clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2021 Fantasy Football Rankings: Pre-draft top 150 players

New, 9 comments

My top 150 players for 2021 fantasy football.

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

It’s early, but here is the first pass at my top 150 players for 2021 fantasy football. The crucial game plan for the 2021 fantasy season is to draft players from the Los Angeles Chargers. I’m putting a lot of faith in this offense to build upon it’s success last year.

Other notes:

  • Alvin Kamara takes a hit with Drew Brees retiring.
  • A.J. Brown and Terry McLaurin are set to turn heads and break ankles this year.
  • Can Brandon Aiyuk become a fantasy WR1 in his sophomore campaign?
  • T.J. Hockenson is the biggest beneficiary of the off-season shake-up in Detroit.
  • If Atlanta fails to draft a running back on Days 1 or 2 of the NFL Draft, where do we take Mike Davis?
  • Should Mark Andrews still be considered a top five tight end?
  • Kalen Ballage is the best bet to lead Pittsburgh’s backfield.

Who did I leave out? Let me know in the comments.

Pre-2021 NFL Draft Top 150

Rank Player Team Positional Rank Breakdown
Rank Player Team Positional Rank Breakdown
1 Christian McCaffrey CAR RB1 Departure of Mike Davis makes it tougher to reduce his touches.
2 Derrick Henry TEN RB2 Departer of former OC Arthur Smith might increase Henry's carry-total in 2021.
3 Dalvin Cook MIN RB3 Always an injury risk but when on-field, he's a weekly contender to be the overall RB1.
4 Austin Ekeler LAC RB4 Has been underutilized under previous, old school coaching staffs. The arrival of HC Brandon Staley and OC Joe Lombardi (and their analytics department) unlocks Ekeler's true potential.
5 Saquon Barkley NYG RB5 The addition of Kenny Golladay will force fewer 8-man boxes but Jason Garrett remains intent on ramming Barkley up the gut.
6 Davante Adams GB WR1 Green Bay failed to provide Aaron Rodgers with a new pass catching weapon in free agency.
7 Aaron Jones GB RB6 The departure of Jamaal Williams leaves Jones with monstrous receiving responsibilities that should offset TD-vulturing by A.J. Dillon.
8 Tyreek Hill KC WR2 Patrick Mahomes' WR1. Enough said.
9 Travis Kelce KC TE1 Making the case for best pass catching TE of all time.
10 Nick Chubb CLE RB7 The heart of Cleveland's road grading offense.
11 Stefon Diggs BUF WR3 Diggs should see another monstrous workload as the focal point of Buffalo's downfield-passing offense.
12 A.J. Brown TEN WR4 No. 2 WR Corey Davis is gone, replaced by unproven one-trick pony Josh Reynolds. No. 3 WR Adam Humphries is gone. No. 1 TE Jonnu Smith is gone. No. 3 TE MyCole Pruitt is gone.
13 Calvin Ridley ATL WR5 The drafting of Ja'Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts could drop him a couple spots but Ridley is now an elite receiver in the NFL.
14 Cam Akers LAR RB8 Signs point to Akers being an 18+ touch per game RB this year.
15 Jonathan Taylor IND RB9 With Marlon Mack coming off a torn Achilles, this is likely to be more of a two-back show with Nyheim Hines than a three-headed monster.
16 Keenan Allen LAC WR6 OC Joe Lombardi, formerly of the New Orleans Saints, has the perfect Michael Thomas replacement on his hands.
17 Terry McLaurin WAS WR7 McLaurin should be among the position's elite in usage this year.
18 Justin Jefferson MIN WR8 Expect Jefferson to build on his phenomenal rookie season.
19 Alvin Kamara NO RB10 Neither Jameis Winston, nor Taysom Hill are likely to funnel excessive targets his way.
20 Ezekiel Elliott DAL RB11 Elliott is clearly on the downside of his prime but he's still a lock for 300+ touches in a high-scoring offense.
21 DeAndre Hopkins ARI WR9 Target hog.
22 Antonio Gibson WAS RB12 The Washington offense is set to takeoff with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm and the addition of Curtis Samuel. Gibson's redzone attempts should drastically increase -- as well as his passing game usage.
23 Joe Mixon CIN RB13 Cincy's theoretical workhorse.
