January 2021

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Mike Kleyespan Recorder


    • Fantasy Football, NFL analyst for ESPN.com
    • Member of the Professional Football Writers of America.
    • Founder of Pro Football Focus Fantasy.
    • Winner of the FSTA Award 2013 for the most accurate pre-season ranking.

The fantasy football out of season is almost there, which means it’s time to look ahead to the year 2021.

Yes, the next fantasy season is still a few months away, and the subsequent rankings will be heavily influenced by departures, Free Agency, draft, coach changes, etc. Still, you have to start somewhere, so we present below the first series of 192 for 2021.


The 2020-21 NBA season has already started, but you can still create or join an ESPN Fantasy Basketball League and start your season the moment you recruit your team.

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Why 192? There are fantastic competitions in all shapes and sizes, but many of them have built up around 12 teams and 16 places. The 192 is a list of 192 players (and thus included) in a 12-team, 16-round PPR-league with a relatively standard ranking and marking. The players are technically listed in the order in which they should be placed, but it is important to remember that the designs are fluent and your decisions need to be adjusted based on what is still on the board and your previous decisions.

What if you’re in a league with eight teams? Or a 16? A 192 can still help you win, but you’ll definitely have to make adjustments in the middle and at the end of the round. In a lower league you might want to wait even longer for the quarterback position, for example because the position is so deep. In deeper leagues, running and tight ends must be given higher priority, as these positions lack depth and can put you in a weak position if you wait until late.

192 should serve as a simple guide to help you maximize the value of your starting setup while making the best possible decision for each lap.

For further consideration here is a selection form in RPPearly 2021.

Between brackets below you can see the contract status of each player. The year indicated is the last season of this player’s contract, and the letter indicates what the player will be after the end of the free agent contract (u = unlimited, r = limited, e = exclusive right, v = no option). If a player goes to the free desk during the next low season, his status will also be displayed (UFA = unlimited, RFA = limited, ERFA = exclusive right).


1. Christian McCaffrey, Car, RB1 (2025h)

McCaffrey is limited to three games this season due to various injuries. His production in these three games: 37, 25 and 29 fantasy points, including exactly two touchdowns in all three games. The fact that Mike Davis became RB1 a few weeks after McCaffrey’s departure should put you in the mood for McCaffrey’s ascent in 2021. Just like last year, he was the first player I selected on the day of the design.

2. Dalvin Cook, Min, RB2 (2025h)
3. Sakoon Barkley, New York, RB3 (2021h)
4. Alvin Kamara, NO, RB4 (2025h)
5. Derrick Henry, TEN, RB5 (2023h)
6. Davante Adams, GB, WR1 (2021h)

The wide receiver keeps sinking, which makes it a little difficult to place Adams. Of course, he is a first round choice, after missing two and a half game and still lead all the wide receivers in the fantasy by 29 points. Cook and Henry are certainly plenty of options and Barkley hopes to prevent injuries next season. Kamara’s value could take a hit with Drew Brees out and Taysom Hill potentially as quarterback.

7. Jonathan Taylor, IND, RB6 (2023h)
8. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL, RB7 (2026h)
9. Travis Kelce, KC, TE1 (2025h)
10. Aaron Jones, GB, RB8 (UFA)
11. Nick Chubb, CLE, RB9 (2021h).

Kelce scored 313 fantasy points this season. Take 135 of those points (only 16 teams have scored that many points this season), and Kelce is still the second best group in the fantasy. Unbelievable. He’s 31 now, but Kelce is still way ahead in the fantasy world. Taylor has ended his newcomer season as RB’s No. 6 in the fantasy world, and there is room to grow as a receiver. Jones’ future in Green Bay is uncertain.

