Fantasy Football: Week 2 Starts/Sits

Week 2 is almost here!

By: Matt Gruber

Week two is upon us and it is time for the weekly starts and sits. This is the second installment of the 17-piece series aimed to help you make the roster decisions to give you an edge over your opponent. Let’s jump into it and win some championships.

Quarterbacks

Start: Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers

After a week one shocker in which Aaron Rodgers let a lot of fantasy managers down, I expect a huge bounce back this week. Rodgers takes on the Detroit Lions, at home, in prime time. It doesn’t get much better than that. Dating back to 2019, in his four games against the Lions, Rodger has averaged 284 passing yards and two touchdowns. Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are going to make a statement on Monday night.

Honorable Mentions: Jalen Hurts vs. SF, Baker Mayfield vs. HOU, Matthew Stafford @ IND

Sit: Tua Tagovailoa – Miami Dolphins

Coming off a week one win in New England, Tua Tagovailoa finds himself on the sit list for the second straight week. If it wasn’t for his rushing touchdown, he would have had a disappointing Sunday. This week, he goes up against the Buffalo Bills. The Bills were able to hold quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to under 200 passing yards and only one touchdown in week one. Facing an elite defense, the Miami Dolphins passing attack could be in trouble.

Honorable Mentions: Jared Goff @ GB, Carson Wentz vs. LAR, Derek Carr @ PIT

Running Backs

Start: Najee Harris – Pittsburgh Steelers

The debut for the highly touted rookie running back did not go as planned. Recording only 5.9 fantasy points in PPR leagues, Najee Harris was on a lot of losing teams. However, there is a lot to look forward to. In week one, Harris played 100% of the offensive snaps. It was just a poor matchup. This week he goes up against the Las Vegas Raiders who just gave up 189 rushing yards and two touchdowns to the Baltimore Ravens. I am confidently starting Harris this week as a running back one.

Honorable Mentions: Jonathan Taylor vs. LAR, Aaron Jones vs. DET, Damien Harris @ NYJ

Sit: Josh Jacobs – Las Vegas Raiders

In week one, Josh Jacobs salvaged his day on the ground by scoring two touchdowns. If it weren’t for those scores, he would have ended the day much worse. This week, he goes against a tough Pittsburgh Steelers defense who held running backs to only 76 rushing yards in week one. Couple this with the fact Jacobs has been battling injuries the last few weeks and it is an easy pass for me. We saw how it was Monday night. Jacobs was coming in and out of the game, limping at times, changing shoes, or getting up slowly. He isn’t 100% and because of that, I will leave him on my bench.

Honorable Mentions: Mike Davis @ TB, Myles Gaskin vs. BUF, James Robinson vs. DEN

Wide Receivers

Start: Cooper Kupp – Los Angeles Rams

Coming off a game where he logged 7 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown, Cooper Kupp will continue putting up numbers in week two against the Indianapolis Colts. It was evident that he and quarterback Matthew Stafford have a strong rapport as Kupp led the team in targets with 10. He will now face the Colts this week who just gave up over 150 yards and three touchdowns to Seattle’s wide receivers. Expect Stafford to continue to look Kupp’s way early and often.

Honorable Mentions: Chris Godwin vs ATL, Courtland Sutton @ JAX, Tee Higgins @ CHI

Sit: Robby Anderson – Carolina Panthers

Before saving his day with a long touchdown reception, Robby Anderson was trending towards a goose egg. Finishing week one with one catch for a 57-yard touchdown, some fantasy managers are a bit worried. Anderson was only targeted three times all game. This was even three fewer targets than fellow wide receiver and rookie Terrace Marshall Jr. Week two doesn’t get any easier as the Carolina Panthers take on the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are riding high from their victory against Green Bay where they dominated. Holding Aaron Rodgers to under 150 yards, while giving up no touchdowns, Robby Anderson could be in for a long day.

Honorable Mentions: Will Fuller vs. BUF, Corey Davis vs. NE, Brandon Aiyuk @ PHI

Tight Ends

Start: Tyler Higbee – Los Angeles Rams

Although he did not manage to find the endzone, Tyler Higbee had an encouraging first week. Second on the team with six targets, he was able to produce five catches for 68 yards. Furthermore, his usage was unparalleled. He played on 100% of the offensive snaps, owned a massive 23.1% target share, and had an 80.8% route participation rate. It is clear the Rams want him on the field and with Stafford’s love for big pass catchers, Higbee will be a solid play this week.

Honorable Mentions: Rob Gronkowski vs. ATL, Noah Fant @ JAX, Jared Cook vs. DAL

Sit: Gerald Everett – Seattle Seahawks

Coming into week two, Gerald Everett may be the fifth pass-catching option on his team. He did manage to snag a touchdown catch in week one, however, it was done on only two targets. This was behind wide receivers Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf, tight end Will Dissly, and running back Chris Carson. Playing the same number of snaps as Dissly, in addition to receiving one fewer target, I am not confident with Everett in my starting lineup. While I do like his potential, I need to see more from him before I am willing to roll him out there. Pivot to another tight end option if possible.

