Fantasy rookies to sell for top value

By: Andy Will

Many fantasy football players usually want the ‘shiny new toy’ or rookies going into the new season. With the 2021 NFL draft now in the rearview mirror, we all know where the rookies will be beginning their careers at the highest levels.

Before the fantasy season kicks off, it could be the best time to take advantage of this ‘rookie fever’ and sell players for peak dynasty value. This piece will look at three such rookie’s who could be sold for a haul. 

Kadarius Toney-

Toney split opinion going into the draft but ended up being selected by the New York Giants at pick number 20 following their trade with the Chicago Bears. They moved up to this spot previously owned by the Giants to snatch Justin Fields. 

The fact that Toney was taken this high and was the 4th wide receiver drafted in this class could be tempting in its own right to some dynasty owners. However, I would not be too sure. The Giants have added Kenny Golladay, who should come in and take over as the number one target in this offence, and also signed speedster John Ross. These two free-agent signings and the draft pick of Toney have crowded a receiver room that already has Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton sitting in it. 

The Giants also added two pass-catching tight ends, Kyle Rudolph and Kelvin Benjamin, who will join Evan Engram and Levine Toilolo at the position. 

As well as having players added at both the wide receiver and tight end positions, 2021 will also see Saquon Barkley’s return. Therefore we should assume that there will be fewer passes to go around. 

It is also unclear what the future holds for Daniel Jones at quarterback. There were whispers that the Giants could either draft a signal-caller or perhaps grab one in free agency, this did not happen, and the Giants will continue with Jones under centre for the time being. Suppose Jones does not perform with the available weapons. In that case, the Giants may take a leaf out of the Jets book and cut their losses and move on, which would potentially mean two transition years in a row for Kadarius Toney, initially after joining the NFL and secondly with a new quarterback. 

Zach Wilson-

Could Zach Wilson be a star in the NFL? The answer to that is yes. However, will that happen this year or even next year? To that question, I’m not so sure. 

Much like Toney, Wilson comes into the NFL with a 1st round draft cost which may be enough to get a good return on a dynasty trade, especially as he went 2nd overall to the New York Jets in this year’s draft.  

It is primarily due to his landing spot that I am not overly excited about Wilson in 2021. 

Wide Receivers at teams with a starting rookie quarterback-

New York JetsJacksonville JaguarsChicago Bears
Corey DavisDJ CharkAllen Robinson
Keelan ColePhillip DorsettDarnell Mooney
Donte MoncriefMarvin JonesMarquise Goodwin
Jamison CrowderLaviska ShenaultDamiere Byrd
Denzel MimsAnthony Miller

If we look at the above table, we can see the top receivers for each franchise who will have a rookie quarterback playing in 2021 (The Chicago Bears are included as I expect Fields to start at some point). I prefer the group of both the Bears and the Jaguars compared to that of the Jets. Corey Davis is an excellent receiver who had a very productive 2020 season as a second wide receiver behind AJ Brown at the Titans. Can he step up to become an alpha receiving option for Zach Wilson? Will 2nd-year receiver Denzel Mims step up and breakout this season with a new quarterback under centre?

When we look at the running backs that Wilson has to lean on, it seems as if he will not have a workhorse behind him. Thus far, Tevin Coleman joined, following his exit from San Francisco, and took Frank Gore’s place during the offseason. 

The Jets are rebuilding, and I’m unsure how quickly Zach Wilson can hit high fantasy value.

Ja’Marr Chase- 

Ja’Marr Chase has the chance to be a superb player in the NFL. He is a player I have personally drafted in a start-up league. However, I am currently considering testing the trade market to see what I could get back for him.

He is the consensus wide receiver 15 currently, which for me seems high. There are a few other reasons why I think he could be a sell.

Firstly, will Joe Burrows be ready to play again from the very start of the season? And if he does, will he be able to play to the same level he was at pre-injury? Even if he does return to a reasonable level, it is common knowledge that the Bengals O-line is a problem area for the team. The line will need to be addressed at some point to protect their first-round draft pick from 2020.

