(Image credit: Dan Benton/USA Today)
By: Jett Rosenstein
Welcome back to “Mock Draft Monday.” This week we are picking from the #9 slot in the draft order. As always, this is a 10-team PPR league. I need to fill out a roster of 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 W/R/T, 1 K, 1 D/ST, and 6 BN. This draft was completed via FantasyPros’ Draft Wizard. So, without further ado, let's get this draft started!
Pick 1.9- Saquon Barkley (RB-NYG)
When fully healthy, Saquon Barkley deserves to be a top 5 pick in fantasy drafts. After suffering a season-ending ACL injury in 2020, there are questions surrounding his status for the start of the 2021 campaign. While it is a risky proposition to take him early in fantasy drafts at the moment, there is no denying how much upside he presents. I couldn’t pass on Saquon for that reason alone. While he will be running behind a subpar offensive line, Saquon is one of the most talented RBs in the game and could be a steal if his health doesn’t affect his performance.
Picks 2.2 & 3.9- Travis Kelce (TE-KC) and Allen Robinson (WR-CHI)
Any time I see Travis Kelce fall out of the first round, it is very hard to pass on his services. There isn’t much to be said about his performance over the past several years. He has finished at the top of his position each of the last 5 years. There is also a big drop-off from him to the next batch of TEs in my opinion.
Whether it's been Blake Bortles or Mitch Trubisky, Allen Robinson continues to find ways to put up big numbers. While Andy Dalton is expected to be the starter for the foreseeable future, A-Rob could see even more of a boost once the keys are handed over to Justin Fields. A-Rob will be in the WR1 conversation once again in 2021 as he will get fed the ball.
Picks 4.2 & 5.9- Chris Carson (RB-SEA) and Darrell Henderson Jr. (RB-LAR)
After taking a two-round break from the RB position, it was time to get back on attack mode. First up, Chris Carson. Carson seems like a common theme in many of my mock drafts. When healthy, he is not only one of the most talented RBs in the league, but he gets the job done for fantasy owners. One of the safer RBs before you get into the “dead zone.”
There is a big debate going on in the fantasy community about whether Darrell Henderson can fill the shoes of Cam Akers after he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. He may not be as talented as Akers, but Henderson was very productive for fantasy purposes in 2020. There’s no doubt the Rams will be explosive on offense in 2021 and that could create more upside for Henderson. Lock him in my flex with league-winning potential.
Pick 6.2 & 7.9- Tee Higgins (WR-CIN) and Javonte Williams (RB-DEN)
I was in the market for another WR as I still needed to fulfill my WR2 slot. The available options at the moment were Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, and Michael Thomas. For me, the easy decision was Higgins. In his rookie season, he seemed to have developed a nice rapport with Joe Burrow rather quickly. I think that only helps Higgins’ outlook for his sophomore campaign. Yes, the Bengals can support 3 fantasy-relevant WRs. They will be airing it out a ton.
So far, Javonte Williams has been living up to the hype in the preseason. Yes, I get that he is playing against some guys that may not make the roster, but it is still something to take note of. Melvin Gordon has dealt with some injury issues in camp and if it lingers into the season, this may be Williams’ backfield to lose. Potential league-winner!
Picks 8.2 & 9.9- Travis Etienne Jr. (RB-JAX) and Corey Davis (WR-NYJ) The Jaguars spent a first-round pick on Travis Etienne. Count on them making the most of that pick as soon as this season. Etienne will be used all over the field and will excel in the receiving game. While this is a 3-man committee that includes 2020 star James Robinson and journeyman Carlos Hyde, this new regime has a ton invested in Etienne and they will find ways to use him as much as possible. Great news for fantasy managers!
It seems as if Zach Wilson has latched onto one of his WRs early on in the preseason. Corey Davis has been Wilson’s go-to target in limited action, but that is a positive for Davis’ outlook for the 2021 campaign. Presumably the WR1 on a Jets team that will need to throw the ball a ton. One of the most undervalued players in fantasy at the moment who should see his ADP rise a little due to his performance in the preseason.
Picks 10.2 & 11.9- Trey Sermon (RB-SF) and Elijah Moore (WR-NYJ)
Raheem Mostert has not been able to stay healthy throughout his tenure with the 49ers. In the 2021 draft, the team selected Trey Sermon in the 3rd round. If Mostert is either inefficient or cannot stay healthy, Sermon figures to have a much bigger role. High-upside stash late in drafts!
We have yet to see Elijah Moore suit up for a preseason game just yet due to injury but the hype is continuing to grow. Not only are fellow Ole Miss Alumni, DK Metcalf, and AJ Brown raving about him, but the entire NY Jets staff seem to be gushing over what Moore brings to the table. While Corey Davis is the #1 in this depth chart, Moore could end up passing him by and being amongst the top rookie WRs in 2021.
Pick 12.2 & 13.9- Darnell Mooney (WR-CHI) and Jalen Hurts (QB-PHI)
I have raved about Darnell Mooney in the past and I will continue to send him praise. He is an up-and-coming WR in the NFL. A combination of great route running ability and athleticism may vault him up the fantasy WR ranks in 2021. He may not be a target hog like fellow WR Allen Robinson, but he is a big play waiting to happen and is a popular sleeper pick in drafts everywhere.
Well, it was time to lock in on a QB. After missing out on my initial late-round target, Ryan Tannehill (12th round), I decided to take a chance on Jalen Hurts. At cost, I would normally not draft him, but at this point, it is a steal. We know Hurts has the rushing ability and that alone gives him a nice floor. In the end, it will come down to his passing ability. That is what could elevate him to the cream of the crop at the QB position.
Picks 14.2 & 15.9- Washington D/ST and Rodrigo Blankenship (K-IND)
FINAL GRADE: 87 out of 100 (B+)