Second-Chance Team (2021 Fantasy Football)
There are always going to be players that we stick our necks out for in fantasy football. We give second, third, or even fourth chances to certain players because we tell ourselves that a specific player is going to finally perform up to our personal expectations. I personally have a handful of players that I refuse – for better or worse – to give up on in fantasy football.
Common sense says that there will be players that fall short of their projections every year, while other players exceed the projections placed upon them. Whether it be due to an injury, team situation, or another variable, a player could record a disappointing season compared to what we speculated from them. Following substandard seasons in 2020, these are a few players that deserve a second chance in 2021.
Carson Wentz flopped with the Philadelphia Eagles last season, completing a career-worst 57.4 percent of his passes and tossing a league-high 15 interceptions. The former No. 2 overall pick from the 2016 NFL Draft looked out of sorts in 2020 as the Eagles had rookie Jalen Hurts waiting in the wings to replace him. Once Doug Pederson saw enough from Wentz, Hurts would start in the final four weeks of the season.
While things looked bleak for Wentz a season ago, he couldn’t have asked for a better situation than being traded to the Indianapolis Colts this offseason. Besides getting an opportunity to play under his former offensive coordinator in Frank Reich, he has a stout offensive line, and he has an assortment of weapons at his disposal. If Wentz isn’t able to have success on the Colts, then it may be time to give up on the North Dakota State product. After finishing as QB22 in 2020, and seeing that he’s being taken as QB20 according to FantasyPros’ ADP Consensus, I believe Wentz has a ton of upside in 2021.
At this time a year ago, Clyde Edwards-Helaire was receiving a boatload of hype after being selected in the first round by the Kansas City Chiefs. Things got a bit out of control as the rookie rusher rose all the way into being one of the top 10 running backs taken in fantasy football. Despite the hefty expectations, after a strong finish in Week 1, Edwards-Helaire would conclude the 2020 season as RB22. Following an outing as RB7 in Week 1 versus the Houston Texans, Edwards-Helaire would post just three more weeks of being an RB15 or better.
While some people are giving up on Edwards-Helaire already, I view him as a massive value right now. For starters, the Chiefs made a concerted effort to strengthen their offensive front, most notably signing Joe Thuney and trading for Orlando Brown. Plus, Damien Williams and Le’Veon Bell are no longer in the equation, giving Edwards-Helaire a chance to have an expanded workload in 2021. No, I am not concerned with Jerick McKinnon stealing touches from Edwards-Helaire, so quit asking (Nick Saban voice).
Entering a contract year with the Detroit Lions, Kenny Golladay was primed for another productive year in 2020. Sadly, injuries would limit Golladay to five games last season. Due to the injuries, Golladay was WR103 in half-PPR formats, causing heartbreak to those that selected him in the early rounds. The good news for Golladay is that he’s no longer a member of the Lions, and he is projected to be the No. 1 wideout for the New York Giants in the upcoming season. Even amid his injury woes a season ago, Golladay still managed to record 11.2 fantasy points per game and an aDOT of 14.6 yards.
Seeing that the Giants are surrounding Daniel Jones with more talent, they are putting him in a much better position to succeed. Even though the team still has Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, and they oddly took Kadarius Toney in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Golladay is going to see the most targets in New York’s passing attack. There are going to be a lot of situations where Jones forces the ball down the field to Golladay, and the big-bodied wideout is going to put smiles on our faces when he makes spectacular catch after spectacular catch.
Another common question being asked this offseason is: Who is going to lead the Jacksonville Jaguars in receiving in 2021? With Trevor Lawrence as the franchise signal-caller in Jacksonville now, there’s reason to be excited about the aerial attack of the Jaguars. Both D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault are still on the roster, and the team went out and signed Marvin Jones during free agency. Of the three wide receivers listed, Chark had the most disappointing performance in 2020, concluding the year as WR49.
To be fair, Chark was limited to 13 games, and he had a few mediocre quarterbacks throwing him the ball last season. Even amid his underwhelming showing a season ago, Chark was one of five wide receivers who saw 50+ targets to register an aDOT of 14+ yards and a drop percentage lower than five percent. The other four wideouts to produce the same numbers were Calvin Ridley, Mike Williams, Gabriel Davis, and Scott Miller. While Shenault and Jones have gotten plenty of love this offseason, I believe Chark is going to lead the Jaguars in receiving in 2021. That isn’t to say that Jacksonville’s offense can’t support three wide receivers in fantasy football.
Some would venture to say that T.Y. Hilton is no longer a worthy wide receiver in fantasy football as he turns 32 years old in November. While wide receivers typically begin to decline in production as they enter their 30s, I don’t believe it’s time to call it quits on Hilton just yet. The four-time Pro Bowler led the Colts in receiving in 2020 with 56 receptions, 762 receiving yards, and five receiving touchdowns, good enough for WR40 in fantasy football. Hilton also led all wide receivers on Indianapolis with an aDOT of 12.5 yards, which could put him in a great spot with his new quarterback in Wentz.
In his final season with the Eagles, Wentz averaged 9.1 intended air yards per throw, which was tied for the fourth-highest mark in the NFL. The Colts went out and got Wentz to replace Philip Rivers so they could be more aggressive down the field, setting up Hilton and Michael Pittman Jr. for success in 2021. With Hilton currently being taken as WR52 across multiple platforms, I’ll happily give him a chance to redeem himself next season.
With an aging Zach Ertz on the roster, Dallas Goedert was primed to be a top performer in fantasy football at the tight end position. Goedert would be sidelined for five games in 2020, prompting him to conclude the year as TE20 in half-PPR leagues. To show how bad the Eagles were through the air last season, Goedert was second on the team with 524 receiving yards. As he enters his fourth season in the NFL, Goedert is anticipating a larger role as Ertz is expected to be gone from the team before next season kicks off.
In spite of his five missed games in 2020, Goedert still notched the eighth-most fantasy points per game among tight ends (10.6), and he accrued the ninth-most yards per route run (1.75). During the 2021 NFL Draft, the Eagles took DeVonta Smith in hopes he could improve their lackluster wide receiver room. Even with Smith now in the fold, there’s a legitimate outcome that sees Goedert lead Philadelphia in receiving in 2021. Jalen Hurts is going to start for the Eagles next season, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him make Goedert his favorite target.
Beyond our fantasy football content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – that optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football draft season.