“Duffman” (real name Nate) is a fantasy football enthusiast who loves to hate his players each and every Sunday. He does not relate well to the people he coaches and has little time for those he plays against. As a result, he has no regrets when it comes to the game itself and is constantly excited to watch the highlights. When a hobby becomes an obsession, it is easy to slide into the abyss of hate and be unable to enjoy the game. Those who reach this point usually find their love for the game turning into hate, and they don’t enjoy it anymore.
The concept of fantasy football has been around for years now. It’s a fun concept: would you rather have your fantasy team or your real-life team? For us, it’s understandable to root for your fantasy team.
After a brief introduction to my blog (see below), I intend to discuss my feelings on some of my favorite things in life. These things are things that I love, things I hate and things I regret.. Read more about matthew berry 100 facts 2021 and let us know what you think.
Matthew Berry’s Love/Hate list for the 2021 fantasy football season is a list of players he believes will be the greatest draft-day bargains and others you should definitely let go. Matthew starts, as he has for the last 15 years, by telling a tale that, we promise, has more to do with fantasy football than it seems.
The first thing to know about Shirley Ruth Gold is that she was never referred to as such.
She was born in Colorado in 1927 and lived for 93 years, during which time she was known simply as “Cookie.”
When she was a little child, a cousin gave her the moniker, and it stayed. If you were one of her 22(!) grandkids or great-grandchildren, you may have called her “Gammy,” but she was Cookie to her friends, family, husband, and myself.
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To be more precise, she was my great-aunt. I’m married to the brother of my father’s mother’s brother (get it?). I’ve already written about her husband, Lester, my great-uncle. Lester died in March 2011 at the age of 88, and it is frequently said that it was a good thing that he died before Cookie since he would not have been able to live without her.
It’s a sensation that those of us who are fortunate enough to know her are all too familiar with. I mean, she passed away in March 2020, and it’s taken all I’ve got to keep myself together long enough to write this, 18 months later.
Cookie was amazing. As if you were royalty in real life. That’s not to say she ever made you feel that way. Sweet, warm, and down-to-earth are all words that come to me when I think of you. When you talked with her, she was completely focused on you and made you feel like the most important person on the planet.
Lester and Cookie have three daughters. Those three daughters had a total of seven children, and they now have a total of 15 children. There are also husbands and spouses, nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, and other relatives that make up the never-ending vast family of which she was the matriarch for almost seven decades. Every day, she talked to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The phone was always ringing, and every time I went to see her, there were a slew of family members and children running about her home, all while she sat in the living room, holding court.
Aunt Cookie had a commanding presence, larger-than-life, kind and loving. Nothing in her life was more important to her than her family. And, of course, the Denver Broncos. Matthew Berry provided this image.
Cookie was a farm kid and a die-hard Broncos supporter growing up in Golden, Colorado. Like the sort of country girl who walked to school on a horse. She met my uncle Lester when she was a teenager, and the two became friends. Lester went out to fight in World War II for our nation, and when he returned, he began dating Cookie. They had been married for 70 years when Lester died.
My uncle fared very well in business because to Cookie’s unwavering support. I recall having lunch with Lester and Cookie when I was around 14 years old, and asking him innocently, “Uncle, you’ve had a lot of success. How do you go about doing it? So, what’s the deal?”
“”It’s pretty easy, Matthew,” he said. I long ago realized that it was just simpler for me to earn more money than to prevent your Aunt Cookie from spending it.”
My aunt nodded and cackled her wonderful laugh. “He is correct. I was raised on a farm. We had both labor horses and show horses on the property. On our first date, I informed your uncle that I’m a show horse.” They both laughed at the same time. That was something they did often.
By the way, she wasn’t lying about being a “show horse.” Cookie was always, and I mean always, well dressed. She always had her hair done, her makeup and jewelry on, and her nails shined whether it was morning, noon, or late at night. She would welcome you fully dressed even if you were only stopping over for a quick lunch in the morning. She always wanted you to know how important you were to her, and that included the way she dressed.
And make no doubt about that. Cookie had excellent taste and enjoyed beautiful things, but the reality is that she nearly always spent her money on her children and grandchildren, family and friends, charities, and whomever needed it. She liked making others laugh and making fun of herself.
My cousin Monica (Cookie’s granddaughter) and I recently heard a tale about Cookie going through a park with a group of people when Cookie spotted them. She turned to Monica and stated, sympathetically, that she want to assist them. “”Look at that bunch,” she remarked, “they must be in such a bad situation.” They’re all going to have to share that one cigarette.” Monica had to clarify that they were not impoverished and that the cigarette was not a cigarette. Cookie would scream as she told herself the tale.
When I say she was there for her family, I mean she was really there for them. Aunt Cookie cared about every play, game, doctor’s visit, and everything else that was important to you.
She was in College Station, Texas, for my bar mitzvah. She made get there after three flights. She was there for my Syracuse University graduation. She was a frequent visitor to Los Angeles. Despite the fact that she had no prior knowledge of fantasy football, she continued to watch Fantasy Football Now whenever she had the opportunity.
Aunt Cookie came and sat through my 90-minute lecture when my book tour for “Fantasy Life” brought me to a venue an hour away from her in 2013, despite the fact that it was difficult for her to move about at the time. Who does that at the age of 85? Aunt Cookie is one of them. Matthew Berry provided this image.
I was delighted she got to meet my kids a few years back when I was able to visit Denver approximately once a year. And we spoke on the phone, but not nearly enough, if I’m being honest. I’m not sure when we last talked before she died, although I’m ashamed to admit it was months before.
You’re preoccupied with job and children, and you tell yourself, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Which leads to the next week, which leads to the following month, and before you know it, you’re penning a column full of remorse.
She’d been ill for a long, so a scheduled visit had to be canceled, and there was a period of time when she couldn’t speak on the phone — but whatever. I should have put forth more effort.
Her daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren, their wives, great-grandkids, and others gathered around her bed to say farewell and tell her what she meant to them when the doctor informed them that the end was close. There were 36 individuals in all, and I would give any amount of money to be able to go back in time and be there. At the very least, I’ve been on the phone.
But it wasn’t until it was too late that I learned of her last days and death.
I wondered whether it was my fault when I thought about it. As I previously said, 36 individuals were there at her bedside when she died. That’s a lot of information. Many of them were children, and I’m sure emotions were running high as people ran about, and it was a terrible moment, and it obviously slipped everyone’s memory. And it’s most likely my fault. Perhaps I should have paid more attention. More calls were made. I went to a few more places. I spent more time talking and texting with my cousins. Because I would have been more aware that the end was approaching.
As you may know, I am a big admirer of Jimmy Buffett. “Life Short Call Now” is the title of one of his songs. Jimmy is a wise man. This last year, I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating regret. About my work, my family, and what I want to accomplish with my life. There isn’t much time left. Regarding my Aunt Cookie.
The consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic have been terrible, far-reaching, and catastrophic over the last 17 months or more, making it the most difficult year and a half most of us have ever encountered. We aren’t out of the woods yet, since the Delta variety continues to spread.
More than ever, the future seems totally unclear.
I made it about myself when I recounted the scenario at my aunt’s deathbed because, well, that’s what I do. That’s the heading of the column. But consider it again. Thirty-six individuals were gathered around her. Thirty-six. Cookie had the opportunity to express her feelings to each and every one of them. And everyone of her 36 family members had the opportunity to tell her how much they loved her one by one. They realized how much she meant to them. That’s a lovely thing you’ve done. That is a love-filled existence. That is a life to which we should all aspire.
In some strange manner, I imagined my aunt would live forever. Or, at the very least, that I had more time than I really had. But I know my aunt was aware of my feelings for her. I told her that many times throughout our conversation. I’m certain I made her pleased. Aunt Cookie would frequently tell me how much the column meant to her when I wrote about my Uncle Lester’s passing. She said she read it often and it made her happy because it reminded her of her spouse and how much she missed him. Despite knowing all of this, I am still depressed.
I’ve been thinking about a quote from novelist Victoria Holt. “Never, ever, ever regret anything. It’s fantastic if it’s good. If it’s poor, it’s due to lack of experience.”
So, Victoria, if recent experience has taught me anything, it’s that you should tell people who mean a lot to you that they mean a lot to you whenever you have the opportunity.
I’m not sure how much longer I have on this planet. I’m not sure how many times I’ll write this column; there’s nothing nefarious about it; all good things must come to an end. But it means a lot to me that you’ve decided to spend part of your time with me. I owe you a huge debt of gratitude. You have no clue what’s going on.
Which leads us to football, where, like everything else in life, there is a lot of uncertainty.
We weren’t sure whether we’d have a fantasy football season a year ago at this time. At this time a year ago, we had never contemplated playing football on a Wednesday afternoon.
We believed Tyrod Taylor would start for the Chargers a year ago at this time. And he had no clue his backup would outscore Lamar Jackson in fantasy points.
None of us could have predicted that Jared Goff and Phillip Rivers would end up with more overall fantasy points than Drew Brees a year ago.
Leonard Fournette was a Jaguar at this time last year, and undrafted rookie James Robinson was buried on the depth chart. Christian McCaffrey has never missed a practice or a game in his life due to injury.
Nyheim Hines was not anticipated to finish with a higher overall fantasy point total than Kenyan Drake (though I tried to warn you guys on Drake last year). When the Bills acquired Stefon Diggs, no one outside of Buffalo paid notice.
Last year, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III were chosen ahead of Justin Jefferson among rookie wide receivers. Jace Sternberger, not Robert Tonyan, was the late-round sleeper tight end for the Packers. etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.,
In a moment, I’ll discuss a number of football players. Some I like more than their current draft position, while others I don’t. I can’t predict the future, but I can tell you that some of my predictions will be correct. I’m going to be incorrect on a few of them. And we’re all going to be incorrect on a lot of average draft spots as a group.
So please think about what I’m saying. Take a look at my rankings, as well as the Fantasy Focus 06010 podcast and ESPN+’s The Fantasy Show with Matthew Berry. Starting today (Aug. 17), ESPN will broadcast the Fantasy Football Marathon. Take into account all of my ESPN colleagues’ excellent analyses. Consider the opinions of the many knowledgeable individuals who operate in the fantasy football business and produce excellent results.
After that, write out who you want, when you want, and how you want. Baby, #YOLO.
If you don’t win, at the very least you went down with your men. Because there isn’t a sensation worse than regret.
The Fantasy Show with Matthew Berry’s Love/Hate episode will be available on ESPN+ later today, and you can also binge our previous preseason programs. Throughout the season, Daniel Dopp, Stephen A. Bot, Crystal, Norby, Strawman, and The Bear of Bad News will continue to deliver on our promise of making you a lot wiser fantasy player and a much dumber person with several episodes every week.
You can listen to the Fantasy Focus 06010 podcast right now, five days a week, wherever you receive podcasts, or watch us do it live at 11 a.m. ET on the ESPN App, the ESPN Fantasy App, ESPN’s YouTube website, the @fantasyfocus Twitter account, or the ESPN Fantasy Facebook page. A replay is also available on each of those social media sites.
Finally, once the regular season begins, the crew and I will be returning on ESPN2 on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. ET with the award-winning Fantasy Football Now show, providing you with the most up-to-date information and analysis to help you put together your best team.
Before we go into the players, a brief reminder. First and first, this is not a sleepers and busts piece for the new kids in class.
Those are words that I despise. Any player may be a “sleeper” or a “bust” depending on the cost of drafting that player. This column is more about ESPN average draft positions (ADP), which is a real-time report of where players are selected in ESPN leagues, than it is about players. Obviously, ADP differs per site, so someone who I believe is undervalued in ESPN drafts may be selected four rounds sooner elsewhere. I’m not sure what I can say. I work for a business, and we use ESPN’s ADP. Now, ADP will inevitably increase or decrease, depending on the situation, but here is a glimpse of how players were selected in the first two weeks of August.
Because “Love” and “Hate” relate only to a player’s ADP, it’s an essential difference to make. Despite what you may have heard on the internet, I do not “hate” Josh Jacobs. He is an exceptional football player. Given the present condition of the Raiders’ backfield, I despise where he is being selected as of this writing — ahead of Chris Carson and Darrell Henderson Jr…. what?!
This column does just that: it spotlights players that I think will exceed or underperform their ESPN ADP. News and player value fluctuate often, therefore please refer to my frequently updated rankings, both positional and Top 200, to see where I rate a player in relation to others.
This section assumes you’re selecting in an ESPN 10-team PPR league with one quarterback and one flex player. And, of course, there will always be more “love” names than “hate” ones, since you already know that players with lower ADPs are undervalued and unlikely to produce value. Thank you, as usual, to Damian Dabrowski, “The Stat-a-pillar” from ESPN+’s The Fantasy Show, for his assistance with this piece. And with that, let’s get started.
Quarterbacks I want to see in 2021
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: Someone please remember me to speak to the 30 for 30 folks. Because we’re in desperate need of a fantasy version of it. The first one is already scheduled for next year.
“What if I told you… they really let Russ cook?” (deep voice)
Wilson’s terrible second half last season has made me believe that many have forgotten how brilliant he was in the first half. Wilson was averaging 28.5 points per game through the first eight weeks of the season (QB2, second only to Kyler Murray), and Russ in chef hat jokes dominated the internet. It was a wonderful time. However, down the stretch, Brian Schottenheimer’s offensive crumbled, causing Wilson’s output to plummet and Seahawks fan Mina Kimes’ blood pressure to soar. That, however, will not be an issue in 2021. I trust in new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, and I know this has been said before, but I feel they will let Russ cook this year. I like how he’s reintroduced running to his game — many people don’t know he ran for 513 yards last season, his most since 2017 — but most importantly, Wilson has both a high ceiling and a high floor. He’s the only quarterback in the league with 30-plus touchdown passes in each of the last four seasons, and he’s finished in the top 10 in total points every season since 2013. (and top six in three of the past four campaigns). Wilson is presently ranked seventh in ESPN drafts as QB7, but I have him solidly in my top five.
In the last month of his rookie season, Jalen Hurts shown that he could cause havoc with his legs, so if he can increase his throwing efficiency in Year Two, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with. Matt Slocum/AP Photo
Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts: It’s blind résumé time.
Player A: 19.4 fantasy points per game, 165.3 throw yards per game, and 72.8 run yards per game Player B: 23.0 fantasy points per game, 229.8 throw yards per game, and 68.0 run yards per game
Isn’t it striking how similar they are? Of course, you’d like Player B, but it’s in the same ballpark. Player B, on the other hand, is Jalen Hurts, who started four games as a rookie last season. Lamar Jackson’s last four games as a rookie in 2018 are represented by Player A; you know, before he won the MVP (and everyone’s fantasy league for them) in 2019.
I’m not predicting Hurts will be the NFL’s or fantasy’s MVP this season, but barring a major move, he’ll be a fantasy rock star. People may point to his horrendous completion rate (51.9%) in his four starts, but do you know what Josh Allen’s completion percentage was in his rookie season? 52.8 percent of the population. In those four starts, almost a quarter of Hurts’ throws went 15 yards or more downfield, so with a new coaching staff, better pass-catchers, and a preseason in which Hurts knows he’s the man and will receive the bulk of first-team repetitions, I’m all-in on Hurts this season. He’s presently ranked as QB12, but I’ve got him in my top 10 and believe he’ll be a genuine breakthrough possibility in 2021.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill: Tannehill has the fourth-most overall points, the seventh-highest PPG, the third-most touchdown passes, and the most times people cite him as an example of Adam Gase’s inability to coach since taking over as the starter in Week 7 of 2019. (DeVante Parker comes in second.) Tannehill’s critics argue that he will see some running regression (his seven rushing touchdowns in 2020 equaled his total from the previous five seasons combined) and that he will be without Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith, and offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. I agree that rushing will decline, but Arthur Smith is not a concern for me. The acquisition of Julio Jones and Josh Reynolds (plus the existence of Anthony Firkser) mitigates the loss of Davis/Jonnu Smith, and new offensive coordinator Todd Downing has also been with the club since 2019, so this offense won’t seem dramatically different. I’m not crazy about Jones this season (spoiler warning), but it’s clear that he improves every quarterback he’s ever played with. If you don’t believe me, look at Matt Ryan’s splits from last season with and without Jones. Or you could simply wait for “QB haters.” Tannehill is expected to have another top-10 season in 2021.
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Others that received votes were: Ryan Fitzpatrick averaged 19.9 points per game in seven starts last season (would have been QB11 in PPG), and he now joins an offense that includes Antonio Gibson, Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Logan Thomas, as well as offensive coordinator Scott Turner, who is a creative playcaller. “It’s hardly magic if it occurs every time,” Fitzy says. Fitzpatrick won’t have to make magic out of thin air now that he’s surrounded by the greatest offensive weapons of his career and a top-five defense that will often deliver him the ball in excellent field position. Fitzpatrick, who had multiple running touchdowns in each of the last three seasons, is presently going undrafted at QB24, but I have him in the top 15…. Can you see a coach starting Andy Dalton over Justin Fields if his job was on the line? I’m afraid I won’t be able to. Not only does the Ohio State freshman quarterback have a rocket arm and 4.4 speed, but he’d be joining an offense that ranked ninth in pass attempts and 12th in offensive plays run last season. I don’t sure when Fields will start as of this writing, but he will at some point, and he has a lot of potential as soon as he does. That sounds a lot like Trey Lance. I’m not sure whether he’ll start Week 1, but considering how well he’s outplaying Jimmy Garoppolo in camp, I’m certain it’ll be sooner rather than later. Lance is a possible league winner because to Kyle Shanahan’s system (which has produced some very successful fantasy QB seasons) and his rushing abilities. Fields and Lance are both worth stashing, and you can fill in with a waiver wire player with a favorable early-season schedule. (Kirk Cousins comes to mind, as others have said.) … For those in deep two-QB or superflex leagues, you already know I’m a fan of Tannehill and believe the “escaping Adam Gase will be a fine QB” argument. How about a little Sam Darnold? Darnold threw deep with the seventh-highest percentage in 2020, and he’ll have DJ Moore, Rob Anderson, Terrace Marshall Jr., and Christian McCaffrey to throw to this season in an offense that should be a lot more aggressive. Finally, he has to win the job outright, but if Taysom Hill is designated the starter in New Orleans, his draft value is very low (being selected as QB28, if he’s taken at all), yet he was QB7 in total points and QB9 in PPG from Weeks 11 to 14 last season when he started for the Saints.
Quarterbacks in 2021 that I despise
Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan: This is perhaps the first time in history when two first names aren’t a crowd pleaser! I believe Ryan will improve under Arthur Smith, but Ryan is not going to be on any of my teams in 2021. For starters, Julio Jones’ splits from last season are huge: 22.1 points per game in the seven games he played; 14.2 points per game in the nine games he missed or departed early. Yes, Calvin Ridley is a superstar, and Kyle Pitts has the potential to be one, but Ridley was there last season, and a rookie tight end won’t be able to compensate for the loss of a future Hall of Fame wide receiver. And if I’m going to choose a quarterback in this area, it’ll be Lance or Fields, who have some running potential. Last season, eight of the top ten quarterbacks rushed for at least 200 yards. Ryan contributes nothing with his legs, which is significant considering that he had zero or one touchdown passes in eight games last season. So there’s some risk, but not a lot of reward? That is, indeed, a pass. But not the type that goes to Russell Gage for 4 yards. Blah.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger: Roethlisberger topped all quarterbacks in pass attempts per game last season, and he accounted for almost 75 percent of Pittsburgh’s total yards. Despite this, he only ended as QB13 in PPG. You may wonder how that’s feasible. He rated 27th or worse in yards per pass attempt, percentage of throws attempted 15-plus yards downfield, and completion % on long passes, apart from contributing nothing as a rusher. The Steelers’ passing offense consisted almost entirely of short dump-offs. I’m not sure whether Roethlisberger’s arm is fully broken, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Following the first-round selection of running back Najee Harris, it’s obvious that Pittsburgh will take a more balanced offensive approach in 2021, and at this point in his career, I don’t believe Roethlisberger can be efficient enough to be a regular fantasy starter without a lot of volume.
Note: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes There aren’t many “QB haters” this year, since the position is so deep, and there are a number of very good alternatives at the position.
In 2021, I want to see a lot more running backs.
Los Angeles Chargers’ Austin Ekeler: Ekeler’s name doesn’t seem to thrill fantasy managers as much as it should. What if I told you that “Austin Ekeler” is a misspelling of Ukraine Steel? Also, what about Eureka Tinsel? Or are you looking for a more slender unit? Is that still the case? Then great, I’ll simply have to persuade you that Ekeler is genuine by presenting you with some impressive statistics. Last season, for example, he averaged 18.6 touches and 102.1 scrimmage yards in nine complete games. And, after he returned from injury in Week 12, he topped all running backs in target share (19.9%!). Since the start of the season, Ekeler has ranked third in fantasy points per touch among all running backs. He generates when he is touched. And he’ll receive a lot of attention. Okay, so you’re not going to take my word for it? Will you believe Ekeler’s claim? Austin urged fantasy managers to pick him during a recent interview on The Adam Schefter show, referring to new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, who came over from the Saints. I’m interpreting this, but Ekeler essentially stated, “I’m Kamara,” in the offense they’re using this year. Is there any concern about Alvin Kamara’s touchdown value? Exactly. Stop worrying about Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley, and Larry Rountree III. On ESPN, Ekeler is listed as an RB8 in the middle of the second round, but I have him as a top-six back in the mid-first round. He must be drafted in this capacity. Don’t pass on the opportunity to acquire some Ukraine Steel.
Pittsburgh Steelers’ Najee Harris: If there are two things I’ve learned about the Pittsburgh Steelers, it’s that they don’t like to switch quarterbacks and Mike Tomlin doesn’t want to switch running backs. (If there’s a third thing I know, it’s that Dwayne Haskins will play for the Steelers and become a Hall of Fame quarterback, because that’s just my luck.) But, returning to Tomlin’s fondness for three-down backs: From 2013 through 2018, the Steelers’ leading back averaged more than 20 touches per game in every season. Injuries to James Conner in the previous two seasons (and to Ben Roethlisberger in 2019) have stymied the offense. Enter Harris, who was not drafted in the first round by the Steelers in order to put him in a rotation. He’s a genuine three-down back (his 57 career running and receiving scores at Alabama are tied for the most in SEC history), and he had the second-most broken tackles in the nation last season with 50. To put it another way, I don’t care if his offensive line is bad. He’s a borderline top-10 RB with big volume in a strong system, as well as his own skill and flexibility. He’ll go in the Round 2-3 range and should be selected in the top 15. Just as Haskins was in the actual NFL draft before being released by the Washington Redskins less than two seasons later. (He smacks his head on the table.)
Seattle Seahawks’ Chris Carson: (30 for 30 voice) What if I told you that Matthew was incorrect about them letting Russ cook, and they simply ran the ball into the ground once more? What if I told you… Matthew was correct, they did let Russ cook, the offense erupted, they were in scoring position all the time, and Chris Carson smashed it?
Carson’s health and questions about whether he was really “the man” were the two biggest knocks against him for years. He’s played in 41 games since 2018, which is more than Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, Saquon Barkley, Austin Ekeler, and Aaron Jones, who are all being selected ahead of him. His new contract extension demonstrates that he is “the man.” While other fantasy experts update their “Rashaad Penny will take over for Chris Carson” articles for the 2018 2019 2020 2021 seasons, you may concentrate on the fact that Carson was paid for a career-high 4.8 yards per run and a career-high in receiving touchdowns. He’s not exactly Alvin Kamara or Austin Ekeler, but he’s steadily increasing his catches per game, and when he gets work, he delivers. Carson was in the top 10 among running backs in fantasy points per touch last season (min. 100 touches), and he averaged 16.7 PPG in the eight games last season in which he had at least 14 touches. Carson is presently projected to go in the fifth round on ESPN, but I have him as a third-round pick. Carson, Chris Forever.
Darrell Henderson Jr. has been forced into a major position in a strong offense with Cam Akers sidelined for the season. Susan Walsh/Associated Press
Los Angeles Rams’ Darrell Henderson Jr.: Henderson, Nevada is the most well-known Henderson at the time. Did you know that during WWII, Henderson, Nevada was renowned for its magnesium supply? I’m sure that would make a great T-shirt! Move over, magnesium, because Darrell Henderson’s feet will soon be renowned for their blazing fantasy points, rather than the scorching temps in Nevada. First and foremost, Henderson is a capable big-play player. He ranks sixth among running backs in terms of the proportion of carries that gain 10 yards or more (minimum 100 carries). He produces when he is given employment. He averaged 14.3 points per game in his six games with 12-plus touches last season. Last season, with Antonio Gibson (14.4) and Miles Sanders, that would have been enough for RB17 (14.2). And now you’re talking about chance: Cam Akers is sidelined for the season, Malcolm Brown’s 124 carries from last season are in Miami, and the Rams prefer to run, particularly when they’re in a hurry. The Rams have been the eighth-heaviest run offense and the third-heaviest in the red zone since Sean McVay took over as head coach. With Matthew Stafford replacing Jared Goff, I anticipate the offense to be in scoring position much more this season. Henderson has top-five RB potential due to a lack of competition on the depth chart, but he is still below the top 20 at RB at the Round 6-7 turn. I see him as a top-16 RB and a fourth-round pick with potential that others can only dream about.
Others that received votes were: “The fantasy season is beautiful, dark, and deep / But I have commitments to fulfill / And Myles to select before I sleep,” wrote the great fantasy analyst Robert Frost. Even today, Ol’ Bob’s comments ring true. Myles Gaskin has the better talent, a huge boost in the passing game (at least three catches in nine of his ten games in 2020), and he gained confidence in the red zone (only Dalvin Cook and Josh Jacobs had more red zone touches per game last season than Gaskin’s 3.9 red zone touches per game). While I remain a strong supporter of #FreeAaronJones, Matt LaFleur has made it plain that he is not. If you own Aaron Jones stock, AJ Dillon is definitely on your personal list of people you despise. I’m putting him on the Love list, however, because of the value he can offer. This season, Dillon will fill in for Jamaal Williams, but he has more potential. Last season, he gained at least 5 yards on more than half of his runs. In his lone game with double-digit touches, he rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Given that Williams had a third of Green Bay’s RB red zone touches in 2020, Dillon’s skill may help him rack up a lot of fantasy points. Jamaal Williams is another player I like in Detroit this season. Williams is an irritating excellent player (why do you think #FreeAaronJones had to start?) who is effective when he gets work (13.1 points per game with 10-plus touches in his seven games last season), and he now joins a Lions club that will have Anthony Lynn calling the plays. As in the case of the former NFL running back who has always been coached by a committee. Williams is a terrific pass-catcher, so he’ll see a lot more action than D’Andre Swift’s teammates would want. … James Conner was averaging 15.8 points per game on 18.3 touches per game during the first eight weeks of the 2020 season. With the right chance, he can still contribute, and in Arizona, he’ll be rushing behind a stronger line than the one Pittsburgh had in 2020. Conner will have plenty of touchdown opportunities, as the Cardinals had the fourth-highest red zone rush rate last season. In that high-powered Buffalo attack, Zack Moss will be a touchdown machine. He led the club in red zone and goal-to-go carries last season as a rookie. In three of his last four games, he has had more than 13 touches, indicating that he has earned a greater part of the workload. … In each of the last two seasons, San Francisco has finished in the top four in running back fantasy points. Trey Sermon is now in town for the third year in a row. Yes, San Francisco has a plethora of running backs, but many of them have struggled to remain healthy. Sermon may be a lesser-known name, but he has as much potential as any rookie running back this side of Najee Harris.
I despise running backs in 2021.
New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley: Is it possible that by placing Barkley on the Hate List, I’ll be one of the first to be blasted when his thighs eventually take over the world? Sure, but phony football journalists must be ready to put their lives on the line for the truth. To be clear, I am not a fan of Barkley as a player. It’s about despising where he’s heading in drafts (typically third to fifth overall). I’m reluctant to use one of the first few choices on him because of the red flags around him. The Giants have been rumored all summer that he may not be in the lineup for the start of the season, or that even if he is, his snaps would be limited. Will he be able to make huge plays less than a year after tearing his ACL, or will his explosiveness be sluggish to return? The reason I question is because in games when Barkley does not have a 25-yard run, he averages only 3.3 yards per carry throughout his career. Toss in the offensive line problems, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. The Giants were 23rd in yards per run before first contact in 2020. That line is a major reason Barkley only gained 34 yards on 19 runs before getting injured last season. He’ll go in the top five, but I only have him as an early second-round pick, which means he’ll most likely not be on any of my teams this year.
Concerns about a reduced workload may make it difficult for David Montgomery to replicate his excellent finish from last year. Mike Dinovo is a sports reporter for USA TODAY.
David Montgomery, Chicago Bears: Monty (as he is sometimes called since people believe he is a 70-year-old guy) was the sixth-best RB in fantasy last season on a points-per-game basis. He can credit his fantasy success to three factors: 1) a heavy workload; 2) passing-game use; and 3) a favorable schedule, particularly down the stretch. (Last season, six of his seven 20-point games came against defenses that were in the bottom six in fantasy points allowed to running backs.)
There’s a strong possibility this one will blow up in my face now. Montgomery is gaining a lot of praise in camp, and you know how much I like Justin Fields. There’s a strong possibility Fields will take over this club sooner rather than later, and the offense will explode, with Montgomery leading the way.
But… I’m concerned.
First, the toughness of any schedule is impossible to forecast until the season begins, so that’s up in the air, but we can fairly assume the Bears will not have such a favorable schedule again. And Damien Williams’ arrival should reduce his workload, particularly in the passing game. Williams is a good player (He got robbed of being the Super Bowl LIV MVP). As a result, I think Montgomery’s workload will reduce, and it will decrease much more if/when Tarik Cohen returns. (Montgomery averaged 2.3 targets per game in 2019.) Following the injury to Cohen, he averaged 4.9 targets per game in 2020.) Fields, if he takes over, is a mobile quarterback who could manage the team himself. Does Fields anticipate a couple freebie touchdowns from Monty this season when they are in close proximity?
Montgomery is being taken in the first round of the fourth round, but I’d take him in the fifth or sixth round.
Las Vegas Raiders’ Josh Jacobs: Jacobs was my dream ride-or-die two years ago. Now? He’s on the “Hate List” for the next season. Jacobs’ time as a “set it and forget it” fantasy starter has come to an end with Kenyan Drake’s arrival in Vegas. Jacobs was 46th in fantasy points per touch among running backs with 100 or more touches. On that list, Devontae Booker, Brian Hill, and Kalen Ballage were all ahead of Jacobs (dry heaves). Jacobs has only averaged 10.5 points per game in 16 career games with less than 20 touches. Jacobs need a lot of touches to be successful, and with Drake in town, it’s doubtful he’ll get more than 20 touches in most games. (To put things in perspective, last season’s RB34, Rex Burkhead, averaged 10.8 points per game.) Yeesh.) The Raiders’ rebuilt offensive line has legitimate issues, and given he’s going as RB18, that’s far too rich for my opinion. Please accept this as my official fantasy breakup letter, Josh.
Last year’s fantasy Cinderella, James Robinson, had his glass football cleats broken when the Jacksonville Jaguars used a first-round selection on Travis Etienne Jr. Remember, receiving accounted for more over 40% of Robinson’s fantasy points last season — a position that will now be largely shifted to Etienne — and Jacksonville ranked 29th in running back rush attempts. Robinson is now part of a crowded backfield that includes Carlos Hyde, who has reconnected with his college coach. Some of it is baked in since he’s being selected as a flex option, but there are other guys in the range where he’s going that I’d rather take a chance on (like Mike Davis, who has much less competition).
New York Jets’ Michael Carter: True, there’s a lot to admire about the Jets’ rookie. However, the term “Jets” in that phrase makes me uncomfortable. Since Chris Ivory in 2015, no running back has rushed for more than 850 yards in this franchise. Carter is generating a lot of hype, and I’ve seen him enter drafts extremely early, which strikes me as odd. This is a coaching staff with a San Francisco pedigree and a multiple-RB philosophy. They even brought in Tevin Coleman, a former 49er who is likely to receive some action. I’m concerned that Carter, along with Ty Johnson and La’Mical Perine, is part of a four-headed committee on a poor squad. Fourth-round running backs are often selected in the fourth round for a reason, as Mike Clay has pointed out. Roy Helu Jr. was the last fourth-rounder to finish in the top 25 fantasy backs in 2011. So think carefully before selecting a guy with the potential to be Helu 2: Fantasy Boogaloo in your selection.
In 2021, I want to see a lot more wide receivers.
Last season, Terry McLaurin was one of the league’s most reliable receivers. The touchdowns were the only thing lacking. In 2021, a stronger quarterback situation may help. Susan Walsh/Associated Press
Terry McLaurin of the Washington Redskins: Terry “The Washington Football Team Player Matthew Berry Dreams About Every Night” Terry… Terry McScorin’… Terry “The Washington Football Team Player Matthew Berry Dreams About Every Night” McLaurin, if you’re looking for a unique way to express yourself Whatever you name him, make sure you have a lot of McLaurin on your fantasy squad this season. McLaurin was WR20 in terms of points per game last season. But it was with a Washington offense that wasn’t nearly as reliant on the pass as the one we’ll see this season with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. In the nine games last season when he received at least eight targets, McLaurin averaged 19.3 points per game without Fitz. This season, I anticipate him to receive eight targets in almost every game. Despite some questionable quarterback performance last season, McLaurin ranked 12th among wide receivers in receiving yards per game. He just had a string of bad luck with touchdowns, scoring only four. On an offense that will be more aggressive and in scoring position more frequently, I anticipate that figure to rise. Fitz isn’t afraid to pass long or into traffic, which makes him an ideal quarterback for McLaurin. Remember, in each of the last three seasons in which he started at least 12 games, Fitzpatrick has delivered a top-15 fantasy WR. Put it all together, and I’ll be daydreaming about McLaurin a lot more this year, since he’s in my top 10 at wide receiver. And if you don’t pick him, you’ll have nightmares.
Dallas Cowboys’ CeeDee Lamb: Yes, I AM a Washington Football Team supporter, why do you ask? In the carnage that was the 2020 Dallas Cowboys season — and there was a lot of devastation… brutality that I truly liked… — Many people overlooked Lamb’s outstanding first season. He had 74 catches for 935 yards and five touchdowns. Andy Dalton, Ben DiNucci, and Garrett Gilbert were among the players that threw the ball to him. Lamb had at least five catches in each of the games in which Dak Prescott started and finished, and he averaged 16.3 points per game. Those four games also happened to be his first four in the NFL! With a year of development under his belt and Prescott set to return, what’s next for him? And a bigger route tree that will have him lining up all over the place? Lamb is, without a certain, a major Love for me in 2021. And you know I wouldn’t say anything good about a Cowboys player unless I meant it.
Los Angeles Rams’ Robert Woods and my son Cooper Kupp: What are the similarities between purchasing a new computer and selecting fantasy wide receivers in 2021? In both instances, there is no such thing as too much RAM! That’s true, the awful jokes are what keep you coming back year after year. Regardless, unless you’re new to fantasy football, you’re aware that Robert Woods and my young Cooper Kupp have long been reliable fantasy receivers. Woods is WR9 in total points and WR12 in PPG since the start of 2017. Kupp, on the other hand, is a target monster: Last season, he ranked 11th among wide receivers in targets per game and tied for ninth in red zone target share. But, due to the addition of quarterback Matthew Stafford, I believe both will be even better in 2021. Do you have any doubts? Then take a look at this statistic:
Stafford (2019-20) ranks ninth in fantasy points per attempt and eleventh in touchdown rate. Goff is ranked 26th in fantasy points per attempt and 31st in touchdown rate for the 2019-20 season.
Do you have any doubts? What do you mean, really? Then you obviously didn’t see the statistic I just provided. Return to the top of the page and scroll up a line or two. So there you have it. And thank you for coming back. Woods is a fourth-round pick for me (he’s now in the fifth), and Kupp is a fifth-round pick for me (he’s currently on the 6/7 turn). Now go find some LAR receivers to draft. Also, with all of your fantasy wins, purchase a new computer. And you’ll notice what a difference having a lot of RAM makes! Ha! Isn’t it true that two lousy jokes are better than one?
Cincinnati Bengals’ Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd: What are the similarities between purchasing a new computer and selecting fantasy wide receivers in 2021? In both instances, there’s no such thing as too much BENGAL! Oh, you’re serious? Isn’t BENGAL a computer term? Okay, so the joke isn’t nearly as funny in this instance. But my argument stays the same: Higgins and Boyd have huge seasons ahead of them. The talk is all about Ja’Marr Chase, but these two are the ones you want, particularly at the present price. (Chad is now one round ahead of Higgins and four rounds ahead of Boyd.) Boyd was a top-15 receiver in PPG, catches per game, and targets per game in games with Joe Burrow behind center last season. Don’t be fooled by his mediocre ending statistics of 841 yards and four touchdowns; with Burrow at quarterback, Boyd is a high-end WR2. Higgins may have much more potential. As a rookie, he was every bit as excellent as CeeDee Lamb, with 67 catches, 908 yards, and six touchdowns. In nine “complete” games with Burrow, Higgins also had 14 20-yard catches and was targeted seven times in the end zone. Higgins will contribute for you every week, but his propensity to make huge plays means he’ll also have a few great games that will win you weeks entirely. Chase snatching targets isn’t a concern for me. Burrow was leading the NFL in pass attempts at the time of his injury. Because this defense will be tough once again, there will be enough of pass attempts to go around. Higgins and, in particular, Boyd, are excellent buys.
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Others that received votes were: Brandin Cooks averaged 19.7 points per game in his ten outings with at least seven targets last season. And it was with William Fuller V receiving a target share of 21.8 percent. That target share has shifted to Miami, and although we don’t know who will start at quarterback for the Texans this season, we do know they’ll be in second place. Quite a bit. Regardless of who is in the center. Cooks will get a lot of garbage-time targets and fantasy points as a result of this. Cooks has over 1,000 yards in five of the last six seasons and will do it again this season. Marvin Jones Jr., believe it or not, is the only wide receiver in the NFL who has caught at least nine touchdown passes in each of the last two seasons. Jones will rejoin with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell in Jacksonville, where he ended as the WR20 on a points-per-game basis in 2019. Mike Williams’ long-awaited breakthrough eventually occurred in 2020. Is that true? Is that the case? At the very least, it’s now taking place. Last season, Williams averaged 16.3 points per game in the eight games in which he received at least seven targets. With Justin Herbert, he should only improve in Year 2…. In his last four games of 2020, Antonio Brown averaged 20.1 points per game. Remember, this man was once the obvious WR1 in fantasy football, and he’s still just 33 years old. There’s a lot of value and upside potential here. Darnell Mooney’s training camp hype is off the charts, and it’s not for nothing. Last season, he showed glimpses, catching at least five passes in 12 of his 16 games. Only Jets rookie Elijah Moore has a better camp buzz than Mooney. Remember that in the last 20 years, the Ole Miss product is the only FBS player to have three games with 225 yards or more in a season.
I despise wide receivers in 2021.
New Orleans Saints’ Michael Thomas: Thomas isn’t the only fantasy expert who dislikes him going into the 2021 season, and with good cause. Last season, Thomas’ regression almost gobbled him up like Jameis devouring a W. We’ll never know whether it was injury, QB play, reaching some kind of age wall, poor luck, or anything else going on behind the scenes. Whatever it was, he became ineffective very quickly. Last season, Thomas was 81st among qualifying receivers in fantasy points per target, a significant drop from his position of 16th in 2020. In four of his seven games last season, he scored less than 12 points. The previous season, he only had two such games in which he played all 16 games. Of course, he’s a fantastic wide receiver, but I’m not sure. I don’t have a figure, but it simply seems like some terrible vibes are emanating from New Orleans, you know? Add in Thomas’ ongoing ankle problems and the fact that he’ll almost certainly miss several games at the start of the season, as well as uncertainty at quarterback in New Orleans and rumors of a more run-heavy strategy coming season, and he’s reached my Hate list for the first time ever.
Need assistance with customizable rankings, lineup setup tools, season-long predictions, and in-season transactions for your scoring system? The Ultimate Fantasy Football resource is required. For one modest fee, RotoPass gives you access to many popular fantasy football sites. Thank you very much. Matthew Berry’s quote
Tennessee Titans’ Julio Jones: Is it true that adding Jones to the Titans’ lineup improves their chances of winning a Super Bowl? Unquestionably. But, isn’t that all that matters? Joining the Titans lowers Jones’ fantasy value, and isn’t that all that matters? Jones is leaving a Falcons attack that ranked fourth in pass attempts last season to join a Titans outfit that ranked 30th. Julio’s reaction to a lot of change and being the No. 2 receiver in an offense for the first time in a long time, going into his age-32 season, remains to be seen. Jones missed seven games last season, was forced to leave two games early, and set the NFL record for most weeks classified as doubtful going into a week with a hamstring issue. It’s possible that the last one isn’t an official NFL record, but it should be. And he is unquestionably the record holder. It’s particularly important when he has a late game and you’re deciding whether to start him or go with a player in the 1 p.m. ET window.
New York Giants’ Kenny Golladay: Is it true that I used to place Golladay on the weekly Hate list only to hurt Daniel Dopp’s emotions, my Fantasy Show co-host? Absolutely! Now that Golladay is no longer a member of Daniel’s Lions, his inclusion on the Hate list must be based solely on factual evidence. So here it is:
• Although Golladay is a deep threat, the Giants were 28th in deep pass attempts in 2020.
• Golladay has had a 22.1 percent target share in Detroit since 2018. In an offense featuring Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and, ultimately, red zone threat Kyle Rudolph, he’s unlikely to earn that sort of target share.
• Less target share… and volume: Even without Barkley, the Giants were 26th in total pass attempts last season, and their defense is stronger than it is given credit for, so they won’t be in as many shootouts. As a result, Golladay has severe volume problems.
• Since 2018, Golladay has only appeared in 36 games, and he’s already battling with a leg ailment in camp this year.
• However, Golladay’s situation is not hopeless. At the very least, he is no longer a member of Daniel’s Lions.
Miami Dolphins’ William Fuller V: This season, Fuller will take a significant step back as a quarterback. Fuller’s quarterback, Deshaun Watson, topped the NFL in passing yards and yards per pass attempt last season. Tua Tagovailoa, his new quarterback, ranked 30th among qualifying quarterbacks in yards per pass attempt. From first to thirty-first place. That’s not good! There are also the typical worries about Fuller’s durability. In each of the previous four seasons, he has missed at least five games. Add in the fact that he’ll have stiff competition for snaps from DeVante Parker, Field Yates’ favorite Jaylen Waddle, and Mike Gesicki, as well as a strong defense, and Miami won’t be in the same type of late-season games Houston was in last season. Fuller may be a nice free-agent signing for Miami, but given that he is being selected ahead of players like Brandin Cooks, Tyler Boyd, and Antonio Brown (to name just three on the Love list), he is unlikely to make a profit.
In 2021, I’m looking forward to tight ends.
Las Vegas Raiders’ Darren Waller: It’s been two years since I called Waller’s breakout as a top-tier fantasy tight end correctly. What does all of this have to do with the year 2021? Absolutely nothing! It’s simply something I love bringing up. But if you want to speak about Waller in 2021, that’s great. Sure, he’s a well-known name, but I include him because I rank him ahead of George Kittle for TE2 and as a late second-round pick (he’s presently projected to go in the fourth round on ESPN). There’s every reason to think he’ll repeat, if not better, his TE2 performance from last season. In 2020, Waller had nine games with 15 or more fantasy points. By the way, Travis Kelce was the only other tight end with more than five of these games. It’s not just the splash games, however. Waller is also dependable, averaging 9.1 targets per game, which ranks him seventh among all players. With 22 red zone targets, he lead all tight ends; when Derek Carr gets near, he looks for number 83. As I said in my Choose-Day Manifesto, I want to be one of the first or last to draft a tight end. The floor is very high. The ceiling is quite high. If you want to gain a weekly edge at tight end and be done with the position early, Waller is a solid target. I’m a big fan of Waller the Baller.
When it comes to tight end, if you play the waiting game and end up with Tyler Higbee, you may as well do a happy dance. AP Jae C. Hong/Flickr
Los Angeles Rams’ Tyler Higbee: If you were thrown footballs by Jared Goff and will now be thrown footballs by Matthew Stafford, I like you in fantasy football in 2021. I’m not sure what to say. This year, all of the Rams are discounted for whatever reason. In any case, Higbee’s stock isn’t rising simply as a result of Stafford’s presence. Gerald Everett’s departure has also had a role. Higbee averaged 11.4 targets per game and 21.4 points per game in five games sans Everett in 2019, essentially winning fantasy championships for everyone who signed him up. I’m aware that the Rams have great hopes for rookie tight end Jacob Harris, but I believe he’ll have to wait a year. Higbee was among the top seven tight ends in yards per target, catch rate, and % of receptions reaching 20-plus yards (minimum 50 targets), indicating that when he’s on the field, he’s effective. In 2020, he averaged 14.6 points per game in five games with at least five targets. Higbee, who is now TE17, is a borderline top-10 play for me this year. TE1 = Higbee – Everett + Stafford That’s how fantasy math works.
Minnesota Vikings’ Irv Smith Jr.: Of course, it’s a small sample size, but Smith was the fourth-best tight end in fantasy football last season in the four games he played without Kyle Rudolph. He scored three touchdowns and averaged 12.8 points per game, and he has a lifetime average of 12.0 points per game when he receives at least five targets. Rudolph is now with the Giants, and I’m not concerned about Tyler Conklin. Smith, who is just 23, is in his third NFL season and has TE1 potential at TE2 pricing.
Others that received votes were: Adam Trautman caught 15 of the 16 targets he received as a rookie. I calculated the % and it’s a decent one. All Trautman needs in New Orleans is more opportunities. With Jared Cook out of the picture and Michael Thomas injured, he’ll get it. Since the start of the season, Saints tight ends have scored the third-most touchdowns and averaged the second-highest yards per catch (12.9)… Do you appreciate tight ends that catch a lot of their targets? After that, I’d like to introduce Mr. Anthony Firkser. Last season, he had the third-highest rate among qualifying tight ends, at 75%. Firkser’s goals will increase considerably now that Jonnu Smith has left for New England. Last season, the Titans were third in tight end target share and tight end red zone targets. Gerald Everett won’t be hurting Tyler Higbee’s fantasy stock in 2021, but he’s also worth a look. Everett has produced when targeted in Seattle with Russell Wilson. He has averaged 10.6 points per game over the last two seasons in games with five or more targets. Austin Hooper was the No. 1 tight end in fantasy football not long ago. The Browns’ offense will be above-average, and Hooper averaged 12.1 points in his seven games with at least five targets last season. Hooper is an intriguing flier until you get towards the middle of TE2…. Jimmy Graham will be a problem, but Cole Kmet is a quality player who should become Justin Fields’ favorite sooner rather than later. Under new head coach Arthur Smith, I have a strange notion that the Falcons will become one of the league leaders in using two-tight-end sets. In Tennessee, Smith, of course, made excellent use of tight ends. That means Kyle Pitts could take Julio Jones’ target share while still giving Hayden Hurst the same number of looks as he had last season, when he was TE10 overall and TE15 on a PPG basis. Hurst is currently undrafted and therefore unemployed.
In 2021, I despise tight ends.
Green Bay Packers’ Robert Tonyan: To be fair, if I were to be cruel, Robert Tonyan would undoubtedly retreat toward me. Boom! Is that clear? The statistics joke is on fire! After that, I may have to call it a day! But, in all seriousness: Tonyan’s performance last season was outstanding, but he’ll see a significant drop-off in 2021. There’s an issue with volume. Last season, he was tied for 22nd among TEs in total targets, and he only had five games with more over 40 yards. Despite his limited output (just 52 receptions), he scored 11 touchdowns, reaching the end zone on an incredible 21% of his catches. In 1991, Falcons WR Michael Haynes became the only player in the NFL to score double-digit touchdowns on less than 60 catches in consecutive seasons. Tonyan’s chances of repeating are little to none. Bob Tonyan is a fun player, and he’s slightly outside my top 10, but he’ll have a far poorer fantasy season than last year. To be clear, I’m not trying to be cruel.
Miami Dolphins’ Mike Gesicki: Gesicki could help you win some DFS games, but he’s tough to trust in a normal fantasy league. Take a look at this: Last season, he scored 46 percent of his fantasy points in only three games. With him, it’s either feast or famine, as he’s had eight games with three or less receptions. And, although he had a good target share (15.5 percent) last year, with Miami adding Will Fuller V and Jaylen Waddle to DeVante Parker, that number is expected to decrease.
New England Patriots’ Hunter Henry: Huh. Two first names, once again… hardly a crowd favorite. You obviously have health worries since Henry has never played all 16 games in an NFL season. But, more importantly, I believe Jonnu Smith is the superior player, tight end, and fantasy option. Will Henry be a touchdown scorer this season? Yes, of course. Will you be able to tell me when? No. I understand the Patriots have had two fantasy-relevant tight ends at the same time in the past, but neither Cam Newton nor Mac Jones will be “peak Tom Brady” this season. I’d rather not deal with the hassle, but if I had to choose a Patriots tight end, I’d go with Jonnu Smith.
Los Angeles Chargers’ Jared Cook: You know I can’t do a Love/Hate season preview without include Cook on the list of people I despise. I’m going to have to play the hits! However, there are valid grounds for his presence that go beyond tradition. Cook was heavily reliant on touchdowns last season, which is difficult to predict, particularly with a rookie quarterback. Cook only had three games with three or more receptions, and he ranked 21st among tight ends in terms of routes per game. At 34, it’s difficult to imagine any of those numbers improving in a new offense, particularly with Donald Parham Jr. breathing down his neck. (In dynasty leagues, I’m semi-obsessed with Parham.)
That’s all there is to it! Love/Hate 2021 has been completed. This year, I wish you luck. May all of your backups become starters, and I just want you to know how much I appreciate you.
Matthew Berry, aka The Talented Mr. Roto, also wanted to include Antonio Gibson on the list, but was concerned that he’d be labeled a homer.
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