12. Stephon Diggs, BUF, WR2 (2023h)
13. Tyreek Hill, KC, WR3 (2022h)
14. DK Metcalfe, MEA, WR4 (2022h)
15. Josh Jacobs, LV, RB10 (2022u)
16. Austin Ekeler, BAC, RB11 (2023h)
17. Miles Sanders, PHI, RB12 (2022h)
18. Clyde Edwards-Heller, KC, RB13 (2023h)
19. By Andre Swift, DET, RB14 (2023h)
20. DeAndre Hopkins, ARI, WR5 (2024h)
21. Calvin Ridley, ATL, WR6 (2021h)
22. Cam Akers, Lar, RB15 (2023h)
23. James Robinson, JAC, RB16 (2022r)
24. Keenan Allen, LAC, WR7 (2024h)
25. Michael Thomas, no. WR8 (2024h)
26. Allen Robinson II, CHI, WR9 (FAU)
27. Mike Evans, TB, WR10 (2023h)

2 Connected

This part of the project is so full of talent that I couldn’t think of a better place to do the level cut. Edwards-Helair, Swift and Akers are high-profile backs that are expected to see a significant increase in use and/or production in their second season. Have the Jaguars chosen James Robinson as their big favourite? Maybe, but maybe he’ll get some help in the second season, maybe in temporary situations. Allen Robinson’s planting site will help determine its value. A complete revival of Thomas seems unlikely, with Brees near retirement.

28. Antonio Gibson, WAS, RB17 (2023h)
29. David Montgomery, CHI, RB18 (2022u)
30. J.C. Dobbins, BAL, RB19 (2023h)
31. Justin Jefferson, MIN, WR11 (2023h)
32. A.J. Brown, TEN, WR12 (2022h).

I may be a little heavy from the start, but Gibson and Dobbins will be hard to beat in this area. Montgomery will be a popular contender when he returns after finishing RB4, but even with the return of Tarik Cohen, Chicago’s top seed will be a usable RB2 with room for more. Jefferson en Brown zijn twee van de meest opwindende jonge WR’s in de competitie en WR1 grenzen.

33. Julio Jones, ATL, WR13 (2023u)
34. Terry McLaurin, WAS, WR14 (2022u)
35. Chris Godwin, VG, WR15 (FSU)
36. Darren Waller, LV, TE2 (2023u)
37. George Kittle, SF, TE3 (2025u)
38. Joe Mixon, CIN, RB20 (2024u)
39. Ronald Jones II, TB, RB21 (2021h)
40. Kenny Golladay, DET, WR16 (FMU)
41. Robert Woods, LA WR17 (2025 hours)
42. Deonta Johnson, PIT, WR18 (2022h)
43. Chris Carson, AEU, RB22 (UFA).

The 3/4 bearing gives us a lot of strong WR2 and solid RB2 options, as well as a few tight star points. Galladay, Godwin and Carson are on their way to the free desk, so the landing site will be crucial. Does 32-year-old Julio Jones still have an elite campaign in the tank, or is he gonna follow the A.J. Greenway?

44. Amari Cooper, DAL, WR19 (2024h)
45. Odell Beckham Jr, CLE, WR20 (2023h)
46. Adam Thielen, Minn, WR21 (2024h)
47. Will Fuller V, HOU, WR22 (FMU)
48. T Higgins, CIN, WR23 (2023h)
49. CeeDee Lamb, DAL, WR24 (2023h)
50. DJ Moore, CAR, WR25 (2021h)
51. Tyler Lockett, SEA, WR26 (2021h)
52. JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT, WR27 (FMU)
53. Cooper Kupp, LAR, WR28 (2023h)
54. Mark Andrews, BAL, TE4 (2021h)

This part of the table shows the historical depth at the wide receiver, because almost everyone on this list has WR1 upside down. This includes sophomore WR Higgins and Lamb, as well as a healthy Beckham. Note that Fuller is a free agent and will be suspended for a match in early 2021.

