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Fantasy Football QB Tiers 2021: Quarterback rankings, draft strategy

When to draft quarterbacks in fantasy football is one the most difficult puzzles to solve. In single-QB leagues, quarterback obviously takes a backseat to flashier positions like RB and WR, but you still need to enter your draft with a sound strategy for tackling the position. If you aren’t going to draft a top-tier QB, should you jump in during the next QB run or should you be patient and target a sleeper after that? Just how far down the rankings can you go and still feel comfortable with your starter?

To clarify, a QB run is when someone drafts a QB and others in your draft quickly follow suit, fearing they will miss out on a “good” option at the position if they don’t join in.

Do not fall victim to the QB run early in your draft.

2021 STANDARD FANTASY RANKINGS:

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Top 200

This season, three quarterbacks land in our top tier: Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, and Josh Allen. The first name in Tier 2 is Russell Wilson. The following is why tiers matter: If Mahomes, Murray, and Allen come off the board, some might panic and take the next-best quarterback when they’re on the clock, but if you view Wilson as a notch below those top three — and roughly the same as Lamar Jackson and Dak Prescott — you can wait a bit knowing one of those three should be there in a few rounds. Not understanding tiers leads to reaching on a quarterback, which is a good way to miss a lot of value at other positions. This scenario is extra consequential in the aforementioned single-QB leagues. Obviously, there’s an appropriate time to start a QB run with the next tier of guys, but understanding the concept of tiers will help you get a feel for when that time comes.

2021 PPR FANTASY RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Top 200

You also want to make sure you don’t miss out completely on a QB run. If two guys from Tier 2 come off the board in a sequence a round or two after the top-tier QBs, then you know you should act if that’s the tier you’re targeting. If you drafted well at the other positions earlier in the draft, this is your ideal scenario.

2021 FANTASY SLEEPERS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Each team

If you miss out on the top two tiers at quarterback — either on purpose or accidentally — that’s OK. Presumably, the rest of your roster is looking good at this point. Now it would be time to access tiers three and four, finding value in quarterbacks that your leaguemates have minimal interest in.

2021 FANTASY AUCTION VALUES (Standard & PPR):
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Overall

A lot of the strategy in fantasy football involves being adaptable and feeling out how your fantasy draft is going. Each league and each draft is different. An understanding of tiers will help prevent reaching for and being fixated on certain players.

There are many strategies when it comes to the quarterback position, including: Take a Tier-1 stud, find value in the early-middle rounds, punt on QB and draft a sleeper late, or stream a different QB each week. This list of tiers will help prepare you for any of those strategies, whether you intend on implementing one of them or not.

References to ADP (average draft position) will be to standard leagues and courtesy of FantasyPros. In PPR leagues, quarterbacks fall a bit lower, since RBs, WRs, and TEs all see an increase in points that QBs cannot match. Remember, a QB being ranked ahead of another QB does not mean it’s optimal to take the higher-ranked player at their ADP. Finding value when certain quarterbacks slip in the draft is key.

Below, we dive into the tiers and explain why the QBs are grouped together.

2021 Fantasy QB Tiers: Who are the best fantasy football quarterbacks?

Tier 1:
1 Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
2 Kyler Murray, Cardinals
3 Josh Allen, Bills

Our first tier consists of the three guys who all have a fair argument for being ranked No. 1 in the overall QB rankings, and for good reason. What do these three all share in common? Young age, rushing upside, rocket arm, surrounded by elite talent, and top-notch fantasy showings in the past.

What will it cost you to grab one of these prized possessions? In standard, single-QB leagues, FantasyPros ADP has each taken within the top 31 picks, with Mahomes penciled in at the first pick of the second round (13.3 in 12-person leagues). So, by the same data, in order to draft Mahomes, you’re surrendering guys like Stefon Diggs, Austin Ekeler, Najee Harris, and Joe Mixon, among others. That can be quite a pill to swallow. Drafting Mahomes in the second round guarantees you don’t get two stud RBs or two stud WRs (or both). However, you now possess the safest and most reliable stud quarterback in fantasy. Everyone is well aware of his track record, and he has multiple seasons of evidence.

Around eight picks later, Josh Allen could come off the board any minute. Taking him at his ADP of around 22.8 will likely cost you Justin Jefferson, A.J. Brown or Calvin Ridley. Again, a frightening realization. Allen claimed the fantasy QB1 nod in 2020, but we have to remember it was only one season. He has a solid rushing floor, but if he slows down even a little there and maybe isn’t quite as sharp through the air, his current ADP is a hefty price to pay.