Honorable Mentions: Mike Gesicki vs. BUF, Tyler Kroft vs. NE, Juwan Johnson @ CAR

If you enjoyed this piece, feel free to find more of my content on Twitter @FF_Worm. I am always available to talk fantasy football and answer any questions.

Why you should be buying Aaron Rodgers

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers needs to be sought out

By Chris Moore (Twitter: @fantasy_moore)

While Aaron Rodgers just had the worst game of his pro career in Week 1, I wouldn’t be panicking about the future hall of Famer just yet. Rodgers and the Packers as a whole looked terrible against the Saints in week 1. The Saints completely dominated the Packers through four quarters. The result even led to some wild conspiracy’s online. About Rodgers possibly tanking due to how bad he looked on Sunday.

I think the result was clearly due to Rodgers missing almost all of the offseason, the change of game location, and the Packers didn’t look right on either side of the ball in Week 1. It was a rough outing for the Packers as a whole, but this performance should be viewed as an anomaly. The Packers are still favorites to win their division and remain one of the best teams in the NFC.

Buy Opportunity

Right now is the perfect opportunity to trade for the 2020 NFL MVP, as Week 1 might be Rodger’s worst fantasy performance we see all year. Rodgers and the Packers will have a great bounce-back opportunity in Week 2 against the Lions, and now should be the time to capitalize and make a trade for him. Matter, in fact, the Lions, Bears, and Vikings defense all look timid for the second straight season. Next week it may be too late to trade for the former MVP. The Packers still have one of the best offenses in the NFL, and they aren’t going to perform as poorly as they did in Week 1 every week.

Season Outlook

Let’s not forget how dominant this offense was last season. Rodgers finished as the QB3 last year. Aaron Jones finished 2020 as the RB5. Davante Adams finished as the WR1, and Robert Tonyan was the TE3. The Packers’ offense completely dominated in fantasy last season, and there’s still a chance they are that great again this year. One bad game shouldn’t change your view on how good this team can be in terms of fantasy. Rodgers was incredible last season, and I believe he has the chance to achieve that success again in 2021.

Ride The Last Dance

If you currently own Rodgers, there’s no reason why you should be hopping off the train just yet. It is unrealistic to expect Rodgers to put up the numbers he did in 2020. It’s not unrealistic to view Rodgers as a top fantasy QB. Rodgers has clear top-five fantasy upside in this offense, and he’s someone I would be looking to buy low on. While it’s anyone’s guess if this is Rodger’s last season in Green Bay, I don’t expect him to go out like this. Rodgers is going to look like the quarterback we saw last year. It’s only a matter of time until we see him and Adams tearing up secondaries once again. Right now is the perfect opportunity to trade for Rodgers while he’s coming off one of the worst performances of his career. Now is the time to hop on the Aaron Rodgers train and ride the last dance.

3 of the most “untradeable” players in fantasy

Never trade Jonathan Taylor

By: Taylor Ford

These three players will be hard to acquire in your dynasty and redraft fantasy leagues for 2021. Though, untradeable, means it will also be hard to trade these guys at the current asking price around leagues.

Jonathan Taylor

We start with the guy that is probably the hardest to move. This is the second season for the phenom that is Jonathan Taylor. Like the other two guys on this list, his stock is probably higher than it will ever be, making it hard to acquire him. The opposite side is that he is going to be hard to trade away because most people will not be willing to give the proper asking price for the guy. I personally am in 10 leagues (8 Dynasty), and I have only seen him moved once. I was the one acquiring him, and I paid a lot. That owner received Austin Ekeler, Robert Woods, and a 2023 first-round pick.  According to Dynasty Trade Calculator, as of right now, JT has a higher value than every running back not named Christian McCaffrey. In the last 6 games of last season, He put on a show for his fantasy owners. In those 6 games, he tallied 741 yards on 119 carries and rushed for 7 touchdowns. At only 22 years old he is going to be a monster, but is he worth paying the amount asked of by owners? In my opinion, absolutely.

Kyle Pitts

Second is the rookie future Hall of Famer Kyle Pitts. He is so high in value right now before even taking a snap in the NFL, it’s unreal. Redraft leagues may not be near as difficult to acquire or move him, but in dynasty, it seems impossible. The asking price is extremely high for unproven talent. I did see one trade in a league that I am in. Pitts got sent to another team for Darren Waller, Mike Williams, and 2 second-round picks. That is the cheapest I have seen out of the offers posted on Twitter. The guy is a rare talent at that position, sure. It still remains a mystery if that will translate over to the NFL. So, is the asking price worth the pay? Not in my opinion.

CeeDee Lamb

This number 88 superstar for America’s team is an absolute stud. Last year he put up just short of 1000 yards and tallied 5 TDs on 74 receptions. This was with four different quarterbacks. Now with Dak looking all sorts of elite and being the one throwing CeeDee the ball all season, Lamb is going to kill it. Though, he is not and will not be the number one receiver in Dallas as long as 19 is there. On the contrary of what most fantasy owners have been trained to believe this offseason, CeeDee is and will be the number 2 in the big D.  Amari is Dak Prescott’s favorite target and most likely always will be as long as Coop is on the squad. Now, this does not mean CeeDee’s value goes way down. Both Dallas receivers can and most likely will finish top ten in fantasy for the 2021-2022 season. I once offered all of my draft picks for 3 years (21 draft picks) for CeeDee by himself and the guy declined it. I have completed one trade this offseason for him. It involved me giving a first and Antonio Gibson. Is he worth the price you have to pay to acquire him? Yes, he is worth it, but getting someone to pays his price may be hard to find.