55. Patrick Mahomes, KC, QB1 (2031u)
56. Josh Allen, BUF, QB2 (2021h).

I’m gonna open the door for a quarterback in the middle of the fifth. Open tower. As Mahomes in 2019 and Jackson/Mahomes in 2020 have shown us, there really is no reason to attack the quarterback. Mahomes and Allen are high floor/ceiling targets and are well within that range, but I wouldn’t worry about that. As always, you have excellent opportunities later on in the project.

57. Tyler Boyd, CIN, WR29 (2023h)
58. Brandon Ayuk, SF, WR30 (2023h)
59. Deebo Samuel, SF, WR31 (2022u)
60. For Parker, MIA, WR32 (2023h)
61. Kyler Murray, ARI, QB3 (2022h)
62. Deshawn Watson, Howe, QB4 (2025h)
63. Melvin Gordon III, DEN, RB23 (2021h)
64. Kenyan Drake, ARI, RB24 (FMU)
65. Karim Hunt, CLE, RB25 (2022h)
66. Robbie Anderson, car, WR33 (2021h)
67. Chase Claypool, PIT, WR34 (2023h)
68. Brandin Cooks, HOU, WR35 (2023h)
69. DJ Chark Jr, JAC, WR36 (2021u)
70. Jerry Jeudy, DEN, WR37 (2023 hours)
71. Cortland knot, DEN, WR38 (2021h)
72. Jarvis Landry, CLE, WR39 (2022h).


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We’re starting to get into WR3/Flex area here, but there are still a lot of attractive names. This includes a high-story PPR option like Boyd, who will be running for a big season in Joe Barrow’s second season, and the Ayuk/Samuel duo in San Francisco. Drake’s value can be destroyed if he doesn’t sign with the cardinals again. Who’s gonna be the number one WR in Denver, Jeudy or Sutton?

73. Rahim Mostert, SF, RB26 (2021h)
74. Miles Gaskin, MIA, RB27 (2022h)
75. James Conner, PIT, RB28 (FMU)
76. Aaron Rodgers, GB, QB5 (2023h)77. Russell Wilson, AES, QB6 (2023h)
78. Lamar Jackson, BAL, QB7 (2021h)
79. T.J. Hockenson, DET, TE5 (2022h)
80. Dallas Goedert, PHI, TE6 (2021h)
81. Hunter Henry, LAC, TE7 (FMU)
82. Noah Fant, DEN, TE8 (2022u)
83. Jamison Crowder, NY WR40 (2021u)
84. Marquise Brown, BAL, WR41 (2022h)
85. Corey Davis, TEN, WR42 (FMU)
86. Laviska Chenault Jr, JAC, WR43 (2023h)
87. Curtis Samuel, CARE, WR44 (FMU)
88. Antonio Brown, VG, WR45 (UFA).

Mostert, Gaskin and Conner will probably start for their respective teams right now, although this may change in the off-season. There are several viable quarterback and tight end options on this part of the board, including Goedert, who would benefit from the likely departure of Zach Ertz. Chenault will be a candidate for victory if the Jaguars first select Trevor Lawrence overall, as planned. Will Brown find his way to concert number one or number two somewhere? You’d think that after a pretty impressive show in Tampa Bay.

89. Duck Prescott, DAL, QB8 (FMU)
90. Justin Herbert, LAC, QB9 (2023 hours)
91. Tariq Cohen, CHI, RB29 (2023h)
92. David Johnson, Howe, RB30 (2021h)
93. Michael Gallup, DAL, WR46 (2021h)
94. Jalen Reagor, IHP, WR47 (2023h)
95. Mike Williams, LAC, WR48 (2021h)
96. Michael Pittman Jr, IND, WR49 (2023u)
97. Parris Campbell, IND, WR50 (2022h)
98. Henry Rugs III, LV, WR51 (2023h)
99. Denzel Mims, NY WR52 (2023u)
100. Nyheim Hines, IND, RB31 (2021h)
101. Zack Moss, BUF, RB32 (2023h)
,102. Devin Singletary, BUF, RB33 (2022h)
,103. Damien Harris, NE, RB34 (2022h).

