2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

For full player rankings (redraft/dynasty), eight different printable cheat sheets, our 2021 draft guide (also can be purchased separately on Amazon), season projections, a direct line for counsel, and much more, join Fantasy Consigliere using promo code JOINTHEPACK.

 

Player Outlooks (2021)

 

QB Tom Brady: Brady probably had the quietest 40-touchdown campaign in NFL history last year, and you could make a case that it was the most impressive considering his age (43) in a new city while learning a new offense (during a COVID-impacted season). Things really started to click for Tampa Bay’s offense down the stretch in 2020, and another year with the championship supporting cast—plus O.J. Howard, Giovani Bernard, and rookie Jaelon Darden—should only make Brady even better. Don’t be surprised to see TB12 put up 2007-level numbers.

 

RB Ronald Jones II: Getting banged-up caused Jones to take a backseat in January/February, but he again brings the speed element to the Buccaneers after averaging 5.1 yards per carry and nearing 1,000 rushing yards last year. The downside is competition from Leonard Fournette and Giovani Bernard, but Jones—just a few months older than Steelers rookie Najee Harris—still has the most potential in the backfield. He should be drafted as an upside RB3.

 

RB Leonard Fournette: “Playoff Lenny” (and then the evolution into “Lombardi Lenny”) was a big part of powering Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl, and he could very well open the year averaging the 16.0 carries per game that he saw in the postseason. However, the receiving numbers project to take a significant hit with Giovani Bernard around, and Fournette averaged just 3.0 yards per carry in the second half of the 2020 regular season. The former No. 4 overall pick may settle in as a touchdown-dependent FLEX.

 

RB Giovani Bernard: Head coach Bruce Arians has said that Bernard will handle passing situation and the two-minute offense—which should lead to definite value in a Tom Brady-led offense. We have Bernard slated for 50 receptions, so full PPR leagues in particular should have him ranked as a mid-to-late selection; the current ADP of No. 173 overall is much too low.

 

RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn: Vaughn was hyped up last summer, but the second-year back will almost certainly need an injury to carry roster-worthy fantasy value in redraft leagues. As a rookie, Vaughn—who is older than Ronald Jones—handled 31 touches in ten games.

 

WR Chris Godwin: Statistically, the first season for Godwin in an offense led by the G.O.A.T. didn’t quite go as planned due to various injuries, but he still had a 16-game pace of 87 receptions, 1,120 yards, and nine touchdowns. Another offseason to build chemistry will only help, and it’s worth noting that Brady recently posted on Instagram that a “huge year” is coming for the Penn State product. Godwin can easily return to WR1 territory, and there are potential shootouts early to set the tone (v DAL, v TB, @ LAR).

 

WR Mike Evans: Evans was a quick favorite of TB12 because of his size and downfield prowess, so the ceiling will be exciting again in 2021. That said, week-to-week inconsistency is reason to push Evans—who had 64 or fewer receiving yards in 75% of his games last season—more towards WR2 territory, and movement up or down could be determined by your roster construction. Another 1,000-yard season would give Evans an unprecedented eight-straight years of the milestone to start his career.

 

WR Antonio Brown: Being a workout warrior helped, but Brown came off what was basically a year-and-a-half away from the game to catch 45 passes, 483 yards, and four scores in eight games last season—and his connection with Tom Brady should lead to big numbers for what we expect will be a record-breaking offense. Even with others chipping in, all three of Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and AB can prosper.

 

WR Scotty Miller: The drafting of Jaelon Darden would seem to impact Miller the most, but all the 23-year-old did was make plays when called upon last season, and he will again have a role this year. The tricky part will be guessing when Miller will put up numbers on a loaded attack, so he’ll be a desperation FLEX with everyone healthy.

 

WR Jaelon Darden: He’s been mentioned a couple of times, and Darden should immediately be on the radar in all formats because of the offense he’s playing in. Still, the Bucs’ fourth-round pick could have more real-life value as a primary returner with limited offensive production on a loaded attack. Consider Darden more of a dynasty prospect.

 

WR Tyler Johnson: He surprisingly caught just 14 passes last season (including playoffs), but Johnson’s impact was bigger than that because of how clutch he was. Chris Godwin returning on the franchise tag leaves limited opportunity for Johnson to take a statistical leap from his rookie numbers, though the team could certainly view him as someone that can step into a larger role if they don’t eventually extend Godwin. We believe in the talent, so have patience.

 

TE Rob Gronkowski: Overall, Gronkowski caught nine touchdowns after coming out of retirement to play with Tom Brady—and that included two big ones in the Super Bowl. Now much more into football shape than he was to start the 2020 season, Gronk still brings massive touchdown upside and will be a threat for multiple scores in any given week. Tampa Bay trying to kill records/milestones could put 10,000 career receiving yards (currently 8,484) and 100 career touchdowns (currently 86) on the table if Gronk is up to playing beyond 2021.

 

TE O.J. Howard: A perfectly healthy Howard would likely be ranked as a top-15 option, but an Achilles injury is very difficult to return from—particularly in the first year back. We still have optimism that Howard can have a quality season, though, and a loaded offense will take the pressure off. We’ll have a close eye on his status throughout August.

 

TE Cameron Brate: Brate caught a career-high 82.4% of his targets last season with a pinpoint-accurate quarterback orchestrating the offense, but he will now have even more of a split with O.J. Howard back. In four games with Gronk and Howard also active, Brate saw just two targets (one of which was caught for a three-yard touchdown).

 

Other Notes

 

Best 2021 value: WR Antonio Brown (FantasyPros ECR: WR43)

The ranking for Brown has already heated up a bit since releasing our draft guide (he was the WR48 at that point), but being the WR43 is still egregious considering the talent and offense that he’s playing in. While there might be a bit of frustration at times with Godwin and Evans as the top weapons, AB is going to get his targets from TB12, and he’d be a potential monster if an injury strikes.

 

Best dynasty investment: QB Tom Brady

In general, Tampa Bay has the league’s most undervalued offense (from both a real-life and fantasy perspective), so multiple players could have been chosen for the best redraft and dynasty investment. Although Brady might seem like an odd choice for dynasty leagues, he’s currently going as the QB25, and that’s far too low for a player that’s shown no signs of slowing down. You won’t find a cheaper shot at high-end QB1 numbers for at least the next two seasons.

 

Bold prediction

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

Stat to know

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Seattle Seahawks

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Seattle Seahawks

For full player rankings (redraft/dynasty), eight different printable cheat sheets, our 2021 draft guide (also can be purchased separately on Amazon), season projections, a direct line for counsel, and much more, join Fantasy Consigliere using promo code JOINTHEPACK.

 

Player Outlooks (2021)

 

QB Russell Wilson: Wilson is coming off a season in which he set new career-highs in pass attempts (558), completion percentage (68.8%), and passing touchdowns (40), but might Seattle scale back the aerial attack some this year? Pete Carroll already wanted to throttle down over the final two months of 2020 when Wilson averaged just 208.9 passing yards per game in his last eight outings, and the re-signing of Chris Carson could suggest the team wants to be more run-balanced. High volume hasn’t been needed to produce in the past, but all the young talent at quarterback might push Wilson closer towards low-end QB1 range.

 

RB Chris Carson: Even when healthy, Carson didn’t get the volume we would have liked last season (his single-game high in carries was 17), but the veteran was coming off a fractured hip—and aside from a game against Arizona where he left after five carries, Seattle went 10-1 when he was in the lineup. If the attempts per game climb back into the mid-to-upper teens, Carson should again be an undervalued RB2 as a powerful runner and underrated pass-catcher.

 

RB Rashaad Penny: It was only 11 carries, but Penny at least getting on the field last season following a devasting knee injury in 2019 is a great sign for his future outlook, and the former first-round pick is now entering a contract year. Chris Carson notably talked himself and Penny up as a top one-two punch, so we’ll see just how much the others—particularly DeeJay Dallas and Alex Collins—are on the field.

 

RB DeeJay Dallas: Dallas was inactive to begin and end his rookie season, but he showed promise when given an opportunity—including a two-touchdown game on 23 touches versus San Francisco. While the backfield is certainly crowded, Dallas was a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and he’s being overlooked as a potential contributor based on the all-around talent.

 

RB Alex Collins: After spending 2019 out of football, Collins got another shot with Seattle last year and will hope to stick around by earning a roster spot next month. He’ll turn 27 in a few weeks, but Collins has had limited touches since totaling over 1,000 yards with the Ravens in 2017, and his aggressiveness as a runner fits with what the Seahawks want to do.

 

RB Travis Homer: Some have hoped that Homer would get a bigger role in the Seattle offense, but he’s clearly more of a special-teamer through two years—and everyone being healthy would leave him on the roster bubble. Preseason action could help the soon-to-be 23-year-old flash enough to make an impression with the Seahawks or another team.

 

WR D.K. Metcalf: Metcalf established himself as one of the most dominant players in the league last season, and the scary part is that his ceiling still might not have been reached. The aforementioned final stretch where the passing attack was toned down is potential cause for concern (Metcalf averaged just 64.4 receiving yards over his final eight games—including 177 yards versus Philadelphia), but you can’t go wrong betting on a monster talent. D.K. is a clear top-six option.

 

WR Tyler Lockett: He finished as the WR13 on the back of a couple of early week-winning performances, but Lockett’s production fell off a cliff following his 15/200/3 explosion to end October—dropping to a season-long pace of 76/750/2. Even with a larger sample size, the efficiency for Lockett has fallen in each of the past two years (yards per target: 13.8 > 9.6 > 8.0); there will be big games, but the volatility can be frustrating.

 

WR D’Wayne Eskridge: Speed and big-play ability could immediately make Eskridge a fantasy contributor, though reliability/consistency will be the question when it comes to redraft leagues. Seattle’s second-round pick had somewhat limited production in the MAC, and he projects to be more of a role player and return specialist as a rookie. We’d view him as more of a dynasty stash and DFS dart throw.

 

WRs Freddie Swain and Cade Johnson: The production of Swain last season—13 receptions on 21 targets despite playing 33% of the team’s offensive snaps—is somewhat of a cautionary tale for the non-stars of Seattle, and we can’t expect too much of a bump in 2021. He and the undrafted rookie Johnson are similar players that will likely compete for the No. 4 job.

 

TE Gerald Everett: Everett made clutch plays across four season with the Rams, and now he projects to be the possible No. 3 target for Russell Wilson. The concern is tight end looking just as crowded as running back, but Everett has the skillset to be used similarly to how David Moore was used with some screens and quick passes. Consider him a low-end TE2 with upside for more.

 

TE Will Dissly: He finally stayed healthy for 16 games last season, but Dissly’s numbers dropped dramatically (two touchdowns and 15.7 yards per game; compared to six touchdowns and 41.8 yards per game over his first ten career appearances), and now Russell Wilson has more toys to play with. Dissly is simply a weekly desperation play that can hopefully score.

 

TE Colby Parkinson: Pete Carroll recently talked up Parkinson as someone that will have a role this year, and the size (six-foot-seven) makes him a threat in scoring territory in addition to being a vertical weapon. In his best season at Stanford (2018), Parkinson caught seven touchdowns and averaged 16.7 yards per reception on 29 grabs.

 

Other Notes

 

Best 2021 value: WR D.K. Metcalf (FantasyPros ECR: WR6)

One of the second-year players in DeeJay Dallas or Colby Parkinson could have been chosen here, but there is also a chance they never really come into redraft value. Instead, Metcalf gets the nod as someone that can often be had at the second/third-round turn, and we currently have him one spot ahead of the WR6 consensus.

 

Best dynasty investment: RB DeeJay Dallas

As stated, Dallas might not be getting enough attention as a fourth-rounder (in 2020) with a well-rounded game, and even if he has a limited role this season, the team could view him as the future No. 2 if Rashaad Penny isn’t re-signed. The former Miami standout is an investment worth making.

 

Bold prediction

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

Stat to know

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

Fantasy Football 2021: Get Eight Printable Cheat Sheets For Your League

Fantasy Football 2021: Get Eight Printable Cheat Sheets For Your League

Training camp is underway, and now is when we could start to see more significant shifts in the Top 200 rankings due to injury, local reports, preseason play, and other factors. As always, we keep our cheat sheets completely up to date with any news, and here are the formats for those not yet subscribed to Fantasy Consigliere:

 

-0.5 PPR/Standard

-Full PPR

-Superflex

-Superflex PPR

-Point Per First Down

-Point Per First Down PPR

-Positional

-Positional PPR

 

Subscribing to Wolf Sports also gets you our 2021 draft guide (which can also be purchased as a physical book on Amazon), a direct line to ask questions, unlocked analytics/projections, access to the best dynasty rankings in the business, and more… so Join The Pack today by clicking the banner at the top of our site.

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: San Francisco 49ers

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: San Francisco 49ers

For full player rankings (redraft/dynasty), eight different printable cheat sheets, our 2021 draft guide (also can be purchased separately on Amazon), season projections, a direct line for counsel, and much more, join Fantasy Consigliere using promo code JOINTHEPACK.

 

Player Outlooks (2021)

 

QB Jimmy Garoppolo: Most seem to assume No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance will be the starter this year, but we wouldn’t be so sure. Garoppolo has a 22-8 record with the Niners, and—assuming he stays healthy—we would say he clearly gives them the best chance to lift the Lombardi Trophy in February (a rookie has never won the Super Bowl). So, if the team does indeed stick with Jimmy G, he is set up for a big season throwing to George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, and Deebo Samuel in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and the early-season schedule looks very favorable (@ DET, @ PHI, v GB, v SEA, @ ARI).

 

QB Trey Lance: Inexperience for Lance—who threw just 318 passes in his career at North Dakota State and had all but one appearance wiped out due to COVID-19 last year—is a primary reason to believe he could be entering a “redshirt” season. That being said, the rookie’s dual-threat skillset combined with the run-and-catch playmakers for San Francisco could make him an immediate QB1 option if he becomes the starter, and Garoppolo has missed games throughout his career. If the price isn’t out of control (remember, he might not even see the field in 2021), Lance could be an excellent draft-and-stash for those with patience.

 

RB Raheem Mostert: Mostert will have heavy competition in the backfield this season with the 49ers basically remaking the group, but speed is something the veteran has that Kyle Shanahan won’t get from other runners on the roster. Even with injuries impacting him last season, Mostert averaged 5.0 yards per carry, and more of a committee role wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if it keeps him fresh. Consider Mostert an upside RB3.

 

RB Trey Sermon: Whether it’s as the starter or backup, Sermon is already positioned to put up numbers as a rookie based on how much San Francisco wants to run the ball, and he’s a perfect fit for the Shanahan system—having thrived in a similar rushing attack at Ohio State. Sermon might not have top-end pure athletic traits, but his style is very similar to Todd Gurley.

 

RB Wayne Gallman: Gallman already looked like a value simply by signing with the Niners, and a torn meniscus for Jeff Wilson lifts his stock even further ahead of training camp. Overall, the former Giant is an aggressive, determined runner with plus versatility, and he could shine if given enough touches in a potential committee—or if more injuries strike.

 

RB Jeff Wilson: There is a chance Wilson doesn’t really get a shot in 2021 due to his knee injury combined with all the new faces, but his production last season is impossible to ignore (22.5 fantasy points per game in five outings with 15+ touches last year). While more players will unfortunately go down, Wilson looks like a top candidate to draft in the final round and stash on IR with the hopes he will return after six weeks on the PUP list.

 

RB Elijah Mitchell: Even with plenty of options (both new additions—including Trey Sermon in the third round—and returning veterans), San Francisco liked Mitchell enough to take in the sixth round of April’s draft, which automatically puts him on the radar as a running back drafted by Kyle Shanahan. For now, redraft value might be difficult to come by, but Mitchell could be the clear backup to Trey Sermon by 2022 if everyone else is gone.

 

WR Brandon Aiyuk: The ranking of San Francisco pass-catchers will be a lot more cloudy if Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t the clear starter by late summer, but assuming the team rolls with the veteran, Aiyuk should be a player to target. Despite some COVID-19 issues that led to missed games, Aiyuk was dominant as a rookie from Week 7 through Week 15—catching 45-of-69 targets for 568 yards and four touchdowns in six outings. The eye test alleviates concerns about the sample size being too limited for a receiver in a fantasy-friendly offense.

