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NFL Draft

Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 2 Rounds

  • The Draft Network
  • August 27, 2021
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I apologize for using the most overused phrase in the history of August, but I’ll say it anyway: Football is just around the corner. Hence another 12-team mock draft, this time for full-PPR leagues. 

You may notice a premium placed on running backs in this mock draft. The best strategy will always be to just pick the best two players to start your draft (shocker), but the crop of talent drops off hard at the position. If you’re torn between, say, a running back and a wide receiver, it’s probably smarter to secure the running back now and find your receiver later. Wide receivers seem to be deeper than normal this season. 

As for quarterbacks and tight ends, the latter should be considered with your first two picks. The former should not. Don’t be that person to grab a passer who you could’ve taken four rounds later. 

My favorite players to target in the first two rounds: Aaron Jones, Najee Harris, and Calvin Ridley. My least favorite players to target: Derrick Henry and any top-five receiver not named Davante Adams or Calvin Ridley. 

For my reasons why, keep reading for a two-round mock draft with analysis for each first-round pick. Second-round picks got an abbreviated version. Want more in-detail insight? Reach out on Twitter @ZachCohenFB and I’ll be happy to have a conversation with you!

1. Christian McCaffrey (RB - CAR)

FantasyPros ADP: RB1

Don’t overthink this. McCaffrey is the best player in fantasy. 

2. Alvin Kamara (RB - NO)

FantasyPros ADP: RB3

What, you didn’t see that coming? Dalvin Cook is the consensus No. 2 running back on FantasyPros, but I’m placing my cards on Kamara. Some analysts seem concerned about Kamara’s ability to handle defenses that will be more focused on him than ever now. Over the last two years, Kamara scored 12 points more per game without Michael Thomas than with him. While Kamara’s averages did take a six-point hit without Drew Brees, he now gets to presumably work with Jameis Winston. We simply don’t have enough information to assume how often Winston will target Kamara, but the pairing is encouraging. Kamara is still the Saints’ best offensive weapon and is capable of handling a large three-down workload. With little competition for targets, he can potentially reach the 100 mark, something less achievable by Cook.

3. Dalvin Cook (RB - MIN)

FantasyPros ADP: RB2

No, I do not think Cook is bad. There is clearly a case to be made for him at No. 2. The only knock on Cook is he’s no longer the lone playmaker in Minnesota. Justin Jefferson’s ascension combined with Adam Thielen’s reliability may lead to a slight dip in touches for Cook. Nonetheless, the Vikings’ run game is the focal point of their offense. They will feed Cook until he stops routinely carving up defenses. Cook shouldn’t fall past No. 3 and he’s definitely not a bad pick at No. 2, I just prefer Kamara’s upside. While Cook did see 54 targets in 2020, Kamara was one target short of doubling that. Kamara’s involvement as a receiver gives him an easier path to finishing as the RB1 in fantasy.

4. Ezekiel Elliott (RB - DAL)

FantasyPros ADP: RB5

Another twist! Many sites and analysts have Henry as RB4, and while they’re not wrong, I just prefer Elliott thanks to his dual-threat ability. He had the fourth-most targets among running backs last season, which included two games with double-digit targets. And let’s not forget how dominant Elliott was last season prior to Dak Prescott’s injury. He was averaging 22.3 points per game—third-most at the position. With Dallas’ offense back in good health, there’s nothing to suggest Elliott’s downfall from fantasy stardom. Not to mention he had the third-most targets among running backs, too. Once Prescott went down, so did Elliott’s fantasy stock. If all goes according to plan, Elliott should be a top-five running back again.

5. Derrick Henry (RB - TEN)

FantasyPros ADP: RB4

There is nothing wrong with Henry. He’ll likely finish near the top of the position. He just doesn’t have the receiving upside Elliott has. Shocking, I know. In his six games without a touchdown, Henry averaged a mere 9.6 points. The addition of Julio Jones may also cost Henry a handful of touches, too. Either way, none of that should drop Henry’s value too drastically. He’s a top-five fantasy running back and should be drafted as such. Just don’t expect weekly numbers similar to Kamara or Cook.

