/Fantasy Football draft prep 2021: Players to target and avoid in each of the first 15 rounds based on ADP – CBSSports.com

Fantasy Football draft prep 2021: Players to target and avoid in each of the first 15 rounds based on ADP – CBSSports.com

The third week of preseason action was overshadowed by injuries. J.K. Dobbins (ACL) was lost for the season, and T.Y. Hilton (neck), Irv Smith (knee) and Evan Engram (calf) were also banged up. I’m curious about how these injuries are going to impact the CBS Sports Average Draft Position over the next several days.

This past weekend saw many Fantasy leagues hold their drafts, and the majority of leagues will draft this coming week and into Labor Day weekend. For those of you still in draft-prep mode,  we want to make sure you’re ready.

So using the latest CBS Sports ADP, I wanted to go round-by-round and show you the best and worst picks for some players to target and avoid this year in 12-team, PPR leagues. We’ll go 15 rounds and hopefully find some winners to target and players you should probably avoid.

Round 1 (Picks 1-12)

1. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers

2. Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings

3. Derrick Henry, RB, Titans

4. Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints

5. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys

6. Aaron Jones, RB, Packers

7. Davante Adams, WR, Packers

8. Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs

9. Nick Chubb, RB, Browns

10. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs

11. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Colts

12. Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers

Best player to target: Ekeler

It’s hard to argue with any of the players listed here in Round 1, but Ekeler stands out as the best value given his upside. He averaged 18.1 PPR points per game last year in eight games with Justin Herbert. If Ekeler stays healthy he could easily be a top-five PPR running back this season.

Worst player to target: Mahomes

Imagine calling Mahomes the worst at anything, but this is about value. And I don’t think any quarterback is worth drafting in Round 1 in a one-quarterback league. He should once again be awesome, but draft him in Round 2 at the earliest and not at No. 10 overall.

Round 2 (Picks 13-24)

13. Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs

14. Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants

15. Najee Harris, RB, Steelers

16. Stefon Diggs, WR, Bills

17. Josh Allen, QB, Bills

18. Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals

19. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Cardinals

20. Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons

21. Antonio Gibson, RB, Football Team

22. DK Metcalf, WR, Seahawks

23. George Kittle, TE, 49ers

24. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Chiefs

Best player to target: Barkley

I dropped Barkley in my rankings, but he’s still a Round 1 pick. And I still think he has league-winning upside if everything goes right for him and the Giants. But it’s hard to have complete faith in Barkley coming off a torn ACL, along with the Giants potentially being one of the worst teams in the NFL. There’s a reason he’s slipped into Round 2, but he should be a steal at this cost.

Worst player to target: Kittle

I love Kittle this year, but I would rather draft him in Round 3 instead of No. 23 overall. And I’d rather have Darren Waller over Kittle this season as the No. 2 tight end behind Kelce. Kittle has the most competition for targets than he’s ever had with Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, and we’ll see what happens with Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance at quarterback. Wait on Kittle a little bit here if you plan to draft him.

Round 3 (Picks 25-36)

25. Justin Jefferson, WR, Vikings

26. Darren Waller, TE, Raiders

27. J.K. Dobbins*, RB, Ravens

28. Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers

29. A.J. Brown, WR, Titans

30. Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals

31. Terry McLaurin, WR, Football Team

32. Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks

33. Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens

34. David Montgomery, RB, Bears

35. D’Andre Swift, RB, Lions

36. Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders

Note: We won’t include Dobbins in this analysis. The second-year Ravens RB was lost for the season due to an ACL injury in the third preseason game.

Best player to target: Brown

I would draft Brown in Round 2, so getting him in Round 3 is somewhat of a steal. He should remain the No. 1 receiver for the Titans ahead of Julio Jones, and hopefully Brown is healthy for most of the season. He’s scored at least 15 PPR points in nine of his past 13 games, and he has top-three upside heading into this year.

