Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Aaron Rodgers, Packers drama is problematic

·11 min read

On the heels of the NFL draft and the release of our 2021 fantasy football rankings, the Yahoo analysts took part in a 10-round half-PPR mock draft. Check out the results below along with each analyst's favorite pick, biggest reach and overall takeaway from the exercise.

Round 1: Elite running backs go flying

Team

Pick

Player drafted at position

Scott team #1

1. Christian McCaffrey

RB1

Scott team #2

2. Dalvin Cook

RB2

Dalton team #1

3. Jonathan Taylor

RB3

Dalton team #2

4. Derrick Henry

RB4

Andy team #1

5. Saquon Barkley

RB5

Andy team #2

6. Alvin Kamara

RB6

Matt team #1

7. Aaron Jones

RB7

Matt team #2

8. Nick Chubb

RB8

Liz team #1

9. Tyreek Hill

WR1

Liz team #2

10. Travis Kelce

TE1

Round 2: Run on top wide receivers begins

Liz #2

11. Ezekiel Elliott

RB9

Liz #1

12. Davante Adams

WR2

Matt #2

13. Austin Ekeler

RB10

Matt #1

14. Stefon Diggs

WR3

Andy #2

15. Antonio Gibson

RB11

Andy #1

16. Cam Akers

RB12

Dalton #2

17. A.J. Brown

WR4

Dalton #1

18. Justin Jefferson

WR5

Scott #2

19. DK Metcalf

WR6

Scott #1

20. Calvin Ridley

WR7

Round 3: Top-three tight ends go off the board

Scott #1

21. Miles Sanders

RB13

Scott #2

22. Joe Mixon

RB14

Dalton #1

23. J.K. Dobbins

RB15

Dalton #2

24. Najee Harris

RB16

Andy #1

25. George Kittle

TE2

Andy #2

26. Deandre Hopkins

WR8

Matt #1

27. Allen Robinson

WR9

Matt #2

28. Darren Waller

TE3

Liz #1

29. David Montgomery

RB17

Liz #2

30. D'Andre Swift

RB18

Round 4: Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen join the fray

Liz #2

31. Keenan Allen

WR10

Liz #1

32. Clyde Edwards-Helaire

RB19

Matt #2

33. Terry McLaurin

WR11

Matt #1

34. Chris Carson

RB20

Andy #2

35. Michael Thomas

WR12

Andy #1

36. Mike Evans

WR13

Dalton #2

37. Patrick Mahomes

QB1

Dalton #1

38. Josh Allen

QB2

Scott #2

39. Chris Godwin

WR14

Scott #1

40. D.J. Moore

WR15

Round 5: WR2s begin to come off the board

Scott #1

41. Aamri Cooper

WR16

Scott #2

42. Julio Jones

WR17

Dalton #1

43. CeeDee Lamb

WR18

Dalton #2

44. Robert Woods

WR19

Andy #1

45. Lamar Jackson

QB3

Andy #2

46. Cooper Kupp

WR20

Matt #1

47. Brandon Aiyuk

WR21

Matt #2

48. Myles Gaskin

RB21

Liz #1

49. Josh Jacobs

RB22

Liz #2

50. Tyler Lockett

WR22

Round 6: More big-name QBs go

Liz #2

51. Travis Etienne

RB23

Liz #1

52. T.J. Hockenson

TE4

Matt #2

53. Chase Edmonds

RB23

Matt #1

54. Kareem Hunt

RB24

Andy #2

55. Mark Andrews

TE5

Andy #1

56. Adam Thielen

WR23

Dalton #2

57. Robby Anderson

WR24

Dalton #1

58. Mike Davis

RB25

Scott #2

59. Kyler Murray

QB4

Scott #1

60. Dak Prescott

QB5

Round 7: Pass-catchers all the rage

Scott #1

61. Diontae Johnson

WR26

Scott #2

62. Dallas Goedert

TE6

Dalton #1

63. Curtis Samuel

WR27

Dalton #2

64. Odell Beckham Jr.

WR28

Andy #1

65. Kenny Golladay

WR29

Andy #2

66. Chase Claypool

WR30

Matt #1

67. Courtland Sutton

WR31

Matt #2

68. Kyle Pitts

TE7

Liz #1

69. Tee Higgins

WR32

Liz #2

70. Will Fuller V

WR33

Round 8: 49ers, Jaguars come into focus

Liz #2

71. Russell Wilson

QB6

Liz #1

72. Justin Herbert

QB7

Matt #2

73. Leonard Fournette

RB26

Matt #1

74. D.J. Chark

WR34

Andy #2

75. Ja'Marr Chase

WR35

Andy #1

76. JuJu Smith-Schuster

WR36

Dalton #2

77. Deebo Samuel

WR37

Dalton #1

78. Raheem Mostert

RB27

Scott #2

79. Noah Fant

TE8

Scott #1

80. James Robinson

RB28

Round 9: Rookie potential makes an impact

Scott #1

81. Tyler Boyd

WR38

Scott #2

82. Ronald Jones II

RB29

Dalton #1

83. Tyler Higbee

TE9

Dalton #2

84. Logan Thomas

TE10

Andy #1

85. DeVonta Smith

WR39

Andy #2

86. Jalen Hurts

QB8

Matt #1

