (and some useful data from the exercise), we fired up the Mock Draft Simulator at FantasyPros to throw together a 12-team, half-PPR mock to break down. Before laying out and analyzing those results, we have also provided and handy top-40 PPR cheatsheet to help you navigate the draft's earliest (and most critical) rounds.

PPR Top-40 Cheatsheet

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    Nell Redmond/Associated Press

    1. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

    2. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

    3. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

    4. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

    5. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

    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

Mock Draft Explanation, Results

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    While the simulator isn't quite the same as a mock with other humans, it gets pretty close.

    "It's similar to doing a live mock draft except that you're drafting against our computer algorithm (which uses a random selection of expert cheat sheets and ADP sources," the site explains.

    You can choose a particular draft position, but we went the random route and were assigned the No. 2 spot. That made Dalvin Cook the obvious choice, and you can see below how the rest of the roster was built from there:

    Round 1 (Pick 2): Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

    R2 (P23): DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks

    R3 (P26): George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

    R4 (P47): Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks

    R5 (P50): Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals

    R6 (P71): Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

    R7 (P74): Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos

    R8 (P95): Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots

    R9 (P98): Zack Moss, RB, Buffalo Bills

    R10 (P119): DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins

    R11 (P122): Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys

    R12 (P143): Jalen Reagor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

    R13 (P146): Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

    R14 (P167): Harrison Butker, K, Kansas City Chiefs

    R15 (P170): New Orleans Saints D/ST

Mock Draft Analysis

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    There wasn't much debate at No. 2, which is kind of a bummer.

    That's nothing against Cook, who has totaled 30 touchdowns in 28 games over the past two seasons. It's just that there could be some really fun debates if Saquon Barkley was fully healthy. He'd have been the pick if that was the case, but it's not.

    Had the board broken right, I may have opened with consecutive running backs. But when Joe Mixon came off the board three picks before mine, that option was gone. I wasn't reaching for David Montgomery or J.K. Dobbins, especially with an elite wide receiver in DK Metcalf up for grabs.

    After locking up my RB1 and WR1 with players who could be the best at their position, I tried doing the same with the other major offensive spots. This is earlier than I'd normally take a tight end (George Kittle in Round 3) or a quarterback (Kyler Murray in Round 5), but I wanted to see how my roster would shape up after, and I'm kind of a big fan.

    Chris Carson is rock solid as an RB2, Damien Harris is good for depth and there's still plenty of untapped potential with Zack Moss. Wide receiver is a little shakier, but there should be at least a WR2 (if not a WR2 and WR3) in the Chase Claypool-Courtland Sutton combo, DeVante Parker has been a reliable option before and Jalen Reagor has upside if Philly finds the right quarterback.

    If Murray and Kittle are as good as they can be, this club can dominate. (And how fun is Trevor Lawrence in a pressure-free role backing up an elite?). Fantasy Pros' rapid analysis tool agreed, giving my mock-drafted team an A-plus and 97/100.