Fantasy Football All Positions Projections for 2021
Use Auction Projections if you are participating in an auction draft.
Stats are rounded for easier reading.
Check out the High-Precision version for more detailed projections.
Stats are rounded for easier reading.
Check out the High-Precision version for more detailed projections.
|The No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 draft is regarded as the best quarterback prospect to come out of the college ranks in more than a decade. An advanced passer, Lawrence owns a strong, accurate arm that can make all the throws. The Clemson product also possesses a rare mix of great size, high-end athleticism and solid mobility that enables him to extend plays outside the pocket. Lawrence also can run with some power, which makes him an effective ball carrier in short-yardage and goal-line situations. While he doesn't run as well as the last superstar quarterback to come out of Clemson (Deshaun Watson), Lawrence is good enough to finish with top-10 rushing production at the position. His winning football pedigree includes a 38-2 record as a three-year starter for the Tigers and a national championship trophy. Lawrence is the Jaguars' undisputed Week 1 starter. Head coach Urban Meyer and offensive boss/play-caller Darrell Bevell have said they would prefer to utilize a balanced West Coast attack, but a rebuild-in-progress Jacksonville defense likely will put the Lawrence-led offense in frequent heavy throwing situations - shootouts, catch-up mode and garbage time - throughout the season. Lawrence has inherited a solid core of skill position players: D.J. Chark, Marvin Jones (he played for Bevell in Detroit from 2018-19), Laviska Shenault, James Robinson and rookie first-rounder Travis Eitenne. A Jaguars offensive line that ranked 15th in sacks allowed last season has all five starters returning. This unit will improve if LT Cam Robinson and RT Jawaan Taylor both step up. Best-case scenario - Lawrence has low-end No. 1 fantasy quarterback upside. Will he erupt quickly like 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert did as the fantasy QB9? Some think Lawrence is a better rookie prospect than Herbert was.|
|The Steelers have taken an unconventional approach this offseason. Their offense deteriorating was discussed at length in 2020, but the lack of investment in the offensive line over the last few months is again eyebrow raising. What does that mean for their new feature running back? From a volume perspective it doesn't mean much. Efficiency and overall effectiveness of the offense could be a much different story, but that's much more of an issue with respect to upside than expectations.|
|The second overall selection in the 2021 draft, Wilson is the new designated franchise quarterback for a rebuilding Jets franchise that hasn't made the playoffs since 2010. He possesses generational arm talent. Even though Wilson, a three-year starter at BYU, is a bit undersized, he's a high-end velocity passer who can make all the NFL throws with deadly accuracy. The gunslinger also can make strong precise throws at multiple arm angles inside or outside the pocket like Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs), which is what boosted Wilson's pre-draft stock into the stratosphere. Although he lacks top-end foot speed, Wilson has above-average mobility and more than enough elusiveness to extend plays and gash defenses as a runner. New Jets head coach Robert Saleh and new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, a Kyle Shanahan disciple who was the 49ers' passing game coordinator during the last three seasons, have installed a West Coast attack that uses play-action and relies on consistent accurate passing, which clearly fits Wilson's skill set. Since New York's reworked defense still looks like a bottom-10 group and won't stop anyone consistently, Wilson should face pass-heavy game script (shootouts, come-from-behind situations) almost weekly. His supporting cast looks serviceable enough - Corey Davis, Keelan Cole, Jamison Crowder, rookie second-rounder Elijah Moore, Denzel Mims and Tyler Kroft. The Jets' offensive line, which surrendered the ninth-most sacks in 2020, should improve with at least two new starters - Morgan Moses at right tackle and rookie 14th overall selection Alijah Vera-Tucker at left guard to help on-the-rise LT Mekhi Becton protect Wilson's blind side. Fantasy managers in all redraft leagues should take a wait-and-see approach with Wilson. Assuming his transition to the NFL goes smoothly, Wilson could emerge as a streamer with a top-20 fantasy floor due to his rushing ability.|