Worst player to target: Swift

Swift is trending toward Round 4, and rightfully so. He’s going to share work with Jamaal Williams, and he’s still battling a groin injury, which could linger into the season. The Lions also could be terrible, and Swift might not have a huge year as I originally hoped prior to the start of training camp. Swift is a No. 2 running back in all leagues, but take him in Round 4 at the earliest. Also, Dobbins is listed here, and this is where he was going prior to getting hurt.

Round 4 (Picks 37-48)

37. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers

38. Allen Robinson, WR, Bears

39. James Robinson, RB, Jaguars

40. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Cowboys

41. Robert Woods, WR, Rams

42. Justin Herbert, QB, Chargers

43. Mike Evans, WR, Bucs

44. Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams

45. Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles

46. Amari Cooper, WR, Cowboys

47. Mike Davis, RB, Falcons

48. Myles Gaskin, RB, Dolphins

Best player to target: Woods

There’s a lot to like about this round, but Woods could be considered a Round 3 pick based on his upside with the addition of quarterback Matthew Stafford. That should help Kupp also, but Woods has a higher ceiling given the additional production you’ll get from him on the ground. He could be a top-10 PPR receiver this year.

Worst player to target: Herbert

The CBS ADP takes into account all of our drafts, so hopefully Herbert’s listing here is a result of where he’s being selected in two-quarterback and Superflex leagues. I like him as a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback this year, but he’s being taken ahead of guys like Dak Prescott and Russell Wilson, which would be a mistake if that happens.

Round 5 (Picks 49-60)

49. Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks

50. Chris Godwin, WR, Bucs

51. Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks

52. Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys

53. Adam Thielen, WR, Vikings

54. Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens

55. Tom Brady, QB, Bucs

56. Kyle Pitts, TE, Falcons

57. Julio Jones, WR, Titans

58. Travis Etienne*, RB, Jaguars

59. Kareem Hunt, RB, Browns

60. D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers

*Note: Etienne suffered a season-ending injury in preseason.

Best player to target: Lockett

Lockett was frustrating last season with six games of at least 17 PPR points and seven games with eight PPR points or fewer. Still, he remains a primary target for Wilson and actually had three more targets than Metcalf last year (132-129). Hopefully, Seattle’s revamped passing attack under new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron will help Lockett be more consistent, and he has top-10 upside in all leagues.

Worst player to target: Hunt

Hunt is a solid flex option, but he’s being drafted as the No. 24 running back here, which is a little dicey. He likely needs Chubb to miss time to be a consistent Fantasy option. Last year, Hunt averaged 11.3 PPR points per game when Chubb was healthy, which is more in line with what to expect this season if both play the majority of 17 games than his season average of 13.6. Also, Etienne’s ADP is continuing to slide following his injury, but this is where he’s fallen as of now.

Round 6 (Picks 61-72)

61. Darrell Henderson, RB, Rams

62. Chase Edmonds, RB, Cardinals

63. Diontae Johnson, WR, Steelers

64. Raheem Mostert, RB, 49ers

65. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers

66. T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions

67. Brandon Aiyuk, WR, 49ers

68. Javonte Williams, RB, Broncos

69. Damien Harris, RB, Patriots

70. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Broncos

71. Tee Higgins, WR, Bengals

72. Chase Claypool, WR, Steelers

Best player to target: Hockenson

I’m torn on several players to list here, including Johnson, Harris and Jeudy, but I went with Hockenson given his price tag compared to guys like Andrews and Pitts. In PPR, Hockenson might be the best of this trio given his expected target share in Detroit. If you want the last of the Super Six tight ends (Kelce, Waller, Kittle, Andrews, Pitts and Hockenson) then you can wait until Round 6 to get one of my favorite breakout candidates this year.