At least when it comes to running backs and wide receivers, we load your bank well into this, which means there are a lot of young people and escape candidates. Second-year WRs Reagor, Pittman, Ruggs and Mims are on that list, just like Campbell, often injured but interesting. It will be difficult to count on Moss and Singletary in Buffalos, but perhaps one of them will be the leader of the race at the back. We also have several veterans, including Johnson. If he stays in Texas with the new management, I have to get him out.

104. Ryan Tannehill, TEN, QB10 (2023h)
105. Joe Barrow, CIN, QB11 (2023 hours)
106. Mike Gesicki, MIA, TE9 (2021h)
107. Logan Thomas, WAS, TE10 (2021u)
,108. Johnnu Smith, TEN, TE11 (UFA)
109. Robert Tognan, GB, TE12 (FRG)

We fill our starting line at the quarterback position and in the tight game in this area. I’ll feel better for Thomas if Alex Smith stays on as quarterback and Washington doesn’t add quality #2 wide receiver. Tonian trusted touchdowns absurdly enough, and his low target share reminds me of other solid/creative purposes. Burrow was one of PCP’s top QBs before he suffered a late season injury.

110. Chase Edmonds, ARI, RB35 (2021h)
.111. Darrell Henderson, Jr. of Los Angeles, RB36 (2022u)
112. Leonard Fournette, VG, RB37 (FMU)
,113. Todd Gurley II, ATL, RB38 (FMU)
,114. JD McKissick, WAS, RB39 (2021h)
115. Tom Brady, VG, QB12 (2021h)
116. Cole Beasley, BUF, WR53 (2022h)
,117. John Brown, BUF, WR54 (2021h)
118. Marvin Jones Jr, DET, WR55 (UFA)
119. Evan Engram, New York, TE13 (2021h)
120th Cole Kmet, CHI, TE14 (2023h)
121st. Irv Smith Jr, Min, TE15 (2022h)
122. Zach Ertz, PHI, TE16 (2021v).

Fournette and Gurley finished the 2020 season as replacements, and their days as fantasy stars may be over, but we’ll see where they end up during the Free Agency. It’ll be interesting to see where Jones draws. Kmet is a popular candidate for victory after taking over the number one spot from Jimmy Graham in the second half of the season. Ertz could come back to the TE1 discussion if he could get a performance away from Philadelphia. Edmonds and Henderson intrigue the young tails, but they can’t play a big role now. McKissick will be a strong candidate to reduce the workload as Washington improves its attack with talent and promotes Antonio Gibson to a more important role.

123. Jamal Williams, GB, RB40 (UFA)
124. James White, NE, RB41 (FMU)
125. Duke Johnson, HOU, RB42 (2021u)
,126. Jeff Wilson Jr., SF, RB43 (FRG)
,127. Marlon Mack, IND, RB44 (UFA)
.128. Kirk Cousins, MIN, CB13 (2022h).129. Matt Ryan, ATL, QB14 (2023 hours)
130. Darius Slayton, NYG, WR56 (2022u)
,131. Sterling Shepard, NY WR57 (2023 hours)
132. T.J. Hilton, IND, WR58 (UFA)
133. Julian Edelman, NE, WR59 (2021h)
134. A.J. Green, CIN, WR60 (FMU)
135. Preston Williams, MIA, WR61 (2021r)
.136. Philip Lindsay, DEN, RB45 (FRG)
,137. Sony Michel, NE, RB46 (2021h)
138. Ke’Sean Vaughn, TB, RB47 (2023h)
,139. AJ Dillon, GB, RB48 (2023h)
140. Tony Pollard, DAL, RB49 (2022h)
141. Alexander Mattison, MIN, RB50 (2022h)142. Damien Williams, KC, RB51 (2021h)
.143. Hayden Hurst, ATL, TE17 (2021h)
,144. Austin Hooper, CLE, TE18 (2023v).

