Earlier this week, I went through my favorite free agent signings that will be positive for your fantasy football team in 2021, but like with most things in life and fantasy football, there’s a flip side to that positivity. I’ve been through all the signings so far and have identified five moves that have been made that I don’t like and will be swerving away from in my fantasy teams this year.
Marlon Mack re-signing with the Indianapolis Colts
The Colts backfield was a worry before the 2020 season with seemingly too many mouths to feed after they drafted Jonathan Taylor to go with Mack, Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins. Mack then suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in Week 1, paving the way for Taylor to finish as the RB6, with Hines carving out a nice role and finishing with over 862 yards and 7 touchdowns to finish as a very handy RB18. With Mack re-signed on a one-year deal, we now get a second go at this fantasy dilemma. I don’t expect Mack to have a huge role in the offense, but his mere presence will likely eat somewhat into Taylor and Hines’ touches. I’m slightly less worried about Hines, as his role as a pass catcher, saw him gather 63 receptions last season, but Taylor’s RB1 status takes a little dent, with little less upside than I thought before free agency.
JuJu Smith-Schuster re-signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers
Good for JuJu, taking that hometown discount to stick around in Pittsburgh when he had better offers out there. However, like last season, it’s a crowded receiver room for the Steelers and picking the WR1 on a weekly basis is going to be next to impossible. JuJu led them team in receptions, but was second in targets to Diontae Johnson, second in touchdowns behind rookie Chase Claypool and third in receiving yards behind both. His six weeks as the WR1 for the Steelers tied Johnson, with Claypool finishing top four times. The Steelers will remain a pass first team in 2021 so volume will be there, but knowing which receiver to back makes drafting any Steelers receiver a high-risk investment.
Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsay signing with the Houston Texans
Similar to the situations above, the Texans signing not one, but two free agent running backs alongside David Johnson make this a crowded position group to avoid, and that’s even before we know what’s happening with Deshaun Watson. Squint hard enough and you might see Johnson seeing the majority of the receiving work, but Ingram is a potential goal line hog, and Lindsay has shown his talent as a runner in his years in Denver to take plenty of rushing touches. No thank you, this is a hard swerve for me at the current time.
Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry signing with the New England Patriots
Oh it was looking so perfect. An athletic tight end in the Patriots’ offense, I wanted all the shares in Jonnu Smith. But then Bill Belichick caught us while we were not paying attention and drops the Hunter Henry signing on us too. Now the positive ones out there will point to the Gronk/Hernandez days where both were viable fantasy options, but that was with Tom Brady at quarterback, not Cam Newton coming off his worst year as a passer (or whoever quarterbacks the Patriots in 2021). Smith for me remains the better option as he is more versatile and can be used all over the formation, but Henry will get his share too. They could both be TE1 options, but then I can see neither panning out as well. Thanks Bill.
Kenny Golladay signing with the New York Giants
Love the player, but really not loving the fit with Golladay moving to New York. He has major WR1 talent, but I have major red flags that he’ll get the service he needs from Daniel Jones. Through two seasons with Jones at quarterback, the Giants have not produced better than a WR37 and though Golladay is by far the most talented receiver he’s thrown to, I think his fantasy ceiling is lowered with this move. It remains to be seen how the fantasy football world will view Golladay’s draft stock, but I feel his ADP will be too rich for the potential returns and will likely be someone I will avoid drafting unless he falls.
Which moves in free agency are you down on for 2021 fantasy football?