24 D.K. Metcalf SEA WR10 Seattle is back on the run-first train, dropping Metcalf out of the position's Top 3. Still an elite asset though.
25 Michael Thomas NO WR11 A potentially excellent value this low in drafts.
26 James Robinson JAX RB14 Robinson scored fewer that 10.0 .5PPR points in just two games last year. The addition of Carlos Hyde is a bit concerning as Hyde is a notorious touch-stealer and player for new Jags HC Urban Meyer in college.
27 Mike Evans TB WR12 The NFL's only receiver to ever clear 1,000 yards in said player's first seven seasons. A remarkably consistent, slam dunk of a pick -- both in real life and fantasy.
28 Allen Robinson CHI WR13 Now playing with the best QB of his career -- a washed up Andy Dalton -- Robinson should continue his rock-solid fantasy ways.
29 Brandon Aiyuk SF WR14 Aiyuk showed game-breaking run-after-catch ability last year. He'll battle Deebo Samuel for the No. 1 WR role and may have a leg up as Samuel's shown a bevvy of injury issues through his first two NFL seasons.
30 Raheem Mostert SF RB15 All members of this backfield should be heavily invested in. The lead back, Mostert, offers heaps of upside.
31 Julio Jones ATL WR15 Monitor his hamstring rehab closely. Is the scar tissue being treated? If so, draft with confidence.
32 George Kittle SF TE2 15 games would return outrageous value. His brutal playing style heightens his increase risk a tad.
33 Darren Waller LV TE3 Perhaps a higher floor option than Kittle.
34 Amari Cooper DAL WR16 Cooper will be battling 2nd-year man CeeDee Lamb for rights to Dallas' 1A WR role.
35 CeeDee Lamb DAL WR17 Lamb proved to be the real deal in his rookie season last year.
36 Miles Sanders PHI RB16 Jalen Hurts' rushing ability will hurt Sanders' pass catching totals.
37 D.J. Moore CAR WR18 The departure of Curtis Samuel seriously condenses the primary targets in CAR's passing offense.
38 Courtland Sutton DEN WR19 Assuming the knee is healthy by training camp, Sutton should set career marks this year operating as the team's alpha receiver. Sutton is flanked by a deep pass catching corps that will keep teams from doubling up coverage on him too often.
39 Robby Anderson CAR WR20 Anderson should see more downfield targets this year than he did last year, when the team experimented with Anderson as the X-receiver during the first-half of the season.
40 Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC RB17 A full training camp will work wonders for CEH.
41 Chris Carson SEA RB18 Carson's unlikely to see the same success he saw in early-2020, before Pete Carroll returned SEA to a run-first mindset. He's still a lock for 18+ touches per game though.
42 Chris Godwin TB WR21 There are a lot of mouths to feed in TB but Godwin's floor/potencial ceiling combo are a great value at this point.
43 D'Andre Swift DET RB19 Swift pass catching outlook was kneecapped when the team brought aboard pass pro specialist/slow but capable dual threat Jamal Williams from rival Green Bay this off-season.
44 J.K. Dobbins BAL RB20 Dobbins should see plenty more work than he did last year but Gus "Bus" Edwards will still see double-digit touches per game.
45 Tee Higgins CIN WR22 As of now, Higgins is the alpha receiver in Cincy with A.J. Green headed to Arizona in free agency. Approach with caution though as the Bengals are heavy favorites to take the Draft's premier WR Ja'Marr Chase or WR/TE hybrid Kyle Pitts.
46 Robert Woods LAR WR23 Rock-solid, year-in and year-out.
47 D.J. Chark JAX WR24 Assuming Trevor Lawrence is selected at No. 1 overall by Jacksonville, Chark's stock is shooting way the heck up.
48 Adam Thielen MIN WR25 Thielen's now the No. 2 WR in MIN but the passing tree is small enough for him to largely stay relevant on a weekly basis.
49 Melvin Gordon III DEN RB21 Phillip Lindsay departed in free agency and has not been replaced, after tallying 118 carries and 14 targets in 2020.
50 Kenny Golladay NYG WR26 Golladay will see plenty of targets as the Giants' alpha receiver. He doesn't gain a ton on separation though, which hurts his upside as QB Daniel Jones is a bit of a see-it, throw-it passer.
