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Fantasy Football: 5 2021 Rookies to Avoid


Avoid 49ers Trey Lance in 2021

By: Marcel Boudreau

5 Rookies to Avoid

When drafting rookies for Dynasty or Re-draft leagues, it’s always important to nail your picks. This article is focused more on a dynasty approach, but there are some take home messages for any type of fantasy football league. The purpose of this is to highlight rookies to avoid during this year’s draft. One of the best strategies is to pick out the players that have bust potential matched with moderate ceilings. 

Pooka Williams RB – Rookie ADP 3.065’9” ”“ 175lbs

Pooka has BLAZING speed, is extremely elusive and has amazing acceleration. His ceiling is capped because his body is not built to withstand more than 8-12 carries a game. Pooka is the same height as Aaron Jones, yet weighs 33lbs less, which is not encouraging for a position that takes constant hits. If he lands in an offense that runs an outside zone, he has a chance at fantasy relevancy. However, trends are a thing, and he would be a complete outlier if successful at his size. Looking at Pooka’s college averages, he has gotten progressively worse every year across all relevant stats. He has the potential to be a great punt returner and at best, an explosive 3rd down, change of pace back. A Tarik Cohen or James White type of career is his absolute ceiling. 

Tutu Atwell WR ”“ Rookie ADP 3.05 ”“ 5’ 8.5” ”“ 155lbs 

Tutu gets open because he is fast. Some people like to say “I don’t care how he gets open; I just care that he is open” are fooling themselves. NFL corners and DBs are getting faster and are absolute specimens, most will be able to stay close enough to Tutu to at least semi-contest the catch. Atwell is not as sharp of a route runner as he could be, he has a terrible high-point, small catch radius, struggles in contested catches, cannot break tackles and has a history of drops. At his size, to excel at the next level he would need to standout in a second and maybe a third variable outside of speed, which he does not. This leads to expect a potential career as an amazing kick returner, but a relevant fantasy option from the WR position is not the case. Tutu would need a top 5 QB in terms of accuracy and throwing the WR open to have a shot at fantasy relevancy, and banking on landing spot over talent is a risky, short lived experience. 

Trey Lance QB ”“ SF Rookie ADP 1.06 ”“ 6’ 3” ”“ 224lbs 

Hot take. Trey Lance is a shot in the dark rookie pick. He’s had 1 year of relevant production playing Division 1 tier 2 college teams. Lance has never played vs. a top 25 college team in his career so the variables are unknown what he can do against stiff competition. His 2019 season put him on the NFL radar, after throwing a 28 TDs and 0 INTs, and rushing for 1100 yards and 14 TDs. Lance did what he was supposed to do and dominated weaker players and teams. A noteworthy concern is the comparisons to Josh Allen’s path. When comparing the tape of both QBs against similar competition, there’s not even a glimmer of doubt that Josh Allen was the better player, even as a runner. 

The most under-talked about move, is that Lance was known for not throwing any INTs in 2019, and if he could have a similar performance in 2020, his draft stocks would shoot up, as it was not a “one-year wonder” situation. In 2020, Lance came out and threw an INT in the first game of 2020, then followed it up by sitting the season due to COVID. This seems extremely fishy”¦ almost like an agent got in his ear and told him that his stock was high enough, that a mediocre season would hurt it, and to use COVID as an excuse to dismiss the season and have his stock be relied on his 2019 season. Lance had all the rights in the world to sit out 2020 due to COVID, but the skeptical piece is that if Lance was concerned about COVID, like most players, he would have decided to dismiss 2020 entirely. Instead, he went ahead and played in a game, threw the INT and then dismissed his season”¦ 

Again, Trey Lance is worth a rookie pick, just not the 1.06. Lance is deserving of an early 2nd round pick as of now, but his landing spot and draft stock have a chance of changing that. 

Jermar Jefferson RB ”“ Rookie ADP 3.03 ”“ 5’ 10” ”“ 206lbs 

Jermar has the ideal size and contact balance which masks his lack of athleticism and explosiveness. He finished with the slowest 3-cone time of the top 25 RB prospects, which speaks a lot about his lack of elusiveness. Jefferson has a lot of similarities to Royce Freeman, in the sense that both guys are incredibly hard to take down but fail to have anything else standout in terms of skills. Jermar has decent vision, and is a great pass blocker, but is a below average pass catcher who lacks burst. Jermar does initiate contact first, which tends to wear defenses out, but also brings up breakdown injury risk. There are other RBs that have much more upside, and a fall in the draft would not be surprising.  

Warren Jackson WR ”“ 6’ 6” ”“ 219lbs 

The hype train on Warren Jackson needs to stop. Jackson is extremely slow off the line, does not have breakaway speed, and struggles in run blocking. Warren Jackson might be the next N’Keal Harry as they both excel in jump ball situations, but between the 20s, they fail to serve a whole lot of purpose. Jackson’s floor is extremely low as he is not a possessional WR. 

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