Worst player to target: Mostert

I don’t mind Mostert in Round 6, but when you realize he’s going 20 spots ahead of Trey Sermon, it does become problematic. If that’s true of most drafts then I’d rather just wait for Sermon at the end of Round 7. The 49ers are going to use Mostert and Sermon in tandem, and Sermon could emerge as San Francisco’s best running back sooner rather than later. Mostert is the one to target first now, but not at this price compared to Sermon.

Round 7 (Picks 73-84)

73. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Bengals

74. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans

75. Melvin Gordon, RB, Broncos

76. Kenny Golladay, WR, Giants

77. Matthew Stafford, QB, Rams

78. Michael Thomas, WR, Saints

79. Michael Carter, RB, Jets

80. Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos

81. Leonard Fournette, RB, Bucs

82. Odell Beckham, WR, Browns

83. Rams DST

84. Trey Sermon, RB, 49ers

Best player to target: Sutton

Sutton made his return to the field in Denver’s third preseason game against the Rams after missing last season with a torn ACL. He looked good and finished with two catches for 27 yards and a touchdown on three targets. Hopefully he’s healthy all year, and he should form a top tandem with Jeudy. And Sutton could easily be the Broncos best receiver this season.

Worst player to target: Fournette

We’ll ignore the Rams DST for this argument, but please don’t draft a DST in Round 7 unless the scoring is crazy in your league. Also, please don’t draft Fournette here if Ronald Jones and Giovani Bernard are healthy. Fournette and Jones will share rushing work, and Bernard will play on passing downs. This is a messy backfield, and Fournette won’t have the same impact he had in the postseason when he helped Tampa Bay win the Super Bowl.

Round 8 (Picks 85-96)

85. D.J. Chark, WR, Jaguars

86. Noah Fant, TE, Broncos

87. Jalen Hurts, QB, Eagles

88. Logan Thomas, TE, Football Team

89. Robby Anderson, WR, Panthers

90. Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals

91. James Conner, RB, Cardinals

92. DeVonta Smith, WR, Eagles

93. Antonio Brown, WR, Bucs

94. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Dolphins

95. Dallas Goedert, TE, Eagles

96. Buccaneers DST

Best player to target: Anderson

I was going to make this co-best picks with Anderson and Boyd, but I didn’t want to cop out on picking just one player per round for this category. Anderson could be Carolina’s best Fantasy receiver this year, and you’re getting him 29 picks after Moore, which is amazing value. Last year, Anderson led the Panthers in targets (136) and receptions (95), and he’s the one with the established rapport with Sam Darnold from their days with the Jets. Anderson is a steal here in PPR.

Worst player to target: Chark

Again, we’ll ignore the DST in this round and go with a player being drafted too soon. I wouldn’t be shocked if Chark is the best Jacksonville receiver this season, but right now I’m drafting him after Laviska Shenault and Marvin Jones. Chark is working his way back from a finger injury, and he could take time to re-establish his rapport with Trevor Lawrence. If Chark falls to Round 10 or later then I’ll be excited about him, but I don’t love this ADP in Round 8.

Round 9 (Picks 97-108)

97. Ronald Jones, RB, Bucs

98. Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers

99. Tyler Higbee, TE, Rams

100. Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals

101. Brandin Cooks, WR, Texans

102. Mike Gesicki, TE, Dolphins

103. Robert Tonyan, TE, Packers

104. Steelers DST

105. Kenyan Drake, RB, Raiders

106. Irv Smith, TE, Vikings

107. Will Fuller, WR, Dolphins

108. Jamaal Williams, RB, Lions

Best player to target: Cooks

This isn’t the most exciting round, and I would have put Smith in this category prior to his knee injury. But let’s go with Cooks instead and hope he’s the lone bright spot on what could be a miserable Texans offense this season. If Tyrod Taylor, who is the likely Houston starter, peppers Cooks with targets then he could emerge as a potential starting Fantasy receiver in all leagues.

