The 7 Safest Players to Draft (2021 Fantasy Football)
Fantasy football drafts have finally gotten underway, and for a lot of you, this is crunch time. I previously wrote an article about drafting for balance, where I laid out my general drafting practices. This week, let’s look at the safest possible team I would build if given the chance.
Before we begin, it’s worth defining what I mean when I call a player “safe.” At its core, being safe means you’re less risky. These players all have higher floors and potentially lower ceilings. They can win you titles with their consistency, but they aren’t likely to win you a week on their own. With that addressed, let’s dive in.
Average Draft Position (ADP) referenced using FantasyPros consensus ADP for half-PPR formats.
Drafting the Safest Starting Roster
Josh Allen (QB – BUF) – PPR ADP: 32 (QB2)
At the start of any good roster is a great quarterback. While Patrick Mahomes is typically the first QB off the board, I have Josh Allen as my safest QB pick.
The Bills traded for Stefon Diggs last season, and their offense took a massive step up. Allen, previously seen as an inconsistent and risky player, benefitted the most from this addition. With his rushing ability and terrific passing options, Allen is now one of the safest options in all of fantasy football.
Nick Chubb (RB – CLE) – PPR ADP: 9 (RB8)
For my RB1 position, Nick Chubb is the clear answer when looking at the top-12 RBs off the board. Even with teammate Kareem Hunt stealing touches, very few running backs can compete with Chubb’s talent level and opportunity.
Chubb is going as a first-rounder in all formats, and it’s obvious why: he just gets it done. Chubb is a great set-and-forget-it option, and that’s exactly what I’m looking for with my RB1. Lock him in and don’t think twice if you’re looking for safety at the position.
Chris Carson (RB – SEA) – PPR ADP: 35 (RB18)
My RB2 comes from those taken between 13 and 24 at the position, and it’s another clear choice. Chris Carson is criminally undervalued, both in dynasty and in re-draft. He’s on a high-powered offense with a top-10 QB and should see workhorse duty week in and week out.
Carson going as RB18 feels like a steal at the end of the third round. There’s little threat to his workload with Rashaad Penny struggling to stay healthy. The Seahawks have other running backs rostered, but none of them even hold a candle to Carson’s talent level. If you’re playing it safe, you can’t get a much safer RB2 than Carson.
Justin Jefferson (WR – MIN) – PPR ADP: 23 (WR7)
Top top-12 WRs are all pretty safe, which is why they’re going that high, but Justin Jefferson is different. He broke out in a massive way last year, shattering rookie WR records along the way. On top of that, his offense is largely unchanged from last year, outside of the coordinator position.
With Gary Kubiak retiring and his son Klint Kubiak taking over, you could even argue this is barely a transition at all. The Vikings pretty much did whatever they wanted on offense last year, and it’s hard to imagine they look away from what worked. Jefferson is a locked-and-loaded WR1 and someone I have zero issues with if you’re looking for safety.
Robert Woods (WR – LAR) – PPR ADP: 39 (WR14)
Next up I have Robert Woods as my WR2. He’s going in the early fourth round, which seems about right, but he has top-five WR in his range of outcomes. This makes him a terrific value as the WR14.
The Rams swapped Jared Goff for Matt Stafford in hopes of making a Super Bowl run this year. Woods should be a big part of that and should see plenty of valuable targets in this offense. Woods is one of the most consistent options available and a slam dunk for this list.
Tyler Boyd (WR – CIN) – PPR ADP: 87 (WR37)
Tyler Boyd is going just outside the top-36 WRs in the current PPR ADP. Sure, he’s got Tee Higgins and rookie Ja’Marr Chase ahead of him on the depth chart, but I love how solid Boyd is from the slot on a weekly basis.
Adding a beast like Chase on the outside should free Boyd up underneath, making him even more attractive to Joe Burrow to find when scrambling. Since the offensive line is still not terrific, Burrow could scramble a lot. This bodes well for Boyd and makes him one of the safest deeper WR targets.
TJ Hockenson (TE – DET) – PPR ADP: 59 (TE6)
Last but not least is my pick for the safest tight end in fantasy football: TJ Hockenson. The Lions are a team in transition, and their offense is very much up in the air from last year. Their top talents are Hockenson and running back D’Andre Swift. That’s about it.
This means Hockenson should see more than his fair share of targets from Goff. There are five tight ends ahead of him in ADP, but Hockenson has the safest opportunity and highest floor out of anyone at the position. Draft him with confidence, and maybe add some risk elsewhere if you feel the need.
Drafting this kind of team is not only unlikely, but it’s also not recommended. If drafting for balance, the last thing I want to do is only draft safe players. However, it’s worth knowing who you feel most confident about entering a draft. That way, I can use risk profile as a tiebreaker when deciding between two players. Ultimately, that will help win more titles, and that’s what this is all about, right?
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