Now, it is true that AJ Green has left Cincinnati to join the Arizona Cardinals, which will vacate targets that Chase can step into. However, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins will both take a large target share, limiting production at first. 

Joe Mixon only played six games in 2020, and getting him back could help the offence substantially. Without Mixon, the team had to be pass-heavy and should Mixon play the whole of the upcoming season; pass attempts should decrease.

What happens to the packers skill players if rodgers moves on?

By: Andy Will

Superbowl champion and game MVP during the 2011 match-up with the Steelers, 3-time league MVP (2020,2014,2011), 9 pro bowl selections, 11th on the list of all-time passing yards (likely to overtake Elway if he does not retire) and 7th overall in passing touchdowns (likely to jump 2 spots in 2021 above Marino and Rivers if he plays again).

I could have continued with a list that would have taken up this whole piece, however, it is safe to say that if Aaron Rodgers does decide to a) move on or b) retire then the Packers find it almost impossible to replace him.

Jordan Love

This is the man that everyone expects to replace Rodgers as starting quarterback. The Packers moved up from 30 to 26 in the first round of the 2020 draft to take Love in a controversial selection. He did not play during his rookie season in the NFL with Rodgers ending the year as league MVP after a fantastic season. 

Key College Stats-

YearPassing YardsPassing TDs/INTSCarries/YardsRushing TDs
201716318/646/1652
2018356732/643/637
2019340220/1781/1750

Love had a fantastic 2018 season coming in with a great touchdown to interception ratio as we can see in the above table. From looking back on key highlights from that season a name he was drawn to on plenty of occasions -especially in the end zone- was Ron’quavion Tarver, a 6 ft 3 in wide receiver who could ‘go and get the ball’ in tight coverage situations. It was no surprise that once Tarver left, following the 2018 season the numerical difference between the touchdown total and interceptions became closer. 

Green Bay have an elite wide receiver as part of their team in Davante Adams who finished the year with an incredible 18 touchdowns throw by Rodgers. If Love was to take over he would (you’d imagine) lean on Adams to move the sticks. Similarly, with tight-end Robert Tonyan, he would be a ‘safety blanket’ in the early stages of Love’s NFL career. 

During the recent 2021 draft, the Packers selected Amari Rodgers in the 3rd round. Many see the rookie wide receiver as a Randall Cobb type player. Could this be enough to keep Aaron Rodgers around? Outside of Adams, the wide receiver group’s production was volatile over the last couple of seasons. If Love was to take over, the addition of Amari Rodgers will give whoever the starter is come the beginning of 2021 another offensive piece to work with.

Davante Adams 

StandardHalf PPRFull PPRGames Played
202011114
201929242312
201833315
201713141414
201678916

Whichever quarterback starts for the Packers in 2021 Adams will currently still be the top target. He is coming off the back of finishing as the number 1 wide receiver in every format after a 1374 yard and 18 touchdown season. Even with Rodgers as a quarterback, these numbers (especially the touchdown total) are most likely unsustainable. I likely see Adams as an Allen Robinson type player who will have 100 plus targets and be the clear top target for his team. 

If Love was to take over I can still see Adams finishing as a top WR option in all formats with the numbers coming down. A mid to low-end WR1 would be my prediction assuming he manages to stay relatively injury-free.   

Aaron Jones

Fantasy Finishes

YearGames PlayedStandardHalf PPRFull PPR
202014555
201916322

Key Stats

YearCarriesRushing YardsTDsTargets/CatchesReceiving YardsTDs
20202011104963/473552
201923610841668/494743

To help Love adjust, having access to a top-level running back is of huge importance. In Aaron Jones, he certainly has that. Jones is already leaned upon heavily both in the receiving and rushing parts of the offence. He was a massive part of the success of the team, especially over the previous two seasons. With Jamaal Williams leaving the team in the off-season he will likely pick up more work, although AJ Dillon should be involved in some capacity. 

