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Quarterbacks + Wide Receivers To Avoid (2021 Fantasy Football)

Jun 9, 2021

Offseason practices are underway, which means that it’s time for a lot of the fantasy football community to start diving back into the swing of things. Below our writers share some QBs and WRs who they aren’t likely to draft based on their current ranking. Note that readers can find our 0.5 PPR expert consensus rankings (ECR) by clicking here.

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Q1. Which QB are you least likely to draft at their current rank?

Russell Wilson (QB – SEA) ECR: QB6
Wilson at QB6 (65th overall) is a little rich given how consistently he falls off the cliff at the end of each season. Right when you need Russ the most, that’s when he’s getting cold and going into hibernation. You can’t have that kind of thing happen to your team down the stretch and feel confident about winning a title. Russ is great when he’s cookin’, but we’re not really sure if Pete Carroll will let him cook again this year. Wilson has weapons, but will he use them? Wilson can run, but will he risk it as often as he gets older? For me, I’d much rather take a shot on a couple of the rookies in that range like Kyle Pitts (TE – ATL) at 68 overall or Ja’Marr Chase (WR – CIN) at 73 overall. I know that rookies can take some time to adjust, but in the sixth round I’m fine targeting top tier talent who should be able to better help me when my team needs it most.
– Andrew Hall (@AndrewHallFF)

I was shocked seeing Wilson being ranked this high (QB6). He got off to a fire start, though, throwing 26 touchdowns and only six interceptions through the first eight weeks of the season. Things went downhill from there, however. From Weeks 9-17, Russ threw a pedestrian 14 touchdowns against seven interceptions while only topping 300 yards once. The Seahawks are a team that always wants to establish the run, and that holds Wilson back and lowers his ceiling. If we can get the first eight weeks of Russell Wilson, then he’s a great target. Although, I expect another season of limiting Wilson’s pass attempts, which makes him a very risky target at QB6. Some QBs who I’d rather have are Justin Herbert, Jalen Hurts, Ryan Tannehill, and Tom Brady.
– Connor Rigg (@ConbonNFL)

Patrick Mahomes (QB – KC) ECR: QB1
I love Mahomes and he is one of the most talented quarterbacks to ever play the position. However, I have had a firm stance for years now that you should not take a fantasy quarterback before the fifth round. I think it is a position loaded with talent and you only need to start one quarterback per week. I think you can effectively stream two great quarterbacks and be in just as good of a position as having one elite option playing every week. I believe that Mahomes will pass for at least 4,500 yards and 35 touchdowns this year. He could even exceed those totals by a significant amount if his rebuilt offensive line protects him. He is going with the 21st pick and that is just too early for my liking. I can take Justin Herbert with the 69th pick and Trevor Lawrence with the 120th pick, stream the better option each week, and I will likely come away with production close to Mahomes but with an elite wide receiver and running back added to my roster that I did not use on Mahomes with the 21st pick.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)

It all comes down to value. In 1QB leagues, it is easily possible to wait until the mid-to-late rounds and get a high-upside QB or simply one that won’t lose you your league. Last year, the top five QBs in total points were Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes II, and Deshaun Watson, most of whom were drafted in the middle-to-later rounds (with the top-10 being rounded out by others with lower ADPs like Ryan Tannehill, Tom Brady, and Justin Herbert). Currently, Mahomes, the consensus QB1, is being ranked as the 25th overall player in redraft, meaning you’ll generally have to spend an early-to-late third-round pick on him, instead of drafting players like Michael Thomas, George Kittle, and Keenan Allen. Let your league mates draft the Mahomes II brand in the higher rounds, while you strengthen your skill position players while still being able to scoop up Justin Herbert, Jalen Hurts, Ryan Tannehill, or Tom Brady later in the draft.
– Jared Lese (@JaredL_FF)