51 Chase Claypool PIT WR27 Lean towards Claypool in .5PPR.
52 Diontae Johnson PIT WR28 Lean towards Johnson in full-point PPR.
53 Chase Edmonds ARI RB22 2020 lead back Kenyan Drake departed in free agency and has not been replaced.
54 Curtis Samuel WAS WR29 OC Scott Turner + Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB + No. 2 WR job = breakout season for Curtis Samuel.
55 Odell Beckham Jr. CLE WR30 At this point in the draft, Beckham offers enticing upside and his potential sporadic production has been accounted for.
56 Kareem Hunt CLE RB23 Hunt's a very high-floor option at the position with RB1 potential if Nick Chubb misses time.
57 Josh Jacobs LV RB24 Outrageously dependent on touchdowns for fantasy production, Jacobs has scored just twice in Raiders losses through his two-year career. Despite Jacobs routinely displaying pass catching capabilities, the team continued its investment in pass catching RB specialists by signing Kenyan Drake in free agency this year. Drake's two-year deal is the 13th most expensive RB contract in the league, in average annual value ($5.5 million).
58 T.J. Hockenson DET TE4 With Kenny G and Marvin Jones gone, Hock is the alpha receiving weapon in Detroit at the moment.
59 Patrick Mahomes KC QB1 As safe as it gets.
60 Josh Allen BUF QB2 Brian Daboll unlocked Allen's potential this year and the team was lucky enough to keep him in-house this off-season.
61 Corey Davis NYJ WR31 Davis should have the upperhand over 2nd-year man Denzel Mims for the No. 1 WR job.
62 Ja'Marr Chase N/A WR32 Could rise drastically, depending on where he lands.
63 Devonta Smith N/A WR33 Could rise drastically, depending on where he lands.
64 Jarvis Landry CLE WR34 Potentially CLE's No. 1 WR, depending on how Odell Beckham Jr.'s season goes.
65 Michael Pittman Jr. IND WR35 A full training camp will work wonders for the promising 2nd-year X-receiver.
66 Mike Davis ATL RB25 Although it's likely that Atlanta drafts a talented rookie running back on Day 1 or Day 2, until they do, Mike Davis is in for a monstrous workload as the Falcons' lead back. His dual threat capabilities gives new HC/former Titans OC Arthur Smith the opportunity to diversify his Derrick Henry-inspired running back role.
67 Najee Harris N/A RB26 Big-bodied dual threat.
68 Dallas Goedert PHI TE5 Zach Ertz is completely washed.
69 Travis Etienne N/A RB27 Perhaps more of a committee back at 205lbs but more than capable as a dual threat.
70 Laviska Shenault JAX WR36 Shenault should be able to beat out free agent signee Marvin Jones Jr. for the No. 2 job.
71 Kyle Pitts N/A TE6 Could rise drastically, depending on where he lands.
72 Deebo Samuel SF WR36 If Samuel is able to stay healthy this year, Round 6 is an absolute steal. Run-after-catch beast.
73 Mike Williams LAC WR37 Brandon Staley and Joe Lombardi are going to unlock this offense.
74 Cooper Kupp LAR WR38 Kupp is likely to maintain his high-floor ways but may get a bit over looked as new QB Matthew Stafford will be looking downfield more than former Rams QB Jared Goff.
75 Tyler Boyd CIN WR39 High-floor as the current No. 2 WR in CIN.
76 Javonte Williams N/A RB28 Talented rusher.
77 Jalen Reagor PHI WR40 A bit of a boom/bust option but he's the top dog there now.
78 Christian Kirk ARI WR41 Should take over slot duties with Larry Fitzgerald out of the picture.
79 Will Fuller MIA WR42 Zero downfield competition in Miami. There are concerns over Tua Tagovailoa's pro potential but he tore it up as a deep passer in college.
80 Jerry Jeudy DEN WR43 Having the freedom to operate as the No. 2 WR should make life a lot easier for the developing wideout.
81 Myles Gaskin MIA RB29 Emphasis on the pre-draft aspect here.
82 Tyler Lockett SEA WR44 Sporadic production due to scheme and injuries has become routine.
83 Cole Beasley BUF WR45 Not a world-beater but steady as can be.
84 Robert Tonyan GB TE7 Big Bob broke out last year and the Pack did nothing to boost their pass catching corps.