Among our top-tier QBs, Kyler Murray feels like the best value at his current ADP (33.0). His ceiling is QB1 and his price still allows you to grab studs at the premier positions, depending on which spot you’re picking in the draft. If you are among the top-seven picks, you are able to grab Murray after two RB/WR studs. Again, if you’re set on drafting a top-tier quarterback, Murray is probably your best value. If you do land Mahomes, Murray, or Allen, chase late-round upside for your backup QB. These guys won’t be taken out of your lineup except for bye weeks.

2021 Fantasy Rankings Tiers: Second-tier QBs

Tier 2:
4 Russell Wilson, Seahawks
5 Lamar Jackson, Ravens
6 Dak Prescott, Cowboys

Tier 2 presents a lot of value. Among the three guys in our second tier, each has an ADP after the fourth round. Again, that allows you to take three high-level players at other positions before even contemplating taking a quarterback. Of course, Wilson, Jackson, and Prescott could all wind up being first tier when it’s all said and done. The tier-2 trio all possess outstanding rushing upside and have ceilings of QB1. The difference is the question marks that follow them.

Wilson looked like the front-runner for the MVP, and more important for our purposes, the fantasy QB1 after the first four games last year. However, he finished at QB6 after slowing down a bit. Looking forward, it can be expected that Wilson will begin to run less as he ages. After all, he did express his frustration with the amount of hits he has taken throughout his career. A slightly improved offensive line and a new OC in Seattle seems to signal more pass, less run. He will be a high-volume passer, but his new presumed rushing ceiling prevents us from listing him in the first tier. As a result, his ADP isn’t cost prohibitive. He’s coming off the board around pick 45 as the seventh quarterback selected. That screams value in a spot where the upper echelon of RBs and WRs are already off the board.

Jackson has a QB1 finish (2019) on his resume — and a dang impressive one (six FPPG ahead of QB2), at that. However, he burned many fantasy owners in ’20. Prior to that season, everyone banged the table for Jackson to go as high as the first round. If you were among those who took part in that, you didn’t win your league (don’t lie). Even with another 1,000-yard rushing season, he plummeted to QB10 last year. Defenses are coming around to stopping the rushing QB. In his QB1 season, he threw a touchdown on nearly one of every 10 passes he attempted. That’s outright unsustainable. His heavy touchdown percentage tricked fantasy owners into thinking he was a shoe-in to replicate his historic fantasy season. His innacuary and low passing volume limits his ceiling moving forward in fantasy, but his second-to-none rushing ability keeps him near the top. His ADP of 40.0 is more reasonable, but if Jackson doesn’t fall further than that, you should probably opt to pick up more skill position players and wait for a quarterback who can win in the air and on the ground.

Prescott is the last guy who we can realistically say has a shot at QB1. The Cowboys have stellar weaponry all over the offense, and their bad defense leads to a significant amount of passing attempts. At this point, his passing floor is 4,500 yards over a 17-game season, with a chance to join the 5,000-yard club. If his shattered ankle is fully recovered, you can expect a lot of red-zone rushing attempts. Honestly, in a fantasy setting, his game sees no weaknesses. It seems the ankle is the only thing that can hold him back, but it’s tough to place a guy who had an ankle facing the wrong way nine months ago in the top tier. His ADP (41.5) ranks slightly below Jackson’s. It’s really a preference call there if you want one of the two, but you’ll be missing the end of the top-10 WRs at this area in the draft if you go for them.

Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: When should you draft a QB?

Tier 3:
7 Justin Herbert, Chargers
8 Ryan Tannehill, Titans
9 Matthew Stafford, Lions
10 Tom Brady, Buccaneers
11 Aaron Rodgers, Packers

Tier 3 sees a group of four veterans age 33 and older and a quickly rising sophomore. Stafford, Brady, and Rodgers are in highly efficient offenses with prolific passing numbers to make up for their lack of rushing yards. Tannehill and Herbert aren’t necessarily considered weapons on the ground, but they do enough of it to elevate themselves into great options in fantasy football. Tier 3 signals the beginning of the end for ultrasafe quarterbacks. While all five seem rock solid, the guys in our Tier 3 rankings could all disappoint for their own reasons. That comes with the territory as we move down the list.

Herbert has become a little too expensive for our liking. He’s coming off the board just two spots after Dak Prescott according to ADP despite having less overall upside and weapons around him. It’s unlikely he’ll “fall” in your draft, which you means you either have to pay up or miss out. The latter seems like the better move in terms of value.