6. Travis Kelce (TE - KC)

FantasyPros ADP: TE1

Well, well, well. I can’t remember a tight end with this high of an ADP. And rightfully so—Kelce is the second-most valuable player in fantasy. He was TE1 in each of the last five years. It’s hard to see that changing for the sixth year. No player has been this productive at such a barren position. Kelce is just a big receiver in one of the best offenses in football. He shouldn’t fall too far in Round 1, and I’d even consider him ahead of Henry.

7. Aaron Jones (RB - GB)

FantasyPros ADP: RB9

Why is Jones’ ADP so low? He was RB5 in 2020 and now returns to a better situation. Sure, A.J. Dillon will likely steal five-to-six carries and a goal-line carry or two from Jones, but Jamaal Williams isn’t there to steal three-to-four targets a game. Volume is always crucial in fantasy, but I’ll gladly trade a few carries for a few targets in PPR leagues. Fantasy teams with Jones on their roster can be league-winners—at the right price. I believe his ceiling is higher than all running backs except McCaffrey, Kamara, Cook, and Elliott. Taking Jones here is taking him close to his ceiling, while he provides more value closer to his ADP. Jones should be a very good weekly starter for your team.

8. Davante Adams (WR - GB)

FantasyPros ADP: WR1

Adams is the bonafide WR1, plain and simple. You don’t need to be reminded about his fantasy dominance over the last couple of years, especially last season. The big question is his placement on draft boards. This year’s crop of receivers is loaded, so unless Adams falls to the end of the round, I’d pass on Adams and take Calvin Ridley or Stefon Diggs in the middle of the second round. Running backs are more at a premium than ever, so it may be wiser to take the next best running back over Adams. With that said, the best strategy is still to take the best player available. Few non-quarterbacks should outproduce Adams in fantasy, which makes him a first-round lock.

9. Saquon Barkley (RB - NYG)

FantasyPros ADP: RB6

I wrote about why Barkley can be the RB1 in fantasy a few weeks ago, but I’ll give you the shortened version of why I think so. He’s a very talented running back, he should see ample opportunities, the Giants’ offensive line has improved, and he’s proven capable of being the focal point in their offense. The only concern seems to be how he recovers from his devastating ACL injury last year. That’s the thing, though. Injuries happen. Unless you’re a Giants team doctor who’s spent extensive time studying Barkley’s leg, you don’t have the slightest clue how he’ll respond this season. With Barkley’s talent and projected volume, he’s a first-round running back in my book. Just try to pair him with a steady RB2.

10. Najee Harris (RB - PIT)

FantasyPros ADP: RB11

I can see the firestorm already. Let’s calm down so I can explain. I’m not saying Harris is better than Austin Ekeler and Nick Chubb. I’m saying I’d prefer Harris in fantasy over the two veterans. Nearly all of Ekeler’s fantasy value comes through the air, while nearly all of Chubb’s fantasy value comes on the ground. Harris is set to get the best of both worlds. The Steelers didn’t draft him in the first round only to play on two downs. Besides, Harris is a proven receiver. Jordan Reid praised him as a “comfortable pass-catcher” in his scouting profile. Harris can reignite the every-down role Mike Tomlin has sorely missed without Le’Veon Bell. Of course, the larger elephant in the room is the Steelers’ offensive line. Spoiler: It’s not looking too good. While a great offensive line would certainly help, history tells us a running back doesn’t need a great line to be a weekly fantasy starter. Just ask Barkley and McCaffrey, or even top-10 running backs from 2020 like Josh Jacobs and James Robinson. Opportunity will always reign supreme, and Harris should have enough of it to be a top-10 running back in all formats.

11. Austin Ekeler (RB - LAC)

FantasyPros ADP: RB10

In case you couldn’t tell, running backs are at a premium this year. Then again, that can be said almost every year. That only raises the risk of drafting certain ones too high. I’m in no way downplaying Ekeler’s fantasy value. After all, he averaged nearly 18 points in nine healthy games last season. While he averaged seven targets in that span, he also averaged 12 carries. The best fantasy running backs regularly play all three downs, whereas Ekeler mostly thrives on passing downs. There’s no better example of his role than his goal-line role: It’s nonexistent. Player Profiler had Ekeler at one goal-line carry in 2020. That puts a dent in what he can do each week, although his upside is too high to write off completely. Ekeler is a first-round pick who should put up double-digit points almost every week. If he scores more on the ground, then we could be talking about a top-three fantasy player.

