By: Alan Parker
Justin Herbert and Josh Allen burst onto the scene in 2020, one as a rookie and the other after a few years of promising play. Lamar Jackson put his elite athleticism on display en-route to leading the league in passing touchdowns in 2019. But who will put the league on show in 2021, dominating on both the field and in fantasy football?
Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
It’s very strange to see Mr. Perfect in Detroit, but there’s potential for Goff to show why he was the first overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. 2020 was a rough year for Goff, however it was not much different to 2019 as in both years he was on pace for 4000 plus yards over 16 games to go along with close to a 3.5-percent touchdown rate and a 2.5-percent interception rate. In fact, he was considerably more accurate last season than in previous years, hitting career highs in completion percentage and on-target percentage. However, this is to be expected when your intended air yards per pass fall a whole yard and a half according to Pro Football Reference.
With his seemingly best friend and coach Sean McVay giving up on him, trading him away for a man seven years older than him, one would expect Goff’s confidence to take a hit. However, he now gets to play behind arguably one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, after Detroit selected Sewell and re-upped with Ragnow, and has a pair of dynamic weapons in Swift and Hockenson. Now the receiver room is absolutely awful, but there could be some cap casualties around the league that would dramatically improve his arsenal of weapons, potentially the ever-present Jamison Crowder.
Expect a strong season from Goff as he leads a tough, “bite your kneecap off” type of team to a few more wins than expected. A few deep threats such as Perriman and Williams, along with an intriguing Amon-Ra St. Brown as well as low expectations should let Goff sling it often.
Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints
I am still a believer that Jameis Winston is exceptionally talented, albeit with some serious flaws. After getting LASIK eye surgery that should help him avoid targeting opposite defensive-backs, Winston should walk into the starting spot in New Orleans. A year under his belt at the “Harvard of quarterbacking” will help curb his poor habit of helping the opposition as much as his own team.
With Michael Thomas, arguably the best receiver in the league, as well as Alvin Kamara, arguably the best running back in the league, and Sean Payton, arguably the best coach in the league, at his disposal, Winston has a chance to reignite his career. His touch, accuracy and arm strength are something else, and his ability to drive the ball downfield and outside the numbers allows Sean Payton to spread his wings after dealing with Drew Brees’ limited arm.
The Saints, despite cap problems and few picks, easily could have just transitioned from one good quarterback to another. Look out for a strong season from the last man to break 5000 yards in a season as he plays in one of the best offenses in the league, with the ability to see opposing defenders standing in front of him. People always said, “If Jameis could cut down his interceptions he could be great”, and we will soon see what he can do. There’s potential here with two of the league’s best receiving weapons to lead the league in touchdowns.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Washington Football Team
Washington is pairing a no-nonsense, aggressive quarterback with Terry McLaurin (4.35 40-yard time) and Curtis Samuel (4.31 40-yard time). Add in that when he doesn’t feel like lighting up the defense down the field, Fitzpatrick can hit any of Adam Humphries, Dyami Brown, Antonio Gibson, or Logan Thomas.
Fitzmagic is going to have plenty of opportunities to throw as his electric offense is being paired with one of the most terrifying pass rushes in the NFL – Chase Young, Jonathan Allen, and Montez Sweat to name but a few (maybe half) of their dominant defenders.
Watch out for another season where we say, “Fitzpatrick can really spin it”. Washington got to the playoffs with a group of poor quarterbacks, and Fitzmagic is looking for a home. With one of the best arsenals of weapons he has had in a long time, the wiley veteran is exactly what Washington needs to repeat their previous years success, and maybe even surpass it.