87. Trey Sermon

RB30

Matt #2

88. Brandin Cooks

WR40

Liz #1

89. Jerry Jeudy

WR41

Liz #2

90. Marquise Brown

WR42

Round 10: Intriguing RB options close things out

Liz #2

91. Melvin Gordon III

RB31

Liz #1

92. Laviska Shenault Jr.

WR43

Matt #2

93. Marvin Jones

WR44

Matt #1

94. Michael Pittman

WR45

Andy #2

95. Javonte Williams

RB32

Andy #1

96. Michael Carter

RB33

Dalton #2

97. AJ Dillon

RB34

Dalton #1

98. Damien Harris

RB35

Scott #2

99. Tony Pollard

RB36

Scott #1

100. Zack Moss

RB37

Your favorite pick from the mock

Andy: Clyde Edwards-Helaire fell to Liz in the fourth round (pick 32 overall) in our mock, roughly 25 picks later than he was going by the end of the 2020 draft season. He has a shot to turn a massive fantasy profit if that's really where he's gonna go when we're drafting for keeps. CEH certainly wouldn't be the first running back to breakout in his sophomore season. In fact, he was actually sneaky-good last year — 1,100 scrimmage yards, 4.4 YPC, 8.3 yards per catch — but he was stonewalled at the goal-line a few times too many. CEH is still a versatile 22-year-old back tied to the league's best offense and he's the team's clear featured runner. I'll happily take that outside the top-30.

Liz: I am regularly impressed with Dalton's "get my guy" approach to passionate drafting. I love that he went after Jonathan Taylor at the third overall spot (and J.K. Dobbins in the third round at RB15) but then also achieved balance by taking Mike Davis as his RB3 in Round 6.

Dalton: Cam Akers is the No. 5 player on my board right now, so he’s a steal to Andy in the middle of Round 2. As the unquestioned feature back in a Rams offense that got a major upgrade at quarterback, Akers won’t be falling out of many first rounds come August. Dak Prescott also went way too late (60th overall), but I had already drafted QBs for each of my teams.

Matt: Dalton taking A.J. Brown at WR4 is an inspired pick. There are going to be many drafters in August who will look at Brown's production the last two years (without the proper context) and opt for more "proven" upside names like Calvin Ridley, DK Metcalf, or DeAndre Hopkins. Dalton took Brown ahead of all those guys. Brown legitimately has WR1 overall in his range of outcomes due to projectable targets and his elite-level skill.

Scott: I wanted to weep when Terry McLaurin went in the fourth round; I considered him as early as 2.09. Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t a long-term answer for WFT at quarterback, but compared to last year’s mishmash, this qualifies as a major upgrade. Generally, I am a value drafter, someone who plays off the room, but McLaurin is the type of player I will elbow others out of the way for.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) celebrates after making a touchdown catch against the Baltimore Ravens in the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
A.J. Brown has overall fantasy WR1 upside thanks to the set up in Tennessee. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Biggest reach of the mock

Scott: I recognize Kyle Pitts (pick 68 overall) is viewed as a once-a-generation tight end, but it’s difficult for me to ignore the lukewarm history rookie tight ends generally have. Okay, I get it, Pitts is really a hybrid receiver and on some level, it’s unfair to lump him in with hand-on-ground tight ends who have been ordinary rookies. Still, the Falcons have at least one receiver ahead of Pitts on the pecking order (two if Julio Jones stays), and Matt Ryan is merely a capable quarterback these days, not a kingmaker. I can’t wait to watch Pitts’s debut season (and I understand Arthur Smith is a wizard when it comes to tight-end scheming), but Pitts probably won’t be on my fantasy rosters.

