2021 Fantasy Football Vacated Targets: Stars & Sleepers Set For More Receiving Chances
Veteran fantasy football expert Jody Smith debuts for The Game Day with his report on 2021 Fantasy Football Vacated Targets: Playing Time Opportunities Opening Up. Which teams have opportunities left for the taking by receivers? Take note of the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers.
Read about more fantasy football risers and fallers with Nate Hamilton’s 2021 Fantasy Football Winners & Losers after the 2021 NFL Draft.
In today’s high-octane NFL, passing is king, and nowhere is that more evident than in fantasy football. The growing popularity of PPR fantasy football leagues and NFL spread offenses have only placed more value on receptions and targets.
As there is every offseason, there was plenty of roster turnover preceding 2021 and that means there will be varying amounts of vacated targets available for all 32 NFL teams. Knowing how the coaches will supplement those opportunities can give fantasy football enthusiasts a huge edge on draft day.
Here are the 2021 fantasy football vacated targets from 2020 and what we can expect from the offenses with the most open opportunities.
Keep track of these 2021 fantasy football players when making your daily fantasy football picks for the upcoming NFL season. Use these sleepers who could seize 2021 Fantasy Football Vacated Targets as your picks at Monkey Knife Fight.
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Fantasy Football Vacated Targets: Which Teams Have The Most Targets For The Taking In 2021?
|San Francisco 49ers||192||34.7%|
|Los Angeles Rams||176||31.3%|
|New Orleans Saints||174||34.2%|
|New England Patriots||171||40.8%|
|Los Angeles Chargers||136||22.2%|
|New York Giants||134||26.8%|
|Las Vegas Raiders||120||23.0%|
|New York Jets||118||25.4%|
|Kansas City Chiefs||87||14.2%|
|Green Bay Packers||63||12.5%|
|Washington Football Team||37||6.4%|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||29||4.8%|
1. Detroit Lions: 360 Targets Available
The rebuilding Lions saw a huge exodus of pass-catchers including their top two wideouts in Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones. Additionally, a new QB in Jared Goff will only add more mystery to the new-look Detroit offense.
Two veteran journeyman wideouts in Breshad Perriman and Tyrell Williams will take over as the perimeter options, but the Lions’ beneficiary should be sophomore RB D’Andre Swift, who no longer will lose snaps to Kerryon Johnson and should be featured in Anthony Lynn’s attack. Also keep an eye on fourth-round rookie WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, who could win the team’s slot role with a strong showing this summer.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: 240 Targets Available
Like the Lions, the Jaguars will also be ushering in a new signal-caller in No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence, but there is more reason for optimism. Jacksonville lost Keelan Cole and Chris Conley but has an intriguing group of young wideouts to fill the missing 240 targets.
D.J. Chark retains his status as the No. 1 wideout, but former Lion Marvin Jones is a big boost on the other side.
Second-year slot receiver Laviska Shenault also fared well as a rookie in a moribund offense and could surpass 80 targets. Urban Meyer also will use multiple backs in his spread offense, so expect James Robinson and first-round rookie Travis Etienne to each see 40-plus looks.
3. Tennessee Titans: 224 Targets Available
WR Corey Davis (92 targets) and TE Jonnu Smith (65) accounted for most of Tennessee’s abandoned targets, and the only significant additions were Josh Reynolds, Marcus Johnson, and rookie Dez Fitzpatrick.
This is an exciting development for WR A.J. Brown, who put up an impressive 70/1073/11 line on just 106 targets. Brown is the top candidate to command most of those opportunities and could easily post top-5 fantasy numbers with 120-plus targets.
4. Carolina Panthers: 200 Targets Available
Curtis Samuel departed for Washington, and newly signed TE Dan Arnold and WR David Moore will earn a large share of Carolina’s 200 open targets, as will rookie wideout Terrace Marshall, Jr.
RB Christian McCaffrey, who missed 13 games last season, may take half those looks himself, though.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: 195 Targets Available
Gone from Cincinnati are WR A.J. Green and RB Giovanni Bernard, who accounted for 163 of the club’s 195 vacated targets. Enter No. 5 overall pick Ja’Marr Chase, who should play his way into triple-digit looks right away.