 

WR Deebo Samuel: Again, Garoppolo would be the best option for the passing game to thrive in 2021, but we would say Samuel’s versatility might make him the best bet to withstand a possible quarterback change without losing value. The biggest reason for that is the likelihood of increased manufactured touches, and the creativity of Shanahan surely has new ways to attack opponents already churning in his mind. Overall, the key for Samuel is staying healthy.

 

WR Jalen Hurd: Speaking of which, Hurd has yet to appear in a game through two seasons, so this summer is crucial for the 2019 third-rounder to show he can stay on the field and contribute. There might not be enough targets on an aerial attack that will run through George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, and Deebo Samuel, but Hurd’s strength and athleticism makes him another weapon that can hurt opponents with the ball in his hands.

 

WR Richie James: James stepped up when called upon last season (including a 184-yard game versus Green Bay), and he could easily find a way to fend off competition from Hurd and others to be the No. 3 wideout. On just 35 targets in 2020, James put up a 23/394/1 line with 17.1 yards per reception, and he’ll want to prove himself capable of a sustained role.

 

WR Jauan Jennings: Jennings is very similar to Jalen Hurd as a bigger guy that wouldn’t be fun to tackle in the open field—but he also has significant durability concerns entering his second season. The depth chart for the Niners is fairly open behind Aiyuk/Samuel, though Jennings could just as easily not make the team as he could be the No. 3 option.

 

WR Mohamed Sanu: The production for Sanu has really fallen off since the Falcons traded him in 2019, and he’s now entering his age-32 campaign for a team that is trying to get younger at the skill positions. It would be a surprise if Sanu provided much more than mentorship for all the youth in San Francisco.

 

TE George Kittle: The competition for the TE2 spot is very close, and Kittle losing out to Darren Waller would not at all be an indictment on him as perhaps the best all-around tight end in football. The negatives that could push him to the TE3 spot are durability and a potential shift to a more run-heavy offense (if Trey Lance were to take over)—but perhaps Kittle can finally breakthrough in terms of finding the end zone (14 touchdowns in 53 career games).

 

TEs Ross Dwelley and Charlie Woerner: Dwelley and Woerner won’t be recommended fantasy options with Kittle healthy, but both can contribute if San Francisco uses more 12 personnel. Although the volume was limited (17 receptions), it’s worth noting that Dwelley averaged 10.1 yards per target in nine starts last year.

 

Other Notes

 

Best 2021 value: RB Trey Sermon (FantasyPros ECR: RB37)

In terms of draft capital, the third-round pick spent on Sermon is the heaviest investment of a running back by Kyle Shanahan, and a best-case scenario would be limited “buzz” next month to keep his ADP suppressed (somehow being drafted as the RB43). As a pure runner, Sermon is already comfortable with the Niners’ zone concepts, and he can also pass protect at a high level, which is crucial for getting on the field early.

 

Best dynasty investment: QB Trey Lance

Sermon could have again been the choice here, but Lance is in a dream spot under Kyle Shanahan, and we already have him ranked as a top-ten quarterback in dynasty leagues—and that’s under the expectation that Jimmy Garoppolo will start this year. High character/intelligence in addition to the athleticism and arm talent should make Lance a future star.

 

Bold prediction

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

Stat to know

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers

For full player rankings (redraft/dynasty), eight different printable cheat sheets, our 2021 draft guide (also can be purchased separately on Amazon), season projections, a direct line for counsel, and much more, join Fantasy Consigliere using promo code JOINTHEPACK.

 

Player Outlooks (2021)

 

QB Ben Roethlisberger: Roethlisberger and the Steelers definitely crashed back to earth following a hot start in 2020, but talk of the veteran passer being “washed” is unfair, and Big Ben looked really good for the first three months of last season. Taking his health/fitness more seriously can only be a good thing, so Roethlisberger—still throwing to a stacked receiving core (plus rookie Najee Harris out of the backfield)—can again put up big numbers coming off a year in which he threw 33 touchdowns. Consider him a borderline top-20 option that might get pushed down by a bunch of ascending quarterbacks.

 

RB Najee Harris: Some might be skeptical about a rookie runner being drafted as a clear first-round pick, but Harris is a top-tier talent and enters an ideal situation with a Pittsburgh team that is playing to win now. Basically, the former Alabama standout is going to be fed, and we could see a role very similar to the one that Le’Veon Bell was utilized in when he had a 16-game average of 2,063 total yards over 62 starts for the Steelers. Harris should be at least a low-end RB1 option in Year 1.

 

RB Anthony McFarland Jr.: McFarland only had 113 yards on 33 rushing attempts as a rookie, but it sounds like he could be the No. 2 runner as a possible home-run hitter behind Najee Harris. That said, we fully expect Harris to be a workhorse, and Pittsburgh would likely turn to a full-blown committee if anything were to happen to their new starter. McFarland isn’t a highly recommended handcuff.

 

RB Benny Snell: A 19-carry, 113-yard game in the 2020 opener had Snell looking like the future feature back for the Steelers, but he’s now apparently not even a lock to make the roster, and a change of scenery might be best for his fantasy value both now and into the future. Ideally, Snell will get a shot to be the lead runner and goal-line back for a team that wants an early-down hammer.

 

RB Kalen Ballage: The Steelers signing Ballage is partly the reason to believe Snell might be on the way out, as the former fourth-round pick signed with Pittsburgh as a free agent after flashing with the Chargers in 2020. Still just 25, Ballage profiles as a player that could again shine if given the opportunity, and he’d be the favorite for short-yardage touches if Harris ever misses time.

 

RB Jaylen Samuels: He only had 18 touches in 14 games last year, but Samuels’ versatility made him a valuable part of the roster—though we’ll see if the Steelers decide to only keep three backs with Harris now in the fold to lead the way. There are probably too many players to climb for Samuels to have value in redraft leagues at this point.

 

WR Diontae Johnson: Johnson was absolutely peppered with targets last season, but how will the offense look in 2021? One thing we can count on is Mike Tomlin wanting more overall balance, and the underneath role that Johnson thrived in could be taken down a notch considering all the ways Najee Harris can contribute. Still, Johnson creates separation better than anyone on the roster, and Roethlisberger loves throwing to him as the closest thing he has to Antonio Brown. He’s on the edge of WR2/WR3 range.

 

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster: Smith-Schuster has said he will play more on the outside this season, and that should be a good sign to create chunk plays coming off a season in which he had an average depth of target of just 5.5 yards. The receptions will likely drop after 97 grabs in 2020, but JuJu should be more efficient with his targets. Hopefully preseason action gives us a clearer picture of the changes being made to the Pittsburgh passing attack.

 

WR Chase Claypool: The ceiling shown by Claypool as a rookie was undeniable, and the monstrous size/talent could lead to more big things this season. However, he seemed to fall out of favor down the stretch before back-to-back standout performances (including playoffs) against a depleted Cleveland defense, and Claypool needs to show more focus with others—namely James Washington—capable of stepping up. The upside remains high, but the floor/volatility is lower than you’d like.

 

WR James Washington: He was the clear No. 4 wideout in 2020 and might be again this year, but Washington remains extremely talented and a player that Big Ben trusts. If he finds his way into the starting lineup—most likely via injury—Washington would immediately be an upside FLEX candidate because of his vertical skillset.

 

WR Ray-Ray McCloud: McCloud is primarily a returner for the Steelers, but he did play 15% of the team’s offensive snaps last year, and Mike Tomlin likes him as a gadget player. He’ll be a better real-life contributor than fantasy option as the No. 5 wideout.

 

TE Eric Ebron: The touchdown potential remains high for Ebron in Pittsburgh’s offense, but the 2018 breakout (in which he caught 13 touchdowns) with Indianapolis appears to be a one-off with 19 touchdowns in his six other seasons, and second-round rookie Pat Freiermuth is going to see the field this year. While the Steelers having a more balanced offense could open up some space for play-action passes, Ebron is trending down overall.

 

TE Pat Freiermuth: Freiermuth is in the same boat as most rookie tight ends in that he is unlikely to put up significant numbers, so it will take fortune finding the end zone for him to pay dividends in 2021. From a long-term perspective, Freiermuth is a great investment as a well-rounded tight end that can block and line up in a variety of spots.

 

Other Notes

 

Best 2021 value: WR James Washington (FantasyPros ECR: WR92)

Wide receiver is deeper than ever before, but Washington’s talent should have him higher than his current ranking—and the ADP is even more of a bargain as the WR131. Mike Tomlin isn’t going to put up with his young wideouts losing focus, and Washington will be all business if he eventually gets a consistent shot in three-wide sets.

 

Best dynasty investment: RB Najee Harris

Harris is the real deal, and even if the offensive line isn’t very good (we actually think the current group can be successful after various changes), the volume is there for him to immediately be a fantasy star. Currently a mid-range second-round pick according to the consensus, Harris could realistically be viewed as a top-five selection in all formats by this time next year.

 

Bold prediction

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

Stat to know

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Philadelphia Eagles

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Philadelphia Eagles

For full player rankings (redraft/dynasty), eight different printable cheat sheets, our 2021 draft guide (also can be purchased separately on Amazon), season projections, a direct line for counsel, and much more, join Fantasy Consigliere using promo code JOINTHEPACK.

 

Player Outlooks (2021)

 

QB Jalen Hurts: Not everyone is a believer in Hurts, but he thrived last year in a tough situation for a rookie, and we are very optimistic about him in 2021. The main thing that gives us slight pause about Hurts—the rare young quarterback ranked higher in redraft than dynasty leagues—is the Eagles deciding to go for Deshaun Watson, which we believe would be a mistake. Assuming last year’s second-round pick is the starter in Philadelphia, though, he should put up big overall numbers as a dual-threat passer throwing to explosive playmakers led by former college teammate DeVonta Smith.

 

RB Miles Sanders: Sanders is a player that fantasy owners have been disappointed in largely due to him not fully being unleashed, but the new coaching staff—one that used a committee for stud runner Jonathan Taylor in Indy—doesn’t inspire confidence in that changing. That big-play ability and upside will make Sanders a guy you want to believe in, but we have him ranked as more of a risky RB2, and he could again settle in as a frustrating FLEX option.

 

RB Kerryon Johnson: A promising start to Johnson’s career was undone by injuries, but he just turned 24 at the end of June, and a backfield committee for the Eagles gives him a great shot at rebuilding his value. Especially because of his all-around skillset—including as a receiver, pass blocker, and possible goal-line back—Johnson could have a bigger role than most are expecting.

 

RB Kenneth Gainwell: The Eagles drafted Gainwell to be their primary pass-catcher out of the backfield, but might he have too limited of a role to carry Year 1 value? Sanders and Johnson are both very capable options in the passing game, and there are questions about just how many underneath targets will be available considering Jalen Hurts’ ability as a runner. Even in full PPR leagues, we have Gainwell ranked outside the top 60 at the position.

 

RB Boston Scott: Scott’s stock took a big dip with the team drafting Gainwell and claiming Kerryon Johnson, but he shouldn’t be ignored as a player that has flashed when given the opportunity over the past couple of seasons. In games with at least ten carries, Scott had gone for yardage totals (including as a receiver) of 128, 138, 92, 79, and 79.

 

RB Jordan Howard: Howard was frank when discussing his future after re-signing with the Eagles by saying he had basically no interest from other teams, which is unfortunate for a player that started his career as one of the game’s best backs. In a different era, Howard would still likely be at least a strong RB2 option for fantasy purposes, but now his best shot at relevancy is earning his way onto the 53-man roster and getting short-yardage carries in a committee.

 

WR DeVonta Smith: Smith will immediately be the No. 1 option in Philadelphia’s offense, and he possesses major upside for a first-year player. Aside from catching passes from a familiar quarterback in Jalen Hurts, the reigning Heisman winner should also have plenty of time to get downfield (assuming the offensive line can stay healthy), and the schedule doesn’t really include a top-tier cornerback until late November. Ideally, the buzz will stay contained in August to get Smith at a heavy discount.

 

WR Jalen Reagor: Had the Eagles not taken Smith in April’s draft, Reagor was set to be a definite leap candidate in Year 2, but now the path is a little more difficult. Still, last year’s first-rounder finally started to flash when Jalen Hurts took over at quarterback, and more snaps in the slot (plus more manufactured touches) should make things easier on him. Reagor can still be an upside FLEX.

 

WR Travis Fulgham: Former head coach Doug Pederson indicated that practice habits were reason for Fulgham fell off last year after a scorching start to his Eagles career, so hopefully he’s focused in a competition to earn the No. 3 role (and it’s worth noting that seeing DeVonta Smith work should lift everyone up). The size of Fulgham makes him a quality complementary weapon, and being a factor in the red zone is his best shot at solid value.

 

WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: Arcega-Whiteside followed up a disappointing rookie campaign by catching just four passes in eight games last year, but perhaps a fresh start under Nick Sirianni will allow him to regain some of the promise shown at Stanford. We’d like to Arcega-Whiteside used more inside and given some jump-ball opportunities in the red zone.

 

WR Greg Ward: As stated, it sounds like Jalen Reagor will get a lot of action in the slot, and that would leave Ward as more of a depth piece despite being the starter there in 2020. After seeing 79 targets last season, Ward is almost certainly going to see a substantial drop in production, and it’d take more injuries for Philly to have him back on the FLEX radar.

 

WRs Quez Watkins and John Hightower: Watkins and Hightower are both vertical threats entering their second season, and the former showed more promise—particularly when it comes to twitchiness/explosiveness—despite trailing in targets (29 to 13). Both are worth monitoring with the No. 3 job looking fairly open.

 

TE Dallas Goedert: Goedert unfortunately missed five games last season when he had a chance to overtake Zach Ertz, but the runway is now clear (assuming Ertz is indeed traded/released), so it’s up to him to take advantage in a contract year. It’s worth noting that Goedert saw 14 targets across two healthy games with Jalen Hurts, and the touchdown potential is what gives him the best shot at settling in as a midrange TE1 behind the elite options.

 

TE Zach Ertz: The Bills have been the team most connected to Ertz, but it’s all just rumors at this point, so slotting him in the rankings is difficult. It might take an injury around the league for a perfect role (with high volume) to come to fruition, and Ertz notably has not aged quite as gracefully compared to peers like Travis Kelce. The sooner a move is made, though, the better Ertz’s chances of somehow returning to the TE1 ranks.

 

TE Richard Rodgers: There is reason to be skeptical of too much of a reliance on tight ends if no one steps up, but Rodgers is the leading candidate to slide in behind Goedert. Last year, the veteran caught 24 passes for 345 yards and two scores on just 31 targets.

 

TE Hakeem Butler: Butler didn’t catch a pass in two games last season, but his transition to tight end will take time, and we are high on his long-term talent as a player that can win above the rim and get vertical at six-foot-five. Entering his age-25 season, Butler should be considered a dynasty stash.

 

Other Notes

 

Best 2021 value: WR DeVonta Smith (FantasyPros ECR: WR39)

The ECR and ADP are steadily climbing for Smith, but—barring a dominant preseason—he’s still set to be a value deep into the summer. Anyone who seriously questioned Smith’s NFL outlook based on his size clearly didn’t watch his game closely enough coming out of Alabama, and this will be the only time you’re able to snag him outside the top 30 at wide receiver.

 

Best dynasty investment: WR DeVonta Smith

We ranked Smith as the No. 2 overall prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft, and you can read his full scouting report here to get an idea about the kind of player you’ll be investing in.

 

Bold prediction

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

Stat to know

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: New York Jets

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: New York Jets

For full player rankings (redraft/dynasty), eight different printable cheat sheets, our 2021 draft guide (also can be purchased separately on Amazon), season projections, a direct line for counsel, and much more, join Fantasy Consigliere using promo code JOINTHEPACK.

