The 2020 NFL fantasy football season was full of surprises and storylines. Hopefully, the 2021 season has a similar amount of surprises and storylines. However, we have to wait, as training camp doesn’t start till the end of July. With time to kill and plenty of bold takes out there, I have put together my own set of 10 bold fantasy takes.
All stats are base on PPR scoring.
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Kyler Murray will have Over 1,000 Rushing Yards
Over his first two seasons in the league, Murray has totaled 226 rushing attempts while averaging six yards per attempt. Last season, Murray had a career-high 133 rushing attempts for 819 yards, averaging 51.2 rushing yards per game. However, over the first nine games of the season, Murray averaged 67.1 rushing yards per game. Over a 16 game pace, Murray would have totaled 1,074 rushing yards last season. Furthermore, Kenyan Drake’s 239 rushing attempts and 955 rushing yards from last season need to go to someone else. With the extra game this year, expect Murray to join Lamar Jackson and Michael Vick as the only quarterbacks with over 1,000 rushing yards in a season.
Mike Davis Finishes the Year as a Top-12 Running Back
When Christian McCaffrey missed 13 games last season, Davis had a career year, averaging 13.8 fantasy points per game. He finished the year as the RB20 on a point-per-game basis. However, Davis finished last season as the RB12 with 206.5 total points despite starting only 12 games. Furthermore, despite poor quarterback play and no elite wide receiver on the roster, Davis averaged 0.92 fantasy points per touch last season. In Atlanta, Davis will have two elite pass-catchers drawing the defense’s attention and a massive upgrade at quarterback. If Davis receives 260 touches this season, at even 0.92 fantasy points per touch, he will score 239.2 fantasy points. Last season, a running back scoring 239.2 fantasy points would have finished as the RB8.
Rashod Bateman Leads the Baltimore Ravens in Catches and Yards
The worst kept secret this offseason was how unhappy the Ravens are with their wide receivers. They tried to sign veteran receivers like T.Y. Hilton, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Kenny Golladay. However, all of them turned out better offers from the Ravens and signed elsewhere. Last season, Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews led the way with 58 catches each. Brown led the team with 769 yards and eight touchdowns, while Andrews had 701 yards and seven touchdowns. To help fix their wide receiver problem, the Ravens spent their first of two first-round picks on Bateman. Given his route running and ability to get open in the middle of the field, Bateman should step in as the WR1 as a rookie, leading the team in most receiving categories.
Gabriel Davis Finishes as the Buffalo Bills’ WR2
Last season, Davis showed flashes of turning into a starting-caliber wide receiver. However, he finished fourth on the team among wide receivers, averaging 8.6 fantasy points per game. With John Brown in Las Vegas and Emmanuel Sanders primarily a slot receiver, Davis has a great shot of earning the starting job opposite of Stefon Diggs. Furthermore, despite finishing fourth among wide receivers on the team in targets per game with 3.9, Davis finished second with seven touchdowns and first with a 10.8 percent touchdown rate. With Sanders and Cole Beasley on the wrong side of 30, expect the Bills to limit their snaps and keep them healthy for the playoffs, opening up more snaps and targets for Davis.
D.J. Moore Finishes the Year as a Top-10 Wide Receiver
Many were expecting Moore to have the third-year wide receiver breakout last season. While he did have a career-high 1,193 receiving yards, he got used in a role that didn’t fit him best. Over the first two years of his career, Moore averaged 13.9 yards per catch. By comparison, Moore averaged 18.1 yards per catch last season, ranking seventh among wide receivers with at least 800 receiving yards. Despite taking half a season to get used to his new role, Moore finished as the WR25. However, over the final six games of the season, Moore averaged 9.3 targets and 15.8 fantasy points per game. With Curtis Samuel in Washington, Moore is in line to take over his role and turn into a weekly must-start fantasy wide receiver.
David Montgomery Finishes as a Top-12 Running Back
Last season, Montgomery finished the year as the RB4 with 264.8 fantasy points. Montgomery finished the season strong, averaging 25.7 fantasy points per game over his final six games. However, he did most of his scoring on the ground, averaging 19.3 rushing attempts per game to go along with seven rushing touchdowns. Furthermore, many believe the return of Tarik Cohen will turn Montgomery into a low-end RB2. That isn’t true. Even if you project Montgomery with his receiving numbers from his rookie year (25 catches for 185 yards and one touchdown) with his rushing number from last year, he would score 214.7 fantasy points over a 16 game pace. That would have made him the RB11 in 2020. Don’t fade Montgomery.
The Cincinnati Bengals Have Three Wide Receivers Finish Inside the Top 30
Despite Joe Burrow missing the final 6.5 games of the season, the Bengals had three wide receiver record 100 or more targets. While A.J. Green was awful, catching only 45.2 percent of his targets and scoring two touchdowns, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd both averaged over 12 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, in the nine healthy games with Burrow, Higgins averaged 13.9 fantasy points per game while Boyd averaged 16.1 per game. With the addition of Ja’Marr Chase, the Bengals have one of the best wide receiver trios in the league. Meanwhile, the defense is awful, which will give the Bengals plenty of opportunities in a negative game script and allow their wide receivers to score plenty of fantasy points.
Baker Mayfield Finishes Outside the Top-20 Quarterbacks
Last season, Mayfield finished the year as the QB25 on a point per game basis, averaging 15.5 per game. Furthermore, Mayfield has averaged under 17.5 fantasy points per game every year of his career as the Browns are a run-first team. Last season, Mayfield finished 17th in the NFL with 486 pass attempts. However, he had only 82 more attempts than Burrow despite playing in 6.5 more games. Furthermore, Mayfield has never thrown for 3,900 yards in a season. Mayfield also has limited rushing value, averaging 1.5 fantasy points per game on the ground for his career. While Mayfield is a good quarterback for the Browns, he should only get selected in two quarterback drafts.
Dak Prescott Finishes as the Overall QB1
Prescott got off to a hot start last season, averaging 30.6 fantasy points per game in his four healthy games. In addition, during that span, Dak averaged 50.3 pass attempts per game. Furthermore, Prescott had a 4.5 percent touchdown rate while scoring once every 5.3 rushing attempts in the first four games of the season. However, Dak’s value in fantasy has been writing the wall for a while now. In 2018, Dak Prescott finished as the QB10, averaging 17.9 fantasy points per game. In 2019, he finished as the QB2, averaging 21.1 per game. Then, in the 4.5 games he played last season, Dak averaged 27.1 fantasy points per game. On a point per game basis, Dak would have finished last season as the QB1.
Courtland Sutton Finishes Outside the Top-36 Wide Receivers
Last season Sutton played a total of 31 snaps before suffering a torn ACL in Week 2. In the one game he played, Sutton had three catches for 66 yards on six targets. However, 45 of the yards came from one catch. In 2019, Sutton finished as the WR26 on a point per game basis, averaging 13.9 fantasy points per game. However, since then, the Broncos added Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler, while Tim Patrick and Noah Fant have taken on bigger roles in the offense. With the questions at quarterback and all the mouths to feed on offense, taking Sutton as anything more than a fourth receiver would be a mistake.
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