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2021 Top 50- First Look


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Trying to read the early tea leaves for next year. Standard scoring. Think keeper format, so a hybrid between redraft and true dynasty. My own process leads to a bias towards more short term players, rather than dynasty forward thinking. Rookies not yet included. Inevitably, they will be added. 

Notes: RB is again at a premium. Reliability falls off a cliff quickly, thus the position will be overdrafted. WR is super deep. Huge cluster of very solid options. I'll again try and build with RB and buy WR in bulk later. Plenty of value to be had there. TE remains a two man show. I've got 4 QB in my top 50: Mahomes, Wilson, Murray, and Allen. 

WR is so deep that D Moore, Evans, ARob, Higgins, and Kupp are all off the early list. Lamar Jackson is also out, but that may change. The Rams and Bills backfields could produce a league winner, but the carries need to be more concentrated. Somebody will land Moss or Akers (my bets to win the lion's share), eventually. Those guys may move up. This is only a rough first pass, as much on instinct as analysis. Looking forward to conversation.....

 

2021 Preliminary Rankings

1.      McCaffrey- Injuries aside, the per scoring numbers remain off the charts. He’s the single best performer, regardless of format.

2.      Kamara- The positive touchdown regression has come to fruition. Armed with a new contract and a strong supporting cast, will be a top 5 fixture for years to come.

3.      Cook- Will happily accept the periodic dings for electric, consistent performance.

4.      Henry- Only a lack of involvement in the receiving game keeps him off the top spot.

5.      Zeke- For the turnstile at QB this year and patchwork line play, still produces consistently.

6.      D. Adams- My first “had to think about it” selection. Have to take Adams over the remaining RBs because he simply always produces.

7.      Jacobs- If they only gave him more passing game touches, what could be.

8.      M. Thomas- Still an easy choice in round #1. A virtual lock for 110 grabs + in 2021.

9.      A. Jones- Proclamations of an efficiency regression proved to be false. Still love him in this offense.

10.  DK Metcalf- Russ is cooking. DK is #1 target. Hasn’t peaked yet.

11.  T. Hill- The best weapon in football plays on the best team with the best QB.

12.  D. Hopkins- Will be closer to 2019 than 2020 form in 2021 as relationship with Murray grows.

13.  Barkley- Injury rehab will tell the story. Back to back injury plagued seasons. Could move up to as high as #7 for me if process falls into place by camp. Could also move well down into the teens.

 

14.  Mixon- Hoping Burrow comes back in full and line issues addressed in the draft.

15.  K. Allen- Targets with Herbert are insane. Risk averse folks may move him into first round.

16.  AJ Brown- Will be a full- fledged superstar if he plays 16 games. TO like strength and playmaking ability.

17.  M. Sanders- Has first round ceiling. Can’t rank higher due to dings and surrounding cast.

18.  CEH- Think volume increases next year. Bell not a long- term impediment.

19.  N. Chubb- Still a beast. Hunt limits upside but high floor remains in a run first offense.

20.  A. Thielen- Produces despite Cook’s hegemony, Jefferson’s upside, and Cousins’s limitations as a passer.

21.  J. Robinson- Lack of name value will push him down many lists next summer, he’s the real deal and will likely be a value in drafts.

22.  D. Swift- Initial landing spot presumes change in coach and/or touch competition at RB. Falls into round #3 if those variables do not change, but the skill set is there.

23.  J. Taylor- Hasn’t looked great, but he is a rookie and all the other pieces are there to be really good.

24.  Claypool- Who would have thought that Robinson and Claypool would be, respectively, the best RB and WR at their position after the draft? If Ju-Ju leaves, imagine what could be.

25.  Dobbins- Need Ingram or Edwards to leave. Has looked really good in game action I’ve seen.

26.  T. Lockett- Might be 1B to Metcalf’s 1A but plenty productive.

27.  Mahomes- The best actual QB is also the best fantasy QB- plenty of surrounding talent leads to consistent play and production.

