Fantasy Football 2021: 1st-Round Mock Draft Tips and Latest Consensus Rankings

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 27, 2021

Fantasy Football 2021: 1st-Round Mock Draft Tips and Latest Consensus Rankings

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    Just as the NFL preseason will soon give way to the actual 2021 season, fantasy football mock drafts will soon turn into the real thing.

    But we're not quite at that point yet. There's still a weekend of preseason action and almost two weeks before the season opener on September 9, so you should be able to squeeze a few mock drafts in before your league holds its actual talent grab.

    How can you maximize the value of those mocks? We'll provide some mock strategies to help, then relay the latest consensus expert rankings compiled by FantasyPros.

What To Do During a Mock Draft

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    As soon as you enter a mock draft room, you should be ready to step outside the box. Given the lack of season-long stakes, you have some freedom to experiment and should take advantage of it.

    Take a plan into the mock for the early rounds and see how the rest of your roster takes shape from there. Want to get the impact of grabbing an elite passer like Patrick Mahomes in the first two rounds? This is your chance to get real-time reactions from that kind of room.

    And that applies to all positions. Start with three running backs among your first four picks. Open up with back-to-back wide receivers and see which value running backs are still available later. Take that high-ceiling rookie like Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris or Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and discover which high-floor veterans you can protect them with.

    This is the ultimate testing ground, and if you're in a live mock draft, you can add in the human element that makes the talent grabs so unpredictable.

What Not To Do During a Mock Draft

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    While creativity can be a major asset in mock drafts, never lose sight of reality.

    You might get good intel out of doing things you wouldn't normally do, but don't waste time making picks no one ever would.

    Think Aaron Rodgers is primed for a monster season? You're entitled to that opinion. But don't reach for him in the second round when a draft board will never break that way. (At least, draft boards outside of Green Bay won't.)

    The data gleaned from a mock draft is only good if it's reliable information. You have some control over whether that's the case. Bumping a player up a round or two isn't a bad exercise, but reaching five-plus rounds for a player just warps the draft board to an unrealistic (and unhelpful) degree.

Top-30 Expert Consensus PPR Rankings from FantasyPros

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    1. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

    2. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

    3. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

    4. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

    5. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

    6. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

    7. Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

    8. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

    9. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

    10. Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills

    11. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

    12. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals

    13. Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons

    14. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

    15. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts

    16. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

    17. Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

    18. DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks

    19. Darren Waller, TE, Oakland Raiders

    20. Antonio Gibson, WR, Washington Football Team

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

    22. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

    23. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

    24. Allen Robinson II, WR, Chicago Bears

    25. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

    26. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

    27. Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Football Team

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

    29. Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

    30. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys