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2021 All-Rookie Fantasy Football Team

Aug 11, 2021


 
Everybody’s favorite time of year—fantasy football draft season—is officially upon us. The start of the NFL season is less than a month away, and if you haven’t already started preparing for your draft, stop what you’re doing and get started immediately. Nobody plays fantasy football to come in second place, and the same can be said for the NFL. Everybody wants to win, but they also want to prove to the world why they are where they are. This doesn’t apply to any group of players more than rookies. No matter when someone gets drafted, the NFL is a whole new level, and these rookies have to be prepared for that.

Luckily for us, we don’t have to spend our summer stressing over a dictionary-sized NFL playbook. Instead, we get to look at all these new, exciting faces entering the league and how they will fit into their respective offenses.

We’re going to be evaluating rookies today based on how much they can contribute during the 2021 fantasy season specifically. It’s never easy to spot a rookie star, but every year we see a few guys exceed even our wildest imaginations, and the teams that have those players are usually the teams fighting for a championship.

So, without further ado, I’m going to go position by position, giving you my top rookie scorers for the 2021 NFL season.

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Quarterback

Trevor Lawrence (QB – JAX)

I know this seems like an obvious one, but I really struggled between Lawrence and Jets rookie QB Zach Wilson. Normally, relying on a Jets quarterback in fantasy football is not the key to success, but he has decent weapons and should be throwing a ton as the Jets trail in virtually every game. But in the end, I couldn’t overlook Lawrence’s pure talent and, maybe even more importantly, the tremendously talented offense he’s in.

Starting at the wide receiver position, he will have two proven veterans in Marvin Jones and DJ Chark to go alongside second-year man Laviska Shenault. Over the past two seasons, Jones and Chark have combined for 31 touchdowns showing their tremendous skills near the goal line. Meanwhile, it’s Shenault that interests me the most with his versatility and big play-ability. If he can take that “second-year jump” that coaches always talk about, Lawrence will have an embarrassment of riches at wide receiver.

Lawrence will also have the support of a terrific run game with both James Robinson and Travis Etienne manning the backfield. Robinson came out of nowhere last year as a rookie, finishing with 1,414 total yards and 10 total touchdowns. Now add Etienne, Lawrence’s former teammate at Clemson, to the mix, and this entire Jaguars offense is looking unstoppable. If Shenault makes that jump and the vets do what they’re supposed to, I believe Lawrence has top-10 quarterback potential.

Running Back

Najee Harris (RB – PIT)

The Steelers’ demise last year began when they lost the ability to run the football effectively. They know if they want to make a deep playoff run, they need to keep Ben Roethlisberger fresh and healthy. How do you do that? By feeding your first-round rookie running back again and again and again. Barring injury, there is absolutely no reason that Najee Harris shouldn’t finish as the highest-scoring rookie running back in 2021.

He is entering an offense that is desperate for a legitimate three-down back, and that’s exactly what he is. To finish off his college career, Harris totaled 1,466 rushing yards, 26 rushing touchdowns, 43 receptions, 425 receiving yards, and three receiving touchdowns. If that’s not a three-down back, I don’t know what is.

An added bonus is that Harris will face virtually zero competition for the starting spot, which means not only will he get the bulk of the carries, but he should also see plenty of targets in the passing game as well.

Wide Receiver

Elijah Moore (WR – NJY)

Moore may have been the sixth wide receiver drafted in this year’s NFL draft, but in terms of fantasy, he’s the first rookie wide receiver coming off my board. This does not necessarily mean I think Moore is more talented than some of the receivers drafted before him, but for the 2021 fantasy season, he may be in the best spot to succeed.

All the bigger-name receivers drafted before him landed on teams with either shaky quarterback situations or crowded wide receiver rooms. Moore may be dealing with a rookie quarterback in Zach Wilson, but he will also be one of the top targets on every play the Jets call. Moore has reportedly had an impressive start to camp while 2020’s 2nd round pick, Denzel Mims, may be on the roster bubble. With Mims struggling, Moore could not be in a better spot to grab hold of a serious role in this offense.

I don’t expect immediate success from Moore or Wilson, but they both have undeniable talent and should be chasing points all year long, which is never a bad thing in fantasy football.

Tight End

Kyle Pitts (TE – ATL)

I don’t think you’ll find a single All-Rookie team that doesn’t have Kyle Pitts as the highest-ranked rookie tight end, and for good reason. The man is an athletic freak. He can essentially do everything a wide receiver can do but at 6’6″, 245 lbs. No human that size should be able to run a 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds. He did. Everything about his game is simply remarkable, and he should make an immediate impact in this Falcons offense, especially now that Julio Jones is in Tennessee.

Outside of Calvin Ridley, there is nobody on this offense that should see more targets than Pitts. What separates him from your average tight end is that he isn’t only going to get you those short-yardage touchdowns; he’s also going to be racking up receptions and yards between the 20s. In his final season at Florida, he recorded over 80 yards in five of eight games. He also scored a touchdown in all but two games. In the two games where he didn’t score, he combined for 12 receptions and 209 yards. Plain and simple, Kyle Pitts is your top fantasy rookie tight end.

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Whether you’re new to fantasy football or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Football 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with Starting Your Own Fantasy Football League or head to a more advanced strategy – like What is the Right Amount of Risk to Absorb on Draft Day? – to learn more.

Eli Berkovits is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Eli, check out his archive and follow him @BookOfEli_NFL.

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