28.  A. Ekeler- A truly dynamic playmaker that should help Herbert’s ascension.

29.  J. Jones- Atlanta’s passing game is just not the same without him. HOF someday.

30.  Kittle- Still the best FF TE. Will Jimmy G. be back?

31.  J. Conner- Hasn’t hit the upside we all hoped for but a solid RB 2.

32.  S. Diggs- Much more productive than most anticipated. Allen’s lead dog.

33.  T. Kelce- There are two elite TEs for 2021. Kelce is one of them.

34.  A. Cooper- If Dak is back, remains a legitimate, back end WR 1.

35.  K. Golladay- Will be a great value in 2021. Team shakeup on the horizon

36.  Hunt- The Browns are set up to feature multiple RBs and can allow both to produce.

37.  C. Ridley- We’ve learned that Ridley needs Julio more than Julio needs Ridley

38.  R. Wilson- The chef cooks in a kitchen full of top shelf ingredients.

39.  K. Murray- Still growing as a passer, but already elite as a point producer.

40.  K. Drake- Has not lived up to the summer hype but I still believe he will be better in 2021.

41.  R. Woods- Always produces rock solid numbers but lacks elite upside.

42.  A. Gibson- True dynasty players have him higher. Like talent, hate situation.

43.  C. Carson- Simply gets hurt too much to take higher. Money when he plays.

44.  CD Lamb- Will be higher in dynasty. Has legit WR1 skills. Cooper leaves?

45.  J. Jefferson- Has flashed big time when given the targets.

46.  J. Allen- Has made the leap few thought possible as a passer. Set up well for success.

47.  McLaurin- New QB will help significantly. Has a terrific skill set.

48.  Godwin- Don’t feel AB will be in TB long term, Evans not ideal for Brady’s skill set, leaving Godwin as an excellent WR option next year.

49.  R. Jones- Moves up if Fournette leaves.

50.  D. Harris- Has flashed as early down RB. I’ll roll the dice.

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Trying to read the early tea leaves for next year. Standard scoring. Think keeper format, so a hybrid between redraft and true dynasty. My own process leads to a bias towards more short term players,

No, he's just drunk.

More anecdotal thoughts. Apologize for the length as this covers my thoughts on the top 30 or so players: To me, another interesting point of divergence occurs in the vicinity of the middle of th

10 minutes ago, geneyus said:

Yep, good stuff. I'd place Diontae Johnson somewhere just above Claypool. He is Ben's favorite. 

Love DJ, roster him in my main league, but don't see how he is ahead of Claypool. Too many nicks and dings to become a WR 1- IMO; but I do love his target share. 

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This is a good list Ack88 a few comments/observations.

You say that efficiency regression for Aaron Jones has proven to be false. While its still been good, he doesn't look like he is going to score 19 TD again, which I think is the main area where people thought his numbers would regress. 2020 Jones scores a TD/18 touches in 2019 Jones scores a TD/15 touches. So technically this is down, just not down that much compared to last year. Still many games left to play as well. Jones is currently RB 5 in PPG. Still unknown if he stays in Green Bay though and if he doesn't I think some of that efficiency and opportunity goes away.

I have been a proponent of Mixon but 14th seems way too high for him. I do think he is in the top 50. I would likely have him down at 35-40 though.

I think Justin Jefferson is too low. He should be the top rookie WR. TD aside he has outperformed Claypool and the rest of the WR by a large margin.

In general I think you are giving the rookie RB from 2020 too much benefit of the doubt. I don't think they are all top 50 players next year.

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21 minutes ago, Biabreakable said:

This is a good list Ack88 a few comments/observations.

You say that efficiency regression for Aaron Jones has proven to be false. While its still been good, he doesn't look like he is going to score 19 TD again, which I think is the main area where people thought his numbers would regress. 2020 Jones scores a TD/18 touches in 2019 Jones scores a TD/15 touches. So technically this is down, just not down that much compared to last year. Still many games left to play as well. Jones is currently RB 5 in PPG. Still unknown if he stays in Green Bay though and if he doesn't I think some of that efficiency and opportunity goes away.

I have been a proponent of Mixon but 14th seems way too high for him. I do think he is in the top 50. I would likely have him down at 35-40 though.

I think Justin Jefferson is too low. He should be the top rookie WR. TD aside he has outperformed Claypool and the rest of the WR by a large margin.

In general I think you are giving the rookie RB from 2020 too much benefit of the doubt. I don't think they are all top 50 players next year.

I think if Dak would stayed healthy Lamb is right there if not above. Lamb still making wow plays with rotation at QB and I would take him over Jefferson if he gets his QB back.

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1 hour ago, King of the Jungle said:

I think if Dak would stayed healthy Lamb is right there if not above. Lamb still making wow plays with rotation at QB and I would take him over Jefferson if he gets his QB back.

Lamb is great and it would be a very hard decision between the two for me right now. I favored Lamb by a lot going into the season but Jefferson has been a lot better than I expected.