 

Player Outlooks (2021)

 

QB Zach Wilson: As is the case with Trevor Lawrence, Wilson is actually entering what appears to be a promising situation for a high draft pick—surrounded by plenty of talent at wide receiver, a wall with young first-rounders on the blindside, and a quarterback-friendly system. That said, facing the AFC East for six games won’t be easy, and Wilson’s playing style could lead to some growing pains. We are very high on him in general, but Wilson might be a better dynasty investment to start his career.

 

RB Tevin Coleman: There are a few runners that will push for touches in New York, but Coleman knows the system coming over from San Francisco with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, and he’s the best bet for fantasy success in 2021. The veteran also has the pure speed others don’t when he gets a crease, and the aforementioned duo of Mekhi Becton (left tackle) and Alijah Vera-Tucker (left guard) should pave the way for some big gains. Coleman is undervalued at this point.

 

RB Michael Carter: Carter has gained a lot of momentum since being taken in the fourth round of April’s draft, but might it be getting a little out of control? While most seem to believe a feature role is in store for Carter, we are skeptical that the Jets—with a prized rookie quarterback—will have full-fledged trust in another rookie to dominate backfield snaps alongside him. The North Carolina product fits best in the change-of-pace role after splitting touches with Javonte Williams for the Tar Heels, so temper expectations for Year 1.

 

RB La’Mical Perine: He was looking like a potential three-down option for 2021 before free agency and the draft, but Perine is now competing to be the likely No. 3 runner, and the new coaching staff notably handpicked Tevin Coleman and Michael Carter. Although he shouldn’t be written off as a dynasty prospect, gaining redraft value will be a challenge this summer.

 

RB Ty Johnson: A key part of the offense down the stretch in 2020 when the Jets started playing better, Johnson is a hard-nosed player for his size, and the backfield being a true competition makes him someone to keep an eye on next month. Last December, Johnson had a 100-yard rushing game in a last-second loss to the Raiders, and then caught six passes for 39 yards and a score in New York’s win over the Rams.

 

WR Corey Davis: It took a little longer than Tennessee would have wanted from a top-five pick, but Davis has turned into a very good NFL wideout, and his play earned him a three-year, $39-million deal with the Jets. Coming off a year in which he set career-highs across the board (including 10.7 yards per target, which ranked seventh in the NFL), Davis will now lead a group that is quietly crowded; Denzel Mims not earning a starting job to leave him as the default big-bodied target for Zach Wilson might be the best-case scenario.

 

WR Jamison Crowder: Crowder seemed to be on the way out in New York, but a restructured deal brought him back, and now he should remain a significant part of the offense—which might not be a good thing depending on your perspective with younger guys hoping to breakthrough. There is a chance that Crowder is eventually phased out some with Corey Davis, Denzel Mims, and Elijah Moore being the trio of the future, but he’s still just 27 and could quickly earn the trust of Zach Wilson as a security blanket.

 

WR Denzel Mims: Reports from OTAs suggest Mims is working with the second-team offense, but that shouldn’t cause a huge overreaction (remember, the same was reported of Justin Jefferson last year). In terms of play style, Mims—who is a big and athletic target at six-foot-three with 4.38 speed—fits perfectly with Zach Wilson’s ability to throw on the boundary, so if you have patience, we expect the second-year player will force his way onto the field one way or another.

 

WR Elijah Moore: Our draft guide said Moore might be “too dynamic to keep off the field” despite the presence of Jamison Crowder, and if the rave reviews carry over from rookie camp and OTAs into August, that will certainly be the case. The rookie has inside-out versatility, elite explosiveness, and ability to create easy separation, and the only thing holding him back is a crowded depth chart on a team led by a rookie signal-caller.

 

WR Keelan Cole: Cole is apparently a player that New York has tried to acquire for the past two years, and Joe Douglas was finally able to get him on the team this offseason. The veteran brings another speed element to the offense, but perhaps the biggest trait that the Jets value so highly is his work ethic—which will be a good example for the younger wideouts (while at the same time potentially holding them back in terms of statistical output for 2021).

 

WR Braxton Berrios: Berrios would have had a better chance to be a factor if Crowder was released to have the more traditional slot role—with Elijah Moore playing both inside and outside—so he’ll now be competing to stick around as the No. 6 wideout with the top five seemingly set in stone. Full PPR value could be attainable if injuries strike.

 

TE Chris Herndon: He had a 39/502/4 line as a rookie, but Herndon is essentially entering a make-or-break year due to recent struggles—and perhaps even a make-or-break summer under the new regime. The coaching staff implementing a system similar to the one that featured George Kittle with the 49ers is reason to be optimistic; it will be up to Herndon to take advantage with a strong camp.

 

TE Tyler Kroft: Kroft could never get fully healthy and then slid down the depth chart over the past two years in Buffalo, but he caught seven touchdowns in his last healthy season (back in 2017 with the Bengals), and a significant snaps could be up for grabs in a new city. It’s worth noting that Zach Wilson connected with BYU tight ends for 14 scores in his final college season.

 

Other Notes

 

Best 2021 value: RB Tevin Coleman (FantasyPros ECR: RB54)

There have been some durability concerns, but in terms of the gap between pure talent and how fantasy “experts” view someone, there might not be a more disrespected player than Coleman. Head coach Robert Saleh talked the veteran up in a big way earlier this offseason—including by saying he looks like he’s “shot out of a cannon” when he gets the ball. Coleman is a tremendous late-round target at a position where it can be tough to find value.

 

Best dynasty investment: WR Denzel Mims

You can make your pick out of Mims and Elijah Moore, but we’ll go with the player not getting close to as much hype right now. One reason for people being lower on Mims is a belief that he doesn’t bring the same kind of run-after-catch potential as others on the depth chart, but as a rookie, the 2020 second-rounder had the second-best rate of broken tackles (4.6 receptions per broken tackle) among wideouts with at least five broken tackles. And where Mims could really shine is on the back-shoulder ball from Zach Wilson.

 

Bold prediction

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

Stat to know

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft 4.0: 10-Team, Non-PPR

2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft 4.0: 10-Team, Non-PPR

This week’s mock draft is for a 10-team, non-PPR league using the FantasyPros draft simulator. You can check out previous weeks using the links below:

 

Mock 1.0: 12-team, 0.5 PPR

Mock 2.0: 12-team, Superflex PPR

Mock 3.0: 14-team, 0.5 PPR

 

Round 1

1.01: Christian McCaffrey, CAR RB

1.02: Dalvin Cook, MIN RB

1.03: Saquon Barkley, NYG RB

1.04: Derrick Henry, TEN RB

1.05: Alvin Kamara, NO RB

1.06: Tyreek Hill, KC WR

1.07: Nick Chubb, CLE RB

1.08: Jonathan Taylor, IND RB

1.09: Ezekiel Elliott, DAL RB

1.10: Aaron Jones, GB RB

 

Thoughts: Especially in a non-PPR league, I didn’t even have a decision to make with Henry still on the board. The NFL adding another week to the schedule will only give him an extra opportunity to dominate in the winter.

 

Round 2

2.01: DeAndre Hopkins, ARI WR

2.02: Davante Adams, GB WR

2.03: Cam Akers, LAR RB

2.04: Antonio Gibson, WAS RB

2.05: D.K. Metcalf, SEA WR

2.06: Stefon Diggs, BUF WR

2.07: Joe Mixon, CIN RB

2.08: Najee Harris, PIT RB

2.09: Calvin Ridley, ATL WR

2.10: Travis Kelce, KC TE

 

Thoughts: A 0.5 PPR or full PPR format would have made this a more difficult choice, but Mixon gets the edge over some others as the feature back in an emerging offense. Prior to last year, Mixon missed just four games in three seasons.

 

Round 3

3.01: Austin Ekeler, LAC RB

3.02: George Kittle, SF TE

3.03: A.J. Brown, TEN WR

3.04: Patrick Mahomes, KC QB

3.05: Justin Jefferson, MIN WR

3.06: Kyle Pitts, ATL TE

3.07: J.K. Dobbins, BAL RB

3.08: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC RB

3.09: Darren Waller, LV TE

3.10: Michael Thomas, NO WR

 

Thoughts: Mahomes is a player that gives you a huge advantage almost every week regardless of format, and I’m now very strong at both quarterback and two running back spots.

 

Round 4

4.01: D’Andre Swift, DET RB

4.02: Terry McLaurin, WAS WR

4.03: Mike Evans, TB WR

4.04: Chris Godwin, TB WR

4.05: Javonte Williams, DEN RB

4.06: Chris Carson, SEA RB

4.07: Allen Robinson, CHI WR

4.08: Keenan Allen, LAC WR

4.09: D.J. Moore, CAR WR

4.10: Amari Cooper, DAL WR

 

Thoughts: There are a few different wideouts still left on the board that I feel good about, but Robinson has the best chance of being a WR1 option whether it’s Andy Dalton or Justin Fields under center.

 

Round 5

5.01: CeeDee Lamb, DAL WR

5.02: Josh Jacobs, LV RB

5.03: Miles Sanders, PHI RB

5.04: David Montgomery, CHI RB

5.05: Myles Gaskin, MIA RB

5.06: Lamar Jackson, BAL QB

5.07: Kenny Golladay, DET WR

5.08: Robert Woods, LAR WR

5.09: Kareem Hunt, CLE RB

5.10: Mike Davis, ATL RB

 

Thoughts: Montgomery’s stock seems to be increasing with talk of him being a 20-touch back this season, and he earned it with his play down the stretch in 2020. Tarik Cohen (knee) not being 100% alleviates concerns about him and Damien Williams combining to take away too many opportunities.

 

Round 6

6.01: Kyler Murray, ARI QB

6.02: Julio Jones, TEN WR

6.03: Josh Allen, BUF QB

6.04: T.J. Hockenson, DET TE

6.05: Travis Etienne, JAX RB

6.06: Mark Andrews, BAL TE

6.07: Adam Thielen, MIN WR

6.08: Dak Prescott, DAL QB

6.09: Brandon Aiyuk, SF WR

6.10: Cooper Kupp, LAR WR

 

Thoughts: Thielen reaching double-digit touchdowns again after 14 scores last year would make him an excellent WR2 option. My starting lineup looks to be in great shape assuming I hit on whoever the choice is at tight end.

 

Round 7

7.01: Russell Wilson, SEA QB

7.02: Justin Herbert, LAC QB

7.03: Odell Beckham Jr., CLE WR

7.04: Tee Higgins, CIN WR

7.05: Aaron Rodgers, GB QB

7.06: Trey Sermon, SF RB

7.07: Jalen Hurts, PHI QB

7.08: Ja’Marr Chase, CIN WR

7.09: Tom Brady, TB QB

7.10: Damien Harris, NE RB

 

Thoughts: The choice between Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, or one of the Pittsburgh wideouts was very close, but we’ll go with the former Clemson standout after he put up a 67/908/6 line with various quarterbacks under center in Year 1.

 

Round 8

8.01: Tyler Lockett, SEA WR

8.02: Raheem Mostert, SF RB

8.03: Melvin Gordon, DEN RB

8.04: D.J. Chark, JAX WR

8.05: James Robinson, JAX RB

8.06: Courtland Sutton, DEN WR

8.07: Chase Claypool, PIT WR

8.08: Ronald Jones II, TB RB

8.09: Chase Edmonds, ARI RB

8.10: Michael Carter, NYJ RB

 

Thoughts: It turns out all the wide receivers for the Steelers are still on the board, and I’ll go with Claypool because he likely has the highest touchdown upside.

 

Round 9

9.01: Diontae Johnson, PIT WR

9.02: Zack Moss, BUF RB

9.03: Deebo Samuel, SF WR

9.04: David Johnson, HOU RB

9.05: James Conner, ARI RB

9.06: Jaylen Waddle, MIA WR

9.07: Will Fuller, MIA WR

9.08: Jerry Jeudy, DEN WR

9.09: Leonard Fournette, TB RB

9.10: DeVonta Smith, PHI WR

 

Thoughts: The Texans are going to try to run the ball to be competitive, and Johnson should be the lead back over Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsay. To end last season, DJ totaled 392 yards and three touchdowns over the final three weeks.

 

Round 10

10.01: Robby Anderson, CAR WR

10.02: Brandin Cooks, HOU WR

10.03: Curtis Samuel, WAS WR

10.04: A.J. Dillon, GB RB

10.05: Tevin Coleman, NYJ RB

10.06: JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT WR

10.07: Dallas Goedert, PHI TE

10.08: Laviska Shenault Jr., JAX WR

10.09: Marquise Brown, BAL WR

10.10: Gus Edwards, BAL RB

 

Thoughts: There are three or four tight ends I’d like in this range, but even with the short turn, I don’t want to risk missing out on them if there is a run. Goedert will be the guy in Philly with Zach Ertz fully expected to be traded/released.

 

Round 11

11.01: Tony Pollard, DAL RB

11.02: Darrell Henderson, LAR RB

11.03: DeVante Parker, MIA WR

11.04: Jamaal Williams, DET RB

11.05: Kenyan Drake, LV RB

11.06: Antonio Brown, TB WR

11.07: Tyler Boyd, CIN WR

11.08: Mike Williams, LAC WR

11.09: Latavius Murray, NO RB

11.10: Michael Pittman Jr., IND WR

 

Thoughts: At worst, Williams should have a very stable change-of-pace role behind D’Andre Swift, and there is also a chance of a fairly even split. It’s worth noting that Detroit’s offensive line should be a major strength.

 

Round 12

12.01: Logan Thomas, WAS TE

12.02: Ryan Tannehill, TEN QB

12.03: Michael Gallup, DAL WR

12.04: Joe Burrow, CIN QB

12.05: Phillip Lindsay, HOU RB

12.06: Matthew Stafford, LAR QB

12.07: Marvin Jones, JAX WR

12.08: Noah Fant, DEN TE

12.09: Trevor Lawrence, JAX QB

12.10: Jarvis Landry, CLE WR

 

Thoughts: Jones could quickly become a security blanket for Trevor Lawrence, and he also carries impressive touchdown potential with exactly nine scores in three of the past four seasons (and he had five touchdowns in nine games the other year).

 

Round 13

13.01: Matt Ryan, ATL QB

13.02: Corey Davis, NYJ WR

13.03: Mike Gesicki, MIA TE

13.04: Robert Tonyan, GB TE

13.05: T.Y. Hilton, IND WR

13.06: Kirk Cousins, MIN QB

13.07: Devin Singletary, BUF RB

13.08: Tyler Higbee, LAR TE

13.09: Henry Ruggs III, LV WR

13.10: Anthony Firkser, TEN TE

 

Thoughts: I was going to take whoever was left out of Noah Fant, Mike Gesicki, and Tonyan as a second tight end to pair with Dallas Geodert, so I’m happy one of them was left on the board. My tight ends could realistically combine for 20 touchdowns.

 

Round 14

14.01: Nyheim Hines, IND RB

14.02: Alexander Mattison, MIN RB

14.03: Rashaad Penny, SEA RB

14.04: Tarik Cohen, CHI RB

14.05: Parris Campbell, IND WR

14.06: James White, NE RB

14.07: John Brown, LV WR

14.08: Sony Michel, NE RB

14.09: Salvon Ahmed, MIA RB

14.10: J.D. McKissic, WAS RB

 

Thoughts: Brown always seems to be a quality late-round selection, and his big-play potential is boosted some in a non-PPR league.

