QB Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
For a fantasy owner looking to cheat at the quarterback position, Burrow should be the preferred choice based on his late July ranking (13th quarterback drafted). The Bengals invested in their best receiver in college (Ja’Marr Chase – 84 / 1,780 / 20) while they were already two of the best receivers. Burrow averaged more than 40 passes per game in his rookie season, leading to 20.9 fantasy points per game in four-point touchdown leagues. However, he gained just 6.7 yards per pass attempt in his rookie season struggling to make touchdown plays in the red zone (13 touchdowns in 10 starts). I expect Burrow to be in the top five in passing attempts in 2021, with added value with his legs. Cincinnati cleared him for training camp, indicating he’s ready for Week 1. My first projections have Burrow on track for 4,850 combined yards with 34 touchdowns. At the bookmakers, my bets are over 4,200.5 passing yards and 26.5 passing touchdowns.
RB Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
When he was working on early screenings, he only had Harris ranked 15th in the PPR leagues with 65% of rushing opportunities and 75% of passing opportunities. His starting ADP (16) at the 12-team high stakes was higher than my starting outlook. The Steelers offensive line has a lot of questions as it looks to be in rebuild mode. Pittsburgh is talented as a wide receiver and has a history of leaning on a running back. I don’t see much competition for Harris on passing and no other running back offers as much explosiveness in the running game. Adding in your possible variance in the overall odds, I’m willing to be on the go as long as I understand that my starting point is roughly 1,500 yards combined with a dozen scores and 45 catches. I’ll also take care of his rushing yards (990.5) and rushing touchdowns (7.5) at the sportsbooks.
RB Trey Sermon, San Francisco 49ers
The leading running back on the 49ers offense has the opportunity to post an exceptional season with a full season of games. My two main points in Sermon’s favor are Raheem Mostert’s durability and career path (at 29, he never had more than 151 touches in a season while arriving this summer with a knee problem) and Jeff Wilson’s production ( 733 combined yards with 10 touchdowns and 13 receptions) off the bench for San Fran in 2020. In the past two seasons, the San Francisco running back gained 5,673 combined yards with 56 touchdowns and 170 receptions (33.54 fantasy points per game in the leagues. of the PRPD). Additionally, the 49ers have a superior offensive line with three dynamic receiving options at wide receiver and tight end. With an ADP of 76, Sermon should easily exceed his draft value while showing upside potential in the passing game in early OTAs. Your next step is to demonstrate that you can handle a more significant workload.
WR Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals
Fantasy owners are quick to write off Chase as a potential WR1 stud in his rookie season, while also making a premium bet on Justin Jefferson (ADP – 25 as the seventh wide receiver drafted) in 2021. Both players shone under Joe. Burrow at LSU in 2019 (Chase – 84 / 1,780 / 20 and Jefferson – 111,1,540 / 18). Chase adds great play and scoring ability to the Bengals’ offense, and his experience with Burrow should get him started his rookie season. Jefferson had no trouble making the move to the NFL (88 / 1,400 / 7) while playing a high-volume-running offense. Chase has projected 95 receptions for 1,344 yards and 10 touchdowns. Bookies have him under projected at about 30% in receiving yards (1,025.5) and touchdowns (7). Chase has a WR2 ADP (57) backend at the end of July, which heralds a buying opportunity.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers offense could take a new shape in 2021, and Najee Harris is projected to improve Pittsburgh’s running offense. Better success on the ground should lead to fewer passes and a tough situation for his top three wide receivers. Smith-Schuster finished last year as the 16th highest-scoring receiver in the PPR leagues, underperforming in yards per catch (831) and yards per catch (8.6). This draft season is the 29th in the table, with an ADP of 71 in 12-team leagues. His high volume catching skill set targets a consistent player every week while offering a higher ceiling with a rebound on his yards per catch. However, the sportsbooks seemed to have misjudged his receiving yards (790.5) and touchdowns (6). Smith-Schuster has scored seven or more touchdowns in three of his four NFL seasons.
WR Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
After an excellent finish in 2019 (45/926/4) in 11 games, Samuel missed nine games last year while shining in just one matchup (11/133). I’m intrigued by the 49ers’ offense this year, but their receiving core would have a higher ceiling if Jimmy Garoppolo earns the starting job. Samuel is the 37th wide receiver selected in 2021 with an ADP of 90. San Francisco will depend on three players to move the ball through the passing game, and I have Samuel ranked ahead of Brandon Aiyuk while I am priced more favorably. , backed by starting odds at bookmakers in yards per catch (Samuel – 895.5 and Aiyuk – 875.5).
TE Evan Engram, New York Giants
Every draft season, there are a pair of tight ends that emerge as the top 10 picks. One tends to come across the free agent pool, and the other tends to go unnoticed on draft day. Engram is the fourteenth tight end drafted at the end of July with an ADP of 138. His career started with an excellent season (64/722/6), but he fell short of expectations for the past three years and missed 13 games. Even down in 2020 (63/654/1), Engram still finished a couple of touchdowns away from being a tight end in the top eight. This season, he needs to improve his timing and chemistry with Daniel Jones.
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Senior analyst Shawn Childs is a high-stakes, multi-sport fantasy legend with six-figure lifetime earnings. He has been providing in-depth analytical breakdowns for years while helping his subscribers to rake in countless titles and earnings throughout the season and DFS. Shawn, an inaugural member of the NFBC Hall of Fame, can teach you how to prepare like a champion.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.