|The young pieces are there in Cincinnati and if Joe Burrow can make the leap after tearing his knee in 2020, the Bengals offense could be dangerous. While we would usually caution fantasy managers to be careful with rookies, there have been plenty of young receivers who have splashed on to the scene in their first season including Justin Jefferson last year. Boyd, Chase, and Higgins are a great combination of weapons in the receiving game. Remember, Chase thrived with Burrow at LSU so the chemistry is already there between these two.|
|If you believe the hype, the fourth overall selection in the 2020 draft is a once-in-a-generation tight end prospect. An insanely athletic physical specimen, Pitts is 6-foot-6, 245 pounds with blazing 4.45 jets, excellent run-after-the-catch ability, precise route-running skills, phenomenal hands (zero drops on 66 targets during his last season at Florida) and top-shelf jump ball/contested catch ability thanks to his enormous 83 3/8' wingspan. By comparison, Calvin 'Megatron' Johnson (retired) owned an 82' wingspan. Pitts also possesses the necessary multi-faceted skill set to lineup anywhere on the field - inline tight end, move tight end, inside (slot) wideout and outside wideout - and create lethal mismatches against linebackers, cornerbacks or safeties. Rookie tight ends usually struggle, but Jones clearly isn't a run-of-the-mill tight end. It's a no-brainer that Pitts will start immediately in new head coach/play-caller Arthur Smith's offense, which makes heavy use of two-tight end sets, but Smith won't pigeonhole Pitts at tight end. With Julio Jones (Titans) gone, Pitts has a clear path to gaudy target volume at wideout as Jones' replacement and the second option in the Falcons aerial attack behind Calvin Ridley. Atlanta enters 2020 with 213 vacated targets, which is the fifth most in the NFL. Since the Falcons aren't expected to dominate with their ground game or defense, all signs point to Matt Ryan attempting at least 600 passes for the fourth straight year. Pitts isn't a sure thing despite his immense talents and fantastic opportunity, but rolling the dice on a guy with his awesome upside isn't a bad gamble.|
|How often does a first time head coach invest in a first round running back and not feature that player? We don't know the answer to that question, but intuitively it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. We don't need to know how Head Coach Urban Meyer will deploy Etienne; we just need to know that he is going to. The questions surrounding his role will be determined organically as the season progresses, but regardless of that answer we expect it to grow.|
|We thought Sermon would get an opportunity to earn a role this season, but Jeff Wilson's unfortunate injury opens the door wide open for him. Talent has never been this third round pick's issue, staying on the field has. There are other samples to cite, but his 331 yard Big 10 championship game performance stands head and shoulders above the rest. This may end up being a nothing stock year one, but these high upside shots are ones we advocate when at this stage of team building.|
|The question is "when" he takes over for incumbent Melvin Gordon - not "if". The Broncos have a propensity for sharing the wealth, so he will get plenty of game opportunities to prove his worth. If he's the better and more reliable player at any time in 2021 then the team won't hesitate to flip-flop roles as Gordon's a free agent come seasons end.|
|When the 49ers traded three first-round selections and a third-round pick to move up in the 2021 draft and select Lance third overall, Jimmy Garoppolo's days as a starter became numbered. Lance brings nice size and explosive generational athleticism to the table, and he fits the mold of the dual-threat quarterback archetype that's emerging as the future of the position in the NFL. His college body of work is small. Lance made just one of his 17 career starts for North Dakota State last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he showed why many NFL teams coveted him during an impressive 16-game showing in 2019. College stats usually mean little in the NFL, but Lance, operating in a run-oriented Bison offense, racked up 1,100 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns (6.5 yards per carry) on 169 carries while displaying 4.5 speed, an excellent ability to extend plays, improvise, juke and dodge defenders, and accelerate quickly into open space. However, Lance isn't a developed passer. While his arm is strong enough to make all the necessary throws, Lance's accuracy, mechanics and decision making remain