His previous two seasons were similar in many ways with the exception of rushing touchdowns which have moved back towards the mean. 

I would expect the offence to still run through a combination of Adams and Jones. He is currently being ranked as the consensus RB9 which is about right I feel. 

Robert Tonyan

Tonyan had a breakout season in 2020, finishing at TE3 across all formats. He scored 11 times during his 16 games -including 3 in week 4  against the Falcons-. As impressive as that is, his yardage totals were, at times, fairly low as he only hit 50 or more yards on four occasions throughout the season meaning he was touchdown dependant as is the case for many fantasy tight ends, 

What can we expect from him in 2021 if Love takes centre? Well, he could be a safety net for the young quarterback in short-yardage situations. He is currently being ranked as the consensus TE9 which seems high, especially if Love takes over. Tonyan scored on 21.1% of his catches which seems unsustainable. A low-level TE1 finish shouldn’t be too far out of the question, however, like with many of the Packers players we should plan for a slight drop off should Jordan Love take over from Aaron Rodgers. 

Fantasy Football: 5 Running Backs WHo are Overvalued

By: Andy Will

In this piece we will look into five running back who could be overvalued going into the 2021 season. This may be due to current ranking but could also be down to situation.

Cam Akers

2020

Games- 13Targets- 14Fantasy Finishes
Rushes- 145Catches- 11Standard- 42
Yards- 625Yards- 123½ PPR- 43
TDs (rushing)- 2TDs (receiving)- 1Full PPR- 45

Cam Akers is an interesting one. He has the talent and will likely pick up much of the outgoing Malcolm Brown’s touches to add to the 156 he had to himself in 2020. My issue with him at the moment is his overall ranking at consensus number 10. 

Even though Brown has moved on, Akers will still have Darrell Henderson to deal with, who will likely take some work away. In 2020, Henderson had 138 carries and 24 targets. The rush attempts may come down if the Rams look to give Akers more work, but will that be enough to allow him to cement a top 10 running back? 

Akers has the potential upside of a top 10 back, but if Henderson does take work away from him, it may be too much to pay for the second-year running back.

MIles Sanders

2020

Games- 12Targets- 52Fantasy Finishes
Rushes- 164Catches- 28Standard- 21
Yards- 867Yards- 197½ PPR- 23
TDs (rushing)- 6TDs (receiving)- 0Full PPR- 23

Here is another player who has all the tools to finish as a number one fantasy running back. Sanders has yet to finish as a ‘one’ in his young career after finishing as a high-end RB 2 in 2019 and had a slight drop in 2020 to the lower end of the RB 2 level. 

The Eagles go into the season with a change at quarterback, and it looks as though it will be Jalen Hurts taking over after Carson Wentz’s exit, plus they traded back from 6 in the draft. Will the change of quarterback be a positive one for the team? The answer is yet to be determined, but during the last few weeks of the season, it is clear that Hurts is not afraid to run the ball himself. 

Hurts may take work away from Sanders, Boston Scott was also re-signed, as was Jordan Howard. I can not see Howard taking much work away from Sanders, however, there will be the possibility of him taking some goal-line work away from Sanders.

Sanders should finish as a solid option at the running back position once again. Will this be the year he breaks into the RB 1 level? I’m not so sure.

Josh Jacobs

2020

Games- 15Targets- 45Fantasy Finishes
Rushes- 273Catches- 33Standard- 8
Yards- 1065Yards- 238½ PPR- 8
TDs (rushing)- 12TDs (receiving)- 0Full PPR- 8

Josh Jacobs finished as the overall RB 8 in 2020 while leading the backfield for the LA Raiders. He finished with 180 more carries than backup Devontae Booker and 26 more catches. Booker has moved on and joined the Giants. Whether Booker left or stayed it would still mean Jacobs would more or less have the backfield to himself. This was until Kenyan Drake moved from Arizona. 