Lamb only has one bad game this year and Dalton played well in most recent game. The way he wins is somewhat QB proof, he gets so open any QB should be able to get him the ball.

Jefferson has a 2 point per game advantage over Lamb right now in PPR and that is enough of a margin to consider them separate tiers although I think they are in the same tier.

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46 minutes ago, Biabreakable said:

Lamb is great and it would be a very hard decision between the two for me right now. I favored Lamb by a lot going into the season but Jefferson has been a lot better than I expected.

Lamb only has one bad game this year and Dalton played well in most recent game. The way he wins is somewhat QB proof, he gets so open any QB should be able to get him the ball.

Jefferson has a 2 point per game advantage over Lamb right now in PPR and that is enough of a margin to consider them separate tiers although I think they are in the same tier.

I forgot to add that I am nitpicking. Both look to have bright futures.

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27 minutes ago, Biabreakable said:

One thing I feel confident about is both of these WR being more valuable than the 2020 RBs.

I took Lamb at 1.01 in a rookie draft, so I am with you. Took Jefferson at 1.08 so high on both. Still surprised Lamb was the 3rd receiver and Jefferson the 5th in the NFL draft. What an amazing class of wideouts.

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I've been one of the biggest Mixon bulls since day one. I think he's one of the top 5-10 backs in the NFL on raw talent alone, but at some point potential has to translate into production. With Burrow potentially out for some or all of next season, you have to wonder if the Bengals will remain a dumpster fire for the foreseeable future. I've always felt that Mixon in Cincy is like Lynch in Buffalo. Great player. Bad situation. With Lynch, it wasn't until he got into a better situation that he was really able to realize his full potential. With Mixon, you wonder if that will ever happen. I'm not selling low, but I'm at a point where if someone is offering a top 15-20 player then I'm definitely going to listen because the waiting game has become tiresome.

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19 minutes ago, EBF said:

I've been one of the biggest Mixon bulls since day one. I think he's one of the top 5-10 backs in the NFL on raw talent alone, but at some point potential has to translate into production. With Burrow potentially out for some or all of next season, you have to wonder if the Bengals will remain a dumpster fire for the foreseeable future. I've always felt that Mixon in Cincy is like Lynch in Buffalo. Great player. Bad situation. With Lynch, it wasn't until he got into a better situation that he was really able to realize his full potential. With Mixon, you wonder if that will ever happen. I'm not selling low, but I'm at a point where if someone is offering a top 15-20 player then I'm definitely going to listen because the waiting game has become tiresome.

Problem is he is a tough sell right now and I highly doubt anyone is paying what you would want in return. On the other side I would be fishing to see if I could get him at a decent discount.

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On 11/25/2020 at 3:57 PM, Biabreakable said:

This is a good list Ack88 a few comments/observations.

You say that efficiency regression for Aaron Jones has proven to be false. While its still been good, he doesn't look like he is going to score 19 TD again, which I think is the main area where people thought his numbers would regress. 2020 Jones scores a TD/18 touches in 2019 Jones scores a TD/15 touches. So technically this is down, just not down that much compared to last year. Still many games left to play as well. Jones is currently RB 5 in PPG. Still unknown if he stays in Green Bay though and if he doesn't I think some of that efficiency and opportunity goes away.

I have been a proponent of Mixon but 14th seems way too high for him. I do think he is in the top 50. I would likely have him down at 35-40 though.

I think Justin Jefferson is too low. He should be the top rookie WR. TD aside he has outperformed Claypool and the rest of the WR by a large margin.

In general I think you are giving the rookie RB from 2020 too much benefit of the doubt. I don't think they are all top 50 players next year.

Great feedback, thanks.

While I generally agree with your Mixon take, the landscape at RB, especially after the top 5, unwinds really quickly, which is why guys like Mixon will be overdrafted. There are so few durable, consistent bellcows that folks will jump on Mixon, even with the injuries and bad line play.

If Swift or Dobbins become the lead and/or the crowd in their backfields are reduced, they are locks for the top 50.

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2 minutes ago, Ack88 said:

Great feedback, thanks.

While I generally agree with your Mixon take, the landscape at RB, especially after the top 5, unwinds really quickly, which is why guys like Mixon will be overdrafted. There are so few durable, consistent bellcows that folks will jump on Mixon, even with the injuries and bad line play.

And this is why I have never owned him. He always goes way before I would be willing to take him. 

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6 minutes ago, Ack88 said:

Great feedback, thanks.

