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Fantasy Football: The Guide to Selecting 1.12 in 2021 Best Ball Drafts

The end of the first round is a fantastic spot in fantasy football drafts, offering a variety of paths to a 2021 best ball title. The beauty of the 1.12 draft slot is the additional control in player selection with back-to-back picks in every round. 

There are two preferred strategies with the first and second picks when picking at 1.12:

  1. Load up on running back by grabbing two studs.
  2. Get one elite running back and one elite wide receiver.

Let’s dive into the plan for building a top-tier best ball roster out of the 1.12.

Editor's Note: Dive into PFF's 2021 Best Ball DraftKit for everything you need to win it all at the end of the year!

1.12: RB Tier 2 

Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

Austin Ekeler is too underrated — he is the best first-round value in fantasy drafts right now. New Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi has spent the last four seasons with Alvin Kamara, and he is already talking about creating a Kamara-like role in Los Angeles for Ekeler.

The Chargers dynamic playmaker flashed his elite ceiling when he finished as the PPR No. 4 overall running back in 2019. If Justin Herbert makes a Year 2 jump and elevates the entire Los Angeles offense, then Ekeler would become a strong candidate to post another top-five fantasy finish.  

PFF’s fantasy projections rank Ekeler as the No. 6 running back for 2021.

2.1: RB Tier 2

Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

Joe Mixon has broken the hearts of his fantasy managers in each of the last two seasons, but we are ready to get hurt again. This is a bet on the two most important factors for running back fantasy production — volume and situation. 

Giovani Bernard is out the door, which means Mixon is locked into a featured bell cow role with rushing and receiving work. Additionally, the Bengals should be a much-improved offense with a healthy Joe Burrow under center — Cincinnati should be a top-10 offense with legitimate top-five upside next season.

Sep 17, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) runs the ball against the Cleveland Browns during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

If Mixon can stay healthy (we are not in the fortune telling business of predicting injuries), then he holds top-five upside with 1,500 total yards and 10-plus touchdowns in his range of outcomes.

PFF’s fantasyprojections rank Mixon as the No. 9 running back for 2021.

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