Aaron Rodgers (QB – GB) ECR: QB7
Rodgers is a pretty easy choice here given the uncertainty around his situation at the moment. In that context, he won’t be on my radar at any ADP inside the top-100 for me and I am surprised to see him still going in Round 6 or 7. Outside of that, there are still a number of reasons to fade him, however. Rodgers had one of the best statistical seasons in league history in 2020, throwing for 48 touchdowns and adding three more on the ground. He also had a 70% completion percentage so despite having the fewest pass attempts of his career across a 16-game season, Rodgers was remarkably efficient. It is highly unlikely he will replicate a 50-touchdown performance in 2021, especially considering he threw for 51 touchdowns combined in 2018 and 2019. The likely regression in efficiency metrics and touchdowns means he should slide down to being a low-end QB1. Whereas last year he came as one of the best bargains in fantasy, Rodgers is now looking like someone who is better left off your roster heading into this season.
– Jason Kamlowsky (@JasonKamlowsky)

Coming off of an MVP season, it sounds like a bad idea to fade Aaron Rodgers. However, with all of the uncertainty surrounding his future with the Green Bay Packers, it’s an enormous risk to invest in Rodgers right now. Even if he does opt to return with head coach Matt LaFleur and All-Pro WR Davante Adams in 2021, the likelihood of Rodgers duplicating a 48:5 TD:INT outing while throwing for nearly 4,300 yards and a 70.7 completion percentage is very unlikely. There are a lot of high-upside, younger quarterbacks available later in drafts compared to Rodgers, who is currently valued as the QB7 at 70th overall according to the latest ECR at FantasyPros. At 37 years old, the three-time MVP showed that he still has an elite arm and precision while under duress in the pocket in 2020. My decision to fade Rodgers at his current ADP is based on the uncertainty of his future with the franchise, as well as expected regression in passing yards and touchdowns coming off an MVP campaign. It has nothing to do with his talent level, which remains intact heading into his seventeenth season in the league. However, with limited rushing upside compared to the six quarterbacks ranked ahead of him, Rodgers is a fade in favor of talented wideouts that could immediately elevate your lineup like Courtland Sutton (WR28) or rookie Ja’Marr Chase (WR29).
– Matt MacKay (@Matt_MacKay_)

Check out our Consensus Dynasty Rankings here >>

Q2. Which WR are you least likely to draft at their current rank?

D.K. Metcalf (WR – SEA) ECR: WR7
Metcalf is a tremendous talent and he has done nothing but good things with the Seahawks. In just two seasons he has tallied 141 receptions for 2,203 yards, and 17 receiving touchdowns. He has a great blend of size and speed and he plays with a future Hall of Fame quarterback. There are two problems I have with him being the WR7 right now. The first is that the Seahawks’ offense was a dud in the second half of the season. In the first eight games of the year, Seattle’s offense averaged 34 points per game. In the last eight games of the season, the Seahawks’ offense averaged only 23 points per game. That had a huge impact on Metcalf’s fantasy value, as he went from averaging 18.3 fantasy points per contest to 10.4 fantasy points per game. That resulted in him being just the 25th ranked fantasy wide receiver versus the second-ranked fantasy wide receiver in the first half of the season. His second half struggles are being thrown out the window at his current ranking. I know there is excitement about a new offensive coordinator, but Pete Carroll is still the head coach and they play in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL. 
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)

Metcalf is an absolute stud but an ECR as the WR7 is too high for me to justify, especially over some of the other elite players available as the unquestioned alpha within their offense. Metcalf saw 129 targets in 2020 and turned the heavy target share into 83 receptions for 1,303 yards and 10 touchdowns, finishing as the WR7 under old OC Brian Schottenheimer. New Seahawks OC Shane Waldron arrives with experience as the Los Angeles Rams OC and passing game coordinator and will definitely utilize Metcalf’s absurd 6,4″, 230-pound frame to dial up some home-run plays in 2021. My concern stems from the distribution of targets to Seahawks wideouts in 2021, as Tyler Lockett actually slightly outpaced Metcalf with 8.3 targets per game compared to the 8.1 per game Metcalf saw in 2020. Second-round rookie WR D’Wayne Eskridge is a promising young receiver who will immediately step into the team’s WR3 role, having finished first in the Mid American Conference (MAC) with 768 receiving yards and eight touchdowns at Western Michigan during his 2020 senior season. David Moore was the Seahawks’ WR3 in 2020, averaging just 2.9 targets per game. This number is guaranteed to come up for Eskridge, who has a similar build to Lockett and can be deployed in the slot and as a utility player in the backfield on pre-motion packages, something Waldron implemented often during his tenure as the Rams’ OC. Metcalf will still be a top-24 wideout in 2021 but expectations should be tempered for his weekly finishes, especially as the WR7. I’d much rather draft Justin Jefferson (WR8), Antonio Gibson (RB13), or Najee Harris (RB14) with my second-round pick before setting my sights on Metcalf.
– Matt MacKay (@Matt_MacKay_)

