Sport Fantasy Football Breakouts: Draft Day Targets to Help You Dominate in 2021
2021 Fantasy Football WR Sleepers: Potential wide receiver breakouts, draft steals
Wide receiver is the deepest position in fantasy football, with potential contributors and steals available at all points in the draft. Check out our list of the top 2021 WR sleepers and breakouts primed to vastly outperform their rankings.In explosive offenses, we've seen two or three wide receivers from the same team have high finishes, like Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson last year (both top 10). Of course we want to target bonafide No. 1 receivers early in the draft, but they go quickly, and when you've already spent early draft capital at running back, quarterback, and tight end, you need to know the under-the-radar sleepers as you approach the middle and late rounds.
Breakouts from every position to boost your fantasy football team ahead of the 2021 NFL season
QB Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
For a fantasy owner looking to cheat the quarterback position, Burrow should be the go-to option based on his late July rankings (13th quarterback drafted). The Bengals invested in his top receiver in college (Ja’Marr Chase – 84/1,780/20) while already two top wideouts. Burrow averaged over 40 passes a game in his rookie season, leading to 20.9 fantasy points per game in four-point passing touchdown leagues. However, he gained only 6.7 yards per pass attempt in his rookie season with struggles making scoring plays in the red zone (13 touchdowns in 10 starts). I expect Burrow to rank in the top five in passing attempts in 2021, with added value with his legs. Cincinnati cleared him for training camp, pointing to him being ready for Week 1. My early projections have Burrow on a path for 4,850 combined yards with 34 touchdowns. At the sportsbooks, my bets are on over 4,200.5 passing yards and 26.5 passing touchdowns.
Fantasy Injury Updates: Latest news on Alvin Kamara, Nick Chubb, Chris Carson, more RBs impacting Week 10 start 'em, sit 'em calls
Alvin Kamara, Nick Chubb, Chris Carson, James Robinson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Zack Moss, and Damien Harris are key RBs who might be "questionable" for Week 10. Get the latest injury updates ahead of your fantasy start 'em, sit 'em calls.For all the latest fantasy news, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.
RB Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
When working on the early projections, I only had Harris ranked 15th in PPR leagues with 65% of the rushing opportunities and 75% of the passing chances. His early ADP (16) in the 12-team high-stakes came in higher than my initial outlook. The Steelers’ offensive line has plenty of questions while looking to be in rebuilding mode. Pittsburgh has talent at wide receiver while having a history of leaning on one running back. I don’t see much competition for Harris on passing downs, and no other back offers as much explosiveness in the run game. When adding in his possible variance in overall chances, I’m willing to be on the come while understanding my starting point is about 1,500 combined yards with dozen scores and 45 catches. I’ll also take the over in his rushing yards (990.5) and rushing touchdowns (7.5) at the sportsbooks.
Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Watchlist for Week 12: Streaming targets, free agent sleepers include Mac Jones, Jeff Wilson Jr., Sterling Shepard
Now's the time for owners to stay ahead on the fantasy football waiver wire and scout potential free agent pickups. Prior to Weeks 11 and 12, it could be smart to add guys like Mac Jones, Jeff Wilson Jr., and Sterling Shepard as streaming options or lotto-ticket stashes.We're not only looking for one-week solutions in our Week 12 waiver wire watchlist but also sneaky value for late in the season. The waiver wire might be getting thin, but as injuries mount and bye weeks remove your fantasy studs from action, we must prepare for all scenarios. Again, only two teams are off the table in Week 12, but other factors will inevitably leave you scrambling for alternate options.
RB Trey Sermon, San Francisco 49ers
The lead running back in the 49ers’ offense has a chance to post an exceptional season with an entire season of games. My top two points in favor of Sermon are the durability and career path for Raheem Mostert (at age 29, he never had over 151 touches in a season while coming into this summer with a knee issue) and the production by Jeff Wilson (733 combined yards with 10 touchdowns and 13 catches) off the bench for San Fran in 2020. Over the past two seasons, San Francisco’s running back gained 5,673 combined yards with 56 touchdowns and 170 catches (33.54 fantasy points per game in PPR leagues). In addition, the 49ers have a top offensive line with three dynamic receiving options at wide receiver and tight end. With an ADP of 76, Sermon should easily surpass his draft value while showing potential upside in the passing game in the early OTAs. His next step is proving he can handle a more significant workload.