There are a number of free agents and older players to keep an eye on during the low season. This includes Mack, who has missed the whole year 2020 due to a torn ACL and will leave Indianapolis. Do Hilton, Edelman and Green still have a campaign in the top 30? This can be difficult when the position is so deep. Pollard and Mattison both enter 2021 as the first two rescue options. The same goes for Jamal Williams after its release in 2020. With Aaron Jones and Williams in free office, can Dillon start 2021 as Green Bay’s best hope?

145. Matthew Stafford, DET, QB15 (2022v)
146. Taysom Hill, NE, QB16 (2021h)
.147. Jalen Hurts, IHP, QB17 (2023h)
148. Giovani Bernard, CIN, RB52 (2021h)
.149. Latvia Murray, NE, RB53 (2022h)
150. Benny Snell Jr, PIT, RB54 (2022u)
.151. Anthony McFarland, Jr. PIT, RB55 (2023h)
.152. Gabriel Davis, BUF, WR62 (2023h)
.153. KJ Hamler, DEN, WR63 (2023h)
154. Devin DuVernay, BAL, WR64 (2023h)
155. Darnell Mooney, CHI, WR65 (2023h)
156. Mecol Hardman, KC, WR66 (2022h)
157. Jacoby Meyers, NE, WR67 (2021r)
.158. Nelson Agholor, LV, WR68 (UFA)
.159. Darrynton Evans, TEN, RB56 (2023h)
160. Kerryon Johnson, DET, RB57 (2021h)
161. Mike Davis, CAR, RB58 (FSU)
.162. Gus Edwards, BAL, RB59 (FRG)
163. Adam Troutman. No. TE19 (2023h)
164. Rob Gronkowski, TB, TE20 (FSU)
165. Derek Carr, LV, QB18 (2022h)
166. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT, QB19 (2021h)
167. Baker Mayfield, CLE, QB20 (2021h)
168. Eric Ebron, PIT, TE21.

If you wait until the final round of the selection, you probably have a lot of interesting options, including veterans like Stafford and Roethlisberger. I’m betting on Hill and Hurts, because they would be on the border of the QB1 targets if they consolidated the original work. Of course, if they make progress, there will be more quarterbacks on the home front. Troutman was my favorite stretcher in the fall of 2020 and he could very well lead the depth chart of the Saints in 2021.

169. D/ST, WELL, DST1
170. Rams D/ST, LAR, DST2
171. Raven D/ST, BAL, DST3
172. Saints D/ST, NO, DST4
173. Colts D/ST, IND, DST5
174. Accounts D/ST, BUF, DST6
175. 49ers D/ST, SF, DST7
176. Patriots D/ST, NE, DST8
177. Bear D/ST, CHI, DST9
178. Washington D/ST, WAS, DST10
179. Buccaneers D/ST, TB, DST11
180. Dolphins D/ST, MIA, DST12
181. Justin Tucker, BAL, K1 (2023 hours)
182. Harrison Butker, KC, K2 (2024h)
183. Tyler Bass, BUF, K3 (2023h)
184. Greg Zuerlein, DAL, K4 (2022u)
185. Younghoe Koo, ATL, K5 (ERFA)
186. Rodrigo Blankenship, IND, K6 (2022p),187. Ryan Succop, VB, K7 (UVA)188. Jason Myers, ASP, K8 (2022u)
189. Wil Lutz, NO, K9 (2023h)
190. Brandon McManus, DEN, K10 (2024 hours)
,191. Ka’imi Fairbairn, HOU, K11 (2023u)
192. Mason Crosby, GB, K12 (2022h)

Didn’t you learn anything about Jaguars three years ago? What happened to the D/ST bear two years ago? The Steelers last season? Wait until the last two rounds to choose your defense and your shooter.

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