Matt: I'm sure DeAndre Swift will have a decent season, I'm just always going to be bearish about a running back who will likely split time while playing for an offense that has a real shot at scoring fewer than 23 touchdowns this year. I'll pass on guys like that in the third round. Then again, my pick of Chase Edmonds might well count at RB23.

Dalton: I didn’t see any picks as obvious reaches, but I would’ve gone with AJ Dillon or a rookie back ahead of Ronald Jones early in Round 9. That said, I very well may have taken the wrong 49ers back, as Harmon grabbed Trey Sermon a round after I took the brittle Raheem Mostert.

Liz: Considering Andy was able to scoop Kittle (natch) and Matt got Waller in the third, it could be argued that I reached for Kelce at the end of Round 1. Given my draft position, however, I didn't want to wait. That landscape is gross (New England certainly didn't help improve things by signing Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, limiting both their upsides) and I'm willing to reach on a player that's been the TE1 for five consecutive seasons.

Andy: J.K. Dobbins at RB15 is, frankly, a scandal. Another classic look-at-me pick from Dalton. (I'm shaking my head in disapproval as I type.) Dobbins is plenty fun, a huge talent, but the workload is an obvious concern. Even when he surged last year in the second half of the season, he was averaging just a dozen carries per game and he had almost no role as a receiver. He saw only two targets in his final five games. We can't just wish away Gus Edwards; he'll continue to share the rushing workload. Lamar Jackson's carries can't go away, either, because he's the league's most efficient runner.

General observation, theme, or lesson

Dalton: Davante Adams is the most interesting dilemma, having the argument to be the No. 1 overall pick in PPR leagues given the RB alternatives and the almost comical numbers he put up last season (115 catches, 1,374 yards, and 18 TDs over 13.5 games) and with no other WRs added in GB. But he’s also a risky top-20 pick with the very real chance Aaron Rodgers doesn’t play again for the Packers, as the downgrade to Jordan Love would be massive.

Liz: It may be neither surprising nor affirming — though, certainly, interesting — to see Aaron Jones and Davante Adams both go early while Aaron Rodgers didn't go in the top 100. He was the fantasy QB3 in 2020 and, per expert consensus rankings, he's the current QB7. The news cycle has, for good reason, depressed his fantasy value, but the pieces he helped to elevate over the past few seasons remain early-round targets. I'm curious to see if and how that changes as the summer (and drama) unfolds.

Andy: For reasons unknown, we clearly aren't as bullish on this year's rookies as we were with the 2020 class — at least not yet. Najee Harris could easily have gone a round earlier considering his projected workload. I don't even wanna know how far Ja'Marr Chase and DeVonta Smith would have fallen if I hadn't grabbed 'em in Rounds 8 and 9, respectively. I find it hard to believe these guys won't climb significantly as we get deeper into the summer and hype season begins.

Scott: In a standard league of 12 teams or fewer (we used 10 teams here), there is no reason to be hyper-proactive at quarterback. But that doesn’t mean you completely blow off the position. Let me be clear on this — I don’t want you to take your quarterback in a late round.

The idea of Late Round Quarterback is probably dead now; I’d like to take a swing at someone who has a legitimate chance at being the No. 1 guy by the end of the year. I’d posit all eight of the quarterbacks we selected in this exercise could do that. Put a star next to Jalen Hurts; he’s the type of player who can have a mediocre game and still finish in the Top 3 in a given week. The cup isn’t bottomless at quarterback, not for true difference-makers, but you’ll have plenty of options. Look for a Tier 2 QB who can return Tier 1 numbers.

Matt: Receiver depth is as advertised. You have to get into the WR40 range before you start staring at names that I'm not excited about for fantasy this year. It's a chalk theme but it's hard to avoid.

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