Worst player to target: Tonyan

All of the tight ends are overvalued in this round, but Tonyan is my least favorite. He was fantastic last year, but you’re chasing his 2020 stats if you’re drafting him this soon. While he scored 11 touchdowns, he only had 59 targets. That’s not sustainable, and Tonyan is a bust candidate if he’s being drafted in Round 9.

Round 10 (Picks 109-120)

109. Zack Moss, RB, Bills

110. Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns

111. Laviska Shenault, WR, Jaguars

112. A.J. Dillon, RB, Packers

113. Justin Tucker, K, Ravens

114. Corey Davis, WR, Jets

115. Devin Singletary, RB, Bills

116. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jaguars

117. Washington Football Team DST

118. Gus Edwards, RB, Ravens

119. Marquez Callaway, WR, Saints

120. Sony Michel, RB, Rams

Best player to target: Edwards

I’m cheating here because Edwards won’t be available in Round 10 any time soon with Dobbins out, but I wanted to mention him since he should be a Round 4/5 pick in PPR or 0.5 PPR and a Round 3/4 pick in non-PPR leagues. As the new lead running back in Baltimore, Edwards should have the chance for a huge season, with hopefully around 15 total touches a game. We’ll see if the Ravens add another veteran to this backfield, but Dobbins’ injury could make Edwards a potential star.

Worst player to target: Tucker

Please don’t draft a kicker, any kicker, prior to the last two rounds in your league. I know most of you know this already, but some of you might be playing Fantasy Football for the first time this season. Tucker is awesome and consistent, but you can find a kicker potentially just as good in Round 14 or later.

Round 11 (Picks 121-132)

121. Harrison Butker, K, Chiefs

122. Marvin Jones, WR, Jaguars

123. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts

124. Ravens DST

125. Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings

126. Bills DST

127. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Bucs

128. Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons

129. Jared Cook, TE, Rams

130. Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs

131. J.D. McKissic, RB, Football Team

132. Justin Fields, QB, Bears

Best player to target: Hardman

I’m excited for Hardman this season as the new No. 2 receiver for the Chiefs. He has competition for the role from Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson, but Hardman should start opposite Tyreek Hill and hopefully become a third-year breakout receiver. I love drafting him in Round 10 or later.

Worst player to target: Ryan

There’s a lot to dislike with this round, but Ryan stands out, mostly because of the quarterbacks being drafted after him. If you’re going to draft a second quarterback in most one-quarterback leagues then target guys like Fields and Lance for their upside. I also prefer other veterans to Ryan, including Jameis Winston and Ben Roethlisberger, among others. Ryan is a fine option in two-quarterback and Superflex leagues, but don’t draft him here in one-quarterback formats.

Round 12 (Picks 133-144)

133. Curtis Samuel, WR, Football Team

134. Derek Carr, QB, Raiders

135. 49ers DST

136. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Bills

137. Greg Zuerlein, K, Cowboys

138. Trey Lance, QB, 49ers

139. David Johnson, RB, Texans

140. Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns

141. Marquise Brown, WR, Ravens

142. Michael Pittman, WR, Colts

143. Mike Williams, WR, Chargers

144. Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys

Best player to target: Pittman

With Hilton out for an extended period of time, Pittman should now emerge as the No. 1 receiver for the Colts. He might have been in that role anyway if Hilton was healthy, but there’s a lot to like about Pittman in his second season. Now, you have to hope the Colts have a healthy Carson Wentz (foot), as well as a healthy offensive line, but Pittman’s arrow is pointing up with Hilton hurt.

Worst player to target: Johnson

It’s a little hard to fathom what’s happening in Houston’s backfield, but Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsay appear to be in better standing with the new coaching staff than Johnson. We’ll see what happens during the season, but Johnson could be third on the depth chart and relegated to passing-downs work. He’s been among the biggest fallers in ADP this year.

