2021 Fantasy Football Guide



Tips for your Fantasy Draft

By Mackay Collins

As the NFL season approaches, many people are drafting their fantasy football teams before the season begins. This article can be used as a guide to the first three rounds of the draft, which is the most important moment in the fantasy football season. Depending on the size of your league, your first pick should always be a running back. In PPR(Points Per Reception) leagues, the running back is by far the most valuable position on your team.  The first pick in most leagues will be Christian McCaffery. But who should you draft with your pick? The next best would be Dalvin Cook as he returns to a high-powered Vikings offense. The third running back should either be Derrick Henry or last year’s number 1 running back, Alvin Kamara. In the next seven picks, you should most likely select one of the top 10 running backs. However, both Travis Kelce and Davante Adams are viable selections in the later picks of the first round.
In the second round, the best picks to take are either another running back or a top wide receiver. Some players you should look for at pick 11-13 are Najee Harris, Antonio Gibson, or possibly even Austin Ekeler if he falls to the second round. For picks 14-20 I would recommend drafting one of the top 5 receivers other than Davante Adams who most likely will be gone at this point. Look for Tyreek Hill, DeAndre Hopkins, Stefon Diggs, Calvin Ridley, and possibly DK Metcalf(although this is not great value for him). Other options include Nick Chubb or Jonathon Taylor who both have a great possibility of being top 10  running backs this season. DO NOT draft a QB in the second round! Drafting Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen this early is not worth it as QB is the easiest position to find value at later in the draft.
Round 3 is where the picks begin to become a little less obvious as to the position you should take. What I would recommend is drafting another WR who has a high upside. This could include Justin Jefferson, A.J. Brown, or Terry McLaurin. However, this is a good time to select either George Kittle or Darren Waller as having a top-tier tight end is very important. In the final picks of the 3rd round, it is fine to draft a top QB like Josh Allen or Kyler Murray who both return with high-powered offenses.

Do Nots

Now that I have given you an idea of what should be done in your fantasy draft, it is important that what should not be done is discussed. Oftentimes people make common mistakes, especially if it is their first time participating in a fantasy draft.

Do not select your team based on who they play in the final 2 weeks of the season(the weeks where the fantasy playoffs take place).  Although these weeks are important in the fantasy season, this does not account for injuries and a better player will still perform against top teams. Also, it is very easy to get a solid player off the waivers if needed later in the year who will better fit your needs.
Do not reach on a Quarterback. As I stated earlier, drafting a player like Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen in the first 3 rounds is too early based on the value of quarterbacks in fantasy. Although they are crucial to the success of your team, the position is the easiest to find decent value in later rounds. The gap between a top quarterback and an average QB is not significant enough (in fantasy) to justify the use of an early pick.
The final thing I would advise against is drafting solely off projected points. These projections do help to gauge a player’s projected role on the team. Injuries can derail a player’s season and also help others ascend to greater seasons. It is impossible to predict how well a player will do and these numbers should only be used as a guideline.
With the NFL season quickly approaching, I hope you can use this as a guide to help with your draft. Good luck on your journey to winning your league!

2021 Fantasy Football Preseason Sleepers and Busts

By Gray Willits

Every year, there are a few players new and old across the NFL that make or break millions of fantasy player’s seasons. Maybe it’s injuries or a player’s declining skills, but no one loves drafting a player with high hopes only to have their heartbroken because of their player’s lackluster season. That is why it is important to have an idea of which players could have a big impact on your fantasy team or those that could ultimately cost losses during the season. In Fantasy Football, many players are known as “Boom-or-Bust” players which means they are much riskier to draft as they have the potential to have a huge upside for one’s team, but picking many of these players could be a mistake as they also have the potential to “bust” and not produce for one’s team. Now let’s look at some of the sleepers and busts for the 2021-22 NFL season.

When determining the potential of a player for this upcoming season, you must know the telltale signs that a player might be a bust. Sadly, many players have premature injuries in the preseason or at training camp which ends their season entirely. Premature injuries are inevitable, but that is why it is very important to have your league draft no earlier than two weeks before the season so that you can avoid all the before-season injuries and trades. Next, many busts have or have had a history with injuries that have caused them to miss sums of games every season. Players like these who have always been injury prone and unreliable with longevity are to be avoided as they will likely miss games every season. Finally and most importantly, you must examine the factors that make or break one’s position. For example, if you are trying to figure out if a running back is going to be a bust, look at their team’s offensive line, offensive play calling, and pass-rush ability. Running Backs that don’t have a good offensive line or don’t get the ball enough may get overshadowed by a team’s passing game and may turn out to be a bust. Also, running backs that are “one-dimensional” come with some risk too as it is important to have one that is able to get both yards off the carry and receptions from their respected QB. These tips go for all players as it is important to evaluate the player’s team and abilities thoroughly to tell if they will ultimately “boom” or “bust.”

Now let’s get into what you came for. I’ll first talk about the potential busts this year as that has been the main topic of the article so far. One of the biggest projected busts this year and someone you should stay away from is the Cincinnati Bengals’ running back, Joe Mixon. Mixon is entering his 5th year in the NFL and has not had the breakout season that fantasy managers and Bengals fans had hoped for. Because of his injuries that seem to recur every year and the poor offensive line of the Bengals who have cost Mixon yards and even their starting quarterback a season-ending injury, the risk with the Bengals’ running back is just too high. Managers should “fade” Mixon as much as possible in their drafts and wait till later rounds to pick him up. 

Another huge bust for this season is someone who everyone knows, but don’t fall for the hype of this player as he continually lets fantasy managers down every year. This player is Odell Beckham Jr, wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns. Beckham Jr is coming off a season-ending ACL tear last year and even before the injury wasn’t having the best season. The wideout tallied just 23 catches for 319 yards and three touchdowns in the seven games he played in last season. With these stats and a harsh injury, OBJ just isn’t the guy fantasy managers should have their eye on until he proves otherwise.

The last bust I will mention is Super Bowl champion and Tampa Bay receiver, Mike Evans. Evans is a phenomenal receiver but has proven to be “touchdown-dependent” as besides his red-zone targets he doesn’t put up too many stats. Also, with Chris Godwin returning to full health, Tampa Bay’s other star receiver, Mike Evans will surely get overshadowed and look like the second target option to Chris Godwin. While Evans has flourished in years past, a lot of it has to do with the absence of Chris Godwin. While fantasy managers should draft Mike Evans, they should wait for later rounds to make a move and should go for more reliable receivers who will be the star on their team. 


Now onto the sleepers. These are players who have the potential to have huge roles this season and all fantasy managers should consider taking the risk in drafting them. One of the most hyped-up players for the 2021 fantasy season is Austin Ekeler, the running back for the Los Angeles Chargers. The hype is worth it though. While Ekeler suffered a serious hamstring injury that cost him to miss weeks 5-11 last season, managers should look past his injury as Ekeler’s talents and potential overshadow the doubt surrounding his name. The Chargers as a team have improved tremendously and so has Ekeler as the offensive and defensive coordinators have found a good system that fits the team, the offensive line has improved, and Ekeler is one of the premier pass-rush running backs in the NFL that can do it all. Also, the Chargers’ second-year quarterback, Justin Herbert, seems to be on track to be one of the top QB’s in the NFL which will only benefit Ekeler and his upside. As a fantasy manager with a later pick in the first round of their draft, don’t be afraid to draft Austin Ekeler. 

Another running back that seems to be overlooked is Mike Davis who was signed by the Atlanta Falcons this offseason and will immediately see a role as the lead back. While Mike Davis is one of the older running backs in the league, he proved that he still has it as he was a solid backup for an injured Christian McCaffery in Carolina last season. Now on an Atlanta team as the number one option, Mike Davis has the potential for a big season. Also, Atlanta just recently acquired the Tennessee Titans’ former offensive coordinator who was a big reason for their star running back’s success the past couple of years. That running back of course is Derrick Henry who finished in the top three running backs last fantasy season. With a run-heavy offensive coordinator and no other options in Atlanta, Mike Davis is a good choice for a running back two to a solid flex on all fantasy teams.   

Lastly, the final sleeper on my list is running back Antonio Gibson of the Washington Football Team. The second-year running back will have a great season under Scott Turner’s offensive play calling and the Washington Football Team’s solid offensive line. Gibson has the upside to be a top 5-10 running back this year and is worth the draft pick. If you are able to get Gibson past the first round that’s a steal as his potential is unmatched for this upcoming season. 

Fantasy Football is a fun game that brings interest to the NFL and excites people every year. But of course, there is always a loser in every league and thus a punishment. As a responsible fantasy manager, do some research as it may pay off and save you from a very embarrassing punishment. And as always, don’t be afraid to take chances because you never know, they may win you your league too.