 

Round 15

15.01: Steelers D/ST

15.02: Rams D/ST

15.03: Ravens D/ST

15.04: Washington D/ST

15.05: Buccaneers, D/ST

15.06: Chargers, D/ST

15.07: Colts D/ST

15.08: 49ers D/ST

15.09: Justin Tucker, BAL K

15.10: Bills D/ST

 

Round 16

16.01: Harrison Butker, KC K

16.02: Saints D/ST

16.03: Younghoe Koo, ATL K

16.04: Wil Lutz, NO K

16.05: Matt Prater, ARI K

16.06: Greg Zuerlein, DAL K

16.07: Jason Sanders, MIA K

16.08: Rodrigo Blankenship, IND K

16.09: Tyler Bass, BUF K

16.10: Robbie Gould, SF K

 

Final Roster

QB: Patrick Mahomes, KC

RB: Derrick Henry, TEN

RB: Joe Mixon, CIN

WR: Allen Robinson, CHI

WR: Adam Thielen, MIN

TE: Dallas Goedert, PHI

FLEX: David Montgomery, CHI RB

D/ST: Washington

K: Jason Sanders, MIA

BE: Tee Higgins, CIN WR

BE: Chase Claypool, PIT WR

BE: David Johnson, HOU RB

BE: Jamaal Williams, DET RB

BE: Marvin Jones, JAX WR

BE: Robert Tonyan, GB TE

BE: John Brown, LV WR

2021 Fantasy Football: Players Trending Positively Ahead of Training Camp

2021 Fantasy Football: Players Trending Positively Ahead of Training Camp

Ahead of training camp, during which we should hear a lot of noise as fantasy football drafts approach, we’re sharing one more look at the players that have had the most positive news for their outlooks during offseason training. You can view the previous article here in case you missed it. Keep in mind that a lot of offseason and summer talk is hype, but it’s better to hear the information and then make a decision on what you feel is fact or fiction.

 

Bears RB David Montgomery

 

 

Clearly, David Montgomery is confident entering his third NFL season, as he should be after lighting it up down the stretch in 2020. In addition to this confidence—and his making it obvious to head coach Matt Nagy that he wants to be fed the ball—Nagy has recently said that he wants his starting running back to get 20 carries per game in an ideal situation. Now, that 20-carry mark would mostly come if and when the Bears are able to build a lead and run a four-minute offense, and that might not happen most weeks—but it’s still a good sign to hear that Nagy envisions Montgomery in a workhorse role if things go well.

 

Chargers WR Mike Williams

Mike Williams was mentioned already in the first article of this nature, but he makes the cut again. The big receiver is set to play the X role in the Chargers’ new offense, which could lead to a bunch of targets from Justin Herbert. The former first-round pick has definite 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown upside this year.

 

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

There have been past offseasons where Ezekiel Elliott was in the news for the wrong reasons, including talk that he was not in tip-top shape. This year, the opposite has been the case, as all you hear about Zeke is that he’s in the best shape of his career. Coming off a disappointing season by his standards, Elliott could be set to get back to form and be among the best assets to roster in fantasy football.

 

Bengals WR Tee Higgins

Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan says Tee Higgins is “going to play a huge role on offense” before talking up up for a couple of minutes which included him calling the second-year receiver “markedly more explosive” compared to last year. Quarterback Joe Burrow basically said the same thing but perhaps more emphatically, stating that “Tee’s gonna have a big year” and that you can see a “big difference” in him during offseason training.

 

Cardinals WR A.J. Green

Now to a former Bengals receiver, this is one that could potentially be chalked up to a quarterback talking positively about his new weapons; but Kyler Murray says people are “sleeping” on A.J. Green and that he thinks the veteran will have a “big year”. This came from the team’s official website, and Arizona signed Green to a pretty sizable one-year deal during free agency, which is all worth keeping in mind. If the Pro Bowl wideout re-emerges to have a big season, it would not be a huge surprise—it wouldn’t be the first time a very talented player showed a major second wind later in his career.

 

Vikings TE Irv Smith Jr.

 

And this final one came most recently. Irv Smith Jr. said on NFL Network’s GMFB that he believes he’s set for a larger role and a big year in 2021. Smith wouldn’t say he’s going to “score 15 touchdowns” but that “it’s gonna be a lot. I’m going to be scoring a lot, making a lot of plays…” Kyle Rudolph is in Minnesota, and while Tyler Conklin is expected to take on a bigger role at tight end, Smith obviously feels like he’s going to be used more this season.

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: New York Giants

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: New York Giants

For full player rankings (redraft/dynasty), eight different printable cheat sheets, our 2021 draft guide (also can be purchased separately on Amazon), season projections, a direct line for counsel, and much more, join Fantasy Consigliere using promo code JOINTHEPACK.

 

Player Outlooks (2021)

 

QB Daniel Jones: Most fantasy “experts” are not high on Jones, but it’s important to remember that he tossed 24 touchdowns in 12 starts as a rookie, and the Giants now have a bolstered supporting cast with Kenny Golladay, first-round pick Kadarius Toney, and Kyle Rudolph joining the same core group as 2020. We are also confident that the offensive line will take another step forward this year, and Jones’ underrated rushing ability further boosts his upside. In the same offensive system for the second season in a row, Jones should be viewed as a high-end QB2.

 

RB Saquon Barkley: Some will be hesitant to view Barkley as a high-end RB1, but his combination of talent and determination coming off a torn ACL makes him someone you don’t want to bet against. For those who might be too young to remember, Adrian Peterson returned from a torn ACL in 2011 to rush for 2,000 yards and win NFL MVP in 2012, and we’d bet Saquon has similar aspirations for himself. Draft him in the top five of all non-Superflex formats.

 

RB Devontae Booker: Booker is entering his age-29 campaign, but he showed well behind Josh Jacobs last year, and the Giants feel strongly about the veteran as their No. 2 runner by signing him to a deal (two years, $5.5 million) for significantly more than Wayne Gallman received on the open market (one year, $990,000). Ideally, Barkley will be unleashed from the start of the season, but Booker’s best shot at standalone value will come in September if the superstar starter is eased back in.

 

RB Corey Clement: Clement saw his role fall off over the final two seasons in Philadelphia, but he won’t turn 27 until early November, and the New Jersey native can contribute as both an early-down runner and underrated pass-catcher. Although Barkley being at 100% might not leave much of an opportunity, Clement can thrive if thrusted into action.

 

WR Kenny Golladay: He only played in five games last year with the Lions, but Golladay posted a 65/1,190/11 line in 2019, and New York signed him to a four-year, $76-million contract with the expectation that he will be an impact player on the perimeter. Kenny G is working with Daniel Jones to be on the same page this season, and there is no reason to believe he won’t be able to put up big-time numbers—especially with guys like Stefon Diggs showing peak performance can come in the first year with a new team.

 

WR Sterling Shepard: From a real-life perspective, all the weapons the Giants added in the offseason should be great for Daniel Jones and the offense—but perhaps not so much in terms of fantasy value for the complementary options. Shepard has averaged 63 receptions, 704 yards, and four touchdowns through five seasons, so it’d be a stretch to expect a sudden jolt while elbowing with Darius Slayton, Evan Engram, Kadarius Toney, and others behind Kenny Golladay.

 

WR Darius Slayton: Similar to Shepard, it’s just difficult to imagine Slayton putting up significant numbers this season considering all the new faces in New York, though some have said single coverage might allow him to actually take a step forward. Still, we are projecting a drop in numbers this season, and it might take success in the touchdown department to reach strong FLEX territory.

 

WR Kadarius Toney: The outlook for Toney in Year 1 seems to get shakier and shakier—as he started off by dealing with cleat issues that kept him on and off the field in rookie camp, then skipped voluntary OTA’s, then missed the final day of mandatory minicamp for what was called a family emergency. Even if the red flags (which there were also concerns about at Florida) turn out to be much ado about nothing, fantasy owners might not want to trust Jason Garrett to scheme up ways for the rookie to make a substantial statistical impact.

 

WR John Ross: The signing of Ross brings pure speed to the outside for New York, and while he will have to fight for a role in a crowded group, we wouldn’t write off the former first-round pick. Ross never seemed to be a fit what Zac Taylor wanted to do in 2020, but he was on a 56/1,012/6 pace in eight games just two seasons ago, and also has a seven-touchdown season under his belt (2018). A couple of big games by being on the receiving end of a Daniel Jones deep ball might at least make Ross a quality DFS dart throw.

 

WR Dante Pettis: All the additions in New York puts Pettis at much longer odds of a breakout, and he will likely need to show well enough on special teams to solidify a roster spot next month. Since ending his rookie season on a statistical high note with the Niners, the former second-rounder has totaled 15 receptions over the past two years.

 

TE Evan Engram: Injuries and inconsistency have negatively impacted Engram, but we could see the skill-position reinforcements taking the pressure off, and he’s entering a contract year. That being said, the targets are expected to dip, and the Giants have two other capable tight ends that can take some snaps away if Engram gets off to a slow start.

 

TE Kyle Rudolph: As stated, there are now two quality tight ends behind Engram, and it’s a bit curious that New York signed Rudolph with Kaden Smith already on the roster. Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay are better bets for scores, but Rudolph’s best shot at strong fantasy value would come by Daniel Jones having a preference for him in scoring territory.

 

TE Kaden Smith: Smith is now firmly a dynasty stash for as long as everyone is healthy, but we still like the talent, and there is certainly a path for him to be the future starter if the team doesn’t re-sign Engram in 2022. The Stanford product saw his numbers decrease across the board last season, but he caught 31 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie.

 

Other Notes

 

Best 2021 value: Kenny Golladay (FantasyPros ECR: WR24)

For any concerns we might have about Jason Garrett, he coached Dez Bryant to three consecutive seasons of 88+ receptions, 1,200+ yards, and 12+ scores in Dallas, and Golladay is similar as a target that uses his size/athleticism to dominate outside the numbers. It would be a shock if the big-bodied wideout wasn’t featured considering what New York invested in him, and WR24 is tremendous value.

 

Best dynasty investment: QB Daniel Jones

Jones is barely being drafted as a low-end QB2 in dynasty leagues, and the media’s immoveable pre-draft evaluation of him surely plays a part in the discount. Everything is in place for Jones to take a leap into stardom, though—particularly if he can clean up the turnovers—and as a franchise, New York feels primed to make a jump in the NFC East.

 

Bold prediction

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

Stat to know

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: New Orleans Saints

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: New Orleans Saints

For full player rankings (redraft/dynasty), eight different printable cheat sheets, our 2021 draft guide (also can be purchased separately on Amazon), season projections, a direct line for counsel, and much more, join Fantasy Consigliere using promo code JOINTHEPACK.

 

Player Outlooks (2021)

 

QB Jameis Winston: New Orleans seems to have the most wide-open quarterback competition of the summer, and early drafters can strike gold by correctly predicting the winner. Winston is the more traditional passer that would be able to keep an attack more similar to the one Drew Brees ran, but will he eliminate the turnovers? In five seasons with the Bucs, Jameis tossed 88 interceptions in 76 games, and New Orleans is actually a step down in terms of firepower from those days. The upside is high, but Winston needs to prove the year learning under Brees has cleaned up his game—as Sean Payton won’t put up with giving the ball away.

 

QB Taysom Hill: Winston is currently ahead of Hill in our rankings and would seem to be the favorite to start, but it’s interesting that the team didn’t really add significant skill-position reinforcements in the offseason—perhaps tipping off that the dual-threat quarterback’s unique style essentially makes him another playmaker. It’s worth noting that Hill’s career completion percentage (70.1%) sits where Sean Payton would like for the quarterback running his system, and he went 3-1 as the starter last season. Hopefully we get a solidified answer by the Saints’ third preseason game, but Hill would also have a high ceiling running the attack.

 

RB Alvin Kamara: The retirement of Drew Brees projects to impact Kamara more than anyone, and his numbers could be primed for a decline no matter who is under center between the aggressive Jameis Winston and mobile Taysom Hill. Last year, Kamara totaled just 288 yards on 60 touchdowns in Hill’s four starts, and the receiving production fell off a cliff with 3.2 yards per target. The talent and potential of course remain high, but Kamara’s extreme consistency dropped in 2020, and the six-touchdown finish on Christmas Day might have overshadowed some of the struggles. We feel better viewing him a tier below the other high-end RB1 options in 0.5 PPR leagues.

 

RB Latavius Murray: Murray turned 31 in January, but New Orleans clearly values him highly by sticking with him when they had a chance to move on—which is notable considering their cap situation. While the inconsistent standalone value behind Alvin Kamara knocks him down some, Murray is a premium handcuff that can “hit” in any given week under Sean Payton.

 

RB Ty Montgomery: A quality role for Montgomery didn’t come to fruition in his first year with the Saints by totaling just 22 touches in six games, but he is another guy that was brought back for 2021, and we like the talent. It’s unclear if teams will lighten the workloads for running backs a bit throughout the season with the switch to a 17-game schedule, though Sean Payton seems like he’d be a coach that might have that on his mind.

 

WR Michael Thomas: Thomas was viewed as the no-doubt, consensus WR1 and a possible No. 1 overall selection in full PPR leagues last season (Wolf Sports had him as the WR5, for what it’s worth), but he was erased in the opener and then had a high-ankle sprain impact the rest of his season. Ideally, the lack of statistical success will lead to Thomas being humbled a bit just two years after setting the single-season record for receptions (149)—but we are expecting him to be closer to the numbers from 2016-2018 when he averaged a 107/1,262/8 line. Consider him a borderline WR1/WR2 with a boost in full PPR leagues.

 

WR Tre’Quan Smith: The Saints are high on Smith as the No. 2 wideout—and rightfully so considering he’s averaged 9.0+ yards per target in all three seasons since entering the league. In 2020, Smith showed very impressive ability to pick up yards after the catch in addition to his downfield talent, and Jameis Winston being the starter could lead to big-time upside. For those who don’t have our draft guide, there might not be a player in it talked up more than Smith.

 

WR Deonte Harris: Following an All-Pro season for his return contributions as a rookie, Harris earned a bigger offensive role in Year 2—catching 20-of-25 targets for 186 yards and a score (plus six carries for 51 yards). Expecting a significant leap in production on a top-heavy offense is probably optimistic, but Sean Payton should have some new ways to get Harris the ball schemed up after he flashed in 2020.

 

WR Marquez Callaway: Callaway had a big game with eight receptions for 75 yards in Week 6 of last season, but he was limited to just eight grabs the rest of the season, and he didn’t receive an offensive touch in the playoffs. Still, the second-year receiver is a versatile player with size and athleticism, so there is certainly a chance for him to have value as an all-around weapon in Payton’s offense.

 

WR Kawaan Baker: New Orleans spent a seventh-round pick on Baker, and similar to Harris and Callaway, the rookie has plenty of versatility after being a do-it-all player at South Alabama. A real-life impact is much more likely than fantasy value this season, but Baker is a name to keep in mind for dynasty owners.

 

TE Adam Trautman: Although he wasn’t a significant factor in the passing game as a rookie, Trautman quietly played 37% of the team’s offensive snaps—and he caught 15-of-16 targets thrown his way. Sean Payton almost always features a tight end in his offense (from Jimmy Graham to Benjamin Watson to Jared Cook), so Trautman is well-positioned for a Year 2 jump. The overall skillset is there to reach TE1 range, too.

 

TE Nick Vannett: Vannett recently talked up how good Payton’s offense is for tight ends, and he notably signed a three-year deal to play for the Saints this offseason. The veteran should be the clear No. 2 behind Trautman, but that doesn’t mean he can’t produce on an offense with roles up for grabs behind the headliners.

 

Other Notes

 

Best 2021 value: WR Tre’Quan Smith (FantasyPros ECR: WR75)

There might not be a more undervalued player than Smith this year, as the ECR is low enough as it is, but the ADP of WR99 is flat-out nuts. Both the bold prediction and stat to know in our draft guide are about Smith, but just know he should be drafted in all formats.

 

Best dynasty investment: WR Tre’Quan Smith

Barring an injury, it would be a major surprise if Smith’s value didn’t climb considerably following the 2021 season, and Jameis Winston winning the job in particular would be great for his outlook. The downfield aggressiveness of Jameis fits perfectly with Smith’s vertical skillset and size; the pair working together to get on the same page this offseason only boosts the likelihood of a long-time connection in a new era for the Saints.

 

Bold prediction

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

Stat to know

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: New England Patriots

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: New England Patriots

For full player rankings (redraft/dynasty), eight different printable cheat sheets, our 2021 draft guide (also can be purchased separately on Amazon), season projections, a direct line for counsel, and much more, join Fantasy Consigliere using promo code JOINTHEPACK.

 

Player Outlooks (2021)

 

QB Cam Newton: The rankings beyond the top 25 or so quarterbacks are very difficult to navigate because of all the uncertainty in terms of who will start (and for how long), but Newton has plenty of upside if he’s under center for 17 games. In his first year with the Patriots, the former NFL MVP rushed for 12 touchdowns despite dealing with COVID-19—which he said impacted his game—so the hope is reinforcements at the skill positions will lead to bigger numbers through the air. And importantly, Nelson Agholor, Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, and Kendrick Bourne all being able to work the middle of the field fits well with Cam’s strengths.

