Well it feels like fantasy championships were just a week ago, but as the old adage goes, “there ain’t no rest for the wicked.” With 2020 and a whole lot of recency bias still ripe on my mind, I aim for these positional rankings to give you a premature preview of 2021, a season hopefully devoid of COVID complications among other things.
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- Will Fuller IV, Houston Texans
- Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys
- Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
- D.J. Chark Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars
- Odell Beckham Jr. , Cleveland Browns
- Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals
- Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers
- Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
- JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
- Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
- Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
- Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens
- Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
- DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins
- Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans
- Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans
- Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers
- Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Headlining the beginning of my second list, Fuller has the potential to be a league winner with this ADP. He only put up 9 games of double-digit performances in half PPR out of his 11 slated, good for 8th best in the league in terms of average. His role as a deeper-oriented threat will always scare me, but the price may just be right for Fuller this year, who was finally healthy.
D.J. Chark took a minor step back this season; whether it be inconsistent quarterback play, injuries, or extra film for defenses to attack him, the Jags’ wideout couldn’t replicate his 1,000-yard, 8-touchdown season. I expect this all to change when the Jaguars finally commit to Trevor Lawrence in April. He’s an exceptional bounceback candidate who has already proved he can be the alpha; he just has to find it again and may be a value pick across leagues.
Speaking of bouncing back, OBJ will be another hot name as he returns to a Browns’ team that showed signs of the Ewing theory, which states a team performs better AFTER the injury or departure of its best marketed player. It seems like centuries ago that Beckham was putting up WR1 seasons in New York. He’ll be 29 headed into 2021, but I believe he still has gas in the tank to be a flex candidate with serious game-breaking upside.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is one of fantasy’s hottest candidates to find a new team. This ranking is meant to temper expectations while also being cognizant of the upside he can offer as a significant slot threat. Pre-injury, the USC veteran saw 166 targets; he still has the talent as he was able to remain the Steelers’ top fantasy producer, albeit by a smaller margin than most expected. If he finds the right system, he may be 2021’s Stefon Diggs.
A big question mark in dynasty communities and redraft circles will be “how will Courtland Sutton look?” Further dropping his value will be the uncertainty surrounding Drew Lock’s role with the team going forward. The soon-to-be 26-year-old may pick up where he left off and be a solid WR2, or there may be a great deal of growing pains and you may be out of fantasy contention before things get on the right track. His WR17 production last year may be replicated with better quarterback play and more assets surrounding him to take some of the load off of him.
Marquise Brown had an absolute roller coaster of a season, with some absolute troughs including a 0-point effort, to heating up with 4 touchdowns in his last 5 games. 2020 should have been the season for the former Sooner to take over the Ravens’ offense as the true number one wideout. Instead… Dez Bryant got back into the fold? What a strange year. I expect the Ravens’ to address some of their wide receiver needs as Brown sometimes looks far too undersized to carry the bulk of the offense, but Hollywood should still offer the occasional productive outing.
Whenever I do these rankings, I always try to find some late-season breakers who lit it up and are in prime overdraft territory. Brandin Cooks was a near drop candidate in the first four weeks of the season due to his atrocious play. Luckily, he turned it back on and may have won you your league with WR14 numbers from week 5 on. Although this is a “what have you done for me recently?” type game, we can’t discount how damaging some of those early performances may have been for you. Additionally, 36% of his points came from 2 of those 10 games down the stretch. Other than that, Cooks had a moderately high floor, but was not going to wildly swing the fate of your game one way or another. He’s a solid pick, but no longer the WR1 or WR2 of day’s past.