Brandon Aiyuk (WR – SF) ECR: WR25
Everything about Aiyuk at WR25 feels way too risky to me. That fifth round area is a tough spot for a number of reasons, but I just don’t see Aiyuk as being the best choice to return that kind of value this season. George Kittle is coming back as the number one option in the offense and Deebo Samuel is also coming back to soak up his own share of the targets. Aiyuk had a great 2020 campaign but that was in large part because he was the best option on the field. As long as Kittle and Samuel stay healthy, Aiyuk is the third option, at best, and that is not someone I want as my WR3 (let alone WR2). He’d be a fine flex option, but in the fth round I’m hoping to have a balanced enough roster where he’s not my fourth wide receiver already. Give me higher-floor options like Tyler Lockett and Tee Higgins who are both going shortly after him. They both have risks and changes of their own, but the roles in their offenses aren’t changing as much as Aiyuk’s is this year.
– Andrew Hall (@AndrewHallFF)

Adam Thielen (WR – MIN) ECR: WR20
Thielen being ranked as a top-20 WR is something that is way too rich for my blood. First off, Thielen had 14 touchdowns, and while that is great, it’s highly unlikely to happen again. From Weeks 8-17, Thielen post double digit fantasy points in only four games (Half-PPR scoring). He was held under 60 yards in nine games in the 2021 season while only catching five or more passes in six games as well. His 2020 season is an outlier in the touchdown department and that’s going to regress to somewhere around 5-8. Justin Jefferson also broke out last year and posted the best rookie season of all-time. He will demand a big target share, so that dampens Thielen’s overall volume. Plus, the Vikings are extremely run-heavy since they have an elite RB in Dalvin Cook. Thielen has a lot of question marks going into the 2021 season, and his ADP of WR20 is absolutely too high. I’d much rather have Diontae Johnson, Cooper Kupp, Kenny Golladay or Ja’Marr Chase.
– Connor Rigg (@ConbonNFL)

Davante Adams (WR – GB) ECR: WR2
Adams was insane last year when he was healthy, catching 115 of his 149 targets for 1,374 yards and a whopping 18 touchdowns in just 14 games. So why wouldn’t I draft him? Uncertainty. Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers has an amazing connection with Adams, as they’ve played together for nearly eight seasons now. However, this offseason has been highlighted by talks of a Rodgers departure from Green Bay, which would presumably leave the likes of Blake Bortles or Jordan Love leading this offense. That’s quite the downgrade for Adams. It’s too much uncertainty for a player who currently requires a first-round pick to acquire. If Adams’ ranking falls or Rodgers remains on the team come training camp in August, then I’ll happily grab Adams in the first; however, with so much up in the air and no one particularly confident in where Rodgers will be in 2021, I’d let someone else take that risk.
– Jared Lese (@JaredL_FF)

Julio Jones (WR – TEN) ECR: WR15
This feels a little like cheating since his ADP is relative to his situation in Atlanta, but Jones shouldn’t be drafted anywhere near the top-12. The move to Tennessee will see Jones go from one of the most pass-heavy schemes in the league to one of the most run-heavy. That will make reaching 150 targets nearly impossible. So while Jones’ ADP is going to drop, I don’t know if there will be enough of a discount for me to buy in. There is a wide range of outcomes for Jones this year, but I think even with the best case scenario, seeing him finish much higher than a mid-range WR2 is being optimistic. AJ Brown should dominate targets and unless Jones magically cures his allergy to end zone, he will have a hard time cashing in on his current ADP. He would have to fall into the Tyler Lockett/Cooper Kupp range at around WR25 for me to truly be interested.
– Jason Kamlowsky (@JasonKamlowsky)


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