Why RB Latavius Murray is a Buy in Fantasy

RB Latavius Murray has huge potential with the Ravens

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

After some unfortunate injuries leading up to Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season, including JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards, the stable of running backs for the Baltimore Ravens is going to look much different than expected. Their rushing attack, in addition to quarterback Lamar Jackson of course, will now likely come from a combination of multiple running backs. This is not uncommon for the Ravens, who use a creative run-heavy scheme and can support multiple running backs from a fantasy football perspective.

The distribution of carries in Baltimore is going to be something to keep a very close eye on over the early weeks of the season. They have a few different options for who could receive the biggest workload, including Ty’Son Williams, Devonta Freeman, and Le’Veon Bell, but the leading candidate to have the most production is their newest addition to the roster, Latavius Murray. It may take a week or two to get him up to speed, but as soon as he is fully acclimated with his new team, he will likely take over as their RB1. Here is why Murray is a buy in fantasy leagues and the top choice of who to own in the ravens backfield.

Consistent and Reliable

Across his seven seasons in the NFL, Murray has only missed four games total. He has consistently solid production including 713 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns per season, 4.2 yards per carry, and just two lost fumbles in his entire career. He played in three very different schemes with the Raiders, Vikings, and Saints but that never impacted his steady output so changing teams again would not appear to have any negative effect on his game. He is used to playing in situations where he has to compete for carries so being in the Ravens currently crowded backfield is no different. He has always delivered positive results when given the chance and this may be his biggest opportunity for more touches in over five years. A bigger workload in an extremely RB-friendly scheme could mean big things for Murray this year.

Weak Competition

None of the other RB options on the Ravens are nearly as dependable as Murray. Freeman has been unable to stay healthy over the last three seasons, playing in just 21 games combined, and his yards per carry have steadily decreased. His 3.5 yards per carry over the last three years are significantly lower than his career 4.1 average, which indicates regression. Williams has not played an NFL game yet but was not at all a high prospect coming out of college. In fact, he was undrafted, which speaks to his perceived low potential as a player. Bell is an interesting situation but it appears that his best days are behind him at this point.

In his five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bell was one of the very best backs in the NFL with a very dynamic skill set. He eclipsed 2200 total yards back in the 2014 season and came close to the 2000 yard mark twice more in both 2016 and 2017. After sitting out the entire 2018 season because of a contract dispute, he has never been quite the same. Playing in 26 games over the last two seasons, he has recorded just 1716 total yards combined. In his prime that would be a down year for just a single season total. Now 29 years old and 4 years removed from elite status, it is more than likely that his best days are long gone.

Considering all of the question marks and inconsistencies with all of the other options, Murray is by far the most reliable back in Baltimore. All of them will get carries at some point and their play on the field will likely determine the share of touches moving forward. Murray is the newest to the team so he may not get too much of a workload in week 1 but as the season continues on it should increase drastically. All things considered, he is the leading candidate to be the RB1 for the Ravens and has an opportunity to have a huge season in this run heavy scheme. If there is one back to buy in fantasy right now, Murray is the best investment.

What are realistic expectations for Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase?

Is Ja’Marr Chase ready to dominate in year one?

By: Brady Akins

With the option on the board to select an offensive lineman at their biggest position of need, the Cincinnati Bengals went all in on operation ‘Make Joe Burrow Happy,’ selecting a wide receiver for the team’s presumed quarterback of the future.

Not only a receiver, though, but Burrow’s former teammate at LSU — Ja’Marr Chase, the presumed top receiver from the 2021 NFL Draft.

Time will tell if Chase can live up to those high expectations, but as far as his rookie season is concerned, there are reasons for both optimism and pessimism that the former Tigers standout can thrive at the next level.

Optimistic

The last time Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase hooked up to toss around a football, it went fairly well.

As in ‘National Championship, highest-scoring offense in college football historic, individual recording break for both Burrow and Chase’ well.

As teammates with the LSU Tigers, Burrow and Chase thrived to a 15-0 championship season that was largely effortless. That team success came in huge part from the offense, which broke the record for most points scored in a season with a staggering 726. 

And the success of that record-breaking offense largely came from the passing attack– which earned Burrow a Heisman trophy on the heels of a 60 passing touchdown season, an all-time record, and earned Chase what was at the time an SEC record for most receiving touchdowns in a season with 20.

And wouldn’t you know it, those two record breakers at the helm for a record-shattering championship year in 2019 have now found themselves on the same NFL roster. 

History favors that connection continuing to thrive, especially considering the circumstances around the Bengals roster. In order to draft Chase fifth overall, Cincinnati first had to pass up on the opportunity to select a high-ceiling offensive line prospect, one that you could argue was more necessary than addressing the wide receiver group.

