2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Updated 4-Round Selections and Strategy

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 31, 2021

2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Updated 4-Round Selections and Strategy

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    The 2021 NFL preseason is behind us, and the kickoff of the actual campaign is barely a week away.

    For fantasy football managers, that makes it peak draft season.

    Hopefully, you've done a lot of your homework already, otherwise you're looking at a serious cram session between now and your talent grab. Even if you have studied up, though, there's still plenty of information to glean before being put on the clock.

    We'll help the gleaning process as much as we can by laying out a four-round mock draft, completed via FantasyPros' mock draft simulator, then spotlighting a few drafting tips to carry into your war room.

10-Team, PPR, 4-Round Mock Draft Results

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    For this exercise, I was randomly assigned to draft out of the No. 4 spot in a 10-team league that awards one point per reception. The results of that mock are as follows.


    Round 1

    1. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

    2. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

    3. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

    4. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

    5. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

    6. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

    7. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

    8. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

    9. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

    10. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers


    Round 2

    11. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts

    12. Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

    13. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

    14. Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills

    15. Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team

    16. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals

    17. Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons

    18. Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

    19. DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks

    20. Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings


    Round 3

    21. Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders

    22. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

    23. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

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

    25. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

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

    27. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

    28. David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears

    29. Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills

    30. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


    Round 4

    31. Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Football Team

    32. Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears

    33. Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks

    34. Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders

    35. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys

    36. D'Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions

    37. Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys

    38. Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

    39. Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    40. Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Wait for Quarterbacks—But Don't Forget Them

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    By now, you've probably been so often instructed to practice patience at the quarterback position that the advice may come off as cliched.

    But there's a reason the philosophy is so often repeated by fantasy experts. It's not that elite quarterbacks are a-dime-a-dozen, but proportionally, there are more good quarterbacks than there are fantasy assets at other spots. And since you may not roster more than two, you don't want to devote too many resources into players who won't help your team separate from competitors.

    Saying all that, this does not mean quarterbacks should be ignored. In fact, you could even pounce on one relatively early if the draft value is there. If a top-shelf passer like Josh Allen, Kyler Murray or Aaron Rodgers falls a round or two lower than their average draft position, that should set off alarm bells inside your head. Feel free to snatch them up if you're getting them below cost.

    Should your patience carry you past that top tier, though, don't forget to circle back to signal-callers sooner than later. It's easy to get caught up in stacking running backs and receivers, but the whole point of this strategy is to give yourself a decent (or better) quarterback at a discount. But if you wait too long, you could wind up making this position a liability, in which case the potential value has essentially evaporated.

Prioritize Floors Early and Ceilings Later

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    Don Wright/Associated Press

    Few things excite fantasy football managers more than NFL freshmen. Because they have no established track record at this level, the possibilities feel endless.

    It's definitely fun and can be quite rewarding to chase that upside. But just be cautious about investing too early in an unproven commodity.

    While each draft pick is made to maximize the return on investment, part of your early round strategy should revolve around minimizing risk. It's one thing if a top pick gets injured and sinks your season. Stuff just happens sometimes. It's quite another to learn you reached for a player who had no business being drafted in that spot.

    That doesn't mean rookies should be outright avoided in early rounds, just make sure that player has the right blend of opportunity and talent to live up to the draft price. Najee Harris appears in complete control of Pittsburgh's backfield and should have all the touches needed to deliver a potentially monstrous season. The path to playing time is murkier for Denver's Javonte Williams, so proceed with caution there.

    Once you find some of these near-certainties at the top, though, give yourself the green light to chase upside in the later rounds. If a mid- or late-draft flier on a player like Justin Fields or Trey Lance pays off, the prize can be enormous. If not, you're only out a draft pick from a range that can be hit or miss even with established veterans.