Somehow, someway, Tannehill finds himself in our third tier without a high-volume passing attack or insane rushing ceiling. The key is his efficiency. His APD is at 79.0 (QB10). You read that right, 79 — the seventh round. You will have completed much of your starting lineup by then. If he’s available around this point in the draft, he’s a great “value” option. Aaron Rodgers is coming off the board an entire two rounds before him (53.3). Tom Brady’s ADP sits at 71.0. We like Tannehill more in our rankings, and it’s an easy call when you factor in ADP.

Stafford also screams value at his 86.5 ADP. There must be drafters out there that missed he’s now in a Sean McVay offense with a lot of weapons and mediocre run game. Take advantage of that if he’s still around.

Age is the main worry with Rodgers and Brady, who finished as the Nos. 3 and 8 fantasy QBs last year, respectively. It seems like both will play at high levels forever, but keep in mind both are just one year removed from finishing at Nos. 10 and 12, respectively. Obviously, Brady’s situation is significantly different, but he was a mere 42 then as opposed to 44 like he is now. Rodgers averaged 27 total TDs in 2018-’19 before going off for 51 last year. It’s likely he drifts back much closer to ’18-’19 levels and merely be very good as opposed to great.

All of these QBs are great starting options who could produce top-five numbers if everything breaks right, and considering you don’t have to pay that level of price for any except maybe Herbert, they make for great targets in the early-middle rounds.

Fantasy QB Tiers: Best backup quarterbacks

Tier 4:
12 Jalen Hurts, Eagles
13 Joe Burrow, Bengals
14 Kirk Cousins, Vikings
15 Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars
16 Matt Ryan, Falcons
17 Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

Tier 4 is a mix of established pocket passers and a few exciting youngsters. Most of these guys will be drafted as backups in 12-team leagues, but at least one figures to be starting in fantasy leagues in Week 1.

Hurts has a wide range of outcomes. He could land in the top tier or be buried on the waiver wire by season’s end. He’s on an exclusive list of elite rushing quarterbacks with Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson, which would make him a safe play if he’s the starter for the entire season. However, he’s not a safe play because of the presumed lack of job security. The organization has failed to commit to Hurts as their bonafide franchise quarterback, largely because of the glaring inaccuracy issues he showed last year (52-percent completion percentage). For now, consider him a high-risk/high-reward player you should target if he falls past his current ADP of 83.0, but don’t make it a point to reach fo himr. He’s the perfect backup if you take someone like Stafford or Brady, but if you draft Hurts as your starter, draft one of the stable veterans in this tier shortly after

Burrow and Lawrence are in similar territories. Both are unproven at the NFL level, at least over the course of a full season, but have really solid pieces around them. Honestly, Lawrence’s ADP of 106.3 (QB14) makes him an attractive value. In some leagues, he’ll fall even further as many are reluctant to trust rookies. Just as a reminder, Andrew Luck had a QB10 fantasy season as a rookie, posting 4,400 yards, 23 touchdowns, 18 INTs, and five rushing touchdowns. It’s not too difficult to imagine Lawrence exceeding those figures. He has a Tannehill-like rushing profile and is being selected in the AJ Dillon-ZacK Moss territory. Again, at the right value, he looks to be a solid pick. The same goes for Burrow, who is flush with weapons around him. He certainly has injury worries after tearing an ACL last year, but if he can stay in piece, he’ll be a high-volume producer.

Since becoming a starter in 2015, Cousins has finished QB13 or higher in every season except one (2019). In three of those seasons, he finished among the top 10. However, this year, he’s being drafted as the 21st quarterback (136.6 ADP) off the board. That’s criminal. He could arguably be your full-time starter — at only a 12th-round price (where Nyheim Hines and Jonnu Smith are being drafted). So far, he takes the crown as the best value. If you already took a QB, Cousins is more than worth a cheap backup, and you’ll might have the chance to trade him high when other QBs disappoint.

Ryan and Roethlisberger are set to be high-volume passers, but for different reasons. We’ve seen the kind of prolific numbers Ryan has produced in Atlanta, and once again, their defense is putrid. He’s a very up and down fantasy player, but his explosive weeks place him comfortably in this tier even with Julio Jones in Tennessee.

Roethlisberger is a risky play at the position. We could see a performance reminiscent of 2020 Drew Brees (mostly washed up). Roethlisberger used to be closer to Tier 2, but his age has brought him down. Even with Najee Harris in the lineup, Pittsburgh’s rushing attack will likely be weak again due to poor offensive line play, setting Roethlisberger up for a million pass attempts. As disastrous as Big Ben’s ’20 season might have seemed, he did finish as the QB14 and is being drafted this year in the QB23 range. Don’t rely on him as your starter, but his value as a backup is undeniable given the weapons around him.