Round 13 (Picks 145-156)

145. Jameis Winston, QB, Saints

146. Phillip Lindsay, RB, Texans

147. Jonnu Smith, TE, Patriots

148. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers

149. Cole Beasley, WR, Bills

150. Eagles DST

151. Tony Pollard, RB, Cowboys

152. Patriots DST

153. Darnell Mooney, WR, Bears

154. Nyheim Hines, RB, Colts

155. Tarik Cohen, RB, Bears

156. James White, RB, Patriots

Best player to target: Mooney

Mooney is a steal in this spot, and he’s one of my favorite sleepers this year. While he hasn’t played in the preseason, he will start opposite Allen Robinson, and Mooney closed last season with at least 15 PPR points in two of his final three games. Hopefully, Fields or Andy Dalton will lean on Mooney a lot, and he could emerge as a high-end No. 3 Fantasy receiver this year.

Worst player to target: Cohen

I was excited for Cohen to return from last year’s torn ACL, but that doesn’t appear to be happening any time soon. And he could open the season on the PUP list, which would keep him out for the first six weeks. Montgomery should benefit in a big way if Cohen is out, and Damien Williams becomes more attractive as a late-round flier. We’ll see what kind of impact Cohen makes this year, if he does at all, but it’s hard to justify drafting him in this spot while he’s hurt.

Round 14 (Picks 157-168)

157. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Dolphins

158. Saints DST

159. Younghoe Koo, K, Falcons

160. Latavius Murray, RB, Saints

161. Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans

162. Tyler Bass, K, Bills

163. Giovani Bernard, RB, Bucs

164. Jakobi Meyers, WR, Patriots

165. Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles

166. Ryan Succop, K, Bucs

167. Carson Wentz, QB, Colts

168. Eric Ebron, TE, Steelers

Best player to target: Meyers

He should be New England’s No. 1 receiver this year, and he’s the best value of anyone so far given this price tag. In 2020, Meyers started seeing significant playing time in Week 7, and over his final 11 games he scored at least 11 PPR points five times. Whoever starts at quarterback for the Patriots this year should lean on Meyers a lot, and he’s worth drafting as early as Round 8 or 9 in PPR.

Worst player to target: Ebron

Watson could be the worst pick in this round if he doesn’t play this season, and Murray could also fall into this category if he’s replaced as the No. 2 running back for the Saints behind Alvin Kamara for Tony Jones Jr. I went with Ebron for now since he could lose playing time to rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth, who caught two touchdowns from Roethlisberger this preseason.

Round 15 (Picks 169-180)

169. Henry Ruggs III, WR, Raiders

170. Darrynton Evans, RB, Titans

171. Alexander Mattison, RB, Vikings

172. Elijah Moore, WR, Jets

173. Colts DST

174. Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Patrits

175. Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Football Team

176. Russell Gage, WR, Falcons

177. DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins

178. Jason Sanders, K, Dolphins

179. Evan Engram, TE, Giants

180. Adam Trautman, TE, Saints

Best player to target: Moore

While Davis has emerged as the best receiver for the Jets with a strong preseason, Moore could still end up as the No. 1 option in the passing game this year. Prior to suffering a quad injury, Moore looked like the favorite target for Zach Wilson in training camp. I continue to buy a lot of stock in Moore, especially at this amazing price.

Worst player to target: Trautman

I was so excited about Trautman prior to training camp, but that excitement quickly went away once the preseason games started. First, Trautman spent more time blocking than running routes. Then, in the second preseason game, he injured his ankle, which could linger into the regular season. Hopefully he’s healthy and plays at a high level, but it’s hard to trust Trautman as a potential starter heading into the year.

Other late-round options in Round 16 or later based on CBS ADP: Rondale Moore (Pick No. 188), Tevin Coleman (No. 195), Terrace Marshall Jr. (No. 198), Darrel Williams (No. 202), Kenneth Gainwell (No. 205), Sterling Shepard (No. 211), Tyrell Williams (No. 214) and Justin Jackson (No. 219)

So which sleepers, breakouts and busts should you target and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five performance? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen’s huge season, and find out. 

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