2021 Fantasy Football Winners & Losers From 2021 NFL Draft
Nate Hamilton offers his 2021 Fantasy Football Winners & Losers from the 2021 NFL Draft.
The 2021 NFL Draft has come and gone, yet there are lingering fantasy football implications for the upcoming season. Now, let’s focus fantasy football tips on current fantasy football players who were negatively or positively impacted by their organization’s 2021 NFL Draft strategy.
Who came away unscathed, who found themselves in an improved situation, and who suffered a blow to their potential workload or role in their respective offense for the 2021 season?
There were plenty of players affected following the 2021 NFL Draft. I’ll hone in on five winners and losers that you should pay attention to leading up to 2021 fantasy football drafts. I fully expect to see the average draft position for the following players to fluctuate from now through August. The goal is to determine an increase or loss of value in each player to help you with your decisions in 2021 fantasy football drafts.
Keep track of these 2021 fantasy football players when making your daily fantasy football picks for the upcoming NFL season. Use these 2021 Fantasy Football Winners & Losers from the 2021 NFL Draft to make predictions at Monkey Knife Fight.
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2021 Fantasy Football Winners & Losers From 2021 NFL Draft
2021 FANTASY FOOTBALL WINNERS
Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears
Allen Robinson will finally have a legitimate quarterback throwing to him in the form of Justin Fields. The question isn’t if this will happen, but when?
The Bears may decide to begin the season with Andy Dalton under center, and if that happens, it will most likely be short-lived. Regardless of who will be the Chicago Bears’ starting quarterback in Week 1, they should be well-protected; the Bears also addressed their offensive line in this year’s draft. The upgraded protection will allow sufficient time to provide Allen Robinson with more efficient targets in 2021.
At the very least, I’m sure the move made Robinson feel much better about being handed the franchise tag.
Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins
This one actually doesn’t surprise me. Myles Gaskin was a winner to me even before the 2021 NFL Draft. The Dolphins did not draft a running back; instead, they spent their 6th overall pick on wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and a second-round pick on offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg.
The Dolphins drafted a somewhat intriguing running back, Gerrid Doaks, but that happened in Round 7, and Doaks will compete with the likes of Malcolm Brown and Salvon Ahmed for secondary touches.
Gaskin will be a big part of a much more balanced offense in Miami for 2021. If you extrapolate Gaskin’s 2020 stats to 16 games. he would have been a top-13 RB in rushing yards; top-3 RB in receptions and top-2 RB in receiving yards while collecting 1,555 scrimmage yards. I’m excited to see what Gaskin does in a full season as the Dolphins’ lead back.
Corey Davis, WR, New York Jets
I promise you will not find Corey Davis on many “winner” lists outside of this article. I can’t ignore how much his situation has improved for 2021. He’s got an opportunity to be the WR1 in what will likely be a pass-happy offense. He’ll have Zach Wilson throwing to him with an improved offensive line.
The Jets also have an underwhelming running back group. All signs point to volume for the Jets wide receivers. If volume is king, Corey Davis will wear the crown in this offense in 2021.
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow showed some impressive flashes as a rookie in 2020 before his torn ACL and MCL in Week 11. The Bengals wasted no time in the 2021 NFL draft helping out their franchise quarterback, drafting receiver Ja’Marr Chase with the 5th overall pick followed by offensive tackle Jackson Carman in Round 2 (46th overall).
Both were early Christmas presents for the sophomore QB. If Joe Burrow can get to 100% healthy by Week 1, he’ll reap the benefits of a young, talented wide receiver corps and an improved offensive line.
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan already had one of the best receiving duos to throw to and now, it’s a trio. The Falcons drafted arguably the best offensive skill position player in tight end, Kyle Pitts with the 4th overall pick.
Many fantasy football analysts, including myself, expect Pitts to have an immediate fantasy football breakthrough in 2021. With Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley drawing heavy coverage from opposing defenses, Kyle Pitts will see plenty of space in what will be a high-scoring offense.