Drake comes into LA following a lead role with the Cardinals, which was his only season where he has carried the ball more than 200 times (239 total). In his previous years with the Dolphins, he had consistent totals of 133 and 120 before moving to the Cardinals in 2019, where he had a combined total of 170 between the two teams. 

The addition of Drake makes the backfield a bit too murky for me. I still think Jacobs will be the lead for the Raiders, but Drake could take some of the receiving work and a consistent number of carries away each game.

D’Andre Swift

2020

Games- 13Targets- 57Fantasy Finishes
Rushes- 114Catches- 46Standard- 20
Yards- 521Yards- 357½ PPR- 18
TDs (rushing)- 8TDs (receiving)- 2Full PPR- 18

Here is another player I like very much. My issue here, however, is the team he plays for, the players the Lions have lost and the introduction of Jamaal Williams.

D’Andre Swift had a decent rookie season where he would gain invaluable information and experience from playing and training with Adrian Peterson. Peterson is a free agent currently, which looked as if the backfield would be Swift’s. However, the addition of Jamaal Williams is not ideal for Swift owners in fantasy. Williams has received 100 plus rushes in every season he has been in the league, as well as being targetted between 34-45 times. Swift should be the lead in this backfield, however, Williams will get his touches.

The Lions have moved on from Stafford, with Goff travelling from Rams in a blockbuster trade during the early part of the off-season. Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola have left, with Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman being added to replace them. These two additions go into a very depleted receiving group. A lot of pressure will be placed upon Hockenson and the running backs to carry the team. This should provide Swift with many opportunities, however, how good will these opportunities be against stacked boxes which would force Goff to throw? 

As I stated, I like Swift, Perhaps as my second running back. I would feel a little uneasy with selecting him as my top fantasy RB option. 

Damien Harris

2020

Games- 10Targets- 7Fantasy Finishes
Rushes- 137Catches- 5Standard- 44
Yards- 691Yards- 52½ PPR- 50
TDs (rushing)- 2TDs (receiving)- 0Full PPR- 53

When I was looking through various rankings going into the 2021 season, I was surprised to see Harris as high as 25 on consensus rankings. If that level holds, I can’t see myself grabbing many Damien Harris shares. The New England backfield has long been one to avoid in fantasy which is unlikely to change during the 2021 season. 

The backfield will still be a crowded one with James White and Sony Michel ready to take work away from Harris, As well as the fellow RBs he will share with he will likely have Cam Newton to contend with, starting at quarterback (at least at first, after the Patriots landed Mac Jones in the first round) who led the Patriots in touchdowns, scoring 13 total touchdowns, which included 12 rushing scores. 

Rex Burkhead is still a free agent and this would clear a little room and some backfield touches if he does not return to New England. Although Burkhead had around half of Harris’ rush attempts, he did finish with 92 total touches. 

Harris has hardly had any receiving work at all during his first 2 seasons in the NFL. As we can see from the above tables, he has only caught 5 passes over this period, limiting his upside, especially in half and full PPR formats.  

3 most Overhyped Quarterbacks in the NFL Right now

By: Andy Will

We are getting closer to the NFL draft and teams are jockeying for position to take the highest college quarterback prospects. We have seen teams trade away last year’s starters to place themselves in the best position they can. In this piece, we are looking at the QB’s who are perhaps being overvalued going into the 2021 fantasy season.

Carson Wentz-

Similar to my previous piece I thought that James Conner moving to a new location might mean there will be a change of opinion about the player and there could be a rush to pick up said, player. The same can be said for Wentz. Now, the positive thing for Wentz moving from the Eagles to the Colts is that he can once again team up with Frank Reich who he was incredibly successful under especially during the Eagles Super Bowl run. Now as we know Wentz was injured during this run and was being touted for an MVP nomination.

I like many, hope that Wentz gets back to those levels. We can all agree that last year’s Wentz did not play to the standard that we have become accustomed to. How will he get back to that level? What will change in 2021? The Colts have not been very active so far in the free agency market to add offensive weapons for Wentz. Let’s compare the two groups of players he played with during 2020 and the players he will join in 2021.

