It’s smack in the middle of the 2021 offseason and if you haven’t been mock drafting already, now is a great time to start. Now a lot can happen between now and the start of the NFL season (I’m looking at you Cam Akers drafters), so lots of things will change.
If you are like me, you want to know what draft spot you have in your league so you can practice. But first, it is best to figure out where you feel most comfortable drafting. That’s why it’s important to spend some time mock drafting in different spots to get a feel of what you’ll prefer come draft season.
I spent some time mock drafting in a 12-team Half-PPR league and I had the 12 th spot. Here is a look at the finished draft . Now everyone has different strategies when it comes to drafting, so your idea of a great team build might be different than mine, so take that with a grain of salt.
Running Back is King
Half-PPR leagues and even PPR leagues are basically a complete wipeout of all the running backs in the first 3 rounds. Even with the higher points awarded to Wide Receivers and Tight Ends, it’s become relatively common for RBs to go quickly off the board due to the scarcity at the position. If you take a look at the mock draft I completed, the first 8 picks were RBs. Right around there seems to be when the first WR or TE is taken.
With so many RBs going off the board, your best bet is to grab at least one higher-tiered RB with your first two picks. Since it is Half-PPR you don’t necessarily have to grab a WR/TE with the 2 nd pick (since there are so many good WRs in the middle rounds), but you should have some elite options at the position that are hard to pass up.
I absolutely love Austin Ekeler here. Ekeler is a well-known pass-catching back that will prove dividends in half-PPR leagues. If you want to grab an RB here, Ekeler or Mixon are solid options if they are available.
Look For Top Tier WR/TE in Round 1/2
Depending on how your league drafts, be ready for TE Travis Kelce, WR Tyreek Hill, WR Davante Adams, or WR Stefon Diggs to fall to you. All of these options are elite at their positions and are worth the grab. If you look to the 3 rd /4 th round turn, the WR and TE options are already a lot worse. Sorry Terry McLaurin fans, but I’m much more excited for the WRs I listed above.
If one of these guys falls to you at pick 12, don’t hesitate to grab one of them.
Split Your Positions on the Turn in Rounds 3-8
So, as I continued in the draft, I noticed a lot of solid WR options along with some high risk/high reward types of RBs available at the same time. For instance, I noticed RBs like Myles Gaskin and Damien Harris, both of whom have garnered a lot of hype this offseason, continued to fall to me around this spot. Both players have their risks (Myles Gaskin is on a “bad” offense and Damien Harris won’t score TDs with Cam Newton at QB) but could also be workhorse backs that pay off nicely.
Around the same spot were WRs like Terry McLaurin, Chris Godwin, Tyler Lockett, and Cooper Kupp, all of who have had great seasons and should perform fine for you in 2021.
That is why I think it’s a good decision to build your lineup with an RB/WR on each turn. That way you are grabbing solid receivers and still getting RBs that should be viable even if they don’t “boom”.
Be Ready to Reach for Players
So I’m not one who preaches reaching for players, but it, unfortunately, comes with the territory of drafting at the ends. In a 12-team league, you will have 22 picks before you get to draft again, so if there is a player you think won’t make it back to you, you may have to grab him a bit earlier than your ADP lists and Experts say.
For instance, there were several running backs listed ahead of Michael Carter, but I wanted to take a shot at the potential Jets’ starter and knew he wouldn’t make it back to me in Round 9. So I reached for him and grabbed him in the 8 th . Same thing with WR Laviska Shenault Jr in Round 10.
First off, if you draft kickers, please wait till the last round to get yours. There are so many decent WRs and sleeper RBs in these late rounds that are way better to pick than a kicker.
Next, try and grab a few deep sleepers that could be league winners in these later rounds. I don’t necessarily think you need to grab a bunch of handcuffs, but guys like Chuba Hubbard, Marlon Mack, Damien Williams, and Tevin Coleman are all falling to these later rounds and could be huge if the first string RBs stink or get injured. I mean Marlon Mack looked amazing before he got hurt last season and for some reason, people just think he won’t play anymore since Jonathan Taylor looked good in his stead.
There are a ton of sleepers worth a look in these rounds, and regardless of half-PPR or standard, it’s always a good idea to take a shot. If they don’t pan out, hey, at least you didn’t waste a good draft pick.
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