 

QB Mac Jones: The 2021 outlook for Jones is shaky because we simply don’t know if he will get on the field as a rookie, but if he does, the talent is certainly there to run more of the traditional system that New England used for two decades with Tom Brady at quarterback. Getting a chance to start ahead of Newton (i.e. with him still healthy) might lead to some vulturing from the veteran in scoring territory, but a very good offensive line with weapons at running back, wide receiver, and tight end would allow Jones to have quick success.

 

RB Damien Harris: He only played in ten games, but Harris performed like one of the league’s best runners in 2020—averaging 5.0 yards per carry with a season-long pace of 1,106 rushing yards. The most impressive part of his breakout was having three 100-yard games against top AFC opponents (Kansas City, Buffalo, and Baltimore), so it’s not like Harris was beating up on last-place competition. There is also some upside as a pass-catcher if given an expanded opportunity, but the rushing production is what makes Harris a hopeful RB2.

 

RB Sony Michel: The touchdowns that Newton takes away will hurt all the backs, but the Pats again going with a run-heavy attack should keep Michel firmly on the radar after a season in which he averaged 5.7 yards per carry. Before dealing with injuries last year, Michel had 900+ rushing yards in both 2018 and 2019; we still believe in the potential.

 

RB James White: White is the backfield option that would surely benefit from New England turning to Mac Jones sooner rather than later, but how much will the additions at tight end impact his floor and ceiling? The former Super Bowl hero can’t be counted on to have much of a boost from last year’s numbers (less than 500 total yards) on a more well-equipped overall attack.

 

RB Rhamondre Stevenson: A six-foot, 247-pound runner out of Oklahoma, Stevenson likely reminds Bill Belichick and the Patriots of LeGarrette Blount and some of the other bigger backs they’ve had success with over the years, and he will have a shot at Year 1 value if they go for a full-blown committee. The rookie has very good feet for a bigger runner, and the potential goal-line carries—despite Cam Newton’s presence—makes him a quality best-ball target.

 

WR Nelson Agholor: New England signed Agholor to significant money this offseason ($22 million over two years), and he earned it after a career year with the Raiders while stepping into a leadership role for a young group. Most will view him as a deep threat because of the 18.7 yards per reception in Las Vegas, but the Patriots are well aware of Agholor’s ability to make an impact underneath, too (nine receptions for 84 yards on nine targets in Super Bowl LII). The real-life impact might outweigh the fantasy production, but Agholor is a talent to bet on.

 

WR Jakobi Meyers: The complete lack of touchdowns held him back, but Meyers caught 59 passes for 729 yards last season, and already having chemistry with Cam Newton is definite plus for 2021. That said, Meyers might be getting a little overvalued right now with Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry set to take a chunk of targets each, and Agholor should be the clear wideout to own for New England’s offense.

 

WR Kendrick Bourne: Bourne is another player that was given a nice chunk of change during the Patriots’ spending spree ($15 million over three years), and his ability to separate was valued after the obvious struggles there for New England in 2020. The soon-to-be 26-year-old is another player that would benefit from Mac Jones earning the starting job to open up the passing attack.

 

WR N’Keal Harry: He recently requested a trade, but we’d say there is still a decent chance Harry is in New England this year—as the 2019 first-rounder is just now entering his third season, and the possible compensation wouldn’t even come close to the draft capital spent on him. If he does indeed get traded, Philadelphia comes to mind as a landing spot where Harry can try to earn a role alongside DeVonta Smith and Jalen Reagor.

 

WR Gunner Olszewski: A first-team All-Pro punt returner last season, Olszewski could have had an even bigger year if one of his touchdowns wasn’t called back, but he still finished with the second most yards per return (17.3) since the AFL-NFL merger. Consider him a better real-life player than fantasy asset.

 

TE Jonnu Smith: Figuring out the split for New England’s new tight ends will be very difficult, but there are a couple of things working in Smith’s favor. For one, Bill Belichick had extremely high praise for him last year by calling him “probably the best in the league” after the catch at tight end, and the versatility should be highlighted. Furthermore, he was notably signed before Hunter Henry (for more years, a higher annual salary, and more guaranteed money). Smith should be a central part of the offense.

 

TE Hunter Henry: Bill Belichick is also clearly a big fan of Henry’s game (look at their on-field interaction following New England’s 45-0 win over Los Angeles last season), and it wouldn’t at all be a shock if he finished as the top fantasy tight end for the Pats. We won’t know the exact roles for everyone until we see it, but Henry might be more of a chain-mover complement to Jonnu’s big-play ability; and there is value in both styles.

 

TEs Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene: It looked like Asiasi (No. 91 overall) and Keene (No. 101 overall) would be the future at the position as third-round picks in 2020, but now they are stuck behind the new guys. The seam-stretching capabilities of Asiasi in particular makes him worthy of a stash for dynasty owners, though it could take quite a bit of time before he even gets an extended shot.

 

Other Notes

 

Best 2021 value: WR Nelson Agholor (FantasyPros ECR: WR56)

We could have gone with one of a handful of players here, but in general, Agholor continues to be perhaps the most underrated overall player in the NFL. Again, the highs as both a perimeter target (with the Raiders) and slot option (with the Eagles) makes him a perfect fit in Josh McDaniels’ offense, and the intangibles should have Agholor more than ready to establish himself with a new squad.

 

Best dynasty investment: QB Mac Jones

A few players could have also been chosen here, so we’ll go with the future triggerman for a franchise that should quickly be back among the AFC’s elite. Jones already has plenty of doubters, but he’s a deadly accurate distributor with basically all the traits you want from a quarterback, including anticipation, field vision, and an innate feel for moving in the pocket.

 

Bold prediction

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

Stat to know

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

 

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Minnesota Vikings

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Minnesota Vikings

For full player rankings (redraft/dynasty), eight different printable cheat sheets, our 2021 draft guide (also can be purchased separately on Amazon), season projections, a direct line for counsel, and much more, join Fantasy Consigliere using promo code JOINTHEPACK.

 

Player Outlooks (2021)

 

QB Kirk Cousins: Cousins had the best statistical season of his career in 2020 with 4,265 yards and 35 touchdowns, but might the passing attack be scaled back this year? Mike Zimmer will undoubtedly have his defense playing better than they did last season, and Minnesota was at their best two years ago when Cousins had a career-low 444 pass attempts (compared to an average of 561.0 attempts in his other two seasons with the Vikings). Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen being one of the NFL’s best receiving duos should lead to some big games, but Cousins might be getting slightly overvalued right now at a crowded position.

 

QB Kellen Mond: Only an injury would get Mond on the field in 2021, but the dual-threat skillset would immediately put him on the fantasy radar. At Texas A&M, the third-round pick finished his career tied with Johnny Manziel for the most total touchdowns in school history.

 

RB Dalvin Cook: Minnesota is going to want to run the ball perhaps more than ever following last season’s 7-9 finish, and staying relatively healthy over the past two seasons, Cook has averaged 1,346 rushing yards and 14.5 rushing touchdowns as the team’s offensive engine. The schedule looks tougher in the second half, but—on paper—Cook appears to have a very favorable outlook through Halloween (@ CIN, @ ARI, v SEA, v CLE, v DET, @ CAR, v DAL), which could give him the edge when choosing high in Round 1.

 

RB Alexander Mattison: Some fantasy owners still feel like they were burned after Mattison had ten carries for 26 scoreless yards in a spot start last October, but in the four other games with double-digit touches, the backup went for yardage totals of 80, 136, 69, and 145. Still, the usual standalone value (3.8 touches per game in the eight other appearances) is what holds him back compared to other handcuffs in the later rounds.

 

RB Kene Nwangwu: It wasn’t considered a very strong class for the position, but Nwangwu was the fifth running back taken in April’s draft, and speed (4.31 40-yard dash) is the primary trait that excited Minnesota. While he had just 143 career carries at Iowa State, Nwangwu will have a great mentor in Dalvin Cook, so don’t be surprised if he develops into a dangerous change-of-pace option.

 

RB Ameer Abdullah: Abdullah’s roster spot is in jeopardy with Nwangwu expected to contribute as a returner to begin his career, and the former second-round pick has handled just 54 offensive touches over the past two seasons with the Vikings. The 28-year-old might actually see his chances of producing improved if he ends up elsewhere.

 

WR Justin Jefferson: The targets for Jefferson were fairly modest as a rookie (125), but that didn’t stop him from shattering even the wildest expectations with a record-breaking campaign of 88 receptions, 1,400 yards, and seven touchdowns. There might be some low-floor games on a run-first offense, but the talent makes him a no-doubt WR1, and Jefferson has the talent to overcome any extra defensive attention that comes his way.

 

WR Adam Thielen: Being on the other side of 30 didn’t impact Thielen’s production last season with a career-high 14 touchdowns, and staying healthy was key after hamstring issues derailed him in 2019. Again, a re-founded focus on the running game will lower the floor and upside a bit, but Thielen remains a trusted target for Kirk Cousins, and the team didn’t really add proven depth this offseason—suggesting they will again be a top-heavy attack.

 

WR Chad Beebe: If there was a team that only needed a write-up for two wideouts, it would be Minnesota, but we know injuries can always hit, and there might even be a slight change in personnel packages with Kyle Rudolph gone. Beebe caught 20 passes for 201 yards last year, and he would get the biggest boost in full PPR leagues if Jefferson or Thielen were ever to miss time.

 

WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette: He isn’t much of a priority in redraft leagues, but from a long-term perspective, Smith-Marsette should be monitored as a smooth target with good size. As a junior in 2019, Smith-Marsette had five receiving touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns, and two return touchdowns for Iowa.

 

WR Bisi Johnson: We knew it wouldn’t last, but Johnson was heavily talked up as the No. 2 wideout ahead of Justin Jefferson last summer, which—if nothing else—should be an indication to not always listen to beat reporters (he caught just 14 passes in 16 games). Still just 24, Johnson will hope to edge out Beebe and Smith-Marsette for No. 3 duties with a full training camp to prove himself.

 

TE Irv Smith Jr.: Mike Zimmer poured some water on a Smith Jr. breakout with comments a few weeks ago, but that might have been trying to make everyone earn their role more than anything. The former Alabama standout is well ahead of the curve with two seasons under his belt entering his age-23 campaign, and the touchdown burst down the stretch last year (five scores over his final six games) makes Smith Jr. a hopeful TE1 option.

 

TE Tyler Conklin: Conklin also came alive to close out the 2020 season with Kyle Rudolph out—going for lines of 5/40, 3/57/1, 4/31, and 3/40 over his final four games. As stated, Minnesota didn’t add much in terms of pass-catching depth this offseason, and Conklin becoming a useful TE2 in deeper leagues wouldn’t be a huge surprise.

 

Other Notes

 

Best 2021 value: TE Irv Smith Jr. (FantasyPros ECR: TE13)

Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen will again be the headliners, but Smith Jr. should be an important part of the offense, and Year 3 could be when he enjoys a breakout. Even with everyone healthy, there should be enough looks for him to thrive, and an injury would really open the door for Smith Jr. to be a strong TE1 play.

 

Best dynasty investment: QB Kellen Mond

You can’t go wrong with investing in Dalvin Cook or Justin Jefferson, but Mond is currently the best value as someone we like as a future starting quarterback—especially since most don’t seem to be sold on him. The dual-threat rookie has flashed pinpoint accuracy in a quick-strike passing game, and speed/mobility is always a plus when it comes to fantasy production. You have time, but try to get Mond before it looks like he might get a shot with Kirk Cousins’ contract possibly leading him elsewhere.

 

Bold prediction

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

Stat to know

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

Fantasy Football 2021: Get Eight Printable Cheat Sheets For Your League

Fantasy Football 2021: Get Eight Printable Cheat Sheets For Your League

We are getting closer to the start of training camp and the thick of fantasy football drafts, so this article is again here to remind people that our Top 200 cheat sheets are available to Fantasy Consigliere members. For those not yet subscribed, here is our history of FantasyPros accuracy finishes:

 

-Multi-year draft accuracy (2018-2020): No. 2 out of 91

-2018 draft accuracy: No. 4 out of 154

-2019 draft accuracy: No. 12 out of 162

-2020 draft accuracy: No. 43 out of 191

-2018 weekly accuracy: No. 34 out of 122

-2019 weekly accuracy: No. 17 out of 129

-2020 weekly accuracy: No. 27 out of 149

 

Other sites might be promoting a bunch of “fluff” that they believe will help you dominate your league, but there is truly nothing more useful than simple rankings from Wolf Sports using one of our cheat sheets (which are updated regularly, and we can also create a custom cheat sheet if it’s a reasonable request):

 

-0.5 PPR/Standard

-Full PPR

-Superflex

-Superflex PPR

-Point Per First Down

-Point Per First Down PPR

-Positional

-Positional PPR

 

Subscribing to Wolf Sports also gets you our 2021 draft guide (which can also be purchased as a physical book on Amazon), a direct line to ask questions, unlocked analytics/projections, access to the best dynasty rankings in the business, and more… so Join The Pack today by clicking the banner at the top of our site.

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Miami Dolphins

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Miami Dolphins

For full player rankings (redraft/dynasty), eight different printable cheat sheets, our 2021 draft guide (also can be purchased separately on Amazon), season projections, a direct line for counsel, and much more, join Fantasy Consigliere using promo code JOINTHEPACK.

 

Player Outlooks (2021)

 

QB Tua Tagovailoa: Perhaps it’s due to the success of Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow, but it’s strange that Tagovailoa suddenly has quite a few doubters entering Year 2 despite having 14 total touchdowns with just five turnovers as a rookie. Now bolstered by a rocket-fueled supporting cast and no curfew (i.e. Ryan Fitzpatrick), Tua can be a star, and the flashes of brilliance were certainly there last season in games versus Arizona and Kansas City. He’s an upside QB2.

 

RB Myles Gaskin: Many have Gaskin higher than we do, and having the same volume-heavy role he had last year would have him meet or exceed expectations. However, the Dolphins clearly wanted to upgrade at running back by trying to trade up for Javonte Williams and putting in a waiver claim on Kerryon Johnson, so there is definite risk betting on a guy that averaged just 4.1 yards per carry in 2020. The upside can hit, but Gaskin profiles as a classic early-to-mid-round disappointment at the position.

 

RB Malcolm Brown: One of the investments that Miami did successfully make at running back this offseason was signing Brown—who showed a quality skillset when given extended run in Sean McVay’s offense. He turned 28 in the spring, but Brown has limited tread on the tires, and there seems to have been an increase in veteran backs emerging in recent years. Consider him a strong late-round pick in deeper leagues.

 

RB Salvon Ahmed: Myles Gaskin was able to reclaim the starting job, but Ahmed had it for a time last season—including one game with 21 carries, 85 yards, and one touchdown, and then another with 23 carries, 122 yards, and one score. If nothing else, Ahmed’s success should be a cautionary tale for Gaskin’s hold on the starting job, and he can thrive if given an opportunity to lead the way.

 

WR DeVante Parker: A year of experience for Tua Tagovailoa should help, but Parker’s numbers with Ryan Fitzpatrick (season-long pace of 85/1,104/5) were significantly better than they were with the youngster (season-long pace of 59/708/5), which is a concern. The hope is Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle will take plenty of defensive attention away from the big-bodied target, but it might take a big season in the touchdown department to be more than a shaky WR3.

 

WR Will Fuller: One game yet to be served from last season’s suspension needs to be factored in for Fuller, and you also have to consider that the season in which he was finally able to stay healthy happened to be the year he was popped for PEDs. Still, the week-winning upside shown in Houston can carry over if Miami opens up the offense, and Jaylen Waddle might be the guy that commands an extra set of eyes for the most part.

 

WR Jaylen Waddle: The all-world speed and explosiveness are certainly there for Waddle for make a Year 1 impact, but can he be a consistent fantasy starter in 2021? The polish isn’t at the level of Ja’Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith, and some of the pass-catchers in the same mold as Waddle have taken time to produce in terms of numbers. There can be a monster game or two, but the worry is the level of unpredictability.