That decision may prove to be fatal for the offense as a whole, but it could benefit Chase in the short term. Clearly from their time playing together at LSU, Burrow has come to trust Chase enough to make him the leading receiver on a Tigers’ offense stacked with skill position talent. And with Burrow missing six games of his first professional season, there’s a chance that the quarterback hasn’t had enough time to establish that same level of trust with any of his new pass catchers.

So, when the pocket collapses and the play goes off script, who is Burrow going to be looking for? The answer, hopefully, will be Ja’Marr Chase. Burrow attempted 40.4 passes per game in 2020, the third-highest rate in the NFL. If Chase’s skill is as advertised, and the chemistry the two Tigers’ developed through their time in college stays strong, Burrow could be looking to his rookie receiver early, especially in times of duress in the pocket.

Hopeful Projection: 85 Catches, 1,250 Yards, 12 Touchdowns

Pessimistic 

Of course, for Chase to have any chance at all of fantasy football relevance, he’ll need Burrow to stay on the field. Easier said than done.

The injury Burrow suffered in Week 11 isn’t the average everyday season-ender. The quarterback tore his ACL and MCL on the same play, and is now expected to miss the entire preseason in an effort to play it safe.

That missed time, especially for a pair of young players like Burrow and Chase, could prove necessary in order to re-establish the chemistry they once had at LSU. And even if (that’s a big if, by the way) the two players are completely healthy and both on the same page– it doesn’t guarantee that their play will mirror what it did in college.

Burrow and Chase weren’t the only two people making that elite offense what it was. They were among the two biggest on-field contributors, sure, but they also had Joe Brady calling the plays– the man now coordinating the Carolina Panthers offense who generated a fair bit of head coaching buzz this past offseason. They had the help of Justin Jefferson, the Minnesota Vikings’ first-round superstar, taking pressure away from Chase. They had Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the backfield, making sure the defenses couldn’t simply drop eight defenders in coverage. 

And the Bengals have talent, sure, but relative to what LSU had on offense compared to the average SEC defense, Cincinnati doesn’t come close to that talent/play-calling mismatch. Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Burrow aren’t in Kansas anymore. Or rather, in Baton Rogue. The defenses are tougher, and the man responsible for calling the plays of LSU’s offensive spectacle is off in a different conference. 

And let’s talk about talent for a second too. Because the Bengals do have it at receiver. Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd were both factors in the Cincinnati offense, each with over 65 catches and 800 yards. And that was without Burrow in the lineup for a chunk of time. You don’t draft a receiver fifth overall unless you expect him to be the top guy in an offense, but that doesn’t make Higgins and Boyd non-factors. Rather, Chase will be competing for touches with that already established, proven pro-ready duo.

The Bengals drafted Joe Burrow’s favorite target in college, partially due to their established connection and chemistry. But that decision could end up blowing up in their faces in year one.

Doubtful Projection: 60 Catches, 790 Yards, Six Touchdowns

Realistic

Here’s the thing about those doubtful projections. At the end of the day, if Chase hits that worst-case scenario, he’s still doing pretty well. 

Definitely not a fantasy football star. Definitely not someone you would be happy to rely on in a 17-game season. But in terms of real-life football, that would be a strong rookie season, considering the questionable health of his quarterback and the recent struggles of the Bengals offense.

But here’s the reality. Ja’Marr Chase was drafted fifth overall for a reason. I won’t put on the role of NFL scout and break down Chase’s strengths and weaknesses, but I will trust the guy that was seen as the near-consensus best wide receiver in a draft that included the first Heisman winner at the position in three decades.

Without Joe Brady, expecting LSU numbers at any point in Chase’s career in Cincinnati would be foolish. Even with him, making 20 touchdown catches the expectation is somewhere near insanity. Especially considering who Burrow was as a player his rookie year. A solid, athletic, accurate young player with plenty of promise, but a guy who managed just 13 passing touchdowns in 11 games– a far cry from the 60 he had his final year in college.

That struggle to hit the endzone will reflect poorly on Chase, but will likely be made up for by the high-passing volume coming from the Bengals’ offense. Cincinnati was a bad team last year, even with Burrow. The Bengals won four games overall, and spent most of their time throwing the ball in a desperate effort to catch up. Cincinnati’s overall fate should still remain the same, with plenty of passing attempts in Burrow’s future. 

And yes, the connection between the two LSU teammates should not be overlooked. Even with other mouths to feed in the receiving corps, Burrow and Chase thrived together with the Tigers, and will head into Week 1 with instant chemistry, cutting out any annoying growing pains from Chase’s fantasy production.

Chase should be good in 2021. Good enough to consider drafting as a high-end FLEX option.

Realistic Projection: 75 Catches, 1,050 Yards, Eight Touchdowns

Fantasy Football: Start Your Studs

Elite Players Win Matchups

By Jesse Moeller via JMoeller05

Today is the day that football is officially back! We have our first matchup of the regular season between the Buccaneers and Cowboys. This week, I would like to dive into the weekly game theory in fantasy football, particularly redraft leagues.

What kicked off this idea in my head was seeing numerous individuals questioning whether or not to start Ezekiel Elliot this week against Tampa Bay after Dallas lost All-Pro guard Zach Martin for the week. Of course, the worry is legitimate, as losing a player of Martin’s caliber will affect Elliot this week. But, with the volume Elliot is set to receive, do you seriously consider benching Elliot?