Fantasy QB Rankings Tiers: Backups, bouncebacks, and sleepers

Tier 5:
18 Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins
19 Derek Carr, Raiders
20 Baker Mayfield, Browns
21 Carson Wentz, Colts
22 Daniel Jones, Giants
23 Jameis Winston, Saints

Let’s call Tier 5 the “decent upside at a discount” tier.

Mayfield is currently the highest drafted player in this tier based on ADP (QB21 at around pick 121). He’s probably not worth it. His passing numbers are limited due to the lack of passing volume. So, while you might consider him “underrated” because of his relative safety, the other guys on the list all possess more upside at a cheaper cost. Wentz comes off the board about three picks after Mayfield, and we like his chances to have a bounce-back year. However, the Colts are built similarly to the Browns, so he won’t be a super high-volume guy either.

Next is Tagovailoa. coming off the board about 19 picks later than Mayfield. In this tier, we’re looking for a solid second-string quarterback who possesses high upside. Tua fits the bill perfectly. His weaponry saw a huge upgrade in the offseason, and he has shown the ability to be mobile. His college production checks all the boxes, and his talent is undeniable. Miami wants to evaluate what they have in Tagovailoa over a full season, so expect him to get his fair share of attempts. We like his value at this point in the draft.

Derek Carr always hovers around 4,000 yards passing, but he hasn’t been able to put on a great fantasy season. The hope is the Raiders passing attack finally all comes together. Carr is a notable backup, but he’s more in the territory of a streamer.

If Jones doesn’t produce this year, he’s likely going to be out in New York. For the first time in his young career, he has plenty of firepower. In a 12-person league with 15 rounds, his ADP of 181 puts him as undrafted. His rushing ability gives him top-12 upside, so he’s worth an extremely late flier, especially if you’ve already taken a Tier 1 or 2 QB.

Winston already has a QB3 finish on his resume (2019) in a year when he threw 30 INTs. For that reason, he has the highest upside in this tier by a significant margin. If he’s named the starter in New Orleans, his ADP (currently 186) will definitely see a huge uptick. If you’re drafting before the Saints name a starter, he’s extremely cheap to take a gamble on. If Taysom Hill is named the starter, you drop Winston and pick up a different quarterback. It’s really that simple.

Fantasy QB Streamers and 2-QB Starters

Tier 6:
24. Drew Lock, Broncos
25. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers
26. Ryan Fitzpatrick, WFT
27 Jared Goff, Lions
28 Tyrod Taylor, Texans
29 Sam Darnold, Panthers
30. Zach Wilson, Jets
31. Cam Newton, Patriots

Tier 6 consists of several guys who have some early-season value but will likely be benched at some point in the season. Even if they’re not, they’re likely going to be on and off waiver wire all year.

Lock and Jimmy G are slated to be Week 1 starters, but the writing is on the wall. Unless the 49ers try the Alex Smith/ Patrick Mahomes experiment, Trey Lance will enter the lineup at some point, obviously bringing Garoppolo to a whopping zero point total thereafter. Teddy Bridgewater was brought into Denver as insurance if Lock fails once again in 2020. The two of them should be treated like running back handcuffs. See if you can find room to roster Lance or Bridgewater if you’re considering Jimmy G or Lock.

We’ve seen time and time again what Fitzpatrick brings to the table. He’s on his ninth team for a reason. But we also know he can have monster weeks early in the season. All of a sudden, Washington has solid weapons, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him have a few explosive outings, but we know a three-INT game is right around the corner. Don’t spend draft capital on him in single-QB leagues.

With Goff and Wilson, it would be surprising if they weren’t the 17-game starters. The Lions are rebuilding and their wideout group is laughable. Wilson’s Jets saw an upgrade at wideout in the offseason, but their offensive issues aren’t going to go away overnight. They’ll be in their lineups every week, though, and that has value in two-QB leagues on draft day.

Taylor and Newton are merely placeholders at the moment. Whether Taylor is replaced by Deshaun Watson or Davis Mills, he’s not worth a draft pick. As long as Newton is the starter, he’s at least worth monitoring for his high red-zone rushing usage. Both have upside because of their rushing abilities, but they’re merely streamers and watchlist guys.

Darnold should look somewhat better in Carolina, but you aren’t going to feel good pressing the draft button on him even with two solid receivers.

Fantasy QB Deep Sleepers

32 Justin Fields, Bears
33 Taysom Hill, Saints
34 Andy Dalton, Bears
35 Mac Jones, Patriots
36 Trey Lance, 49ers Sleeper
37 Teddy Bridgewater, Broncos

If Fields, Hill, or Lance received significant playing time, they have top-12 upside, but until their respective coaches name them starters, they’re merely stashes. Still, you can make a strong case that if you draft a QB in the first or second tier, you’re better stashing someone like Lance or Fields as your “backup” than taking a Mayfield or Wentz type.

