August 14, 2021
Timing is everything, both in football and in fantasy sports. Knowing when to take a particular player is what separates league champions from guys who have to sit in a Waffle House for 15 hours.
Familiarizing yourself by using some practice drafts can help, as can looking at the big boards from mock drafts at leading NFL websites. We've done a lot of the work for you here, as we have compiled mock 12-team drafts with full PPR or .5 PPR from ESPN, Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, The Athletic and Fantasy Pros.
After each of the first four rounds, we've listed a few of our observations and some tips for your own draft strategy.
Take a look:
|Rd 1||ESPN||BR||SI||The Athletic||Fantasy|
• It's pretty fair to say the top two picks are set in stone. After that, it gets interesting. Three of our mocks have Alvin Kamara going third, while one has Derrick Henry, and The Athletic's Paul Charchian may have stretched a bit with his third pick in taking Travis Kelce.
• The value in Kelce appears to be if you can get him anywhere outside the top 10, jump at the chance.
• In ESPN's mock as well as Sports Illustrated, 10 of the first 12 picks were running backs. At The Athletic it's nine, at Fantasy Pros it's nine and at Bleacher Report it's eight. Jumping ahead, 17 of the first 24 picks in ESPN's draft were RBs. Suffice it to say, the good ones will be gone by Round 3.
• There seems to be some disagreement on how good Washington running back Antonio Gibson might be. ESPN has him going in the first round. BR 11 picks later in the second. The other three outlets have him in the middle of the second round. If he makes a second-year leap he could be a valuable pick wherever you get him.
• Dobbins is another second-year RB that fantasy drafters seem mixed on. His draft slot ranges from 19th overall to 30th.
• It appears there is a decently good chance that not only will more than a dozen of the best running backs be gone before the end of the second round, but the top three tight ends might be too. We saw last season a huge difference between the two tight ends who were good, and the other teams’ TEs who were not so much. It may seem like a stretch, but when you see consistent production every week in that position you may be glad you took Kelce, Kittle or Waller.
|30||K. Allen||Dobbins||Swift||M. Thomas||Swift|
• We have no idea what the Eagles offense will look like, and as such the fantasy rankings of their players is wildly divergent. ESPN has RB Miles Sanders off the board at 24, while Sports Illustrated says he goes 48th overall. Will the Birds practice a running-bac- by-committee approach? Or will Sanders finally break through?
• Who is the top wideout in Dallas? Three drafts think it's CeeDee Lamb, and two think it's Amari Cooper.
• Fantasy Pros is the only outlet that has a quarterback going in the third round. The other four see Patrick Mahomes as a fourth-round pick, along with Bleacher Report nabbing Justin Herbert before him, and The Athletic has Josh Allen as the first QB off the board (as you can see below).
|37||A. Robinson||Evans||Mahomes||J. Allen||Godwin|
|38||M. Gaskin||J. Herbert||Davis||Jacobs||Cooper|
|39||J. Jones||C. Kupp||Henderson||Cooper||Woods|
|42||C. Lamb||Cooper||D. Johnson||Lamb||J. Allen|
|44||D.J. Moore||M. Davis||Jones||Thielen||Kupp|
|47||P. Mahomes||A. Rodgers||Moore||Mahomes||Hunt|
• The first three drafts agree that rookie wideout Ja'Marr Chase is a fourth rounder while the other two disagree.
• Will rookie Travis Etienne emerge as a starter in Jacksonville or will it be James Robinson? He's being slotted everywhere from 26th to 58th, so clearly there is a split on it.
• Jalen Hurts appears to be a solid sixth-round pick, while Dallas Goedert's draft stock is all over the board (as we wait to see if Zach Ertz does indeed get traded).
• Every year there's one, and this year it's Bleacher Report leaping to take the Rams defense in the 11th round.
• For all his multi-faceted fantasy value, Lamar Jackson is the third or fourth QB taken off the board this year, usually available as late as the 6th or 7th round.
• And finally, fantasy owners have no clue what to make of Michael Thomas, who was hurt last year and now will have a much less reliable quarterback (after the retirement of Drew Brees). Chris Towers from CBS took him 30th overall in The Athletic's mock. Sports Illustrated has him still on the board at 76.
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