In the long and short of it, the answer is no, and you do not bench him on 99% of fantasy teams. Now, let me tell you the game that forever changed how I view sit/start options. It was week 9 of the 2019 season, and the undefeated New England Patriots were facing the 5-2 Baltimore Ravens. The Patriots’ defense was on a record-setting pace in the first half of the year. They were averaging 22.62 fantasy points per game. To give you a perspective on how great this was, using FantasyPros, I was able to get back to the 2012 season. The most fantasy points a defense has scored in a season was 236 points. So the eight-game pace the Patriots were on would have scored 362 fantasy points over a year. That’s a CMC or Kelce type of advantage over your opponents.

I struggled all week deciding what to do with Lamar, as I was terrified the Patriots defense would put the clamps on him. I picked up Derek Carr as my insurance policy as the Raiders were facing the woeful Detroit Lions that week. That Sunday morning, I began to panic, and I did the unthinkable. I benched Lamar for Derek Carr as I convinced myself it was a perfect matchup for Carr and a brutal one for Lamar. Then I sat back and watched as Lamar shredded the Patriots on national television for 28+ fantasy points. On the other hand, Carr had a decent game, but it cost me in the matchup as I lost by four points that week. I knew in the first quarter that I had made a horrible mistake and decided to torture myself by watching the entire game. From that moment on, I decided that I would start my stud players almost exclusively.

Have you ever noticed that you have an uneasy feeling in your stomach whenever you bench an elite fantasy player? That is your body’s way of telling you that you made a wrong decision. So let me dive into this topic a bit and explain why you should listen to your body when it talks to you. When I referenced benching Zeke, and why I thought it was a bad idea, it comes down to who you have on your roster that you are comfortably replacing him with? Does that running back have an upside as high as Zeke? If you can make a legitimate case that the running back does, I am open to it, but why would you bench Elliot unless you have a Derrick Henry and Aaron Jones in your backfile along with Elliot?

Yards Per Fantasy had a great piece on why volume is King for running backs, and I agree with the conclusion they arrived at and why volume is what you want. Hence, How you find a Superstar fantasy running back is when you add efficiency to volume. Elliot is a volume play in week one as the Buccaneers will likely not give up many yards on the ground, being the only NFL to allow less than 1000 rushing yards last year. If Elliot is efficient this week, he will quickly become a top-five running back in week one. I guarantee the player you benching Zeke for does not have that in their range of outcomes.

As managers, we tend to overthink situations and matchups, as we love to do. We believe that we tend to know more than we do. Do not fall victim to galaxy brain thoughts with your team this week. If you are debating benching Zeke for Raheem Mostert, Gus Edwards, or Chase Edmonds in week one, you have played yourself. These players all have issues and are not as safe as we believe, even with the plus matchups boosting them up in week one.

When dealing with sit-start decisions, I have a few thoughts I run through to help clarify the situation. First, I consider the players’ role, the volume they will receive, and the upside if that player hits maximum expectations. Lastly, I examine the matchup to be more of a tiebreaker if I cannot decide between the two options. Following these guidelines has given me a more significant hit rate in my sit-start decisions from that regretful decision to bench Lamar decision back in 2019.

Given those guidelines, what are you doing with Zeke in your lineup? Are you even contemplating benching him? He feels exceptionally safe to me when you look at sit-start decisions through a different prism. If I were to boil this down to a simple “Start Your Studs” policy across the board, why that is important is upside wins you championships, and the stud players you drafted early were drafted early for that reason. They do what few other players can do for your team on a weekly and season-long basis. We can all get too cute from time to time, as we read too much into a situation to tell ourselves a story that does not exist. When all along, it would have made more sense to start the stud player instead of worrying about a problem that never existed in the first place.

I thank you for reading my latest piece. If you do not want to take my words for it, I present to you the comments of Ian Hartitz on the matter of starting the best players on your team.

Fantasy: 2020 rookies that will continue to dominate in 2021

Buy Chase Claypool

By: Brady Akins

One of the central appeals to fantasy football is finding the next big thing. Maybe you yourself don’t have what it takes to be a real NFL scout, but by gosh, you can grind highlight reels and find impressive rookies for your fantasy football roster.

And while the initial hype train might have already left the station for 2020’s most impressive rookies, it’s not to late to buy stock in those players now, and plant your flag firmly in the camp of believing that they can continue their great play in the 2021 season. 

And if you’re lost on which rookies to put your faith in, well, we have you covered.

The Justin’s (Herbert and Jefferson)

Let’s start off with the obvious.

You don’t need anyone to tell you that the two rookies coming off of historically great seasons are probably going to be pretty good next year. Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert broke the league record for most passing touchdowns from a rookie last season with 31, while Vikings’ wide receiver Justin Jefferson finished with the most receiving yards in a year in the Super Bowl era with 1,400.

In Week 1 against a very stingy Washington defense, Herbert tossed 337 passing yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. It may not of been a sexy stat line, but he was efficient against one of the best pass rushes in the league, plus it was a great comeback victory.

