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Players to target for every round in 2021 fantasy football drafts

Aug 12, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) carries the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL preseason is complete and fantasy drafts are in full swing. In this article, I’ve compiled the players I find myself drafting the most often in drafts over the past couple weeks, separated by the round in which I’ve been targeting them. 

The ADPs for these players are pulled from Underdog Fantasy’s half-PPR best-ball drafts, which I contrasted with my half-PPR rankings to find the players with the most value in each round through Round 12. For the earlier rounds (1-5), I’ll give two players to target, as draft position often dictates the players available in those rounds. 


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Round 1

Green Bay Packers WR Davante Adams

Underdog ADP: 6.0 | My ranking: 4

I ranked Adams have fourth overall, higher than his Underdog ADP and potentially significantly higher than some home leagues that don’t value the wide receiver position as much. 

Beyond the likely first two picks, Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook, there are either workload, quarterback or injury concerns for the other top running backs. Pivoting to the clear No. 1 wide receiver early is more than acceptable, locking in 2020’s top wide receiver in actual points per game and expected points per game

Adams is the most likely receiver to log an elite target share, all the while catching passes from reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers.

Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones

Underdog ADP: 9.1 | My ranking: 5

Jones is a great option if Adams is gone, playing in a high-powered offense and without major threats to his workload. Jamaal Williams was Jones’ primary touch competition, but he’s now with the Detroit Lions. A.J. Dillon has good draft capital behind him as the Packers' second-round pick in 2020, but the team still chose to re-sign Jones rather than hand Dillon the reins.

At 247 pounds, Dillon could be a threat to take goal-line carries away from Jones, but the Packers love to throw near the end zone, and Jones has a good shot of seeing an even higher target share this season.

Round 2

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Najee Harris

Underdog ADP: 17.2 | My ranking: 14

The case here is simple: volume, volume and more volume. The Steelers haven’t been shy about their desire to return to a three-down back offense, and they drafted Harris in the first round to fill that role. The preseason provided supporting evidence, as Harris was on the field for 16 of 17 snaps with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. 

Harris might not have the best blocking this season, but he’s a shoo-in for ending the season in the top-five for total touches barring injury, making him a steal in the middle of the second round. I highlighted Harris as a value bet for Offensive Rookie of the Year back in March at +1500, but unfortunately the crowd has caught up and he’s now +900.

Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson

Underdog ADP: 22.8 | My ranking: 17

Jefferson was elite as a rookie, has a ridiculously good set of comparable players and faces relatively low target competition in what’s been an efficient passing offense. Jefferson has the best case to end up the No. 1 overall fantasy wide receiver after the top four receivers, and that was before Irv Smith suffered a meniscus injury, potentially opening up further targets.

The buzz on Jefferson has been quiet with him missing preseason after suffering an AC joint injury in practice on Aug. 6. Jefferson will have more than a month to recover before the Vikings’ season opens on Sept. 12.

PFF's 2021 Fantasy Football Draft Kit includes links to every article, tool and chart to best prepare you for your fantasy football draft. This will be updated regularly between now and Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season.

Round 3

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