Philadelphia Eagles 
Wide Receivers-Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward, Jalen Reagor, DeSean Jackson, John Hightower, Alshon Jeffery
Tight Ends-Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers
Running Backs-Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Corey Clement, Jordan Howard

*Above table shows the main players at each group

Indianapolis Colts 
Wide Receivers-TY Hilton, Zach Pascal, Michael Pittman Jr, Parris Campbell
Tight Ends-Mo-Alie Cox, Trey Burton, Jack Doyle
Running Backs-Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, Marlon Mack, Jordan Wilkins

*Above table shows the main players at each group

Now if we compare the two groups of players do we think there is a massive step up as things currently stand? The running back group was special at the Colts last season with Jonathan Taylor exploding onto the scene, especially during the second half of the season. Miles Sanders is also an excellent running back who Wentz has worked with. The two wide receiver groups may be quite similar. Now, I am a big fan of Michael Pittman but outside of that, we have TY Hilton who is certainly still a very talented player but is now 31 and will turn 32 during the season, Zach Pascal who had the best receiving yards total of his career with 629 and Parris Campbell who has not played much football during his first two seasons in the NFL.

The Eagles had veteran receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson only played 7 and 5 games so they had to lean mostly on Travis Fulgham and rookie Jalen Reagor. In terms of the tight ends available, you could arguably say that the Eagles had a better group than the Colts. Now, if we look at the groups as a whole, we can see similarities between them and there are no huge differences there apart from maybe Taylor at the Colts. Unless the Colts add a few other weapons for Wentz in the draft I think for now he is being overvalued.

Sam Darnold-

YearGames PlayedTD’s ThrowInterceptionsCompletion %/Rank
201813171557.7% 21st
201913191361.9% 25th
20201291169.1% 33rd

Like Carson Wentz, Sam Darnold finds himself in a new home after the Jets traded their starting QB to the Carolina Panthers. Many think it’ll be a fresh start for the young player and fingers crossed it will be. If we look at the above key statistics they don’t make for the best reading. Even during his best year (2019) he could only manage a 25th best completion rate and 26th QB rating within the league.

Now he has not had the best supporting cast, however, there have been some good players over the last three years. For example, Robby Anderson who he will now link up with once again in Carolina and Jamison Crowder were both good safety blankets for Darnold. In 2019 he had Le’Veon Bell to fall back on, although as we know this particular experiment did not work out for either party.

Now let’s compare the two seasons of Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater managed 15 touchdowns, had the same amount of interceptions with 11 but finished 5th in completion rate and good enough for 17th in QB rating. Can we expect much more from Darnold? The biggest difference will be the return of CMC. If those two can click onto the same page it will certainly help the team moving forward. The interception rate is worrying for the Panthers. The lowest number of interceptions Darnold had was 11 and this came in 12 games in 2020. Hopefully, the link-up with Anderson once again and the excellent DJ Moore can help improve Darnold but for now, unless they add another top piece I will be on the fence on this one.

Whichever QB The Jets Draft….

This one could be a bit out there. The first thing I would like to say is that I like this draft class of quarterbacks. This is not meant to be a knock on them as a group but more of a question mark over how well people expect the new player to do straight out of the gate.

We have seen the bounce some players have had once they have recently left the Jets and certainly after moving away from Adam Gase who himself has now left. It remains to be seen how the team will react to the change of coach and to the addition of a new quarterback into the mix. The same issues still face the Jets as they did in 2020. The offensive players available to Darnold did not fully lend themselves to help the young QB. Frank Gore, as good a player as he has been throughout his career will struggle to gain much more than 600 yards entering the twilight of his time in the NFL. Gore is a free agent and the Jets have added Tevin Coleman to the running back room but he is a player who struggled with health last season.