85 Mark Andrews BAL TE8 The Ravens' lack of committment to building out their pass catching corps both helps and hurts Andrews. The target volume is great but there's no real dominant WR threat to pull the defense's attention away from the talented tight end.
86 David Montgomery CHI RB30 The addition of Damien Williams and the return of Tarik Cohen (ACL) drastically drops Montgomery's outlook.
87 Gus Edwards BAL RB31 The "2" in Baltimore's 1-2 Punch at running back. 15 touches per game seems entirely possible, plus RB1 upside should J.K. Dobbins miss time.
88 Kenyan Drake LV RB32 A match-up-based flex option.
89 Nyheim Hines IND RB33 Should see 10-12 touches per game with much of it coming through the air.
90 Justin Herbert LAC QB3 Brandon Staley and Joe Lombardi are going to shred the AFC this year and Herbert is their means of doing so.
91 JuJu Smith-Schuster PIT WR46 Really just a role player in the PIT offense now but he maintained a decent redzone presence last season and could beat his stats if his knee-health is improved.
92 Marquise Brown BAL WR47 Brown has shown us that he cannot operate as a No. 1 WR at this point. He's a talented downfield receiver who can be played, match-up pending.
93 Brandin Cooks HOU WR48 With Deshaun Watson looking like he may never play again, recent rumors indicate Houston may target Alex Smith. Cooks should see decent volume but without a powerful arm at QB, his prospects are hurt.
94 Ty Johnson NYJ RB34 Potential lead back in the new Shanahan-tree offense.
95 Kyler Murray ARI QB4 Murray should continue to progress as a passer.
96 DeVante Parker MIA WR48 Parker will duke it out with Will Fuller for rights to the No. 1 WR job.
97 Kalen Ballage PIT RB35 Biggest compeition for the dual threat back is 2-down banger, Benny Snell Jr.
98 Jaylen Waddle N/A WR49 Potential 1st Round pick -- downfield baller.
99 David Johnson HOU RB36 Washed up lead back on an atrocious team.
100 Leonard Fournette TB RB37 Somehow has better hands than Ronald Jones.
101 Tony Pollard DAL RB38 A more potent dual threat that Ezekiel Elliott at this point in their respective careers. Zeke isn't relinquishing lead back duties though.
102 Zack Moss BUG RB39 Higher upside than the RBs listed directly ahead of him but Josh Allen's rushing ability and Devin Singletary's pass catching chops nerf his outlook.
103 Noah Fant DEN TE9 Lots of mouths to feed in DEN but he could be the No. 2 pass catcher behind Sutton/the primary safety blanket play for Lock.
104 Mike Gesicki MIA TE10 Should Kyle Pitts land here, Gesicki's ceiling would be dropped.
105 Jonnu Smith NE TE11 Bill Belichick has raved about Smith for years.
106 Logan Thomas WAS TE12 Ryan Fitzpatrick loves his big-bodied pass catchers. Thomas could be a serious weapon in the redzone.
107 Dak Prescott DAL QB5 Dak should immediately resume his pre-injury Top 5 fantasy status from last year.
108 Aaron Rodgers GB QB6 Accepting play-action as an inevitability paid major dividends for Rodgers last season.
109 JaMycal Hasty SF RB40 Hasty is likely to be involved as the No. 2 back in SF this year and would vault into RB2 status if Raheem Mostert (29-years old on April 9th, 2021) were to miss time.
110 Gabriel Davis BUF WR50 Emmanuel Sanders will siphon a few targets away from Davis has a shot at 1,000 yards and 6-8 scores.
111 Sterling Shepard NYG WR51 The signing of Kenny Golladay and departure of Golden Tate should land Shepard in his preferred slot receiver role. Great value pick here.
112 Deshaun Watson HOU QB7 If Watson is somehow allowed to play this year, he'll have to rush like crazy in this putrid offense.
113 Jalen Hurts PHI QB8 The Eagles had terrible injury luck last year. A healthy, full training camp for the group means lift-off for Hurts.
114 Darrell Henderson LAR RB41 Henderson will pop off for a few big games but he looks firmly in the No. 2 RB spot behind 2020-breakout rookie Cam Akers.
115 Damien Harris NE RB42 Rush-only lead back.
116 Latavius Murray NO RB43 With the team likely moving away from funneling passes to Alvin Kamara and more towards a run game/deep shot approach, Murray should find himself much more involved this year.