Dalton, Jones, and Bridgewater will likely be decent backups/streamers if they’re starting, but none are guaranteed to stay in the starter’s role even if they take over the jobs.

2021 Fantasy Football Defense Sleepers: Potential D/ST breakouts, draft steals

Everyone wants a good fantasy football defense, but no one wants to pay up for one. Quite the pickle, huh? To be fair, that’s true at all positions, but it’s especially difficult at D/ST, where in-season matchups can make virtually any team unplayable in any given week. It’s easy to think a defense is better than their spot in the rankings — and it indeed might finish the year in the top 10 — but given the circuitous route it could take to get there, is it worth drafting? If you’re willing to carry multiple D/STs, then trying to find a breakout late in your draft might make sense, but chances are, you don’t want to do that.

So, yes, quite the pickle. Our recommendation is to play the stream game with D/STs throughout the year, which is why we’re specifically highlighting units at the bottom of this article that have potential favorable matchups in the first few weeks. We say “potentially” because, let’s be honest, we don’t know for sure which matchups are favorable and unfavorable. All we can really do is look at QBs with shaky turnover histories and offensive lines that failed to protect last year and likely didn’t get much better this offseason. Ultimately, like much at this position, we’re just guessing, though.

2021 PPR FANTASY RANKINGS:

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Top 200

Our picks below all have a lot of upside based on personnel, but if you really like the Cardinals, are you going to play them Week 1 against the high-powered Titans offense? Probably not, so why even bother drafting them at all? They’ll be on the waiver wire if you really want them a week or two later. The same goes for the Browns (at Kansas City in Week 1). As we highlight below, their schedule is very favorable in the few weeks after that, but you shouldn’t be starting them (or anyone) against the Chiefs.

2021 STANDARD FANTASY RANKINGS:

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Top 200

Again, you have to be comfortable either carrying two D/STs or playing the stream game if you really want to find a “sleeper D/ST.” If you’re not good with either, just draft the Steelers or Patriots. Even those teams have matchups in which you don’t want to use them, but at least you know they’re supremely talented.

2021 Fantasy Football Defense Sleepers: Potential D/ST breakouts, steals

Arizona Cardinals. Franchise staple Patrick Peterson is no longer in Arizona, and with Dre Kirkpatrick also leaving, the Cardinals lost six INTs from last season. However All-Pro Budda Baker is still patrolling the backend, and he’ll be joined this year by DBs Malcolm Butler and Robert Alford, which should minimize any potential drop-off. Arizona also added pass-rusher J.J. Watt in free agency to replace departed team sack leader (and forced-fumble maestro) Haason Reddick and will hope to get more than five games from the admittedly unhappy Chandler Jones (biceps). Markus Golden, who came over last year in a midseason trade, will also play more. Throw in first-round LB Zaven Collins, and Arizona should feature an overall unit similar to last season when it finished 10th in fantasy points despite not scoring any D/ST touchdowns. That will certainly increase this year, so consider the Cards a strong matchup-based sleeper.

2021 FANTASY AUCTION VALUES (Standard & PPR):

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Overall

Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota made some big additions in the offseason, most notably run-stuffers Dalvin Tomlinson and Sheldon Richardson and big-play DB Patrick Peterson. Perhaps none will be bigger than the ostensible returns of former Pro Bowlers, LB Anthony Barr (two games played last year because of a pectoral injury) and DL Danielle Hunter (no games played because of a neck injury). The loss of LB Eric Wilson (three INTs, two fumble recoveries, three sacks) hurts, but Minnesota’s anemic pass rush should be greatly improved. Considering Minnesota still had 15 INTs last year (tied for seventh), more pressure could really lead to an improved all-around fantasy performance. Expect a nice bounce-back year from the Vikings.

2021 FANTASY SLEEPERS:

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Each team

Cleveland Browns. Pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney might be the biggest name among Cleveland’s offseason additions, but production-wise, he’s not the most notable. Cleveland also picked up former Rams John Johnson and Troy Hill, who combined for 182 tackles, four INTs, two fumble recoveries, and three TDs last season. With first-round pick Greg Newsome also joining the secondary, Cleveland looks to build on last season’s subpar 11 INTs and 22nd-ranked pass defense. Outside of Myles Garrett, pass rush is still an issue, but if the Browns can do a better job limiting points, they should be playable most weeks.

Denver Broncos. Denver finished ninth in sacks (42) last year despite missing Von Miller (ankle/foot), but poor showings in INTs (tied for 23rd), fumble recoveries (t-25th), and points allowed (24th) made its D/ST unplayable most weeks. The return of Miller and additions of big-play DBs Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, and first-round pick Patrick Surtain II could really go a long way to helping this squad return to fantasy prominence.

Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks lost playmaking DB Shaquill Griffin, pass-rushing DT Jarran Reed, and long-time LB K.J. Wright, but the additions of DE Kerry Hyder, DT Al Woods, and LB Ahkello Witherspoon should help. Even more than that, improved injury luck will go a long way, as DB Jamal Adams (four games missed), DB D.J. Reed (6), LB Carlos Dunlap (8), and second-round edge-rusher Darrell Taylor (season) all missed time. The ‘Hawks still managed to finish tied for 13th in fantasy points without even scoring a D/ST touchdown, which shows how much upside they have heading into this year.

Tennessee Titans. After finishing 30th in sacks (19) and 29th in pass defense (277.4 yards allowed per game), Tennessee made some big changes in the offseason, adding pass-rushers Denico Autry (7.5 sacks last year) and LB Bud Dupree (8.5 sacks in 11 games) and DBs Caleb Farley (first-round pick) and Janoris Jenkins (three INTs ,TD last year). Barring some further improvements from recent high draft picks Jeffery Simmons and Rashaan Evans, Tennessee will likely still have a mediocre pass rush, but given its knack for big plays, the Titans should still be much improved.

Green Bay Packers. The Packers are always in the streamer mix thanks to a solid pass rush (41 sacks last year) and generally solid overall defense (ninth in total yards allowed), but a shaky secondary is a worry. First-round DB Eric Stokes is one of the only notable newcomers to this defense, so it’s easy to expect a similar finish as last year’s No. 18 ranking. However, a highly favorable early-season schedule vs. potentially shaky QBs (@NO, vs. DET, @SF in Weeks 1-3; @CIN, @CHI, vs. WAS in Weeks 5-7) could mean a hot start. Things get considerably tougher in the second half, but the Packers are still a solid team to target late in drafts. Ride them while you can.

Favorable early-season schedules. Here, we’re basically just looking at defenses set to face potentially shaky QBs in the first few weeks of the season. This isn’t a perfect equation — remember when we thought Josh Allen was still mistake-prone early last year? — but it’s the best we can do when trying to evaluate matchups before seeing teams in action for a few weeks. Making it a point to draft a defense with a favorable early-season schedule — whether it’s jumping a round to draft a defense in the top 10 or waiting until the very end to draft a D/ST few are considering — can give you an edge on the owners who draft, say, the Colts and want to bench them the first two weeks when they face the Seahawks and Rams.

Through Week 2:

Jacksonville (@ HOU, vs. DEN). We’re not going to recommend using the Jaguars defense, but we just wanted to make you aware that the first two matchups are at least favorable.
Los Angeles Rams (vs. CHI, @ IND). The Rams are high in rankings and likely to get overdrafted anyway, but if you really want to get them, at least you know they should start well.
New York Giants (vs. DEN, @ WFT). The Giants were actually solid in fantasy last year, and this two-game opening schedule is as good as it gets. Weeks 3 and 4 (vs. ATL, @ NO) aren’t terrible either.
San Francisco (@ DET, @ PHI). The 49ers are in the 10-12 range in most rankings, and these first two games should get them off to a good start. The bottom will fall out after that (vs. GB, vs. SEA, @ ARI).

Through Week 3:

Carolina (vs. NYJ, vs. NO, @ HOU). Let’s hope Jameis Winston is starting in Week 2, but either way, the Panthers open the season against some suspect offenses.
Cleveland (@ KC, vs. HOU, vs. CHI). You’re obviously not playing Cleveland Week 1, so they’re better left undrafted, but you gotta like the next two weeks. You can draft-and-stash or be ready to pounce after the opener.
Denver (@ NYG, @ JAX, vs. NYJ). Trevor Lawrence might be great immediately, but we’ll always take our chances with a strong pass-rushing team against a rookie in his second start.
Green Bay (@ NO, vs. DET, @ SF). See above in the Packers write-up. Six of their first seven games look like above-average matchups.
New England (vs. MIA, @ NYJ, vs. NO). Like the Rams, the Pats are already a top D/ST in most rankings, but their early-season schedule makes them even more appealing.
New York Jets (@ CAR, vs. NE, @ DEN). Are the Jets good enough to play in fantasy? Maybe not, but the schedule is soft and a “revenge game” to start the year against former QB Sam Darnold is enticing.