In terms of the wide receivers, Jamison Crowder remains and Corey Davis has been added after leaving the Titans. Davis had an excellent season in 2020 however he was the 3rd piece in the offence behind Henry and Brown so it will be interesting to see whether or not he can step up and be the number one target. Many expected the Jets to go out and add a high profile free agent receiver for their incoming rookie QB which many linking the likes of Juju Smith-Schuster and Kenny Golladay to New York however these did not happen and they still look a little light in that department.

Like I said at the top of this section this is not a knock on the QB talent of Fields or Wilson as I feel they can both be excellent QB’s in the league I would just temper expectations certainly for the 2021 season.  

3 Running Backs to Sell High Before Draft

James Conner Tops The List

By: Andy Will

James Conner-

Key Stats2017201820192020
Games14131013
Carries32215116169
Yards114973464721
Rushing TDs01246
Targets1713843
Catches0553435
Yards0497251215
Receiving TDs0130
Total Yards1141470715936
Total TDs01376
Fantasy Finishes2017201820192020
Standard10173325
½ PPR10763326
Full PPR11263527

James Conner has recently found himself in a new situation. He became a free agent after leaving Pittsburgh at the end of the 2020 season. He has found a new home in Arizona at a team that has made some big moves in free agency such as bringing in AJ Green to play across from Hopkins and on the defensive side by signing JJ Watt and Malcolm Butler. Kenyan Drake was allowed to leave the team and has since joined the Raiders. Many thought that this could free up Chase Edmonds to become the lead back….until James Conner signed.

Conner has never played a full 16 game season and hasn’t rushed for 1000 yards. His best season in the NFL was in 2018 where he finished with an impressive 1470 total yards on the way to a fantasy RB1 season in every format. Since then, however, his production has dropped off, along with his stats in every category. He has finished as an RB3 in both seasons.

It is still possible that the Cardinals use the draft to address the position and even if they don’t then it is likely that Conner and Edmonds take work off either other to the point it will be difficult to play either.

If you can move Conner and sell it by saying he is moving into a new situation and get good value in return it could be a good move to make.

Melvin Gordon III-

Key Stats201520162017201820192020
Games141316121215
Carries184254284175162215
Yards6419971105885612986
Rushing TDs01081089
Targets375783665544
Catches334158504232
Yards192419476490296158
Receiving TDs024411
Total Yards8331416158113759081144
Total TDs0121214910
Fantasy Finishes201520162017201820192020
Standard538562513
½ PPR507572313
Full PPR487582314

Melvin Gordon has been a great running back since being drafted in 2015. He has never finished with less than 833 total yards in any year despite only playing all 16 games once (2017). He was one of the only RBs who held his value (in terms of fantasy finishes) even though he moved teams in 2020.

Phillip Lindsay has moved teams and joined a very crowded backfield in Houston. This leaves Gordon free (at the moment) to own the backfield in Denver. The Broncos did sign Mike Boone who left the Vikings at the end of the 2020 season. It is unlikely that Boone takes much work away from Gordon this coming season so this could be a point to entice potential trade partners in your league.

Gordon is once again in a contract year so the Broncos may draft a rookie running back to ready themselves for life without Gordon. If this happens then it is possible that Gordon’s value will drop and the boat on top-dollar prices will have sailed. Now could be the time to test the water and see what you could get back for a 2020 lead back for his team.

Cam Akers-

Key Stats2020
Games13
Carries145
Yards625
Rushing TDs2
Targets14
Catches11
Yards123
Receiving TDs1
Total Yards748
Total TDs3
Fantasy Finishes2020
Standard42
½ PPR43
Full PPR45

Towards the end of the season, it was clear that the backfield of the Rams was Aker’s to lose. He ended the season with RB2 numbers from week 12 to 17.

Malcolm Brown has moved on and is now in Miami which clears some carries for Akers. However, Darrell Henderson is still there which could be an issue for Akers. Will it be a 50/50 split? Probably not, but he could still take work from Akers in 2021.

People were/are very high on the 2020 running back class, and rightly so. This could be the chance to cash in on that hype and get some good assets or rookie draft picks back in return if you have other running backs in place to see you through the 2021 season.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