Fantasy Football Today: NFL schedule fallout and how not to draft from No. 12 overall

Happy Friday everyone. We have a schedule for the 2021 NFL season, and we’ll start with what will hopefully be a barn burner on September 9, when the Buccaneers host the Cowboys in the season opener. It’s a pretty exciting way to start the Fantasy season, even though there are still four months to go.

The schedule not only told us when each team is playing and who they are playing against, but it also confirmed how the new 18-week season will unfold. You haven’t forgotten that, have you? Yes, each team plays 17 games in 2021, and now we know what that’s going to look like. The bye weeks will start at week 6 and run through week 14, which means you’ll probably want to schedule your playoffs from week 15 – no bye weeks and plenty of time to get your support complete before the rest (still expected) in week 18.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the longer season affects injuries, because we’ll have an extra week before the byes start, and then you’ll have the Falcons, Saints, Jets and 49ers going from Week 6 to Week 18 without a week. off, while the Dolphins, Colts, Patriots and Eagles will have 13 straight games before their Week 14 break. Just a guess, but I think we’ll see at least a few more injuries this season. Just warning you now.

In today’s newsletter, I have Dave Richard’s schedule breakdown, highlighting early season games and late season schedules, among other things you might want to know. Below I have a breakdown of a recent PPR simulation project and how I managed to draft from 12th place. Also, for those of you who play in Dynasty Leagues, we did a fictional rookie-only PPR draft this week, so you can check it out along with the rest of our Dynasty coverage here. You already know I’m not super excited about this year’s rookie class, but you can see where everyone was drafted and what Jamey Eisenberg thinks about it there.

Next week I’ll break down a draft Dynasty starter sim we’re putting together and look at some regression candidates and some of the throwback running backs that don’t exactly make a difference – are they worth the investment on day of the game? repechage? Plus, we’re hosting a Tuesday night live stream on our YouTube page, so be sure to head over to and subscribe to find out when we’re live.

And now, here’s our first look at the schedule:

NFL schedule release

How much should a player’s schedule impact how you think about their fantasy value? That’s the obvious question to ask now, isn’t it?

Should I give Kyler Murray a boost because he has to face the Titans (30th in points granted to the QB), the Vikings (16th) and the Jaguars (27th) to open the season? Should we let go Josh Allen in your ranking because it opens against the Steelers (2nd), the Dolphins (4th) and Washington (6th)?


I don’t mean that timing doesn’t matter for Fantasy, but it is, at most, a tiebreaker, and even then, only for the start of the season. Sure, Allen is having what seems like a tough time to start the season, but don’t forget he had seven touchdowns in two games against the Dolphins in 2020 and still had 22.3 Fantasy points in a tough game against the Steelers. Oh, and he also lost 43.2 to the Rams, the best defense of last season against QB.

Part of the problem is that what a team looks like in May (or August) won’t be what it looks like in October. Not in the NFL, where change is the only constant. What looks like a bad stretch could turn into a breeze, while what looks like an easy game — like last year’s Giants did in the preseason — could be tough.

Still, there are things you can take away from the calendar release, and that’s what Dave Richard focused on in his breakdown on Thursday. It goes over each team, highlighting their bye weeks, season start and end times, and their best early season streaming options for fantasy players, so be sure to check that out and check it out. bookmark for your Draft Prep over the next few months. .

Plus, we talked about it on the FFT podcast on Wednesday night, with Jamey Eisenberg joining Dave to share his thoughts on Cam Akers, Josh Jacobs, Jalen hurts and more, as well as many emails from readers:

PPR Mock Draft

We did a few post-NFL Draft simulations, and the last one was Thursday. You can read Jamey’s thoughts on his team and how this simulation went overall, but I also have some thoughts on that. Specifically: I think I’m going to hate the draft since 12th place this year.

I really didn’t like my team in this one, and I think that’s because of the draft spot I ended up in. Or, to be more precise, it was because of the way I reacted to where I was choosing. This is what my team ended up looking like:

  1. Michael Thomas, WR, NO
  2. George Kittle, TE, SF
  3. Myles Gaskin, RB, MIA
  4. Robert Woods, WR, LAR
  5. Kyler Murray, QB, ARI
  6. Will Fuller, WR, MIA
  7. Kenyan Drake, RB, LV
  8. TY Hilton, WR, IND
  9. Antonio Brown, WR, TB
  10. Rondale Moore, WR, ARI
  11. Mike Williams, WR, BAC
  12. Nyheim Hines, RB, IND
  13. Chuba Hubbard, RB, CAR
  14. Tre’Quan Smith, WR, NO
  15. Broncos, DST, DEN

Alright, so I don’t hate it – I got my #2 QB, WR and TE, plus another top 10 WR, which isn’t bad. The problem is that choosing from the end forces you to make some tough choices, and I think I picked at least a few places wrong.