 

WR Preston Williams: Miami is very crowded after the clear top three at receiver, and Williams is hoping to return to form coming off a foot injury. For what it’s worth, Williams has put up very respectable numbers in 16 career games through two seasons (50/716/7), though he might be insurance for Parker with not enough standalone value to strongly consider.

 

WR Jakeem Grant: Grant is coming off his best offensive season to date, and he also continued to be a dynamic punt returner for the Dolphins. That said, a lot of his touches from 2020 will be taken by Jaylen Waddle, so the contributions will be more meaningful from a real-life perspective.

 

WRs Lynn Bowden Jr., Albert Wilson, and Malcolm Perry: Bowden Jr., Wilson, and Perry are somewhat in the same boat as Grant, and they all obviously won’t make the team out of camp. The versatility and perceived upside of Bowden Jr. might give the edge, though Wilson has juice and should be fresh following last year’s opt-out.

 

TE Mike Gesicki: Gesicki had some quiet stretches with Tagovailoa under center last year, but they started to catch fire in December before a shoulder injury impacted the monster tight end—including back-to-back games of 9/88/1 and 5/65/2. More space to work the seams with Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle keeping the defense unbalanced could lead to Gesicki putting up career-best numbers, and the touchdowns will be key.

 

TE Hunter Long: He will be blocked by Gesicki for at least this year, but Long could have a path to the No. 1 role if Miami doesn’t extend their top tight end, and the rookie has the size, intelligence, and athleticism to make plays all over the field. As is the case for almost every tight end that isn’t a starter, luck finding the end zone would be the best route to fantasy value.

 

TEs Durham Smythe and Adam Shaheen: Both Smythe (26/208/2) and Shaheen (12/150/3) were factors behind Gesicki last season, but in addition to Long now being in the fold, Miami is expected to place more of an emphasis on the wide receivers considering the moves made there. It’d take an injury for either guy to build on what they did in 2020.

 

Other Notes

 

Best 2021 value: TE Mike Gesicki (FantasyPros ECR: TE11)

Gesicki’s numbers leaped across the board from Year 1 to Year 2 and then Year 2 to Year 3, so there is no reason to believe his ascension won’t continue after finishing as the TE7 last season. The top three is set with Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, and George Kittle, but in terms of pure upside, Gesicki has the talent to join the high-end TE1 party.

 

Best dynasty investment: QB Tua Tagovailoa

As stated in the draft guide, Tagovailoa understandably didn’t make the same immediate impact as some of his 2020 counterparts because of his play style as more of a quick-twitch processor, which can take some time to come through against NFL defenses. When everything clicks, though, the ceiling should be extremely high, and the speed added will make things easier on Tua in 2021 and beyond. Invest before the breakout.

 

Bold prediction

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

Stat to know

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Los Angeles Rams

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Los Angeles Rams

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Player Outlooks (2021)

 

QB Matthew Stafford: From top to bottom, Stafford is surrounded by the best supporting cast of his career, and he should have major upside in Sean McVay’s offense. That said, the former No. 1 overall pick has been banged up in back-to-back seasons (despite playing all 16 games last year), and the offensive line is what will be downgraded compared to his 2020 roster with the Lions. Plus, there could be a bit of an adjustment in a new system that is more focused on intermediate weapons compared to the vertical targets Stafford had in Detroit. The ceiling is high if everything comes together—and we have him ranked as a QB1 option—but Stafford might be a notch below some of the usual suspects.

 

RB Cam Akers: While it was a small sample size, Akers was featured when it mattered most last year—averaging 22.0 touches, 118.0 total yards, and 0.5 touchdowns in six games (including playoffs) when finally unleashed down the stretch. And adding to the impressiveness, half of the performances came as he dealt with a high-ankle sprain. Darrell Henderson should remain a factor, but Akers is going to be the guy for Sean McVay.

 

RB Darrell Henderson: Henderson wasn’t bad by any means in 2020, but the Rams seem to have a preference for primarily featuring one runner, and that will be Akers this season. Still, the former third-rounder doesn’t lack juice off the bench, and he can also catch the ball out of the backfield. Consider Henderson a big-play-dependent FLEX with handcuff value.

 

WR Robert Woods: We might be too low on the Los Angeles wideouts this year (Woods and Cooper Kupp in particular), but there will be more competition for targets than ever with DeSean Jackson and second-round rookie Tutu Atwell added to the mix. Last year, Woods averaged just 44.7 receiving yards per game over the final six weeks (including playoffs), and he’s never had more than six receiving touchdowns in a season. Give him a boost in full PPR leagues, but a bigger swing might be worth it for the low-end WR2 range.

 

WR Cooper Kupp: Kupp is in the same spot as Woods with the Rams likely having more of a spread-the-wealth passing attack in 2021, and his chemistry with Jared Goff won’t be immediately replicated with Matthew Stafford. Double-digit scoring upside is there for Kupp as someone who had ten touchdowns two years ago, but he’s caught just 14 touchdowns in his other 38 career games. Draft him as a low-end WR2/FLEX option.

 

WR DeSean Jackson: Jackson will turn 35 in December, but durability has been the issue for him in recent years rather than a decrease in speed. An 81-yard touchdown against the Cowboys for the final catch as an Eagle showed that Jackson can still get behind the defense, and being paired with Matthew Stafford’s power arm can lead to some more highlights… assuming he can stay on the field.

 

WR Van Jefferson: Although the talent is there for Jefferson to produce if given enough targets, the problem is he’s blocked by both Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods—with no clear path (barring injury) to be more than a role player in 2021. A best-case scenario would actually be the team going with almost a full-blown committee at wideout, but that might lead to frustration more than anything else.

 

WR Tutu Atwell: The Rams placing an emphasis on speed with Atwell and DeSean Jackson was so they have downfield threats that can open up more space underneath, and the rookie should also contribute in the return game. For this year, Atwell—despite the draft capital as a top-60 pick—will probably be a better real-life asset than fantasy option.

 

TE Tyler Higbee: The industry expectation is that Higbee will now be alone at tight end with Gerald Everett in Seattle, but fourth-rounders Brycen Hopkins (2020) and Jacob Harris (2021) are both very talented, so that is a bit optimistic. Last year, Higbee didn’t have an outing with more than six targets, and that was on a less crowded offense in general. The unbelievable end-of-2019 run looks like more and more of an outlier.

 

TE Brycen Hopkins: All the hype is going to Jacob Harris right now (perhaps deservedly so), but Hopkins has a year of experience in the league, and he’s actually just three weeks older than his rookie teammate. The former Purdue standout has 4.66 speed with the ability to run a variety of routes.

 

TE Jacob Harris: The measurements are extremely exciting for Harris—4.39 speed and 40.5-inch vertical at six-foot-five—but rookie tight ends have a difficult enough time transitioning under normal circumstances, and he’s also converting from being a college wide receiver. Maybe the tools alone will be enough to put up numbers, but we’d be surprised if Harris had meaningful redraft value this season.

 

Other Notes

 

Best 2021 value: RB Cam Akers (FantasyPros ECR: RB11)

Akers seems to be ranked appropriately at running back, but we’ll call him the best value because he’s worth taking as a first-round pick in 0.5 PPR leagues for those who are skeptical. If he can get through a tough September slate (v CHI, @ IND, v TB), Akers should have a clear path to strong RB1 value in 2021.

 

Best dynasty investment: WR Van Jefferson

Despite the redraft value of Jefferson being on shaky ground right now, he did nothing to make the Rams—or fantasy owners—lose confidence about his potential last year, and all it might take is an extended opportunity as a full-time player for him to emerge. The inside-outside versatility and ability to create separation are important traits.

 

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2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Los Angeles Chargers

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Los Angeles Chargers

For full player rankings (redraft/dynasty), eight different printable cheat sheets, our 2021 draft guide (also can be purchased separately on Amazon), season projections, a direct line for counsel, and much more, join Fantasy Consigliere using promo code JOINTHEPACK.

 

Player Outlooks (2021)

 

QB Justin Herbert: Herbert was a real-life and fantasy marvel in his rookie season, and while a new coaching staff can bring some uncertainty, fantasy owners should be comforted by head coach Brandon Staley being a former quarterback and very bright football mind. The team is hoping for a bit more stability around Herbert this year, but he showed he can create magic no matter who he targets; even more of an emphasis on vertical throws to Mike Williams, Jared Cook, and rookie Josh Palmer—with Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler working underneath—could lead to a high-end QB1 finish in Year 2.

 

RB Austin Ekeler: The excitement about Ekeler seems to be very high in the fantasy community this far out from the season, but might it be a bit lofty? The new regime seems to want more of a committee approach in the backfield, and Ekeler didn’t have a ton of success as a pass-catcher with Justin Herbert under center last season (particularly compared to his first three seasons with the checkdown-prone Philip Rivers)—going for career-lows in yards per reception (7.5), yards per target (6.2), and yards per touch (5.5). We view him as more of an RB2 than RB1.

 

RB Joshua Kelley: Issues with ball security prevented Kelley from keeping a significant role after a strong start last year, but if that’s fixed, the talent is there for him to regain FLEX value behind Austin Ekeler. In addition to being a natural runner, Kelley notably caught 23-of-23 targets as a rookie, and he should have the inside track to the No. 2 role this summer.

 

RB Justin Jackson: Jackson apparently isn’t guaranteed a roster spot this year, and that makes sense considering the Chargers spent a sixth-round pick on Larry Rountree III. Still, Jackson is a well-rounded player, so he’ll be someone to keep an eye on whether it’s as depth in Los Angeles or someplace else.

 

RB Larry Rountree III: General manager Tom Telesco remains a key member of the Chargers organization and previously selected the other three runners that were highlighted, but the advantage Rountree has is that he was the guy drafted with the new coaching staff in place. The best-case scenario for the rookie would be getting a shot to be an early-down complement to Austin Ekeler if Joshua Kelley struggles.

 

WR Keenan Allen: He didn’t have a 1,000-yard season in 2020 due to a couple of missed games, but Allen had 100+ receptions for the third time in four years (with 97 in the other), and Justin Herbert clearly had quick trust in him as a top target. However, the concern about ranking him as a clear WR1 in a crowded group is the new coaching staff almost certainly not prioritizing targets at the level Anthony Lynn did—he would tell former offensive coordinator Shane Steichen to “feed Keenan Allen” every week—so we’ll see if Brandon Staley also makes it a weekly emphasis.

 

WR Mike Williams: Health seems to be a knock on Williams, but he’s missed just two games over the past three years, and the high-flying play style might lead to concern about a potential injury more than anything else. Although the efficiency dropped from 2018/2019 levels, Williams still had a respectable 48/756/5 line with a rookie quarterback, and another year working with Herbert should lead to bigger numbers this fall.

 

WR Tyron Johnson: Johnson flashed remarkable big-play potential last season with 19.9 yards per reception and 15.3 yards per target on 26 opportunities, and Herbert’s willingness to throw it deep—along with 4.3 speed for the former Oklahoma State standout—was key. Consistent redraft value is unlikely if everyone is healthy on a reinforced offense, but Johnson can be a cheap DFS option.

 

WR Josh Palmer: The path to fantasy success in Year 1 doesn’t look clear for Palmer because he’s stuck behind Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, so he is best viewed from a dynasty perspective right now. Production was limited at Tennessee in large part due to shaky quarterback play, but Palmer did more than hold his own against top SEC cornerbacks, so he’s a strong long-term option.

 

WR Jalen Guyton: Guyton was the No. 3 wideout for the Chargers in 2020, and being listed behind Johnson and Palmer doesn’t necessarily mean he will lose that job to begin the season. However, there are more targets in play than there were last year, and Guyton will have to battle for the spot for a new coaching staff. The upside of Johnson and Palmer are more appealing.

 

WRs Joe Reed and K.J. Hill: Reed and Hill and both second-year wideouts potentially competing for one roster spot—with return value being an important factor. Right now, Hill is much more polished as a receiver, but Reed’s explosiveness gives him the edge as a dynasty investment.

 

TE Jared Cook: Continuing to play the best football of his career since turning 30, Cook hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, and his skillset fits well with Justin Herbert’s willingness to allow his teammates to high-point the ball downfield. Los Angeles somewhat quietly has a strong group at tight end, but Cook is an upside TE2 option with 22 touchdowns over the past three seasons.

 

TE Donald Parham Jr.: Parham’s lane to becoming a fantasy factor will be all about finding the end zone—as the six-foot-eight target has the size/talent to be a weapon near scoring territory. Jared Cook should be the clear No. 1 option at the position, but Parham can have a season similar to Darren Fells (also a towering figure) when he scored seven times on 34 grabs with Houston in 2019.

 

TE Tre’ McKitty: He only caught six passes last year at Georgia, but the Chargers clearly see untapped potential for McKitty by selecting him in the third round of April’s draft. A well-built frame and plus athleticism makes the rookie a moldable prospect for LA, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he became their future TE1.

 

Other Notes

 

Best 2021 value: WR Mike Williams (FantasyPros ECR: WR48)

The case to make for Williams is fairly simple: he’s a tremendous talent, already has separate seasons with 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns under his belt, will be playing the “X” spot similar to the one that Michael Thomas dominated in with the Saints, and is entering a contract year. WR48 is far too low for the former first-round pick.

 

Best dynasty investment: RB Joshua Kelley

Across the board, Los Angeles might have the most undervalued offense in the league from a fantasy perspective, as Herbert, Williams, or one of the other young pass-catchers could have also been chosen here. Instead, we’ll go with Kelley—who has the vision, patience, strength, and smoothness to handle 12-15 weekly carries behind Austin Ekeler.

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Best Draft Positions In 2021 Fantasy Football Drafts

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Draft Positions In 2021 Fantasy Football Drafts

With the holiday weekend in the books and the calendar turning at a rapid pace, many people will soon begin turning their full attention toward fantasy football. If your league’s draft order hasn’t been randomized yet, it might be soon. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday ranks the best draft slots for 2021 fantasy football drafts.

 

Keep in mind this is for a ten-team redraft league (it’s a Top Ten Tuesday, after all) with standard roster settings (no superflex). No one really knows what will happen, and you can obviously win in any draft position, but these are the spots to arguably feel best about.

 

10. Nine

Not quite at No. 10 for a back-to-back but far enough down in the first round that it’ll be tough to get a player in the top five or six of your board, No. 9 isn’t an ideal draft position with how big boards look this year. That said, the draft is what you make of it, and every draft is different. You can easily begin your team with the top overall player at a position by going after wide receiver, tight end (if Travis Kelce is there), or even a quarterback to get it out of the way.

 

9. Eight

Eight isn’t a great position on the surface, but there will likely be situations in some drafts where someone like Ezekiel Elliott or Alvin Kamara (if there are concerns about his status without Drew Brees in your league) might be there several picks in. If that’s the case, No. 8 can turn into a very strong position to kick things off.

 

8. Seven

Most years, these next two picks are typically spots where you can secure someone that you personally really like despite not having a top three-to-five selection, and this year looks no different. Jonathan Taylor could be the guy in 2021, but you could have an envious group available for later in the first: Zeke, Kelce, and Nick Chubb all could be options at No. 7.

 

7. Six

Consensus is that Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Saquon Barkley, Derrick Henry, and Alvin Kamara are the top five picks. At No. 6 there’s a chance one of them slip; but if not, you’re still in a nice position in middle of the order, which could potentially help you grab major values that slip in the middle and later rounds.

 

6. Ten

While not as good as the No. 1 overall pick, the ten-spot (or No. 12 for 12-team leagues) allows you to grab and go with the back-to-back selections at the turn. This year, the end of the first round looks like the ideal spot to get an elite WR1—and perhaps even double up with two of them to start your roster.

 

5. Fourth

Especially in non-full-PPR leagues, you can argue there are actual four clear consensus guys in the top four (taking Alvin Kamara out of the group). In that case, you can take the best player available pretty easily at No. 4. Also, four is close enough to the middle of the rounds that you hopefully won’t be hurt too badly by any runs on a position during a draft.