12. Nick Chubb (RB - CLE)

FantasyPros ADP: RB7

Chubb is the polar opposite of Ekeler—most of Chubb’s fantasy production comes on the ground. He caught 16 of his 18 targets in 12 games played. However, Chubb was still RB8 in points per game and the overall RB11 for the season. Even without an active role in the Browns’ passing game, Chubb has an exceptionally high floor. That’s enough to make him a first-round pick. And last I checked, Cleveland still favors running the ball. After all, they ran 53% of the time on first and second downs in all quarters except the fourth and overtime—tied for the seventh-highest run rate in those situations. His lack of receiving work caps his upside, but Chubb is still a safe bet to be a top-10 running back. Pairing Chubb and Ekeler would be an ideal combo at the turn of the first.

Second Round

13. Tyreek Hill (WR - KC)

FantasyPros ADP: WR2

First selection: Nick Chubb 

Hill’s explosiveness balances out with Chubb’s steadiness.

14. Jonathan Taylor (RB - IND)

FantasyPros ADP: RB9

First selection: Austin Ekeler 

Taylor has legit top-five upside and should be more of a workhorse back this season.

15. Calvin Ridley (WR - ATL)

FantasyPros ADP: WR6

First selection: Najee Harris 

Not only could Ridley and Harris both finish as top-five players at their positions, but Ridley has a path to finishing as the overall WR1.

16. Stefon Diggs (WR - BUF)

FantasyPros ADP: WR3

First selection: Saquon Barkley 

Despite a deep group of receivers, grabbing an uber-productive player like Diggs gives your team a higher ceiling. 

17. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB - KC)

FantasyPros ADP: RB13

First selection: Davante Adams 

Edwards-Helaire was on pace to be an RB1 before Bell came to town. He has little competition behind an improved offensive line. 

18. Joe Mixon (RB - CIN)

FantasyPros ADP: RB14

First selection: Aaron Jones 

Sorry Mixon haters, he’s a good pick. His finishes the last three years with Gio Bernard stealing targets: RB10, RB13, and RB10 (the latter in points per game). Without Bernard, Mixon should become a true every-down back. 

19. Antonio Gibson (RB - WSH)

FantasyPros ADP: RB12

First selection: Travis Kelce 

Gibson’s ceiling is limited until he’s given more third downs. Pairing him with Kelce provides your team a safety net if Gibson finishes as or around RB13 again.

20. D’Andre Swift (RB - DET)

FantasyPros ADP: RB17

First selection: Derrick Henry 

Swift may not score as many points as some remaining receivers, but his sky-high upside balances out perfectly with Henry’s consistency.

21. DeAndre Hopkins (WR - ARI)

FantasyPros ADP: WR4

First selection: Ezekiel Elliott 

Last year’s WR4 may lose a few targets to Rondale Moore and A.J. Green, but he’s still an elite receiver. His stock goes up if Kyler Murray takes the next step as a passer.

22. Darren Waller (TE - LV)

FantasyPros ADP: TE2

First selection: Dalvin Cook 

The remaining wide receivers are all good options, but Waller has more value at a thinner position. Barring a cataclysmic event, he’ll be a top-four tight end by season’s end.

23. Justin Jefferson (WR - MIN)

FantasyPros ADP: WR7

First selection: Alvin Kamara 

Jefferson’s career trajectory remains pointing upward. He’d be an even better pick if the Vikings weren’t so committed to the run game.

24. A.J. Brown (WR - TEN)

FantasyPros ADP: WR8

First selection: Christian McCaffrey 

Brown’s in a similar situation to Jefferson so you can’t go wrong with either. Target a running back or tight end with your next pick before the position drops off even more.

Next up (in no order): Terry McLaurin, George Kittle, Allen Robinson, James Robinson, Keenan Allen, Chris Carson, David Montgomery

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