Herbert finished as the overall QB9 last year, despite sitting out in Week 1, while Jefferson closed out his rookie campaign as the WR6 in PPR scoring.

Jefferson notched 5 catches for 71 yards in last Sunday’s performance. If his modest stat line means anything, it means you should break the bank for him now. It’s only a matter of time before he gets in sync with Captain Kirk. He has many divisional games where he will feast this season. Did you witness the Lions (41 pts allowed), Packers (38 pts allowed), and Bears pass defense (34 pts allowed) this past week?

Both players had elite numbers in their rookie seasons, and if they can avoid sophomore slumps, those numbers could be even stronger as they head into Year 2 is more experience.

Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

Jalen Hurts is a guy you want on your fantasy football team.

I don’t care if he’s never had a game completing over 60% of his passes. I don’t care if he’s playing on an Eagles’ offense that finished 26th in points per game last season. None of it matters. 

What does matter is that Hurts was the overall QB7 from the time he took over as the starter in Philadelphia in Week 14 to the end of the 2020 season, despite being benched halfway through his Week 17 game for what some people might consider… dubious purposes. 

He got there through easily repeatable means, as well, relying on his running ability in order to rack up 357 yards in only four starts (that’s nearly 100 rushing yards per start!). Now, imagine what Hurts could do with an entire offseason dedicated to tailoring the offense around his skillset.

Imagine what Hurts could do with the addition of Devonta Smith, the Heisman-winning receiver out of Alabama, in the passing game. Imagine what he could do with a full 17-game schedule at his disposal. 

Well, Hurts proved just how far he came in his Week 1 performance. The second-year QB balled out with 264 passing yards and 3 passing touchdowns. The Bama Heisman winner is already a factor as he garnered 71 yards and his first receiving touchdowns.

Did I mention Hurts plays in the worst division in the league? NFC Least.

Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers 

Here’s a riddle for your reading pleasure. What do you get when you take a football player with the size of a tight end and give him 4.4 speed?

What you get is Chase Claypool– WR1. Not just on the Steelers, but maybe for your fantasy football team as well.

Claypool’s physical gifts are hard to question. He’s the perfect combination of size, speed and strength to entice NFL teams and fantasy managers alike. The real question comes down to whether or not he can separate himself from the pack of Steelers wide receivers, a group that includes Juju Smith-Schuster and Dionte Johnson.

And the answer is, well, yeah. He definitely can.

Claypool already put up impressive numbers in his rookie season. Despite some inconsistent play, the overall box score tells an encouraging story. Claypool got the number of targets you would like to see from a wide receiver in the process of developing a connection with his quarterback with 109. He managed 11 touchdowns as well, including two on the ground, showing off his versatility in the Steelers’ offense.

Only two players through the ball more in 2020 than Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and if that volume maintains, a large chunk of it has a good chance to go to Claypool as he continues to grow into his role as an NFL wide receiver, continues to establish a rapport with his quarterback and continues to stand out as the most physically gifted player on the roster.

Claypool only grabbed 4 catches for 45 yards in last week’s victory, but he that should be the absolute floor in 90% of his matchups. Dionate Johnson only mustered out 3 catches for 35 yards, so the explosion was just not there in Week 1. Expect the Steelers second-year monster to be competing the top production in 2021. There will be plenty of shootouts against the Bengals rebuilding defense, Browns, and Ravens this calendar year.

Watch out for Claypool to add some consistency to his performances, and shine as a surprise superstar in the Steelers’ offense. 

Fantasy: 3 non-top 10 QBs that will shine in 2021

Matthew Stafford will majorly impress in 2021

The fine folks over at FantasyPros have a neat little tool where they compile the rankings of around 100 fantasy football experts to make one big consensus position ranking list.

We can learn a lot from this list. One thing being, there are a ton of potentially stellar fantasy football quarterbacks waiting in the wings this season.

The big names like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Kyler Murray are obvious and are bound to fly off draft boards early. But some of the names further down the list, the players being ranked as fringe backups, could be nearly as good as the biggest names at the position– despite the gap in draft status between them.

So this draft season, load up on your position players, focus on the skill groups, and put your faith in one of these three quarterbacks to carry your team to the finish line as late round draft picks.

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (FantasyPros Consensus Ranking — #11)

You’re telling me Ryan Tannehill, the guy who finished seventh in quarterback fantasy points last year on the NFL’s second run-heaviest offense and now has Julio Jones playing as a WR2, that Ryan Tannehill, is being drafted as a backup in 10-team fantasy leagues?

Scoop him up in your draft and prepare to be rewarded for it.

The disrespect on Tannehill’s production is nothing new– same as his ability to shatter that dated perception on the field. Before his overall QB7 run last season, Tannehill finished as the overall QB3 in 2019 from Week 7 to the end of the year, the stretch of time when the Titans’ quarterback was promoted from bench duty to starter.

Now, Tennessee will be introducing a new offensive coordinator, one with a background in coaching quarterbacks, and will be introducing one of the most talented receivers of a generation to a wide receiver group that already included AJ Brown.