RB Joe Mixon, who missed 10 games last season, also will see a huge uptick in passes.
6. Houston Texans: 194 Targets Available
While the Texans rank sixth with 194 available targets, this looks like a situation to avoid in fantasy. Houston has had a tumultuous offseason and there is a real chance QB Deshaun Watson has played his last snap for the Texans, if not the league.
Without Watson, Houston projects to have a bottom-5 offense and will attempt to fill the void left by Will Fuller with veteran castoffs Chris Conley, Donte Moncrief, Alex Erickson, and TE Ryan Izzo.
Third-round rookie WR Nico Collins could also contend for snaps but will have a hard time earning enough volume to be fantasy-relevant.
The backfield also looks like a potential mess with new arrival Phillip Lindsay looking like a sleeper to steal the starting job from David Johnson at some point.
7. San Francisco 49ers: 192 Targets Available
Kendrick Bourne (74 targets) and Jordan Reed (46) accounted for the majority of San Francisco’s 192 vacated targets but the biggest question for the Niners will be under center.
If No. 3 pick Trey Lance unseats Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco’s offense could look vastly different, and most potent. For now, expect Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle to see a boost, with Richie James the top contender for No. 3 duties.
8. Los Angeles Rams: 176 Targets Available
The addition of QB Matthew Stafford should be a big boost for the Rams’ passing attack. Josh Reynolds (Titans) and Gerald Everett (Seahawks) totaled 142 targets, which represented 81% of LA’s 176 available attempts from last season.
TE Tyler Higbee could rebound to 2019’s numbers, while aging veteran deep-threat DeSean Jackson should also see a handful of targets for whatever games he is healthy for.
9. New Orleans Saints: 174 Targets Available
Life without Drew Brees won’t be easy for the Saints, and we could see both Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston take a significant number of snaps under center.
This makes it hard to predict Sean Payton’s new-look offense. Michael Thomas should see a big boost over 2020 but is unlikely to approach the 140-plus looks he got in the past. Tre’Quan Smith could double his targets total this season, which makes the fourth-year wideout an interesting late-round value pick in fantasy drafts.
Marquez Callaway, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Deonte Harris, and Bennie Fowler could also factor in as reserve options.
10. New England Patriots: 171 Targets Available
As brilliant as Bill Belichick has been, drafting and developing perimeter wide receivers have not been strengths.
Enter free agency: Belichick and the Patriots were big spenders this winter. New England signed the top two available tight ends in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, who each are candidates to see 60-plus looks.
Nelson Agholor broke out in Las Vegas in 2020 but will have a hard time topping 82 targets or 8 touchdowns with Cam Newton at the helm. Kendrick Bourne has the potential to lead the club in targets if he takes over slot duties for the retired Julian Edelman.
This breakdown could change if rookie Mac Jones ascends to the starting role under center sometime during the 2021 season.
More Target Pictures To Watch In Fantasy Football
The Miami Dolphins return mostly intact, so there won’t be a ton of targets available for Will Fuller, who is also slated to miss Week 1 due to a PED suspension. Fuller has an extremely checkered injury history as well and balled out in a contract year. He’s a candidate to be overdrafted this summer.
No team has fewer available targets than the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have two outstanding running backs and want to be a ground-and-pound offense. That doesn’t bode well for Odell Beckham Jr. returning to his glory days. Beckham has posted just one WR2 fantasy football season since 2016 and will be highly unlikely to return to that status in this offense.
Also, consider second-round rookie WR Rondale Moore as a late-round sleeper to target in drafts. Moore excelled inside at Purdue, ran a blazing 4.32 40-yard dash, and posted elite burst and agility scores. With Larry Fitzgerald still unsigned, Moore could factor into Arizona’s offense rather quickly, and the Cardinals have nearly 29% of their targets from last season unaccounted for.
When you’re done identifying 2021 fantasy football sleepers with opportunities at more receiving targets, listen to The Game Day Podcast with Adam Kramer and Marcus Mosher for the latest around the NFL: