Fighting Chance Fantasy's Roundtable Discussion (2021 Fantasy Football)
As we gear up for NFL training camp to begin, several Fighting Chance Fantasy staff members decided to tackle some burning questions to get you prepared for the 2021 fantasy football draft season. As a result, Fighting Chance Fantasy will have a series of roundtable discussions coming to you this summer to get you ready to dominate your drafts this fall. With most of the offseason moves settled into place, part one of this series will dive into what players have seen their values change for better or worse and which players can come out from the abyss and be league-winners for your fantasy teams this season. So please pull up a chair and crack open a nice cold adult beverage because here we go!
Which player that changed teams during the offseason will have the most significant impact in the 2021 season?
Matthew Stafford, QB, LAR
Over the offseason, it felt like I was watching the World Series of Poker when the Rams went all-in and pulled off a trade that sent Jared Goff, a 2021 third-round pick, and two future first-round picks for Matthew Stafford. Stafford has proven over the years that he can post QB1 numbers when he's healthy and when surrounded by solid receiving options. Sean McVay is licking his chops, thinking how far this Rams offense can go with Stafford behind the wheel.
James Conner, RB, ARI
James Conner gets a nice bump, in my opinion, because this Arizona offense runs so many plays in general. In contrast, the Steelers were very one-dimensional with the pass when Conner was there. Additionally, Kenyan Drake is gone to Las Vegas, which should firmly put Conner in line for more carries. But, to be clear, I think he has a more significant impact on the Cardinals being able to have an option in short-yardage situations other than a Murray sneak. He, in turn, protects their franchise player and will be a more considerable impact on the actual NFL team rather than fantasy.
Kenny Golladay, WR, NYG
The easy answer here is Julio Jones, but I'll go one deeper. Kenny Golladay going to the Giants feels like a necessary move for New York. They have been sorely missing a WR1 since Odell Beckham Jr. was traded to the Browns. Kenny Golladay could provide that. The Giants are erasing all potential excuses for Daniel Jones in a make-or-break year.
The entire Offensive Line, KC
With the Chiefs completely revamping their O-Line, every skill position gets a boost. We should no longer see Mahomes running for his life every play. With more time in the pocket for Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill will continue to feast. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is coming off an underrated rookie season where he put up 1100 scrimmage yards, and we will see even more lanes opening up for the 2nd year running back.
Julio Jones, WR, TEN
With Julio Jones going to the Tennessee Titans, we see a seismic shift in the fantasy outlook for the Tennesee skill position players and Atlanta as well. I recommend checking out Leo Grandio's article on the impact across both teams. But even aside from the fantasy implications, the Titans have positioned themselves for a deep playoff run. Going from losing Corey Davis, bringing in Josh Reynolds, to Julio Freakin' Jones becoming your WR2 is an amazing series of moves by Titans general manager Jon Robinson. Even if Julio and AJ Brown moved down a couple of spots in rankings, they are both going to be amazing this year.
Which player's value took the biggest hit during the offseason?
James Robinson, RB, JAC
After James Robinson's fantastic rookie year in 2020, it appeared that he would be a running back to target this upcoming season. Then the Jaguars gut-punched fantasy owners by drafting Travis Etienne. Robinson will indeed still be involved in the offense, but his total touches take a significant hit with the addition of Etienne.
Tyler Boyd, WR, CIN
Tyler Boyd is someone I am looking to stay away from in all endeavors. Be it drafts, props, and DFS. Even though AJ Green departed for Arizona, I have him at best second among their wide receivers in target share and honestly think it will be more like the third. The Bengals picked up fifth overall pick in the draft Ja'Marr Chase who happens to be close friends with Burrow, and that is just an extra cherry on top as to why I think we see Boyd's target share going downhill this season.
Josh Jacobs, RB, LVR
I think Josh Jacobs took a massive hit to his value with the Raiders feeling the need to overpay for yet another running back in Kenyan Drake. The Raiders have opted to limit Jacobs' ceiling his whole career by not giving him the receiving down work. This appears to be the strategy going forward as Drake is known for his receiving skills out of the backfield, leading to Jacobs being heavily reliant on TDs. I will have Jacobs on zero teams this year.
Alvin Kamara, RB, NO
I chose someone a little less obvious for this question. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Alvin Kamara, but with the retirement of future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, the clear path to 81+ receptions for the fifth straight year has become murky. When Taysom Hill stepped in last season, Kamara instantly took a significant hit to his weekly value. If Taysom Hill is the starter, it will be interesting to see how it affects Alvin Kamara's usage in the passing game and goal line. At his current ADP, I am staying away from Kamara, as crazy as that may sound.