Through Week 4:

Buffalo (vs. PIT, @ MIA, vs. WFT, vs. HOU). Pittsburgh isn’t exactly “favorable,” but you’re also not scared of the Steelers because of their shaky o-line and immobile QB. The other three matchups all feature QBs with question marks.
New Orleans (vs. GB, @ CAR, @ NE, vs. NYG). It sure would’ve been nice if Jordan Love was starting that opener, but either way, after keeping New Orleans on your bench in Week 1, you should be riding high the next few weeks. The Saints also play Washington in Week 5, so the good times will keep rolling.

Fantasy Football Rankings 2021: Sleepers, breakouts, busts from top-rated model that nailed Allen’s big year

SportsLine simulated the 2021 NFL season 10,000 times and identified Fantasy football sleepers, breakouts and busts

NFL training camps are opening, and 2021 Fantasy football rankings are taking shape. Smart owners have already begun their 2021 Fantasy football draft prep, but strategies will have to be adjusted on the fly as injury news comes in. Rams running back Cam Akers ruptured his Achilles last week, and now Darrell Henderson is rising quickly in the 2021 Fantasy football running back rankings as the new No. 1 running back for Sean McVay.

Where should you target Henderson with your 2021 Fantasy football picks, and who are some of the 2021 Fantasy football sleepers, breakouts and busts you need to be aware of? A reliable set of Fantasy football rankings 2021 can help you answer those questions and also ensure you get maximum value out of every pick. Before setting your 2021 Fantasy football draft strategy, be sure to check out the 2021 Fantasy football cheat sheets from the proven computer model at SportsLine.

Last year, the model accurately predicted that Bills quarterback Josh Allen was being drastically undervalued. His Fantasy football ADP was barely in the top 70, but the model pegged him as a top-five Fantasy quarterback, a QB1 who would finish well ahead of players like Kyler Murray, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Allen ended up being the No. 2-scoring Fantasy QB, outscoring all three of those other quarterbacks and even surpassing Patrick Mahomes. Fantasy players who followed SportsLine’s advice reaped plenty of value with that pick.

The same model has a proven track record providing Fantasy football tips, also identifying A.J. Brown as another sleeper in 2020 and players like Devin Singletary and JuJu Smith-Schuster as busts last season. Additionally, it’s called past Fantasy football sleepers like Derrick Henry in 2019, Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara in 2018, and Davante Adams in 2017. Anybody who banked on players like those made a run at their league title.

The model is powered by the same people who generated projections for all three major Fantasy sites, and it beat human experts last season when there was a big difference in ranking. The projections update multiple times daily, so you’re always getting the best Fantasy football advice.

Now, SportsLine has simulated the entire NFL season 10,000 times and released its latest Fantasy football rankings 2021, along with plenty of sleepers, breakouts and busts. Head to SportsLine now to see them.

Top 2021 Fantasy football sleepers

One of the 2021 Fantasy football sleepers the model is predicting: Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker. The former first-round pick finally broke out in 2019 after four mediocre seasons to begin his career, catching 72 passes for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns. However, Parker missed multiple games last season and saw his overall productivity drop off.

Parker still had a respectable 63 catches for 793 yards and four touchdowns, but Miami’s passing offense as a whole ranked just 20th in the NFL in passing yards and 22nd in passing touchdowns. Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle stand to enhance the passing attack, and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa should take a step forward in his second season. That’s a big reason why the model likes Parker (13th round 2021 Fantasy football ADP) ahead of 10th-round options like Curtis Samuel and DeVonta Smith.

Top 2021 Fantasy football breakouts

The model is also projecting Patriots running back Damien Harris as one of its top 2021 Fantasy Football breakouts. The third-year pro rushed for 691 yards on 137 carries and two touchdowns in 2020 despite playing in just 10 games. Harris missed time in 2020 due to back and ankle injuries.

Despite his abbreviated sophomore campaign, Harris clearly seized the RB1 spot in New England away from Sony Michel. The former Alabama standout has a strong chance to get close to a 1,000-yard season in 2021 if he can remain healthy, as his 5.0 yards-per-carry average is a respectable clip. SportsLine’s 2021 Fantasy football running back rankings agree, listing Harris ahead of backs like Javonte Williams, Michael Carter and Trey Sermon.

Top 2021 Fantasy football busts

As for players to avoid, the model lists Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith as one of its top 2021 Fantasy football busts. The 2020 Heisman winner was the 10th overall draft pick after a record-breaking season at Alabama. Smith averaged over 142 receiving yards per game while also scoring 25 total touchdowns across 13 contests.

While Smith reunites with former Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts, his most productive seasons in Tuscaloosa came when different Alabama quarterbacks were throwing him the ball. His Heisman season came with Mac Jones, while his 1,256-yard 2019 season came with Tua Tagovailoa. Hurts’ limitations as a passer prevented Smith from reaching his full potential in college and he brought many of those limitations with him to Philadelphia.