117 Hunter Henry NE TE13 Henry will see a decent target workload but will frequently be asked to block. Should Jonnu Smith miss time, Henry vaults firmly into the TE1 conversation.
118 Justin Jackson LAC RB44 Jackson is now the No. 2 back in LA with Kalen Ballage in Pittsburgh.
119 Ronald Jones TB RB45 A fast, committee rusher.
120 Salvon Ahmed MIA RB46 Capable No. 2 back.
121 Jamison Crowder NYJ WR52 Crowder is likely to take a slight hit in targets with Denzel Mims developing as the team's No. 2 and Corey Davis taking over as the alpha. Should still have a wonderfully high floor though.
122 Tre'Quan Smith NO WR53 With WR Emmanuel Sanders and TE Jared Cook gone, Smith should see a sharp uptick in targets. The downfield receiver should have a few decent showings this year.
123 Tom Brady TB QB9 Brady finished as the QB8 last year and has almost the entirety of his supporting cast back this year.
124 Joe Burrow CIN QB10 A loaded pass catching corps that could add his college partner in crime Ja'Marr Chase.
125 Carlos Hyde JAX RB47 The touch-stealer played for Urban Meyer in college and he's likely to see at least 8-10 touches per week in a change of pace capacity.
126 Denzel Mims NYJ WR54 Mims could pop off for a few big time performances in the Jets' deep play-action passing scheme.
127 Ke'Shawn Vaughn TB RB48 Theoretically the highest upside of the Bucs backfield but he still has to earn the trust of Tom Brady.
128 Lamar Jackson BAL QB11 The addition of RG Kevin Zeitler is HUGE.
129 Julian Edelman NE WR55 Father Time has come for him but he's back to being the team's No. 1 WR this year.
130 Henry Ruggs LV WR56 Tons of potential but doesn't fit the scheme, nor the QB he plays for.
131 John Brown LV WR57 Brown is a more accomplished NFL player than Ruggs and could take the job from him. He's a boom/bust pick though.
132 Antonio Brown N/A WR58 Unsigned as of yet, TB is likely the only team that will take him.
133 Darius Slayton NYG WR59 Slayton now has to compete with Kenny Golladay for downfield targets.
134 Preston Williams MIA WR60 No. 3 in the Miami pecking order at the moment.
135 Matthew Stafford LAR QB12 Very likely a career year for Matthew Stafford.
136 Malcolm Brown MIA RB49 Brown has a low key chance at stealing the lead back gig.
137 Rashaad Penny SEA RB50 The re-signing of Chris Carson speaks volumes about Penny's status with the team.
138 Matt Ryan ATL QB13 The addition of a pass catcher like Ja'Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts would push Ryan up a few spots. The incoming efficiency of new HC Arthur Smith's offense is mouthwatering.
139 Russell Wilson SEA QB14 With Seattle returning to a Stone Age offense, efficiency will be the name of the game.
140 Ryan Tannehill TEN QB15 The efficiency of the Tennessee play-action-heavy scheme keeps Tannehill as an extremely high-floor player.
141 Damien Williams CHI RB51 Pass catching back Tarik Cohen might neutralize Williams' fantasy value but Williams is an extremely capable dual threat RB. He's got a shot to force a timeshare with David Montgomery and would become a high-end flex play/RB2 if Montgomery were to miss time.
142 Eno Benjamin ARI RB52 Now the No. 2 back in Arizona.
143 Boston Scott PHI RB53 The team's signing of Jordan Howard in-season last year puts Scott's ability to keep the No. 2 job somewhat in doubt.
144 Jordan Wilkins IND RB54 No. 3 back who would leapfrog Nyheim Hines for No. 2 duties, should Jonathan Taylor miss time. Marlon Mack is still recovering from a torn Achilles.
145 Evan Engram NYG TE14 Tons of potential but Jason Garrett is impossible to ignore.
146 Irv Smith Jr. MIN TE15 Kyle Rudolph's departure means a whole lot more work for Smith.
147 Baker Mayfield CLE QB16 Will have some quiet weeks but the "boom" weeks will hit hard.
148 Ryan Fitzpatrick WAS QB17 Washington's supporting cast is perfect for Fitzmagic.
149 Rob Gronkowski TB TE15 Once Gronk found his footing, he was a difference maker. TB is likely to give him plenty of rest in-season though.
150 Breshad Perriman DET WR61 Will fight Tyrell Williams for the No. 1 WR job.