Will Fuller, WR, MIA
Let me preface this by saying I am not a believer in Tua Tagovailoa, and I'll be thrilled if I am proven wrong. Will Fuller was in an offense where he was the clear first target and with quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was not afraid to take deep shots. Watson is probably a top-five NFL talent, and Fuller now has to play with Tagovailoa instead. In addition to the limitations I see in Tua's 15+ yard passing game, Fuller now is competing with 6th overall draft pick Jaylen Waddle AND late bloomer DeVante Parker. As a result, I don't see a clear path to the targets and the quality of targets for Will Fuller, even to sniff being a WR1 for fantasy. Sure, he will be a back-end WR2, but the upside is severely capped.
What player are you aiming to draft the most in fantasy drafts this season?
A.J. Brown, WR, TEN
After partaking in several drafts this offseason, it appears that I have a large share of A.J. Brown on my rosters so far. However, many fantasy managers may be scared to draft Brown with Julio Jones now in town. Just remember that Brown has proven over the last couple of years that he has excellent chemistry with Ryan Tannehill, and Jones will help free up Brown to make more plays.
Najee Harris, RB, PIT and CeeDee Lamb, WR, DAL
May I pick two? I have done some mocks and tend to land on these two a lot. I expect Najee Harris to get a decent amount of work and the Steelers to get away from being so one-dimensional with the pass this season. I also will come out and say it is just a matter of time before CeeDee Lamb becomes the top wide receiver in Dallas over Cooper and that day is sooner than a lot of people seem to think; I think maybe even this season, which would catapult his value in drafts and DFS if you catch it before salary inflates.
Diontae Johnson, WR, PIT
At his current WR24 price tag, I'm all over Diontae Johnson. There has been a lot of focus on his "drop issue," but coaches don't put nearly as much stock in dropped passes as Fantasy Twitter does. Big Ben was peppering Johnson with targets last year, and I expect much of the same this year. Also worth noting, Johnson finished as the WR21 in PPR leagues last year while missing nearly three games. That said, his price-point of WR24 feels like the worst-case scenario for Johnson this year.
Courtland Sutton, WR, DEN
I already draft Courtland Sutton any chance I get, but I can't pass on him at his current average draft position (ADP). He's already proven he can put up great numbers with the terrible quarterback play, so that doesn't worry me. Sutton has all the tools to be an alpha receiver on this team, and we should see a big-time comeback campaign for him in 2021. Honorable mention: Jerry Jeudy.
Aaron Jones, RB, GB
Remember when #FreeAaronJones was a thing? We hated that Aaron Jones always was getting inconsistent touches or being vultured by Jamaal Williams. Then in 2019 and 2020, we said he's only the second option on the team because the Packers don't have any other options. Well, it's 2021, and Williams is now on the Lions, and the Packers drafted third-round wide receiver Amari Rodgers. Nothing about Jones' situation got worse other than the loss of center Corey Linsley. Jones continues to be disrespected as a late-first or early-to-mid second-rounder. He will be a top-seven running back, if not top-five when all is said and done. Yes, this means I believe that Aaron Rodgers will be back with the Packers for 2021.
Which quarterback currently drafted outside the top-12 will end the season as a top-10 quarterback?
Carson Wentz, QB, IND
Joe Burrow would be the easy pick here, but I want to go a little deeper in the rankings and say Carson Wentz. With Wentz joining forces with head coach Frank Reich, the veteran looks to reignite his career. The last time Reich and Wentz paired up in Philadelphia, Wentz posted MVP numbers before being injured.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, TEN
Quite simply, Ryan Tannehill has wheels he never seems to get enough credit for and a sneaky rush floor as a result. Couple that with the weapons at his disposal and his accurate arm, and I am done overlooking him, happy to draft and play him this season and think he somewhat easily cracks the top 10.
Baker Mayfield, QB, CLE
I have a feeling that Baker Mayfield is ready to roll this year. The Browns have the best RB duo in the league, who are both very skilled receivers and will have a fully healthy Odell Beckham Jr. With Beckham and Landry at wide receiver, Chubb and Hunt out of the backfield, and the trio of Austin Hooper, Harrison Bryant, and David Njoku at tight end, the Browns are ready to take a big step forward on offense. The only thing that will keep Baker out of the top-10 fantasy QBs is himself.
Jalen Hurts, QB, PHI
Now that Carson Wentz has a change of scenery, we'll see Jalen Hurts at the helm for the Eagles in 2021. Hurts has a high ceiling with his rushing upside, and now that Eagles' management added wide receiver Devonta Smith in the draft, I'm excited to see how it all unfolds. Hurts is the ultimate boom or bust option for 2021, but he holds the proverbial key to "league winner" status if he hits. He is worth rolling the dice on for your upcoming redraft leagues.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, WAS
I know, I know, but why can't the Magic Show continue in Washington? Ryan Fitzpatrick gets Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Dyami Brown, Logan Thomas, Antonio Gibson, and J.D. McKissic. This team is GOOD. They will want to make a statement that their defense is no longer their only strong point. We know Fitzpatrick loves to throw bombs, and he has a great supporting cast to take his game to the next level. If he can keep his interceptions down and start all 17 games, then this offense will be FUN.
