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2021 Fantasy Football Superlatives


(image credit: Brandon Carwile/USA Today)

By Jett Rosenstein

Twitter: @rosey_jett


In 2021, fantasy football managers are going to do everything they can to try and find the next James Robinson or Justin Jefferson. While that is a very steep hill to climb, there are a few names out there that fit the profile and have the potential to exceed our expectations. In addition, there are always guys at the top of the draft that totally miss the mark and others at the end of the draft that come out of nowhere. Here are my 2021 Fantasy Football Superlatives!


Most Likely to be This Year’s, James Robinson…Javian Hawkins (RB-ATL)


First of all, let me just say, undrafted players rarely do have the success that James Robinson had in his rookie season. We might not see something like this again anytime soon. However, the player that could possibly resemble Robinson’s 2020 is Javian Hawkins. Hawkins, who is also undrafted, has the chance to start the season as the number 2 guy behind newly-acquired Mike Davis. Towards the end of 2020, Mike Davis showed that the big workload was starting to have an effect on his production. If Mike Davis were to not be effective or go down with an injury, Hawkins could end up seeing a ton of carries. In one of the most potent fantasy offenses in the league, Hawkins could end up being that guy we scoop up off the waiver wire and ride the wave.


Most Likely to be This Year’s, Justin Jefferson...Rashod Bateman (WR-BAL)


The 2020 WR Draft class was headlined by guys including Ruggs, Jeudy, and Lamb. Justin Jefferson, selected with the 22nd pick, was better than all of them. So, who has the potential to be that guy this year? Rashod Bateman, who was selected after big names including Chase, Smith, and Waddle, is joining a Ravens team that is looking for a clear WR1 to help out Lamar Jackson. While a lot of this is riding on Jackson as a passer, if Bateman and Jackson can develop a strong connection, Bateman can take advantage of all the opportunities he should be getting and become fantasy gold. Justin Jefferson’s historic rookie season may be hard to contend with, but I like Bateman’s chances to potentially outshine his fellow rookie WRs and make a name for himself during his rookie campaign.


Most Likely to be This Year’s, Justin Herbert… Justin Fields (QB-CHI)


Justin Herbert was the 3rd QB taken in 2020. Justin Fields was the 4th QB taken in 2021. I like Fields’ chances to have a Herbert-Esque season this year if he is unleashed and starts fairly early on. I think Andy Dalton will get the nod the first few weeks of the season and the Bears will realize it's time to put Fields in. Fields will have some weapons to work with including Robinson, Montgomery, and Mooney. Fantasy managers will be eager to scoop him up on the waiver wire as he begins to show why he should have been the second rookie QB off of the board. Chicago has had a lackluster recent history with QBs, so will this be the year that all changes?


Most Likely to be a First Round Disappointment… Jonathan Taylor (RB-IND)


Jonathan Taylor is currently going at the end of Round 1 in most fantasy football drafts. I just do not think he will be able to prove he is worth a 1st rd pick. Don’t get me wrong, he is still going to ball out. His end-of-season run in 2020 was remarkable. Even with his slow start, he was able to finish the year as the RB6 in PPR leagues. He also is in a very good situation with a great offensive line and an improved QB situation (I think). However, when looking at the rest of round 1, there are more proven guys that have “been there, done that.” I want my 1st round pick to be a very safe, proven pick so I am out on Taylor, but he is on his way to being one of the elite RBs in the NFL.


Most Likely to be a Late-Round Steal… Cole Kmet (TE-CHI)


Everyone remembers when the Bears had almost 100 TEs on their roster in 2020. In 2021 it looks to be a combination of Cole Kmet and Jimmy Graham. I fully expect Cole Kmet to be the starter in Week 1 and receive most, if not all of the snaps at the TE position. Towards the end of 2020, Kmet seemed to get into a rhythm averaging 5.1 targets per game after Week 10. Now, he may be catching passes from the aforementioned Justin Fields. Rookies QBs love to lean on their TEs so this could be a positive development for fantasy owners. Kmet is going in the 14th round right now in PPR leagues and with the dumpster fire that is the TE position, I expect Kmet to finish as a TE1 and be a mainstay in your fantasy lineup.


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