With a change in offensive philosophy and an influx of pass-catching talent, expect the run-heavy Titans to rely a slight bit more on the arm of Tannehill than they did last year. With more of a chance to shine, the Titans’ quarterback might jump back to his QB3 ways over the course of 2021– or at least pretty close to it.

Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams (FantasyPros Consensus Ranking — #12)

How Matthew Stafford’s fantasy stock has dropped all the way to QB12, I will never know.

Stafford has made the move from the desolate, depressing wasteland of success and offensive talent known as the Detroit Lions to the sunny shore of Los Angeles, where the waiting hands of Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp await, and the offensive genius of head coach Sean McVay is standing at the gates of SoFi Stadium waiting to greet him in.

Despite worse talent around him and worse coaching on the sidelines, Stafford still flashed talent as a legitimate real-life football asset, throwing for over 4,000 yards and 26 touchdowns in the midst of a lost 2020 season.

With the boost in supporting cast, Stafford could build on what was a strong season and shine as a solid starting quarterback for your fantasy team, all for the cost of a Round 10-12 draft pick.

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (FantasyPros Consensus Ranking — #13)

Here’s a secret about Joe Burrow, one that might have been lost in a season derailed by injuries and overshadowed by the surprise stardom of another rookie quarterback in Justin Herbert.

Joe Burrow is really good at football– and proved it last year before the eventual leg injury heard around the streets of Ohio.

FantasyPros consensus QB13 is currently being drafted like a high-to-mid tier backup, despite playing the 2020 season like a star in the making just waiting to blossom. The former LSU Tiger used a heavy amount of passing volume to put up chunks of passing yards in just about every game he played, peaking in Week 7 with a 406 yard, three passing touchdown performance where he also added one score on the ground as well.

And things looked promising for Burrow from that moment on, following up that stellar showing with another strong outing the following week, struggling a bit after the bye against a strong Steelers defense, and eventually seeing his season coming to an early end the next week against another great Washington Football Team defense.

But keep in mind who Burrow was in 2020. A rookie, on 2019’s worst football team, who was gifted heaps of passing volume and now has the benefit of experience working for him, as well as the addition of a rookie receiver in Ja’Marr Chase, Burrow’s former LSU teammate who finished with a 20 touchdown season in their last college run together.

Taking a young quarterback fresh off an injury could be a gamble, but one that could pay off handsomely in the case of Burrow.

Fantasy Football: Week 1 Starts/Sits

Sit Tua Tagovailoa

By: Matt Gruber

Week one is just hours away and it’s finally time for the weekly starts and sits. This is the first installment of the 17-piece series aimed to help you make the roster decisions to give you an edge over your opponent. Let’s jump into it and hopefully win some championships.

Quarterbacks

Start: Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles start their season on the road against the Atlanta Falcons. This is a juicy matchup as the Falcons were ranked dead last in the league in passing yards allowed. Furthermore, they surrendered 34 passing touchdowns last season which would rank them 27th in the league. Couple this with Hurts’ ability to run and he should be in for a big day.

Honorable Mentions: Matt Ryan vs. PHI, Trevor Lawrence @ HOU, Baker Mayfield @ KC

Sit: Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins head to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots. This is a definite avoid for me. Last season, the Patriots were 8th best when it came to passing yards allowed. In addition, this defensive unit gave up the fifth least amount of passing touchdowns to opponents. The last time Tagovailoa faced the Patriots he threw for a measly 145 yards and one interception. Leave him on your bench this week.

Honorable Mentions: Andy Dalton @ LAR, Daniel Jones vs. DEN, Jared Goff vs. SF

Running Backs

Start: James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars

Second-year running back James Robinson should be in for a huge day on the ground. He is going into Houston to face the Texans who were brutal against the run last season. Ranking last in rushing yards allowed and 30th in rushing touchdowns allowed, Robinson needs to be in your lineup. In his last game against the Texans, he gashed them for 99 yards and one touchdown. I am expecting similar results.

Honorable Mentions: Gus Edwards @ LV, Miles Sanders @ ATL, Raheem Mostert @ DET

Sit: D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions find themselves in a home matchup versus the San Francisco 49ers. Ranked inside the top seven for the least amount of rushing yards and rushing touchdowns allowed, this is going to be a tough matchup for Swift and the rushing attack. On top of the stout defense he faces, he was dealing with a groin injury. Although he should be good to go, I will err on the side of caution here and keep Swift on the bench for this one.

Honorable Mentions: Zach Moss vs. PIT, Josh Jacobs vs. BAL, Melvin Gordon @ NYG

Wide Receivers

Start: Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans

This may be a bit of a surprise since their starting quarterback is Tyrod Taylor, but someone’s got to catch the ball. Cooks is the top target on this team and has a great matchup against one of the worst pass defenses in the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ranked 27th in yards and touchdowns allowed last season, this Jaguars defense is a funnel. I am plugging Cooks into my lineup with confidence.

Honorable Mentions: Tee Higgins vs. MIN, Laviska Shenault Jr. @ HOU, DeVonta Smith @ ATL

Sit: Kenny Golladay, New York Giants

After missing a good portion of training camp and the preseason with a hamstring injury, it doesn’t get any easier for Giants wide receiver Kenny Golladay. He will be going up against a solid pass defense in the Denver Broncos. Pair this with the fact Golladay will be playing in his first game with a new team and system, with little practice reps, and this is a no-brainer for me. Leave him on your bench.