 

4. Fifth

Like No. 6, No. 5 puts you right in the middle of things, which can be advantageous as the draft progresses. And for the first round, you’ll be a lock to get one of the consensus top five (or one of your top four) or someone else you like before they’re taken in the back half of Round 1. Additionally, No. 5 isn’t too late in the second round, so you might be able to pair the top-five pick with another player you really love in Round 2.

 

3. Second

You won’t get CMC in most cases, but the second overall pick lets you get who you want among the remaining stud workhorse running backs. With the cheat-code McCaffrey out of the equation, No. 2 is almost like a de facto No. 1 overall pick when it comes to how you stack up with the rest of the league picks 2-10.

 

2. Third

While you might not be super high on everyone in the top five for a variety of reasons for each guy, there are likely at least a couple of guys behind McCaffrey that you would be thrilled with near the top of the draft. No. 3 makes the pick a little easier, and you’ll be ahead of your competition in the top two when the even rounds come back around throughout the event.

 

1. First

McCaffrey dealt with injuries all throughout 2020, but the Panthers star almost an unfair difference-maker when he’s on the field. Anything can happen, but CMC is determined to stay healthy and again show that he’s one of the best players in the NFL. As a fantasy owner, you get a boost having McCaffrey on the squad, as it just makes things easier while building the rest of the roster. The first pick is where teams should feel best.

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Las Vegas Raiders

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Las Vegas Raiders

For full player rankings (redraft/dynasty), eight different printable cheat sheets, our 2021 draft guide (also can be purchased separately on Amazon), season projections, a direct line for counsel, and much more, join Fantasy Consigliere using promo code JOINTHEPACK.

 

Player Outlooks (2021)

 

QB Derek Carr: The Raiders are clearly committed to Carr as their franchise quarterback at this point, and his command of Jon Gruden’s offense is a big reason why. The remade offensive line will need to hold up this season, but Carr has plenty of weapons with Darren Waller and youth/speed/upside at receiver, so we should expect strong numbers through the air. Consider the 30-year-old signal-caller a high-floor option in the later rounds.

 

QB Marcus Mariota: Mariota was excellent in his lone appearance last year—off the bench for a near victory over the Chargers—but he is the clear backup, especially considering the way Las Vegas handled his standing with the team this offseason. That said, the schedule-makers couldn’t have drawn up the early-season schedule any better for a potential change needing to be made (v BAL, @ PIT, v MIA, @ LAC, v CHI), and Mariota has QB1 upside if he sees the field for a prolonged stretch.

 

RB Josh Jacobs: Jon Gruden has said he still believes Jacobs can be an MVP-caliber running back in Year 3, but just how high is the workhorse potential after the team signed Kenyan Drake to a two-year, $11-million deal? That combined with the offensive line possibly taking time to gel is cause for concern, though Jacobs’ talent is enough to hopefully overcome it. The upside is 1,500+ yards, but we could also see Jacobs hover around the same range as last season with less luck finding the end zone.

 

RB Kenyan Drake: Arizona declining to use Drake as their primary receiving back last season was a surprise, but that won’t be the case in Las Vegas—and Jon Gruden likely wants to highlight his versatility in a change-of-pace role. Again, the investment was pretty rich in a tough market for running backs, so the question is whether the fantasy value for Drake will match the real-life value.

 

RB Jalen Richard: The writing is on the wall for Richard with Drake being signed, and he’ll almost certainly need an injury for sustained fantasy value. Outside of a 68-reception season in 2018, Richard has had catch totals of 29, 27, 36, and a career-low 19 (last year) throughout his career.

 

WR Henry Ruggs III: The Raiders are counting on their young wideouts to step up this season, and Ruggs in particular becoming “the guy” would be huge after they made him the first receiver off the board in the 2020 NFL Draft. The toughness combined with the raw speed for Ruggs—who averaged 17.4 yards per reception and 10.5 yards per target as a rookie—gives us hope he will live up to his potential with an expanded role in 2021.

 

WR John Brown: Las Vegas wants to contend this season, so if Ruggs and/or other young players don’t emerge, they won’t wait around on them. Health is key for Brown, but he continued to play at a high level when on the field last year for Buffalo’s high-powered offense, and he can have a similar season to Nelson Agholor as a veteran deep threat for Derek Carr.

 

WR Bryan Edwards: He was banged up and had trouble carving out a role in his rookie campaign, but Edwards is an athletic, well-built target at six-foot-three, and we really liked his talent coming out of South Carolina. While there will be quite a few mouths to feed with everyone healthy, the size is what separates Edwards from Ruggs, Brown, and Hunter Renfrow at receiver.

 

WR Hunter Renfrow: Last season felt like a slight disappointment for Renfrow considering some of the hype (NFL Network analyst David Carr said he thought he could lead the league in touchdowns; he scored just twice), but he still caught 56 passes for 656 yards, and more weapons could create added space for him to work underneath. Consider him a decent FLEX in full PPR leagues to open the year.

 

WR Willie Snead: Snead is best viewed as insurance for Renfrow from a fantasy perspective, but his experience should be something all the young targets can rely on this season. It’s notable that the veteran scored eight touchdowns on just 94 targets from Lamar Jackson over the past two years.

 

WR Zay Jones: He didn’t have a significant role in his first full season with the Raiders (14/154/1 in 16 games), but Jones has worked to build chemistry with Derek Carr this offseason, which is good news should a string of injuries hit. The former second-round pick turned 26 in March.

 

TE Darren Waller: Waller versus George Kittle to be the second tight end off the board will be a headlining debate for the summer, but the stability might make it difficult to argue against the Silver and Black’s top weapon. Following a 90/1,145/3 breakout in his first full season as a starter, Waller built on it with 107 receptions, 1,196 yards, and nine touchdowns in 2020—and the December run in particular (lines of 13/200/2, 7/75, 9/150/1, 5/112, and 9/117/1) could even give you reason to believe he can challenge for the No. 1 spot if Travis Kelce were to endure a touchdown drought.

 

TE Foster Moreau: There have been a bunch of tight ends used behind Waller over the past couple of years, but Moreau should be the clear No. 2 with Jason Witten now retired. As a rookie, Moreau scored five touchdowns, and although it’ll be tough to predict, don’t be surprised to see him re-emerge as a factor in scoring territory.

 

Other Notes

 

Best 2021 value: QB Derek Carr (FantasyPros ECR: QB23)

The numbers for Carr have steadily rose in three seasons under Jon Gruden, and he should have almost complete command of a very complex offensive system entering the fall. Nelson Agholor being in New England hurts, but the downfield upside will hopefully take another step up with Henry Ruggs III and John Brown on the outside, and there is no reason to believe Carr can’t match his QB14 finish from a season ago.

 

Best dynasty investment: WR Henry Ruggs III

Ruggs will undoubtedly have a bigger role this season and beyond if he stays healthy, and all it took was 43 targets for him to record 452 receiving yards as a rookie. Most are down on him because of huge seasons by Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, and other wideouts in the 2020 class, but now is the perfect time to buy low on Ruggs.

 

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2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft 3.0: 14-Team, 0.5 PPR

2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft 3.0: 14-Team, 0.5 PPR

This week’s mock draft is for a 14-team, 0.5 PPR league using the FantasyPros draft simulator.

 

Round 1

1.01: Christian McCaffrey, CAR RB

1.02: Dalvin Cook, MIN RB

1.03: Derrick Henry, TEN RB

1.04: Saquon Barkley, NYG RB

1.05: Nick Chubb, CLE RB

1.06: Alvin Kamara, NO RB

1.07: Jonathan Taylor, IND RB

1.08: Tyreek Hill, KC WR

1.09: Ezekiel Elliott, DAL RB

1.10: Davante Adams, GB WR

1.11: Austin Ekeler, LAC RB

1.12: Aaron Jones, GB RB

1.13: D’Andre Swift, DET RB

1.14: Joe Mixon, CIN RB

 

Thoughts: Running backs are going to come off the board very quickly in a 14-team league, but the turnaround allows me to potentially double up at the position. Mixon will hopefully be unleashed for a full season on an offense with plenty of weapons to keep opponents honest.

 

Round 2

2.01: Najee Harris, PIT RB

2.02: Stefon Diggs, BUF WR

2.03: DeAndre Hopkins, ARI WR

2.04: Calvin Ridley, ATL WR

2.05: Cam Akers, LAR RB

2.06: Antonio Gibson, WAS RB

2.07: D.K. Metcalf, SEA WR

2.08: Travis Kelce, KC TE

2.09: Justin Jefferson, MIN WR

2.10: A.J. Brown, TEN WR

2.11: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC RB

2.12: Michael Thomas, NO WR

2.13: George Kittle, SF TE

2.14: Keenan Allen, LAC WR

 

Thoughts: It was difficult to pass on Travis Kelce and Stefon Diggs, but again, I want to be strong at running back with 26 spots between picks in such a big league. Harris should be featured as both a runner and receiver in Year 1.

 

Round 3

3.01: Chris Carson, SEA RB

3.02: J.K. Dobbins, BAL RB

3.03: Allen Robinson, CHI WR

3.04: Patrick Mahomes, KC QB

3.05: Julio Jones, TEN WR

3.06: Darren Waller, LV TE

3.07: Terry McLaurin, WAS WR

3.08: Robert Woods, LAR WR

3.09: CeeDee Lamb, DAL WR

3.10: T.J. Hockenson, DET TE

3.11: Mike Evans, TB WR

3.12: Lamar Jackson, BAL QB

3.13: Mike Davis, ATL RB

3.14: D.J. Moore, CAR WR

 

Thoughts: I was hoping one of the targets that went earlier in Round 3 would have slipped, but Moore carries plenty of upside if he can cash in on more touchdowns with Sam Darnold at quarterback.

 

Round 4

4.01: Josh Allen, BUF QB

4.02: Amari Cooper, DAL WR

4.03: Miles Sanders, PHI RB

4.04: Chris Godwin, TB WR

4.05: David Montgomery, CHI RB

4.06: Brandon Aiyuk, SF WR

4.07: Josh Jacobs, LV RB

4.08: Adam Thielen, MIN WR

4.09: Kenny Golladay, NYG WR

4.10: Dak Prescott, DAL QB

4.11: Cooper Kupp, LAR WR

4.12: Diontae Johnson, PIT WR

4.13: Odell Beckham Jr., CLE WR

4.14: Tyler Lockett, SEA WR

 

Thoughts: Waiting on quarterback was my original plan, but Allen being on the board still—after going behind Lamar Jackson—gives me a high-end, matchup-proof QB1.

 

Round 5

5.01: Myles Gaskin, MIA RB

5.02: Tee Higgins, CIN WR

5.03: Kareem Hunt, CLE RB

5.04: Kyle Pitts, ATL TE

5.05: Ja’Marr Chase, CIN WR

5.06: Javonte Williams, DEN RB

5.07: Travis Etienne, JAX RB

5.08: Mark Andrews, BAL TE

5.09: Russell Wilson, SEA QB

5.10: Chase Claypool, PIT WR

5.11: Chase Edmonds, ARI RB

5.12: Courtland Sutton, DEN WR

5.13: Brandin Cooks, HOU WR

5.14: James Robinson, JAX RB

 

Thoughts: Perhaps the selection of Travis Etienne knocks Robinson down from RB2 range, but as my FLEX in a 14-team league? I’d say that’s a very strong foundation, and Jacksonville is going to run the ball.

 

Round 6

6.01: Raheem Mostert, SF RB

6.02: Dallas Goedert, PHI TE

6.03: Kenyan Drake, LV RB

6.04: Kyler Murray, ARI QB

6.05: Melvin Gordon, DEN RB

6.06: DeVonta Smith, PHI WR

6.07: Ronald Jones II, TB RB

6.08: D.J. Chark, JAX WR

6.09: JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT WR

6.10: Leonard Fournette, TB RB

6.11: Curtis Samuel, WAS WR

6.12: Justin Herbert, LAC QB

6.13: Will Fuller, MIA WR

6.14: Robert Tonyan, GB TE

 

Thoughts: Running back is surprisingly where the top values remain, and Mostert’s big-play upside makes him a tremendous RB4 option—or even a potential trade piece for a desperate team.

 

Round 7

7.01: Deebo Samuel, SF WR

7.02: Aaron Rodgers, GB QB

7.03: Robby Anderson, CAR WR

7.04: Tyler Boyd, CIN WR

7.05: Jerry Jeudy, DEN WR

7.06: Matthew Stafford, LAR QB

7.07: Jalen Hurts, PHI QB

7.08: Joe Burrow, CIN QB

7.09: Antonio Brown, TB WR

7.10: Ryan Tannehill, TEN QB

7.11: Damien Harris, NE RB

7.12: David Johnson, HOU RB

7.13: James Conner, ARI RB

7.14: Noah Fant, DEN TE

 

Thoughts: I would have given serious thought to another running back if Damien Harris or David Johnson was available here, but they aren’t so I’ll take Fant at tight end. A big season could be on the horizon for the former first-round pick after producing while banged up in 2020.

 

Round 8

8.01: Jarvis Landry, CLE WR

8.02: Nyheim Hines, IND WR

8.03: DeVante Parker, MIA WR

8.04: Michael Carter, NYJ RB

8.05: Laviska Shenault Jr., JAX WR

8.06: Trey Sermon, SF RB

8.07: Gus Edwards, BAL RB

8.08: Zack Moss, BUF RB

8.09: Devin Singletary, BUF RB

8.10: Jaylen Waddle, MIA WR

8.11: Tony Pollard, DAL RB

8.12: Corey Davis, NYJ WR

8.13: A.J. Dillon, GB RB

8.14: Marquise Brown, BAL WR

 

Thoughts: Landry was a very safe target to slide into the WR2 spot for now, but the hope is a couple of lottery tickets will pay off in the second half of the draft—as there is plenty of upside at receiver in the later rounds.

 

Round 9

9.01: Jamaal Williams, DET RB

9.02: Michael Gallup, DAL WR

9.03: Mike Williams, LAC WR

9.04: Michael Pittman Jr., IND WR

9.05: Marvin Jones, JAX WR

9.06: Tevin Coleman, NYJ RB

9.07: Latavius Murray, NO RB

9.08: Phillip Lindsay, HOU RB

9.09: A.J. Green, ARI WR

9.10: J.D. McKissic, WAS RB

9.11: Nelson Agholor, NE WR

9.12: Jamison Crowder, NYJ WR

9.13: Tom Brady, TB QB

9.14: Henry Ruggs III, LV WR

 

Thoughts: Ruggs should get a good opportunity to be the No. 1 wideout for Las Vegas, so the ceiling is high if he’s able to take advantage. As a rookie, Ruggs averaged 17.4 yards per reception.

 

Round 10

10.01: Cole Beasley, BUF WR

10.02: Rashod Bateman, BAL WR

10.03: Tarik Cohen, CHI RB

10.04: Russell Gage, ATL WR

10.05: Steelers D/ST

10.06: T.Y. Hilton, IND WR

10.07: Darrell Henderson, LAR RB

10.08: Darnell Mooney, CHI WR

10.09: Mecole Hardman, KC WR

10.10: John Brown, LV WR

10.11: Rashaad Penny, SEA RB

10.12: Jalen Reagor, PHI WR

10.13: James White, NE RB

10.14: Giovani Bernard, CIN RB

 

Thoughts: In hindsight, I wish I would have taken a receiver with more upside like Michael Gallup or Mike Williams over Jarvis Landry; but Beasley is still worth taking to pair with Josh Allen as another high-floor pass-catcher.

 

Round 11

11.01: Elijah Moore, NYJ WR

11.02: Sterling Shepard, NYG WR

11.03: Logan Thomas, WAS TE

11.04: Christian Kirk, ARI WR

11.05: Jonnu Smith, NE TE

11.06: Rhamondre Stevenson, NE RB

11.07: Alexander Mattison, MIN RB

11.08: Rams D/ST

11.09: Zach Ertz, PHI TE

11.10: Parris Campbell, IND WR

11.11: Irv Smith Jr., MIN TE

11.12: Le’Veon Bell, FA RB

11.13: Matt Ryan, ATL QB

11.14: Emmanuel Sanders, BUF WR

 

Thoughts: Sanders is being significantly undervalued at this point, as he can do a lot of the underneath stuff in Buffalo’s offense while also having the ability to get vertical.