While I generally agree with your Mixon take, the landscape at RB, especially after the top 5, unwinds really quickly, which is why guys like Mixon will be overdrafted. There are so few durable, consistent bellcows that folks will jump on Mixon, even with the injuries and bad line play.

If Swift or Dobbins become the lead and/or the crowd in their backfields are reduced, they are locks for the top 50.

Which of Swift or Dobbins has the brighter future? The eye test leaves me more impressed by Dobbins but I think I like Swift’s receiving potential better. 

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44 minutes ago, The Show said:

Which of Swift or Dobbins has the brighter future? The eye test leaves me more impressed by Dobbins but I think I like Swift’s receiving potential better. 

It’s interesting. I go back and forth on Dobbins because he is such a natural Ray Rice comp on the same team. But I also think his ceiling is a bit capped by LJ scrambles taking away those cheap golden PPR touches and TDs. Not to mention it seems like a high production offense with multiple backs getting consistent efficient touches. Swift is explosive as advertised. Have to discount the situation/organization. That’s probably enough alone to lean Dobbins 

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1 hour ago, Ack88 said:

Great feedback, thanks.

While I generally agree with your Mixon take, the landscape at RB, especially after the top 5, unwinds really quickly, which is why guys like Mixon will be overdrafted. There are so few durable, consistent bellcows that folks will jump on Mixon, even with the injuries and bad line play.

If Swift or Dobbins become the lead and/or the crowd in their backfields are reduced, they are locks for the top 50.

I like Swift and Dobbins a lot as well.

Taylor is more questionable with Mack coming back.

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Deshaun Watson has been consistently very good 4 years in a row. Even this year after losing his HOF WR. As consistent as Wilson.

I could make a case for moving the QBs up a little. Based on this year's preseason ratings, I'd rather pick a sure thing QB, such as Mahomes or Wilson or Watson, than the RBs who were ranked 13 onward in the FFI Expert Poll: Drake, Gurley, Fournette, Bell, CEH, Gordon, Carson, DJohnson, Taylor, Mostert, Conner, Ingram, Singletary. RBs get inured more frequently. If you wait too long on QB in 2020, your choices from 9 to 14 were Ryan, Bees, Rodgers, Wentz, Stafford, Mayfield, Goff. That's a loss of 5+ points in standard scoring.

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8 hours ago, bombjack said:

great list, thanks!
 

Despite the injuries, don’t see how Saquon falls out of top 5 next year. Perhaps by some rankings, but ADP unless something big changes he’s gonna be way up there?

He's played less than half a season in his last two years.  It's fair to start questioning him.

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Mixon still way too high. 

Zeke is starting to look like a shelf of himself and could easily fall off the cliff at any time. I'd have a hard time making him my 1st round pick in a money league in 2021, although I get why his ADP will still be high (high-powered offense if Dak is back). 

Kittle ahead of Kelce? No way. Kittle is great, but Kelce is the number 1 TE hands down and should be a top 20 pick. 

I'd have Kupp ahead of R. Woods.  His TD's are down this year, but he is Goff's favorite target.  All it takes is his TD's to uptick a little again and he's a top 10--15 WR easily. 

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I did a quick count and it looks like 16 WRs on the initial list.

I think Will Fuller deserves to be in the conversation here. I think he’s a borderline WR1 at least for the rest of this year and probably next year too.

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On 11/28/2020 at 12:11 AM, bombjack said:

great list, thanks!
 

Despite the injuries, don’t see how Saquon falls out of top 5 next year. Perhaps by some rankings, but ADP unless something big changes he’s gonna be way up there?

He’s a volatile player to rank for 2021. If everything breaks right: the surgery and rehab go well, the line play improves and/or additional pieces are added in the draft, and Jones improves, he could be a top 8 pick next year.

Conversely, if the rehab process is slow and the line is not addressed and Jones continues to be uneven as an NFL QB, he could fall back several spots. He’s no longer a slam dunk as a first round pick. Do I think he will return strongly, I do, but he has to be outside the Uber elite of round one for 2021 as of this writing.

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On 11/28/2020 at 9:36 AM, Max55 said:

I did a quick count and it looks like 16 WRs on the initial list.

I think Will Fuller deserves to be in the conversation here. I think he’s a borderline WR1 at least for the rest of this year and probably next year too.

I'm still a bit leery about Fuller. He's been great this year but I'm worried that this year is the outlier season for him and that he reverts back to old form once he gets paid.