Honorable Mentions: Michael Gallup @ TB, Chase Claypool @ BUF, Mike Williams @ WSH

Tight Ends

Start: Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

I know what you’re thinking. Yes, the Rams are playing the Chicago Bears who have a good defense. However, last season, this Bears team gave up the second-most fantasy points per game to tight ends. In addition, they gave up the third-most touchdowns to the position. Matthew Stafford loves his big pass catchers and when this team gets into the red zone, bet on Stafford to look for his 6’6” tight end in Higbee.

Honorable Mentions: Zach Ertz @ ATL, Tyler Kroft @ CAR, Austin Hooper @ KC

Sit: Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks

In his Seahawks debut, Gerald Everett finds himself going up against the Indianapolis Colts. An overall solid defense, the Colts are exceptionally strong against tight ends. Ranked third last season in the least amount of fantasy points per game allowed to the position, Everett may find himself having a quiet day. I wouldn’t bank on a touchdown catch to salvage a disappointing day either, as the Colts only allowed three touchdowns to tight ends last season. I would look elsewhere for a tight end this week.

Honorable Mentions: Mike Gesicki @ NE, Dawson Knox vs. PIT, Eric Ebron @ BUF

If you enjoyed this piece, feel free to find more of my content on Twitter @FF_Worm. I am always available to talk fantasy football and answer any questions.

Fantasy: 3 deep sleepers at TE

Target Seahawks TE Gerald Everett

By: Ravi Krishnan

So here we are, two days away from the much-awaited 2021 season of our favorite pastime, the National Football League. For many of us that follow the NFL, a big driver to our enthusiasm is our craziness towards Fantasy Football in general and looking for gold nuggets in the NFL marshlands, to be more specific. While everyone thinks, talks, and reads about the Top 100 players to be drafted, some of us are keener to unearth viable fantasy players for your roster from among the bottom-feeders in the NFL players’ universes.

Today’s article examines the Tight End (TE) position and looks at three potentially unseen heroes at the spot — or, super-deep sleepers, to be referential to fantasy football. So, without any further ado, here are 3 super-duper-sleeper TE picks for the 2021 fantasy football season.

  1. Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks’ new OC, Shane Waldron was the passing game coordinator with the Rams last season. He brings with him a quick-passing style of offense that should work wonders in a Russ Wilson-helmed offensive unit. And one of the biggest factors in this offense could potentially be its newest TE – Gerald Everett. He played under Waldron in LA, and is familiar with his system. He was already in line to pick up the 77 targets left vacant by Greg Olsen and Jacob Hollister last year, but should garner many many more in Waldron’s TE-friendly system. Most significantly, Seattle has no clear No. 3 target in its passing offense behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett — Everett could very easily be the missing piece.

2021 Average Draft Position (ADP): #17 in Half-PPR

Projected Upside Ranking for Season: Top 8 among TEs

  1. Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys

Two years back, Jarwin showed flashes of big-play potential in a limited role behind Jason Witten. His promise was attractive enough for the Cowboys to give him a four-year, $22 million extension in the offseason – but to his misfortune, he tore his ACL in Week 1 of 2020.  In his absence, Dalton Schulz was well on his way to a TE1 finish until Dak Prescott’s untimely injury. Now Jarwin is back, he’s healthy, and has been getting his due reps as a starter during pre-season practices and games. Yes, there is a slight chance of his getting Wally Pipped by Schultz, but fact is that Jarwin is the more athletic, more naturally skilled player at the position; also, he’s the one the team has invested in, and that ultimately matters. Even from an on-field data perspective, Jarwin’s upside is easy to see – Schultz was targeted 89 times last year and had luminaries such as Cooper Rush and Garrett Gilbert throwing to him; a healthy Jarwin getting passes thrown to him by a healthy Dak could very viably get past 100 targets and a potential Top 10 TE finish to the season.

2021 Average Draft Position (ADP): #21 in Half-PPR

Projected Upside Ranking for Season: Top 10 among TEs

  1. Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints

The NFL has changed over the years in player skills, athletic levels, talent pre-requisites and overall make-up of what it takes to be a star contributor. In this context, the TE position has probably seen the most radical transformation — from stodgy-blocking-experts-with-safe-hands to tall-basketball players-with WR hands. Jimmy Graham, Antonio Gates, Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Darren Waller and others have made the TE spot a unique differentiator. Many of these stars are as good, if not better, than top-level WRs, and some actually started as one. And this is the context behind my last sleeper of the day – Juwan Johnson. He was a WR until this past summer and is now a converted TE. On a team that uses TEs a lot and is now missing its top two players at the position (Adam Trautman and Nick Vannett) due to injuries, Johnson could be the sneakiest of sneaky picks for you in the late rounds. Oh, and the best part about Johnson is his position eligibility. Some sites have him as a WR, some as TE, and there are a few sites. that have granted him eligibility at both. 

2021 Average Draft Position (ADP): #48 in Half-PPR

Projected Upside Ranking for Season: Top 12 among TEs

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