a work in progress. He averaged just 18 attempts per game in North Dakota State's simplistic passing attack. If Lance defeats Garoppolo in the 49ers' preseason quarterback derby, expect San Francisco to roll with conservative run-centric game plans for the short term like head coach Kyle Shanahan used when he coordinated Robert Griffin-led Washington offenses back in 2012. Lance will have help from a talented group of pass catchers that includes George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel. The 49ers' offensive line has a top-10 look thanks to the addition of Alex Mack at center and rookie second-rounder Aaron Banks at right guard. When Lance is starting, he offers low-end No. 1 fantasy quarterback upside based on his rushing prowess. Lance can easily compensate for flat passing numbers with strong rushing production.|
|Meet the heir apparent to Tom Brady (Buccaneers). Jones, the 15th overall selection in the draft, doesn't fit the mold of the dual-threat quarterback archetype that's emerging as the future of the position in the NFL, but Bill Belichick and the Patriots have always marched to the beat of their own drummer. Jones was the only traditional pocket passer chosen among the top-five rookie signal callers. The Alabama product lacks top-shelf size, arm strength, mobility and athleticism, but Jones possesses a quality arm with excellent accuracy and touch. He also has proven decision making skills, polished mechanics, strong pocket presence and an advanced understanding of the game. There is concern about Jones' limited collegiate experience since he made just 17 career starts. According to Belichick, Cam Newton is New England's starter until Jones can beat him out. The 32-year-old Newton and Jones will duke it out in a preseason quarterback derby for the Week 1 starting gig, and it's expected to be a tight battle to the end since Jones has thrown the ball very well in all preseason practices. If he wins the No. 1 job, Jones will have support from what was a top-five ground game this past season. The Patriots tried to beef up what still looks like a below-average receiver corps, signing deep threat Nelson Agholor along with Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. A New England offensive line that yielded the 14th-most sacks in 2020 should do better in protection with returning familiar face Trent Brown sliding in at right tackle, which pushes Michael Onwenu to left guard. The Patriots likely will use run-heavy game plans when Jones is under center, limiting his upside as a streamer or bye-week replacement. Chances are Jones will start his career as a better NFL quarterback than a fantasy one.|
|This season begins the latest chapter in the Bears' longtime search for a franchise quarterback, and the Monsters of the Midway hope that rookie 11th overall selection Fields is the guy. With impressive size and athleticism, he fits the mold of the dual-threat quarterback archetype that's becoming more popular across the NFL. Showcasing his impressive talents at Ohio State for two seasons while amassing a 22-2 record as a starter, Fields displayed a very powerful arm that can make all the NFL throws with excellent accuracy and nice touch - especially the deep routes. A tough yet smooth and versatile runner, Fields can throw accurately on the move, extend plays, move the chains and keep defenses off balance with his 4.44 speed. Fields has drawn comparisons to Deshaun Watson (Texans) in terms of quick feet, shiftiness and elusiveness. The Bears want to ease Fields into the NFL game slowly, which is why they named Andy Dalton their starter for Week 1 and beyond. However, if Dalton struggles and loses numerous games (he's gone 11-22 in his last 33 starts) expect Chicago to turn to Fields long before the season ends. The Bears defense looks very soft in the secondary and likely will struggle more than it has in recent seasons, so Fields is a candidate for high-volume throwing in pass-heavy game script situations. His supporting cast is nothing special but serviceable - Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, Jimmy Graham, David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen. The Bears' offensive line finished 16th in sacks allowed in 2020. This unit could take a step forward or take a step backward depending on the performances of rookie second-rounder Teven Jenkins at left tackle and Seahawks castoff Germain Ifedi at right tackle. Since Fields has rushing upside, he deserves matchup-based high-end No. 2 fantasy quarterback consideration when it's his time in Chicago.|
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