It’s finally here! Football. Is. Back.
We now no longer have a Sunday without football until February which means fantasy season is in full flow and it’s time for me to give you my value picks and dark horses for the 2021 season.
If you followed my picks in 2020, I can only apologise. They were either riddled by injury, just terrible or even worse… New York Giants!
However, throughout our DraftKings season we made a total profit of $115.91 and without my blue G-Men tinted glasses let’s see what names we come up with for 2021.
If you’re playing in a ten or even twelve-man league I’d say QB isn’t too much of a concern for you as the difference from one to eleven last year was only 80 points – not enough to kill your season. Despite Mahomes being the number one QB in most drafts, he actually finished behind Allen, Murray and MVP Aaron Rodgers in 2020, which is food for thought but my first value pick is going elsewhere…
Value – Lamar Jackson
I know plenty of you will read this and automatically think obvious choice! Hear me out.
Initially, I was going to go with the man making the comeback in Dak Prescott, who I believe will pick up where he left off before his injury and be right amongst the top seven or eight QBs in the league. However, after doing a little digging, Lamar is currently going as the QB 6 in most fantasy drafts.
Despite a disappointing 2020, where he ranked 10th for fantasy points at his position, the 2019 leader will be back to his rushing best this upcoming season. Especially with the injury problems in the Raven’s receiver room, Lamar will be on the run.
Dark Horse – Jalen Hurts
Another quarterback with wheels is my dark horse selection, Jalen Hurts who’s heading into his second season in Philadelphia. In what seems a transitional period for the Eagles, I can see them playing from behind a LOT this upcoming season. Cue the Rocky-style montages and late heroics as Hurts attempts late knockout blows in games to try and give this Philly team a fighting chance in the NFC East.
As with most positions, you have that elite three or four who seem to set themselves apart and then we have the rest. That’s no different in the backfield with McCaffrey, Cook, Kamara and Henry in a league of their own. After that, we are looking at potential season-defining decisions when it comes to the running back position. For me, you need one of two things – heavy volume or pass-catching ability. If you find both you have every chance.
Value – Austin Ekeler
For me, Austin Ekeler has the potential to be a league-winning pick! Having shared time with Melvin Gordon last season, along with the occasional injury concern Ekeler is now the go-to guy for this Herbert led offence. He has limited milage and is a huge threat out of the backfield catching 92 balls in 2019 when he played all sixteen games. Combine that with him now getting the majority of carries in LA, Ekeler is Alvin Kamara lite! If he can stay injury-free for all seventeen games, Ekeler could win your fantasy season for you!
Dark Horse – Joe Mixon
I’m not sure how much of a dark horse he is but when you consider he finished 48th in his position in 2020, I’m saying he is. Ok, he did only play six games but for me, Joe Mixon is the forgotten man. Having put up 1000+ yard seasons in both 2018 and 2019 he’s the bell cow running back with Gio Bernard out of the picture in Cinci. A player who’s currently going on average as the RB13 in drafts he’ll finish well above that for you this season.
Adams, Hill, Diggs. The only three receivers to break 250 fantasy points last year (in PPR) with the former topping 300 fantasy points and I wouldn’t bet against them being the 1,2,3 again this year, so they’re out of the conversation. After that, there was only a 36 point difference from WR4 to WR13 and it’s the man who finished at thirteen who I’m tipping to do even better things this year for the LA Rams.
Value – Robert Woods
Woods has had ninety receptions in each of his last two seasons on a combined 268 targets. Despite the numbers being similar to that of teammate Cooper Kupp, he outscored Kupp by forty points last year. Kupp, in most drafts, is being selected ahead of his fellow Ram. A pick who largely falls outside of the top twenty WRs off the board he certainly has top twenty value with a new and improved QB situation in the City of Angels.
Dark Horse – Brandon Aiyuk
The 2020 first-rounder put up a very impressive 748 yards in his rookie season scoring five touchdowns in only twelve games! With a year under his belt and the potential of linking up with Trey Lance, who’s looking very impressive in pre-season, Aiyuk’s numbers should rocket in 2021 with seventeen games under his belt. A player who you can pick up just outside the top twenty who comes with a potentially huge ceiling.
For anyone who followed the DraftKings selections last year, you’d know I couldn’t pick a tight end to save my life! The drop off from Kelce, Waller and Kittle if healthy, is drastic so here are my two stabs in the dark for 2021.
Value – Robert Tonyan
Despite him finishing the TE3 last year on 150 points you can pick up Tonyan pretty much anywhere you want in the later rounds of drafts. His numbers are far from impressive in terms of receptions and yards when compared to the ‘elite three’. However, his eleven touchdowns were a league-high for the season, tied with Travis Kelce. With Rodgers back in Green Bay and with the usual suspects available, there’s no reason why Tonyan can’t have a repeat season and end up ‘best of the rest’.
Dark Horse – Cole Kmet
Cole Kmet started the first six games of last season with just five targets in total. He ended the final six games with a total of thirty-three. A man on the up in Chicago, alongside his rookie QB. You could do a lot worse than going with Kmet, who is likely to be left on the table by many teams in your league and could provide some serious value in a position that is becoming somewhat of a lottery. If you don’t have one of the big three or four, you could do far worse than picking him up in the last round. Then sit back and watch if his stock continues to rise in the windy city, where Matt Nagy has stated an increased role for the tight end in year two.