With the season beginning soon and many fantasy drafts planned for the next few weekends, it’s time to prep for your 2021 Fantasy Football team. Here is my advice/predictions as it relates to running backs and wide receivers:
- CMC – I grabbed Christian McCaffrey in a trade last year, hoping he would make it back from his injury, and even though that didn’t work out, I have no hard feelings. He is a spectacular running back, almost as good a wide receiver, and can take your fantasy team to the playoffs almost single-handedly. There is no better option this year for the first pick; not just first RB picked but also the first pick over all. This is it, this is as easy as it gets, just draft CMac, don’t over-think it.
- Second Tier – If CMC is on a level all his own, then the group right behind him aren’t that far behind. If you can’t get the best in the game, grab a guy from the next best bunch as soon as you possibly can. Barkley, Henry, Kamara, Cook, Elliott; you’d be lucky to have any from this group on your team, and I think they’re capable of leading your club, assuming you can give them some support. If you miss out, grab Chubb, Jones, Jacobs, Dobbins, or Taylor, and you’ll still have a solid back to build a team on the back of.
- Middle of the Pack – There is a great group of young RBs right in the middle of the pack that could be incredible assets this year, so grab one or two and thank me later. Especially for the value, because they aren’t super high up the list, these guys will be killer picks if they work out the way they’re capable of. Antonio Gibson, Austin Ekeler, Chris Carson, Joe Mixon; this is a value group, because they all have great potential and they won’t cost you an arm & a leg. Last but not least, try out Najee Harris, the rookie back for Pittsburgh; who knows how well he’ll actually do, but the ceiling is extremely high.
- New Roles – Then there’s a group that have new roles, whether by free agency or the draft or injury to another player, so their value is questionable, and I wouldn’t pick them as more than backups. Darrell Henderson, James Conner, Mike Davis, Javonte Williams; it’s anyone’s guess how these dudes will do, but they have potential to be impact players on their teams, as well as part of your fantasy squad. If Melvin Gordon ever gets hurt, Williams could be a steal, and if Henderson can hold on to the Rams starting job, he could get tons of points (watch out for Sony Michel, though).
- Deep Dives – If you want to take a bigger chance, go down the list and nab some backs who won’t be on many radars and just might prove to be diamonds in the rough. David Montgomery is lackluster Chicago, Miles Sanders the same in Philly, James Robinson coming off a nice year, James Conner at the goal line for the Cardinals, Raheem Mostert if he can stay healthy, Zach Moss if he can claim the starting role; if you’re willing to roll the dice in a later round one of these guys might just come up a winner, just don’t reach too early because there will be safer bets available.
- GB – If you’re lucky enough to get Davante Adams and Aaron Rodgers on your team, I think you’ve got a winning pair that might take you all the way to the championship. Adams is by far the best receiver in the league, and he could be the top fantasy wideout as well. He is incredible, off the charts, so good, and could catapult you toward a trophy. I also think he works even better as a companion piece to Rodgers in Green Bay, so try to get ’em both if you can; you won’t regret it.
- The Chefs – A couple years ago it was a surprise, but this year don’t be caught without players from Kansas City, because that team scores. Mahomes & Kelce & whatever running back they throw in there (Clyde E-H) we know about, but don’t forget about Tyreek Hill, as much as his off-the-field problems might turn you away. This is fantasy football, I try to keep that stuff separate, I’m just picking statistics, and if other owners are willing to let Hill slide that’s just a bonus for you, because he’s the KC WR that you should have.
- Pair Up – I’m a big believer in pairing a QB with the WR; I understand that having too many players from one team on your fantasy team can lead to let downs if that one team has a bad day, but I don’t think one QB/WR combo is too much; if your QB has a bad day you’re in for trouble anyway. So pick one of these top duos: Mahomes/Hill, Murray/Hopkins, Rodgers/Adams, Brady/Godwin, Tannehill/Brown, Ben/JuJu, Wilson/Metcalf, Dak/Lamb, Allen/Diggs.
- Unpaired – The good thing about getting a top wideout is that, when you play a team with your WR’s QB, you have them blocked, like playing a team with Mahomes you know he’s gonna throw to your Hill, so you don’t have as much to worry about. The opposite is true about the Bengals, the Chargers, the Broncos, the Panthers, the Rams; they have two or three receivers who all rank the same, and not extremely high, so you have no idea which one will score and block a team who trots out their QB. That’s a good reason to get a passer who you can’t predict, but it’s a bad reason to get one of a group of receivers who might score or get blanked on any given day.
- Avoidance – And now for some team’s receivers to avoid, for various reasons. Deebo has emerged for San Francisco, but it’s hard to trust him because of his injuries, and the team as a whole is a question mark. Lions WRs are just too inconsistent because so is the team, and I don’t trust Golladay any more. Same for the Pats, who will run more than they ever have before, with Gronk gone and Brady gone. Cle, Min, Jax, NO, NYJ; just not enough passing offense to warrant high WR picks, so steer clear until later rounds.