The other Falcons tight end, Hayden Hurst, was a top-10 TE in 2020. Given Pitts’ size and athleticism, he’ll have little trouble matching up with the other elite tight ends for fantasy football as well as creating a mismatch nightmare for defenses in 2021 and beyond.
I forgot this wasn’t all about Kyle Pitts. Matt Ryan is an obvious winner as he will have an abundance of talented receiving options in 2021, including running back Mike Davis.
2021 FANTASY FOOTBALL LOSERS
James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
After a season with 1,414 scrimmage yards and 10 touchdowns, James Robinson ranked as the RB7 in 2020 fantasy football leagues. However, Robinson’s value took a massive blow following the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Jaguars drafted QB Trevor Lawrence 1st overall as expected; however, they were not done with offensive skill position players. The Jaguars selected a running back with their second 1st-round pick (25th overall).
It wasn’t just any running back, it was Trevor Lawrence’s Clemson teammate Travis Etienne.
Urban Meyer is calling Etienne their “third-down back,” but I’m not buying it. Sure, the Jaguars drafted Lawrence’s teammate for some level of comfort, but a team rarely spends the 25th overall pick on a running back that isn’t expected to see a healthy workload. This all spells bad news for James Robinson and his volume and production in 2021.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Denver Broncos
It appeared Melvin Gordon was going to be in for a big year after Phillip Lindsay signed with the Houston Texans.
The hype came to a screeching halt once the Broncos drafted South Carolina running back Javonte Williams with the 35th overall pick.
The Broncos find themselves a bit unstable at quarterback between Drew Lock and newly acquired Teddy Bridgewater, but they now have two serviceable running backs to share the offensive workload.
Javonte Williams was in the top group of the 2021 NFL Draft running back class and will have an immediate role in Denver. Depending on how far Melvin Gordon falls in fantasy football drafts, he could still end up with some fantasy value as a decent flex option, but don’t blindly rely on name value when filling out your backfield.
Hayden Hurst, TE, Atlanta Falcons
Another player not many people are talking about is the No. 10 fantasy football tight end of 2020, Hayden Hurst. His fantasy football draft value (as long as he stays with the Falcons) evaporated once Kyle Pitts was drafted.
I’d be surprised if the Falcons held onto Hurst, though he is set to make just under $2M this season, so he could be an easy keep for blocking help. If Hayden Hurst is traded, there will still be hope that he can provide some fantasy football value depending on his landing spot.
Regardless, if you had your eyes set on Hurst for 2021, you certainly are not considering adding him to your fantasy rosters now.
Benny Snell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
The fantasy football stock of many running backs were devastated by the 2021 NFL Draft, and Benny Snell is one of them. Alabama running back Najee Harris found himself on the top of many rookie RB ranking lists and will be the workhorse back for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021.
Snell will now have to share any leftover touches with Anthony McFarland. Most expected the Steelers to draft a running back, while some Benny Snell truthers held onto hope that he could end up being “the guy” in Pittsburgh.
Now that the Steelers have Harris, I wouldn’t even recommend a late-round flyer on Snell unless you find yourself in a sorely deep league.
Andy Dalton, QB, Chicago Bears
Being a Dallas Cowboys fan, I saw enough out of Andy Dalton in 2020 to never think about him again, but here we are. Let’s face it, Dalton was never going to be the answer for the Chicago Bears. Given the struggles that the organization has faced at the quarterback position, they needed to make a move.
The Bears were able to grab Ohio State QB Justin Fields after trading up for the 11th overall pick. As stated at the beginning of this article, if Andy Dalton does begin the 2021 season as the Bears starter, he will be on a short leash. The Bears have needed a legitimate quarterback for a long time, and I’m sure they don’t want to wait much longer to give some revitalized hope (Justin Fields) to their fanbase.