2021 Fantasy Busts
Reminder that these players aren’t bad football players and I am not telling you not to draft them at all, but I think all these guys are major concerns at their current ranking and ADP. Lots of things will change over the next few weeks with training camps and pre-season just around the corner, but as of today I think the players below are bound to disappoint at their current price tag.
Joe Burrow (QB13) – The fantasy world was super excited when the Bungles decided to take J’Marr Chase at #5 in the 2021 NFL draft. But I believe passing on an o-lineman (Penei Sewell) was a mistake as protecting their franchise quarterback should have been a priority over another weapon. Burrow is also coming off major knee surgery and playing behind one of worst offensive lines in the NFL is a disaster just waiting to happen. The only saving grace is that Burrow could become a garbage time superstar as the Bengals defense is still very subpar… Sadly I believe Burrows will be lucky to play 12 games and will finish outside the top18 QB’s when it’s all said and done.
Matt Ryan (QB14) – Let me start by saying that I am a Matt Ryan fan, but the Falcons traded Julio Jones and brought in a coach that wants to run the ball, so sadly Matty Ice will not be on any of my fantasy teams this year. Ryan already gives you zero as a runner (6 career TD’s) and now his pass attempts will be in the 550 range (600+ the last 3 years). I do think we will see an increase in efficiency under Arthur Smith, but I am not buying that Ryan will be able to live up to back-end QB1 expectations. Ryan finishes outside of the top18 QB’s in 2021.
*Tannehill, Lawrence, Wentz and Cousins are all better/safer options than Ryan & Burrows and can be had at the same or cheaper price
Saquon Barkley (RB5) – Arguably one of the most talented players in the league. This guy is a freak and has everything you want in NFL runningback. Starting his career with over 2000 all-purpose yards in 2018 (rookie season), since then Saquon has turned 15 starts into just over 1500 yards from scrimmage. Now coming off ACL surgery and with the Giants adding talent at WR I am not sold we will see a return to elite status. We know Barkley isn’t going to see the 121 targets he saw in 2018, and I hear the Giants are going to take their time with their superstar RB which means he may not even be ready for week 1… When drafting in the 1st round you really don’t want to blow it, and regardless of his ridiculous talent, Saquon is way too much of a risk to be one of the top 5 RB’s off the board. Barkey will finish outside the top 10 RB’s.
Josh Jacobs (RB20) – The Raiders decided to move on from three starters on the offensive line and bring in Kenyan Drake for 11 millions dollars (over 2 years)… Jacobs also had 12 TD’s last year (which was a big part of his RB8 finish) but with questions on the o-line, competition at RB and limited receiving numbers. The only good news is that his stock has plummeted so much that if it goes any lower he might turn out to be a deal if the slide continues. But I am still going to pass on Jacobs in 2021 and let someone else in my drafts take him and hope it works out. Either way Jacobs finishes outside of the top 20 RB’s in 2021.
D’Andre Swift (RB18) – Another ultra talented RB that is playing on a real bad offense and now has legitimate competition for touches. I think the Lions actually have a decent offensive line and Swift is a top10 talent, but the rest of that offense is a mess. With a downgrade at QB and the worst receiving core in the NFL, Swift is about to face a lot of stacked boxes. Now throw in the fact that they brought in a legit backup (Jamaal Williams) to steal touches, and with the Lions looking to be awful which means a lot of negative game script… I sadly won’t be drafting this super talented RB due limited scoring opportunities on a bad team. D’Andre Swift is going to finish outside of the top20 RB’s this year.
DK Metcalf (WR6) – Another freak of an athlete (one that my wife saw in warmups last year with no shirt on and now DK is her favorite player..). I am not saying I don’t like Metcalf but WR6 is a little aggressive for me when he had less than 65 years in 6 of the last 8 games in 2020 (also only 2 TD’s over the same span). I am worried about the Seahawks offense as they refuse to upgrade the offensive line, Pete Carroll’s love for the run game and their reluctance to “Let Russ Cook”. I love DK in Best Ball formats but in standard leagues I prefer one of the WR’s that is more consistent and there are a bunch in 2021 that have a chance to finish with similar numbers at a cheap price tag. DK Metcalf finishes outside the top8 WR’s.
Julio Jones (WR16) – A legend and most likely a future Hall of Famer. But Julio is on the back end of his career, that is playing on a new (very good) team with Derrick Henry in the backfield. I honestly don’t think the volume will be there for Julio to be a fantasy difference maker. When picking a WR in the 15-20 range you are hoping that you are getting someone to finish in the WR10-12 range (or higher). Julio is amazing and will probably have a very safe floor, but I don’t believe you are going to get enough BOOM for this price tag. Julio Jones is a legend but will finish 2021 outside the top 20 WR’s in 2021.
Mike Evans (WR11) – Nope. I don’t want any shares of Mike Evans in 2021… Seriously, Chris Godwin is going to get his fair share of targets. Gronk has actually had an off-season to prepare to play football and is always a Brady favourite, and Antonio Brown is back, healthy, and in the right headspace (I hope). This offense (whole team) is awesome which will lead to very few pass attempts in the 4th quarter. Though he will be extremely efficient with his targets, I think it is going to be almost impossible for Mike Evans to see enough targets to live up his draft capital. Evans finishes outside the top 18 WR’s in 2021 (yet still scores at least 9 TD’s)
Kyle Pitts (TE5) – I am not saying that this man is not a future superstar, but a rookie TE finishing in top 5??? There have only been three top5 rookie TE’s(Gronk, Shockey, Engram) in last 30 years. And maybe Pitts will do it, but drafting him as the TE5 means that he has to do it to live up to those expectations… The math teacher (probability) in me says it is VERY VERY doubtful that he reaches those numbers. I would much rather wait a round or two and select Hockensen, Godert or Higbee who will probably end the season with similar numbers at a much cheaper price. Kyle Pitts finishes outside the top 8 TE’s in 2021.
Noah Fant (TE8) – Fant is a very good athlete, but that doesn’t always translate in fantasy. Fant saw 93 targets but that resulted in 62 grabs and 3 TD’s. Now Courtland Sutton is back and Jerry Jeudy has a (drop filled) year under his belt. I like Fant’s talent but don’t believe the targets or TD’s will be there to produce a top 8 season. Look for Fant to be consistently boring and underwhelming again in 2021. I just think there are other (cheaper) options that will give you the same production with a few more boom games. Fant finish outside the top 10 as he disappoints fantasy managers again this season.