 

Round 12

12.01: Mike Gesicki, MIA TE

12.02: Sony Michel, NE RB

12.03: Todd Gurley, FA RB

12.04: Evan Engram, NYG TE

12.05: Salvon Ahmed, MIA RB

12.06: Darrel Williams, KC RB

12.07: Denzel Mims, NYJ WR

12.08: Gabriel Davis, BUF WR

12.09: Trevor Lawrence, JAX QB

12.10: Kenneth Gainwell, PHI RB

12.11: Marlon Mack, IND RB

12.12: Ravens D/ST

12.13: Chuba Hubbard, CAR RB

12.14: Rob Gronkowski, TB TE

 

Thoughts: Gesicki was neck and neck with Noah Fant to be picked a few rounds earlier, so I’ll gladly take him here as the best player available. The 14-team league size could also make him a FLEX option.

 

Round 13

13.01: Colts D/ST

13.02: Kirk Cousins, MIN QB

13.03: Mark Ingram, HOU RB

13.04: Breshad Perriman, DET WR

13.05: Ke’Shawn Vaughn, TB RB

13.06: Sammy Watkins, BAL WR

13.07: Baker Mayfield, CLE QB

13.08: Carson Wentz, IND QB

13.09: Jared Cook, LAC TE

13.10: Tua Tagovailoa, MIA QB

13.11: Washington D/ST

13.12: Cole Kmet, CHI TE

13.13: Tre’Quan Smith, NO WR

13.14: DeSean Jackson, LAR WR

 

Thoughts: My three hopeful targets at wide receiver—Perriman, Watkins, and Smith—all went before my pick, but Jackson will be a deadly deep threat catching passes from Matthew Stafford for as long as he’s healthy (which admittedly might not be long).

 

Round 14

14.01: Jeff Wilson, SF RB

14.02: Tyler Higbee, LAR TE

14.03: Hunter Henry, NE TE

14.04: Jordan Howard, PHI RB

14.05: Darius Slayton, NYG WR

14.06: Malcolm Brown, MIA RB

14.07: Joshua Kelley, LAC RB

14.08: Benny Snell, PIT RB

14.09: Qadree Ollison, ATL RB

14.10: Matt Breida, BUF RB

14.11: Blake Jarwin, DAL TE

14.12: Carlos Hyde, JAX RB

14.13: Rondale Moore, ARI WR

14.14: Taysom Hill, NO QB

 

Thoughts: Wilson is a risky pick coming off a torn meniscus, but I’ll quickly be able to put him on IR to stash for another potential late-season emergence in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

 

Round 15

15.01: Ryan Fitzpatrick, WAS QB

15.02: Justin Tucker, BAL K

15.03: Darrynton Evans, TEN RB

15.04: 49ers D/ST

15.05: Buccaneers D/ST

15.06: Harrison Butker, KC K

15.07: Younghoe Koo, ATL K

15.08: Austin Hooper, CLE TE

15.09: Chargers D/ST

15.10: Boston Scott, PHI RB

15.11: Jameis Winston, NO QB

15.12: Patriots D/ST

15.13: Bills D/ST

15.14: Dolphins D/ST

 

Round 16

16.01: Tyler Bass, BUF K

16.02: Greg Zuerlein, DAL K

16.03: Wil Lutz, NO K

16.04: Jason Sanders, MIA K

16.05: Rodrigo Blankenship, IND K

16.06: Matt Prater, ARI K

16.07: Robbie Gould, SF K

16.08: Saints D/ST

16.09: Chiefs D/ST

16.10: Zane Gonzalez, FA K

16.11: Jason Myers, SEA K

16.12: Ryan Succop, TB K

16.13: Bears D/ST

16.14: Ka’imi Fairbairn, HOU K

 

Final Roster

QB: Josh Allen, BUF

RB: Joe Mixon, CIN

RB: Najee Harris, PIT

WR: D.J. Moore, CAR

WR: Jarvis Landry, CLE

TE: Noah Fant, DEN

FLEX: James Robinson, JAX RB

D/ST: Dolphins

K: Tyler Bass, BUF

BE: Raheem Mostert, SF RB

BE: Henry Ruggs III, LV WR

BE: Cole Beasley, BUF WR

BE: Emmanuel Sanders, BUF WR

BE: Mike Gesicki, MIA TE

BE: DeSean Jackson, LAR WR

BE: Jeff Wilson, SF RB

 

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Kansas City Chiefs

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Kansas City Chiefs

For full player rankings (redraft/dynasty), eight different printable cheat sheets, our 2021 draft guide (also can be purchased separately on Amazon), season projections, a direct line for counsel, and much more, join Fantasy Consigliere using promo code JOINTHEPACK.

 

Player Outlooks (2021)

 

QB Patrick Mahomes: There isn’t really an explanation needed for Mahomes, as the numbers put up by him in three years as a starter—13,868 passing yards and a 114:23 touchdown-interception ratio—are straight out of a video game, and no one questions him as a high-end fantasy option. Aside from an improved offensive line, the Super Bowl LV loss could lead to a chip on the shoulder of Mahomes, who offers a unique weekly advantage and is well worth an early-round selection.

 

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire: The hype train was completely out of control for Edwards-Helaire last summer (some even pounded the table for him as the first-overall pick), but is the scale now titled too far in the opposite direction? CEH will be the clear lead back in deadly offensive attack, and he certainly has room to do more damage as a pass-catcher—which is really where we thought he’d make an impact in Andy Reid’s offense. Don’t hold last season against him.

 

RB Darrel Williams: Williams fended off Le’Veon Bell to finish last season as the clear No. 2 back for the Chiefs, and his value as a well-rounded player should make him the handcuff to Edwards-Helaire in the case of an injury. We think there are late-round targets with more standalone value that are worth drafting over him, but the offense Williams plays in makes him a strong stash for those with patience.

 

RB Jerick McKinnon: He was finally able to get on the field after missing the 2018 and 2019 seasons, but McKinnon understandably hit a midseason wall in San Francisco, and there are questions about just how much he has left in the tank. A wait-and-see approach is probably best here with the hopes McKinnon shows enough juice to handle a chunk of receiving work in a Mahomes-led offense.

 

WR Tyreek Hill: Although Hill might not have the consistency of Stefon Diggs or Davante Adams, his pure upside is what fantasy owners are targeting in the first or second round. An increased role for Mecole Hardman will make it even more difficult for opponents to provide routine help over the top on Hill, and Mahomes should have plenty of time to find him deep. The elite speed of Kansas City’s game-breaking weapon shouldn’t be going anywhere for at least a couple of more years.

 

WR Mecole Hardman: There are plenty of young, high-upside wideouts available in the mid-to-late rounds this year, and Hardman is as promising as any of them as the prototypical “post-hype sleeper.” Stuck at 45% of the team’s offensive snaps played in each of his first two seasons, Hardman becoming a full-time player would unlock major upside. Plus, Tyreek Hill ever going down would really increase the ceiling.

 

WR Demarcus Robinson: The Chiefs will again run through Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill for the most part, but there are snaps/targets up for grabs with Sammy Watkins gone, and Robinson has flashed catching passes from Patrick Mahomes. Over the past three seasons, the former Florida standout has hauled in 99-of-147 targets for 1,203 yards and 11 scores.

 

WR Byron Pringle: Pringle hasn’t really has expanded opportunities through two seasons (25 receptions on 33 targets), but Mahomes seems to like him as another player that can work the intermediate areas of the field—so we’ll see if that leads to more production. The 27-year-old notably played snap percentages of 45%, 80%, and 59% in last year’s postseason outings.

 

WR Cornell Powell: He will automatically be undervalued by the industry as a fifth-round pick, but don’t be shocked if Powell—talked up by both coaches and executives since being drafted—quickly emerges as a starter for the Chiefs. Mahomes himself has also called the rookie “a beast,” with the team’s official site highlighting his versatility to be both a possession receiver and deep threat. Keep a close eye on Powell in August.

 

WR Antonio Callaway: It’s difficult to trust Callaway will suddenly turn his career around considering his history of off-field issues, but based purely on talent, he needs to be noted here. While he’s still just 24, Callaway needs to not only flash on the field, but also be focused if he’s going to make the team and earn a role.

 

TE Travis Kelce: Kelce is in the same boat as Mahomes with no one really needing to make a case for him—and it’s almost an automatic “win” at tight end every week he’s in your lineup. Even with the entire offense struggling in Super Bowl LV, Kelce still had ten receptions for 133 yards, and he’s turned into a fantasy cheat code with a season average of 102 receptions, 1,327 yards, and nine touchdowns over the past three years. We have a preference to the running backs, though it’d be tough to argue with anyone that wants to take Kelce as a top-five pick.

 

TE Noah Gray: There is some talk that the Chiefs might rely more on tight ends this year with Cornell Powell essentially being the only addition at wide receiver, so Gray has a shot to be an immediate factor alongside Travis Kelce. That said, producing as a rookie while soaking up targets as “the guy” is difficult enough, so Gray is unlikely to carry significant redraft appeal in Year 1.

 

Other Notes

 

Best 2021 value: WR Demarcus Robinson (FantasyPros ECR: WR112)

Whoever wins the No. 3 receiver job will potentially be striking fantasy gold in Kansas City, and Robinson is being severely undervalued based on the ceiling. From a long-term perspective, we are very high on Powell as the best dynasty investment, but this year, Robinson taking advantage of first crack at the opportunity could make him the top “sleeper” of the season.

 

Best dynasty investment: WR Cornell Powell

He didn’t emerge until his final season at Clemson due to all the talent on Dabo Swinney’s squad, but Powell was on a tear to close out his career, and you should invest while the price is still discounted. The overall smoothness and underrated vertical speed makes Powell someone that should simply make plays at the next level, and fireworks are likely to follow in a high-powered attack.

 

Bold prediction

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

Stat to know

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars

2021 Team Fantasy Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars

For full player rankings (redraft/dynasty), eight different printable cheat sheets, our 2021 draft guide (also can be purchased separately on Amazon), season projections, a direct line for counsel, and much more, join Fantasy Consigliere using promo code JOINTHEPACK.

 

Player Outlooks (2021)

 

QB Trevor Lawrence: It’s rare to be the case for a No. 1 overall pick, but there is plenty in place for Lawrence to be an instant star, as Jacksonville has the offensive line, perimeter weapons, and projected offensive balance to be a surprisingly strong attack. Individually, Lawrence has everything you want in a franchise quarterback—from elite arm talent to top-tier intangibles. The concern would be the Jaguars being too reliant on the running game, but Lawrence and his dual-threat skillset carries QB1 upside in Year 1.

 

RB James Robinson: Robinson is getting dinged with Travis Etienne in the fold, but his power/build could remind new head coach Urban Meyer of Ezekiel Elliott from his days at Ohio State, and last year’s showing wasn’t just “empty” numbers on a 1-15 team. We will ideally see Jacksonville make Carlos Hyde the clear No. 3 runner with Robinson and Etienne quickly staking a claim as one of the NFL’s best backfield duos.

 

RB Travis Etienne: The role for Etienne is already a mystery due to Urban Meyer admitting that the team wanted Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney with the No. 25 overall pick, and the draft-day call with the head coach telling the rookie to bulk up—for a guy that’s already a surprising 215 pounds—was eyebrow-raising to say the least. That said, the hope is talent will win out, and Etienne is an exceptional player with dangerous running and receiving ability. August action should give us a clearer picture.

 

RB Carlos Hyde: It was nearly a decade ago, but Hyde rushed for 2,491 yards and 31 touchdowns over two seasons under Meyer with the Buckeyes, and it sounds like the coaching staff expects him to handle a chunk of carries this year. The history for Meyer with power backs will make him an intriguing FLEX in deeper leagues with handcuff appeal behind James Robinson.

 

WR D.J. Chark: Chark is a very difficult player to rank for a few reasons. Looking at his WR2 case positively, the size (six-foot-four) and speed (4.34 40-yard dash) are both elite traits that fit well with what Trevor Lawrence showed at Clemson. On the other hand, the team signed Marvin Jones, and Meyer has said he didn’t like what he saw out of Chark on tape last season. Consider him a volatile, upside WR3/FLEX that can tip in either direction.

 

WR Marvin Jones: A ton of targets haven’t been needed for Jones to produce throughout his career (you don’t want to miss the interesting stat for him in our draft guide), and being across from another big-bodied target is a familiar position after playing with A.J. Green and Kenny Golladay. Remaining a key factor in scoring territory with a new team can again lead to Jones defying preseason expectations.

 

WR Laviska Shenault Jr.: He’s climbed the rankings in recent weeks because the talent is worth investing in (and he was said to be a standout at OTAs), but Shenault Jr. is in a somewhat strange position as the likely WR3 on a run-first offense—especially since Meyer getting his wish by drafting Kadarius Toney would have been somewhat of an overlap. The hope is Shenault Jr. being featured in the Percy Harvin-type role that Urban Meyer has always had in his offense.

 

WR Collin Johnson: Johnson only saw 31 targets as a rookie, but he scored twice and averaged 15.1 yards per reception—going for lines of 3/30/1, 4/96/1, and 4/66 in games with at least four targets. The six-foot-six wideout can draw FLEX consideration if an injury strikes to give him a starting role on the outside.

 

WR Phillip Dorsett: Dorsett was unable to get on the field with Seattle due to a foot injury, but Urban Meyer loves speed, so the opportunity will be there for the former first-round pick to carve out snaps in Jacksonville. View him as a DFS dart throw that can get under a deep ball.

 

WRs Jalen Camp and Josh Imatorbhebhe: Camp and Imatorbhebhe are both intriguing dynasty prospects with untapped potential as sizable perimeter players. The Jaguars prioritized Camp in the sixth round, though we’d rather invest in Imatorbhebhe as an athletic freak (46.5-inch vertical and 4.48 speed) that shows exciting quick-twitch ability for his size.

 

TE James O’Shaughnessy: Whether it was sincere or just a way to deflect away from having Tim Tebow on the roster, O’Shaughnessy and the other tight ends were recently talked up by Urban Meyer—and the veteran is clearly the most established option for Jacksonville right now with 88 career receptions (compared to 12 for the rest of the group). Still, the 29-year-old falls comfortably outside the top 40 at the position, and the Jags are expected to mostly run through the backs and receivers.

 

TE Tim Tebow: Despite what any of the doubters might say, Jacksonville having perhaps the most wide-open competition in the league at tight end gives Tebow a very real chance to make the roster. For everyone else on the offense, Tebow being a straight-up, traditional tight end would be ideal; but for the college football legend himself, having a do-it-all role—including as a vulture near scoring territory—is the best shot at fantasy value in 2021.

 

TE Luke Farrell: The draft capital spend on Farrell (a top-150 pick) puts him on the radar, and the respectable measurables (4.79 speed and 36.5-inch vertical at six-foot-six, 258 pounds) are a plus considering some thought he was only drafted because of his history knowing Meyer. Farrell probably won’t have redraft value in Year 1, but he should get a chance to prove himself as a No. 2 tight end that sticks in the league for a long time.

 

Other Notes

 

Best 2021 value: RB James Robinson (FantasyPros ECR: RB30)

Robinson would obviously be in a better position right now if the team didn’t spend a first-round pick on a running back, but the former undrafted rookie can flat-out play. Look for him to remain a significant part of what the Jags do on offense; another 1,400-yard, ten-score season is a real possibility for last year’s overall RB4.

 

Best dynasty investment: RB Travis Etienne

It should be common sense, but a theme throughout most of our articles (also, the draft guide and rankings) is betting on talent—so don’t let some of the frustration/confusion about Etienne dissuade you from taking him as a dynasty RB1. Looking at things as simple as they can get, Etienne is an increasingly rare first-round pick at running back, and he compares to Alvin Kamara in terms of contact balance and upside as a pass-catcher.

 

Bold prediction

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.

 

Stat to know

Exclusively in 2021 draft guide.