Dynasty Risers/Fallers: Post-Draft (2021 Fantasy Football)
While there is more than enough to unpack from a Dynasty perspective specifically regarding these rookies – and we’re doing a ton here at FantasyPros to get you ready for your rookie drafts – there’s still plenty of fallout with the veteran players that are already on NFL rosters.
A player that you might have felt very confident in their outlook for 2021 suddenly saw the rug swept out from underneath them with a young rookie joining that team’s depth chart. It’s one of the most fun parts – and sometimes the worst part – about playing in Dynasty leagues. You simply never know what’s going to happen coming out of the NFL Draft.
So, it’s time to take a look back and summarize everything that took place this past weekend and the fantasy football fallout. What players survived the NFL Draft and have a rosy outlook on life heading into next season? And what players are suddenly borderline fantasy relevant because of the presence of a young rookie on their depth chart?
Miami was heavily rumored to be interested in the RB market early on in the NFL Draft, which would’ve sent Gaskin directly to the bench. While they were reportedly set to take Javonte Williams with their early second-round pick, the Denver Broncos traded up in front of them to secure the talented rookie. Now, Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed appear set to lead this backfield again in 2021. With a much-improved supporting cast, this offense should be even better this season, which could lead to more and more scoring opportunities. While it’s unclear exactly who will be the lead back in this offense as we sit here in May, Gaskin and Ahmed both saw their fantasy stock dramatically increase without the addition of another RB early on in the Draft.
In all fairness, Mixon didn’t move at all in my post-draft rankings because things played out exactly the way that I was predicting. The Bengals moved on from Giovani Bernard and only replaced him with Chris Evans in the 6th round. Zac Taylor has been vocal about wanting to feed Mixon the ball and there’s very little competition elsewhere on this roster. Additionally, the Bengals did invest in the offensive line in the second round of the NFL Draft to pair with their free agent signing of Riley Reiff. Mixon has the questions surrounding him and his durability, but as long as he’s on the field, he’s going to help fantasy managers win some games.
Joe Mixon is a baller. pic.twitter.com/SEfUi8r44B
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) September 1, 2020
Over the past year and a half, we’ve talked about how Brown could be a league-winner if he saw as many targets as some of the other main receivers in the league. That appears like it might be the case in 2021 as there is very little other competition on this roster for targets behind Brown. Josh Reynolds, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, and Dez Fitzpatrick aren’t true threats to take away looks from the ultra-talented Brown and we very well may see Brown push for overall WR1 status next season.
Just like Brown, Firkser is a massive beneficiary to the lack of proven talent on this Titans depth chart. Even with Jonnu Smith on this roster last year, Firkser was on the field frequently and proved himself to be a reliable receiving option. Ryan Tannehill trusts him already and he could see a significant amount of targets next season, which instantly puts him on the fantasy radar. If Firkser is sitting on the waiver wire in your league, or you can acquire him for super cheap, I’d recommend scooping him up.
If there’s one thing we can be sure of with Arthur Smith stepping in as the Head Coach of the Atlanta Falcons, it’s that they’re going to want to run the football. If you had asked essentially anyone leading up to the NFL Draft, Atlanta was a favorite to invest in the RB position early due to how big of a need it was for this offense. However, they didn’t address in the RB position at all in the NFL Draft, which bodes well for Davis and his fantasy outlook heading into next season. While Davis is most likely not going to be able to withstand the type of workload Atlanta is going to throw at him over the course of the full season, he’ll be very productive when he’s on the field.
It’s hard to watch what New York has done this off-season and not say that Jones is a winner. All the Giants have done is give Jones everything he needs to be successful and it’s now all up to him. While he has the fumbling and interception problems, he now has enough playmakers around him where he should be able to take that next step forward. Will it be enough to vault him into top-12 consideration? Probably not. However, he certainly walks out of this off-season with his stock on the rise.
While the entire city of Chicago was doing cartwheels after the Bears traded up for Justin Fields, there may have been no one happier than Robinson. After playing with guys like Blake Bortles, Nick Foles, Mitch Trubisky, etc. throughout his NFL career, he now has the opportunity to play with a truly special QB. It remains to be seen how exactly Fields will progress and perform in the NFL, but things are finally looking up for ARob.
ALLEN ROBINSON IS FREEpic.twitter.com/XS1Vo2dXsi
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) April 30, 2021
Jamies Winston and Taysom Hill appear set to enter into training camp locked into a QB battle. Between you and me, I don’t think it’s even going to be close. Winston is going to run away with this job, which means great things for the receiving options. On a depth chart that has Michael Thomas, Marque Callaway, Deonte Harris, and Juwan Johnson, Smith’s projected to be a starter for 2021. With Winston airing the ball out deep downfield, which is where Smith shines, we might finally see the breakout we’ve been waiting for from the fourth-year wideout.
I warned people that holding Robinson in such high regard from a Dynasty perspective could end up backfiring with the NFL Draft. This new regime in Jacksonville has no ties whatsoever to Robinson and Urban Meyer highly values speed on the football field. With Travis Etienne drafted in the first-round, Robinson’s Dynasty stock came crashing down around him. He’ll certainly still be involved in this offense, but Etienne is going to see plenty of work as both a runner and receiver. It’s highly unlikely that Robinson holds any significant fantasy value for next season and beyond.
Travis Etienne most certainly left no doubt!
— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) April 30, 2021
Gordon went from being a potential fantasy football stud in 2021 to having the rug pulled out from under him all in one day. The Broncos traded up to get Javonte Williams and Gordon now has significant competition on this roster for 2021. With Phillip Lindsay gone, it looked like Gordon was finally going to get the majority of the touches in this offense, but that quickly dissipated. Williams and Gordon should split the workload this upcoming season with the plan that Williams takes over completely in 2022.
Shepard appeared to be set to move completely into the slot after the signing of Kenny Golladay in free agency, but now there’s simply not a spot for him on this starting roster. Kadarius Toney figures to be plugged in as the starting slot receiver due to the draft capital investment, which leaves Shepard as WR4 at best on this team. Unfortunately, it looks like fantasy managers that were holding out hope that Shepard could become something in 2021 are going to be disappointed.
Endless Kadarius Toney highlights
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 30, 2021
Ebron was actually very relevant for fantasy last season in an offense that threw the ball a ridiculous amount. However, watching Pat Freiermuth be added to this offense instantly limits Ebron’s ceiling. Freiermuth is a very talented TE that is an excellent receiver in his own right. The Steelers clearly have a plan for how they want to utilize the two athletes side-by-side, but they simply might cancel each other out from a fantasy perspective next season. Once Ebron’s contract is up in Pittsburgh at the end of 2021, he might have trouble finding a home that will give him enough work to be relevant again.
All Atlanta has done this off-season has signaled that they’re not very high on Hurst’s outlook for 2021 and beyond. They drafted Kyle Pitts at No. 4 overall and, shortly after, declined Hurst’s fifth-year option. Can Hurst still have fantasy relevance in this offense? Yes, absolutely. However, his stock took a dramatic hit once Pitts entered the building.