Fantasy News & Analysis

Premium Content Sign Up

The perfect 2021 fantasy football draft strategy round by round 3.0

Jan 24, 2021; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) before the AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 fantasy football master draft strategy is back with a simple premise: Follow this handy, step-by-step guide, and you're sure to enter the season with a quality roster that balances reliability and upside. Sept. 9 can’t come soon enough.

Pair this with PFF’s fantasy football rankings/projections and my 2021 PPR Fantasy Football Rankings & Tiers/values/fades to build a top-tier squad.


Click here for more PFF tools:

Fantasy Draft Kit | PFF Betting Dashboard | PFF Fantasy Rankings
PFF Fantasy Projections | NFL Premium Stats | Win Totals Tracker


ROUND 1 (1-12): DRAFT A RUNNING BACK, WIDE RECEIVER, OR TRAVIS KELCE

Running backs have returned to the top of the fantasy football food chain. It wasn’t long ago when drafters selected Julio Jones and Antonio Brown over their bell-cow counterparts, but a few talented running back draft classes have brought leagues back to the golden days.

Every fantasy football draft is unique, but one thing is certain: Running backs are the drivers of fantasy-winning teams. Get your studs early and wait untill the later rounds to take shots on backs in ambiguous backfields. That’s where we’ll find the next breakout at the position.

Unlike last year, when the strategy was focused on grabbing a workhorse running back no matter what, 2021 presents us with a different approach in the second half of Round 1.

If you miss out on the Tier 1 crop of running backsChristian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara or even Aaron Jones — be open to drafting an elite wide receiver in the second half of Round 1.

This approach is specific to PPR scoring versus standard or half-PPR formats because receivers can’t make up ground versus running backs as easily without being rewarded a full point per reception

Wide receivers have the highest percentage of top-12 finishes (55%) over the past three seasons in PPR scoring. The Tier 1 wide receiversDavante Adams, Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, Calvin Ridley and DeAndre Hopkins — are strong bets to meet Round 1 production without the cost. These receivers represent five of the top seven players in PFF’s PPR fantasy projections.

Selecting Diggs at the back-end of Round 1 is a sharp move, as he could easily repeat as the league leader in targets. In Josh Allen’s only preseason game, the Buffalo Bills passed on 85% of their offensive plays, so you want the centerpiece of Buffalo's passing attack.

Kelce is the third option here if he happens to fall to the back end of Round 1 (10-12). Targeting tight ends with elite upside will be a recurring theme in this piece, as the approach provides fantasy managers a massive positional advantage.

ROUND 2 (13-24): DRAFT A RUNNING BACK, WIDE RECEIVER OR DARREN WALLER

Subscribe to PFF Edge to continue reading

Already have a subscription? Sign In

Know tomorrow, today. Western Southern Financial Group.
Sponsor

Fantasy Featured Tools

  • Sort projected player stats and fantasy points by position, week, and category.

    Available with

    Edge
  • Available with

    Edge
  • PFF's Fantasy Football Expected Points tool is primarily used for identifying potential over and undervalued players.

    Available with

    Elite
  • Research past fantasy performance with sortable player stats including PFF-exclusives like aDOT and fantasy points per opportunity.

    Available with

    Edge
  • PFF’s Fantasy Strength of Schedule (SoS) metric provides a league-wide, season-long view of opponent matchups for each fantasy position.

    Available with

    Edge
Pro Subscriptions

Unlock NFL Player Grades, Fantasy & NFL Draft

$9.99 / mo
$39.99 / yr

Unlock Premium Stats, PFF Greenline & DFS

$34.99 / mo
$199.99 / yr