Updated 2021 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 200 Cheat Sheet
While Kelce may very well be the best TE in the league it doesn’t make sense for fantasy managers to draft him in the first round.
WR Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals
Fantasy owners are quick to dismiss Chase as a potential stud WR1 in his rookie season while also placing a premium bet on Justin Jefferson (ADP – 25 as the seventh wide receiver drafted) in 2021. Both players shined under Joe Burrow at LSU in 2019 (Chase – 84/1,780/20 and Jefferson – 111,1,540/18). Chase adds big play and scoring ability to the Bengals’ offense, and his experience with Burrow should lead to him hitting the ground running in his rookie season. Jefferson had no problem with the move to the NFL (88/1,400/7) while playing in an offense with a high volume running back. I have Chase projected 95 catches for 1,344 yards and 10 touchdowns. The sportsbooks have him under projected by about 30% in receiving yards (1,025.5) and touchdowns (7). Chase has a backend WR2 ADP (57) in late July, which screams buying opportunity.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers’ offense could take a new shape in 2021, with Najee Harris projected to upgrade Pittsburgh’s rushing offense. Better success on the ground should lead to fewer passes and a messy situation for their top three wide receivers. Smith-Schuster finished last year as the 16th highest scoring wideout in PPR leagues while underperforming in receiving yards (831) and yards per catch (8.6). This draft season is the 29th wideout off the board, with an ADP of 71 in 12-team leagues. His high-volume catch skill set points to a consistent player each week while offering a higher ceiling with a rebound in his yards per catch. However, the sportsbooks looked to have mispriced his receiving yards (790.5) and touchdowns (6). Smith-Schuster scored seven touchdowns or more in three of his four seasons in the NFL.
Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Watchlist for Week 13: Streaming targets, free agent sleepers include Daniel Jones, Tony Jones Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff has a 'real shot' of starting vs. the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving in Week 12 of the 2021 NFL regular season.
WR Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
After an excellent finish to 2019 (45/926/4) over 11 games, Samuel missed nine games last year while flashing in only one matchup (11/133). I’m intrigued by the 49ers’ offense this year, but their receiving core would have a higher ceiling if Jimmy Garoppolo earns the starting job. Samuel is the 37th wide receiver drafted in 2021 with an ADP of 90. San Francisco will rely on three players to move the ball via the passing game, and I have Samuel ranked ahead of Brandon Aiyuk while having a more favorable price point, supported by the early odds at the sportsbooks in receiving yards (Samuel – 895.5 and Aiyuk – 875.5).
TE Evan Engram, New York Giants
Each draft season, there are a couple of tight ends that emerge as top 10 options. One typically comes via the free-agent pool, and the other tends to fly under the radar on draft day. Engram is the 14th tight end drafted in late July with an ADP of 138. His career started with an excellent season (64/722/6), but he failed to live up to expectations over the past three years while missing 13 games. Even with a down 2020 (63/654/1), Engram still finished a couple of touchdowns away from being a top-eight tight end. This season, he needs to improve his timing and chemistry with Daniel Jones.
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Fantasy Injury Updates: Latest news on James Robinson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Miles Sanders, more RBs affecting Week 11 start 'em, sit 'em calls .
Several key RBs, including James Robinson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Miles Sanders, Latavius Murray, and Jamaal Williams, are either coming back from injuries or in danger or missing time. Get the latest injury updates ahead of Week 11 fantasy start 'em, sit 'em calls.For news on ailing QBs Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson, click here; for an update on Marquise Brown, go here; for more on Saquon Barkley, click here; for the latest on Rob Gronkowski, go here; for the Week 11 weather report, click here. For all the latest fantasy news, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.