Some might consider Thomas in the first round as a reach. I disagree, but I think he was the wrong choice here. He is my No. 2 WR, but pairing him with Kittle at the turn moved me to second in the elite RB. By the time the draft hits me at Pick 36, the pit was pretty dry at RB – my main remaining options were Gaskin, David Montgomery, JK Dobbins and Josh Jacobs. None of them are necessarily a bad option, but I don’t like any of them, and none of them were my best players on the board.

But, because I went WR-TE in the first one, I felt like I had to go with an RB here, and that’s where I think it went wrong. If you’re going to miss the top 20 or more RBs, you’re probably better off pivoting to a Zero-RB build, avoiding the position for at least a few more rounds and making sure you’re placed everywhere else, including at FLEX , before going after RB. Starting from 12th place, I feel like I should have either picked an RB instead of Thomas, or I should have just kicked the post. Here’s what those two starts might have looked like instead:

Elite RB


  • Michael Thomas
  • George Kittle
  • Robert Woods
  • DJ Moore
  • Kyler Murray
  • Will Fuller

In the first scenario, I still have Will Fuller as WR #3, and I love it – it’s my WR21 despite missing week 1. But, instead of Gaskin as RB #1, I got Mixon — that’s my RB7. So Mixon and Moore instead of Thomas and Gaskin feels a bit better – I actually have the Thomas/Gaskin pair projected for a bit more points, but I’m much more confident in Mixon’s ability to hit his projection than that of Gaskin.

Or, I could have had Thomas and Moore and ended up with Fuller as my #4 WR/FLEX. Would RB be a problem? Of course, at least at first. I would have been relying on the likes of Kenyan drake, david johnson, Leonard FournetteWhere james robinson like my starting RB, which is difficult. But, given the fungibility of the RB position, it’s probably best to pursue this with late fliers or waivers and roll with a core of my No. 2 TE, my No. 2 QB and four of my top-21 wide receivers.

There are other places where I could have made better decisions – Murray in the fifth is not a bad choice, but I would have a stronger team overall with, say, Jalen hurts and matt ryan with my last two picks – but that’s why doing mock drafts early and often is so valuable.

I can have my rankings, and I know they’re going to differ from other people’s, and I’m okay with that. I have confidence in my process. But knowing how you personally rank each player is only part of the battle. It’s also about having a strategy for how you want to build your team, how you want to approach each draft point, and how you want to handle when things don’t go your way.

I didn’t do that well here. Luckily this is just a mock draft, I’ll probably make 50 more before the season starts (plus probably a dozen real leagues), so I have plenty of time to do well things. You might not be doing 50 dummy drafts, but you sure don’t want to go into your drafts that really matter cold.

Here’s what the first three rounds of the draft looked like, and you can check out the rest of the results here:

Round 1

  1. Christian McCaffrey, RB, CAR (Heath Cummings)
  2. Dalvin Cook, AR, MIN (Jacob Gibbs)
  3. Alvin Kamara, RB, NO (Will Brinson)
  4. Saquon Barkley, RB, NYG (RJ White)
  5. Derrick Henry, RB, TEN (Jack Capotorto)
  6. Jonathan Taylor, RB, IND (Dave Richard)
  7. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, DAL (Andrew Baumhor)
  8. Travis Kelce, TE, KC (Dan Schneier)
  9. Austin Ekeler, RB, BAC (Jamey Eisenberg)
  10. Aaron Jones, RB, GB (Meron Berkson)
  11. Davante Adams, WR, GB (Adam Aizer)
  12. Michael Thomas, WR, NO (Chris Towers)

2nd round

  1. George Kittle, TE, SF (Chris Towers)
  2. Tyreek Hill, WR, KC (Adam Aizer)
  3. AJ Brown, WR, TEN (Meron Berkson)
  4. Nick Chubb, RB, CLE (Jamey Eisenberg)
  5. Joe Mixon, AR, CIN (Dan Schneier)
  6. Stefon Diggs, WR, BUF (Andrew Baumhor)
  7. Cam Akers, RB, LAR (Dave Richard)
  8. Justin Jefferson, WR, MIN (Jack Capotorto)
  9. Darren Waller, TE, LV (RJ White)
  10. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, ARI (Will Brinson)
  11. D’André Swift, RB, DET (Jacob Gibbs)
  12. Miles Sanders, RB, PHI (Heath Cummings)

Round 3

  1. Keenan Allen, WR, BAC (Heath Cummings)
  2. DK Metcalf, WR, SEA (Jacob Gibbs)
  3. Julio Jones, WR, ATL (Will Brinson)
  4. Patrick Mahomes, QB, KC (RJ White)
  5. Calvin Ridley, WR, ATL (Jack Capotorto)
  6. Antonio Gibson, RB, WAS (Dave Richard)
  7. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, KC (Andrew Baumhor)
  8. Terry McLaurin, WR, WAS (Dan Schneier)
  9. Najee Harris, RB, PIT (Jamey Eisenberg)
  10. Allen Robinson, WR, CHI (Meron Berkson)
  11. Chris Carson, RB, SEA (Adam Aizer)
  12. Myles Gaskin, RB, MIA (Chris Towers)

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