The Eagles have also devoted much of their offseason to amplifying their backfield, as the team projects to be run-heavy in 2021. Smith has an eighth-round 2021 Fantasy football ADP, but the SportsLine model sees him as being on par with receivers like Tyrell Williams and Laviska Shenault, both of whom are being drafted in the 10th round or later.

How to find proven 2021 Fantasy football football rankings
SportsLine is also extremely high on a surprising quarterback you aren’t even thinking about being drafted in the middle rounds of 2021 Fantasy football drafts. This quarterback is listed as a shocking top-five option ahead of superstars like Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. You can only see who it is, and the 2020 Fantasy football rankings for every player, at SportsLine.

So which 2021 Fantasy Football sleepers, breakouts and busts should you target and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five performance? Visit SportsLine now to get 2021 Fantasy Football cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen’s huge season, and find out.

 

How do you play fantasy football?

How to Play Fantasy Football

  • You join a league. …
  • You prepare for your league draft by scouting players. …
  • You build your fantasy football team via the draft. …
  • Your team competes against another team every week. …
  • You make moves to improve your team. …
  • Your team (hopefully) makes the playoffs and wins your league.

What is fantasy football and how does it work?

To put this to you simply, fantasy football is a points driven game and based on the real-life production of NFL players. The players put up real points when they play, and if you own them on your fantasy team you will get points for that.

Where is fantasy football played?

You can play for free all season long: in the new ESPN Fantasy app and on ESPN.com, in both public and private leagues, for up to 25 teams! And of course, live scoring is free as well.

Can you cheat in fantasy football?

Cheating at Fantasy Football

As you can see, once you’re the fantasy football league commissioner, it’s limitless how you can cheat in fantasy football. Just remember to be imaginative in finding loopholes and league allies to help you in your bid to dominate the league, both politically and on the field.

What is the most popular fantasy football site?

After years of playing online and off, these are the Top 5 recommended fantasy football websites.

ESPN. ESPN is ranked as the best because of their variety. …
Yahoo. There are many fantasy fans that play on Yahoo year in and year out. …
NFL. …
CBS Sports. …
Fanball.

Can you make money fantasy football?

Daily fantasy football sites like DraftKings and FanDuel, which offer fantasy players the chance to win NFL-sized payouts, earn most of their revenue by charging fees to participate in their cash-prize contests and taking a cut.

Does it cost money to play fantasy football?

A lot of people wonder “Does fantasy football cost money?” The answer is: Only if you want it to. … In these leagues, money is pooled, and a reward structure is determined before starting the league. It’s paid out at the close of the season.

What is a good fantasy football score?

50-59 points – average, acceptable & ideal minimum. 60-74 points – consider this a good GW score. 75-99 points – very good, your team & captain must have done well. 100+ points – a great team performance and a personal achievement on your part.

Can I start a fantasy football team now?

Yes, you can start fantasy football late even after the regular season has started. … There are many sites that still offer season-long leagues many weeks after the season has started, and there is also Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) that are done on a daily/weekly basis.

How do you make money playing fantasy football?

Sign up for a shot at cash prizes.

Draft a lineup of NFL players while staying within the salary cap. Then watch as they rack up points for touchdowns, yards gained and more during the games. If your lineup scores enough points, you’ll win cash prizes — even if you don’t come in first.

What time can I pick up players in fantasy football?

There are 3 start times to choose from, but each type has the same end time. Waivers end after 11:59 p.m. PT Tuesday, allowing remaining players to be added by the 1st manager to claim them. Game Time – Tuesday (default rule) – Unclaimed players are placed on waivers as soon as their 1st game of the week begins.

How do you get unlimited transfers in Fantasy Premier league?

FPL managers can make unlimited free transfers until the GW30+ deadline without playing a Wildcard. Prices of players will not change until after the GW30+ deadline has passed. Any unused chips or Wildcards will remain available for use before the end of the season.

How do you get players on fantasy football?

Add a Player on Web

Click on the “My Team” tab in the clubhouse.
​Click on “Add Players” right below the “My Team” tab.
​You can select a specific position or all positions to choose from. Select a player to claim off waivers (You will most likely have to drop one of your players to open up a roster spot)

Who has the best fantasy football app?

These five best fantasy football apps will help you find ways to play that fit any style.

Best Fantasy Football Apps
  • NFL Fantasy Football. …
  •  Yahoo Fantasy Sports. …
  • CBS Sports Fantasy. …
  • Rotowire Fantasy Football Draft Kit. …
  • Footballguys Fantasy Football Draft Dominator.