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If Your League Drafted Today (2021 Fantasy Football)

by Scott Youngson | @fantasymutant | Featured Writer
Dec 2, 2021
dalton schultz

We’re now through twelve weeks of the NFL season, and the fantasy playoffs are just around the corner for most leagues. With the benefit of hindsight, we thought it would be fun to look back to the preseason to see how differently we would have drafted had we known then what we know now.

We did a similar exercise after Week 4 and after Week 8, but we thought it would be fun to take a different approach this time around. Instead of analysis, we conducted a post-Week 12 mock draft and compared it to the consensus ADP. The parameters were as follows:

  • Ten teams, half-point PPR scoring
  • 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX (RB/WR/TE)
  • Ignoring K, D/ST, and Bench for the sake of brevity
  • 5th pick, snake-style draft
  • Only players whose ADP was higher than the selection were eligible to be drafted
  • Injuries not held against a player – only performance/usage

With that established, here were the results, along with some commentary.

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1.05 – Jonathan Taylor (RB – IND) instead of Ezekiel Elliott (RB – DAL)

Elliott wouldn’t have been a terrible pick here as he’s the only Top 5 ADP RB who has played every game this season. But Taylor has been remarkable, even after a slow start to the season. He’s the top Running Back this season by a wide margin and second to only the injured Derrick Henry (RB – TEN) in points-per-game. So here’s guessing he’ll be the #1 overall pick in many 2022 drafts.

2.06 – Cooper Kupp (WR – LAR) instead of Antonio Gibson (RB – WAS)

Kupp has been the best fantasy Wide Receiver this year by far in both total points and points-per-game. He leads all wideouts in targets, receptions, yards, and TD’s. On the other hand, Gibson has struggled for the most part and has been more of a low-end RB2 than the borderline RB1 fantasy managers were hoping for on draft day.

3.05 – Deebo Samuel (WR – SF) instead of A.J. Brown (WR – TEN)

Before his recent injury, Samuel was second to only Kupp among fantasy wideouts and was trending towards gaining RB eligibility in some leagues. If his injury doesn’t keep him out for too long, he seems destined for the “Comeback Player of the Year” award. Brown has played more like a WR3 than the eighth WR drafted even without the injuries that have forced him to miss time.

4.06 – Cordarrelle Patterson (RB – ATL) instead of Mike Evans (WR – TB)

Speaking of dual-eligibility, Patterson has it in many leagues and is without a doubt the MVP of the fantasy season if you factor in draft position. He’s RB8 overall despite missing one game due to injury and RB6 on a points-per-game basis. Not bad for an undrafted player! Evans, by the way, has been just fine and would have been a good pick here as well. He just hasn’t been as good as Patterson.

5.05 – Ja’Marr Chase (WR – CIN) instead of Dak Prescott (QB – DAL)

Chase has proven to be an excellent draft-day value. Negative press in the preseason dropped him to a low-end WR3 selection. He has proved his critics wrong, however, putting up WR1 numbers this year and looking like one of the best dynasty players in the NFL. Prescott has been fine and was not a bad pick in the 5th round. However, there were better values at the QB position later in the draft.

6.06 – Leonard Fournette (RB – TB) instead of Chase Claypool (WR – PIT)

Another excellent value during drafts was Fournette, who has been a Top 10 option at his position this year after being drafted for depth by most fantasy managers. Most assumed that he’d be in a timeshare once again this season with Ronald Jones II (RB – TB) and Giovani Bernard (RB – TB), but that has not happened. Claypool has been sidelined by injuries for a few contests this year. Even when he’s played, however, he’s underwhelmed for the most part. Many predicted a breakout season for him only to see him score in double-digits three times in nine tries this year.

7.05 – Jalen Hurts (QB – PHI) instead of Melvin Gordon III (RB – DEN)

Many have questioned Hurts’ ability as an NFL Quarterback, but few can doubt his value as a fantasy QB. He’s QB6 on a point-per-game basis this season after being the 12th QB drafted. His stellar rushing ability has kept his floor high. Gordon, by the way, has been worthy of a seventh-round selection this year, but we filled our RB starter slots already.

8.06 – Dalton Schultz (TE – DAL) instead of Robert Tonyan (TE – GB)

Schultz emerged as a fantasy-relevant Tight End in 2020 after Blake Jarwin (TE – DAL) tore his ACL in the season opener. Jarwin’s return this season left the fantasy community wondering if either would emerge as a decent option for the high-powered Cowboys’ offense. While Schultz has exceeded his production from the prior season, Jarwin has been a non-factor. Tonyan had a great 2020, thanks to 11 of his 52 catches going for TD’s. His 2021 was cut short by an ACL tear during Week 8, but he averaged only 5.2 points per game before that.

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