What running back currently ranked outside the top-15 can be a league-winner this year?
Trey Sermon, RB, SF
Currently ranked as the RB44 on Fantasy Pros Consensus PPR Rankings, my running back special pick to be a league winner this year will be Trey Sermon. The rookie is behind Raheem Mostert on the depth chart for now. Still, with Mostert ailing with a knee injury, there are already reports that Sermon is starting to turn heads in OTAs and has even shown flashes of his pass-catching abilities. So draft him now while you can, before you have to pay a premium.
Najee Harris, RB, PIT
This one might be a bit bold of me, given that Pittsburgh got five new offensive linemen in Pittsburgh this season. However, call it a bet on the talent of Najee Harris if you want, and better to get on board with him sooner than later in DFS streets. In drafts, if he falls a bit, I would like it more there.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, KC
Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the easy choice for me. The fantasy community seemed to sour on him quickly last year, but he still finished as an RB2. That's excellent production as a rookie, and I imagine the chiefs will only increase his workload and high leverage touches. Similar to Diontae Johnson, it feels like Clyde Edwards-Helaire is drafted at his floor.
David Montgomery, RB, CHI
On his way to finishing as the RB4 in 2021, David Montgomery carried many teams to fantasy football glory. Yet, his ADP shows he is going as 20th (and lower) running back consistently. I understand his receiving upside is capped with the return of Tarik Cohen, but all signs point to another strong season for the 23-year-old.
James Conner, RB, ARI
See my description above. James Conner is going as the RB39, and at worst, will finish at RB15 (Kenyan Drake's finish last year), assuming he stays healthy. That's a big if, but I think he is healthier than we believe. Also, this offense will be better than last year, AND the Cardinals have a completely rebuilt offensive line. I can't wait to have Conner in all of my leagues.
Which player are you claiming to be "your guy" this year?
Antonio Gibson, RB, WAS
Antonio Gibson is "my guy" this year. The converted running started slowly last season but was gradually worked into the offense by Coach Ron Rivera. In 14 games last season, Gibson combined for 1,047 yards on the ground and through the air while compiling 11 rushing touchdowns. Gibson's 36 receptions illustrate that he will be a factor in the passing games moving forward. The one thing that many have failed to mention is that Gibson faced stacked boxes last year due to, at best, mediocre quarterback play. With the arrival of old gunslinger Ryan Fitzpatrick, opposing defenses will have to play back to defend the pass this year if they don't want to get torched by Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel.
CeeDee Lamb, WR, DAL
I have a tough time picking one guy, but I figured why not one-up it and pick out a wide receiver, largely considered the toughest position I play in DFS streets. I'm projecting CeeDee Lamb to become the number one wideout in Dallas ultimately, and with a healthy Dak coming back, it is some kool-aid I'm willing to drink on. He will probably be a staple in DFS and someone I'd land on a lot in drafts as well.
Tee Higgins, WR, CIN
I love Tee Higgins. He's another guy I'm drafting everywhere I can and will gladly claim him as "my guy." So many people appear to be scared off because of Ja'Marr Chase, but I see no reason to fear. Tee Higgins had stellar production as a rookie and will only build on that if you ask me. Yes, Ja'Marr Chase is an elite prospect, but the Bengals offense will pass enough to support two or three productive WRs. I fully expect Higgins to be a top-15 WR this year and would not be surprised if he finished WR1 (top-12).
A.J. Brown, WR, TEN
Maybe this is a cop-out answer since we all know how good A.J. Brown is, but I don't think I can express how much reverence I have for Brown's football abilities. He has the elite play-making ability you need for your fantasy squads and is in a great situation. He's tied to a great quarterback and is surrounded by other great skill players. I know some people were disappointed with the Julio Jones addition, but I think it will ultimately benefit Brown. He won't see double and triple coverage every play now that opposing defenses have to respect both sides of the field. Even though his quantity of targets won't reach what we thought it would, I'm excited about the quality of targets he will see. Not to mention he gets to learn from one of the all-time great receivers. Want to win your leagues? Draft Brown.
Dak Prescott, QB, DAL
It's been a long time since I have selected a QB as "my guy." But c'mon, Dak Prescott will explode this year and end up as the QB1 by season's end. With the band all back together, I expect Ezekiel Elliott to be a top-seven running back; Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup will be over 1,000 yards, and Blake Jarwin to be a top-12 tight end. I'm not worried about Dak's ankles, and anyone who doubts what Dak is capable of did not see his start to the 2020 season. He had four total touchdowns and over 450 passing yards in three of the four games, and the one lackluster game was the first of the season against what ended up as the best defense in the NFL. Yet, in that game, he still had over 250 yards and a touchdown.