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1 hour ago, Ack88 said:

I'm still a bit leery about Fuller. He's been great this year but I'm worried that this year is the outlier season for him and that he reverts back to old form once he gets paid.

Could very well happen.

But I still think he will be rated as a WR1/2 at beginning of next year. 

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Just now, The Show said:
1 minute ago, The Future Champs said:

Not on this list, for starters.

Top 50? Could be pretty darn close. 

I don’t think so when you have Kittle and Aiyuk there for him to compete for targets, and it’s not a very pass happy offense (with or without Jimmy G)

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Coming into 2020, everyone talked about the top 3 or 4 TEs  (Kelce, Kittle, Andrews, Ertz) being in the Top 50
now that we've seen that there is really only a Top 2 from this yr, i would think that aspect pushes both of those higher than 30 and 33.   
More owners are seeing the crapshoot of going after a mid-tier TE or even waiting on a TE and I think enough owners will try to get the "set it and forget it"  TEs

Compare this with QBs.........where it proved again you could score a mid-level QB or pick up a Herbert off the wire and compete on most weeks.

 

Also, i think Chubb is a little too low.    

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8 hours ago, The Show said:

I’m having a tough time ranking Deebo. Where do others think he belongs?

He’s a better real life football player than fantasy player. He’s a guy I will work on projecting as I build this list out, but see him towards the back end of a top 100 list- say somewhere in the 80s.

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10 hours ago, Ack88 said:

I'm still a bit leery about Fuller. He's been great this year but I'm worried that this year is the outlier season for him and that he reverts back to old form once he gets paid.

He just got suspended for violating PED policy. So who knows what lies ahead for him?

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On 11/27/2020 at 11:48 PM, Ted Lange as your Bartender said:

I could see Chase Edmonds cracking the top 50 if Drake leaves in FA.  

Josh Allen as QB4 is too high imo.  He came out of the gates red hot but he’s been pretty inconsistent since.  I’d put Herbert ahead of him at a minimum for sure, maybe even Watson if they keep their receivers.

I could be open to a shift there. Allen does so much with his legs that it is tough for me to move him down.

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DK is 3 spots higher for me. Unstoppable.

 

Also Terry Mac goes around Julio for me. I see the entire Atlanta offense fading next year.

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On 12/6/2020 at 9:27 AM, The Show said:

Has Ekeler moved up this list?

Although the sample size is very small, the Ekeler workload with Herbert, particularly in the passing game, should vault him into the top 24 picks. My initial list had him at #28 overall.

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13 minutes ago, Ack88 said:

Although the sample size is very small, the Ekeler workload with Herbert, particularly in the passing game, should vault him into the top 24 picks. My initial list had him at #28 overall.

I think I might go higher. 10-15 range. Especially PPR. I can’t think of too many RBs I’d rather have. 

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Have Kamara at #2 and Cook at #3. Splitting hairs, really. But I like the overall offense in NO a little more, thus the slight nod, but again, it is a six of one, half dozen of the other calculus. 

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3 hours ago, Deamon said:

Cook still getting disrespected.  What's one reason you have Kamara over Cook in standard?  Cook is a decent amount ahead of him in points, in less games played.

Kamara is ahead of Cook in PPR scoring by 8.8 points.

He isn't doing as much as a receiver with Hill at QB compared to Brees but he still had a 10 target game in their loss to the Eagles. He didn't have many targets the 3 weeks prior though.

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14 minutes ago, Biabreakable said:

Kamara is ahead of Cook in PPR scoring by 8.8 points.

He isn't doing as much as a receiver with Hill at QB compared to Brees but he still had a 10 target game in their loss to the Eagles. He didn't have many targets the 3 weeks prior though.

Kamara is Kamara, but IMO an important  factor for his value is who his QB is next year. Seems more valuable with Brees than not.

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4 minutes ago, zamboni said:

Kamara is Kamara, but IMO an important  factor for his value is who his QB is next year. Seems more valuable with Brees than not.

Yeah I think we have learned that a mobile QB usually isn't good for receiving RB.

Part of that split has to do with the Saints having early leads in those games where Kamara was not targeted much as well.

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11 minutes ago, Biabreakable said:

Yeah I think we have learned that a mobile QB usually isn't good for receiving RB.

Part of that split has to do with the Saints having early leads in those games where Kamara was not targeted much as well.

For similar reasons, I’m concerned about Sanders if Hurd takes over. The mobile QB of course, not the early leads.

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