Th first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft are in the books. PFF's fantasy analysts are offering instant analysis for every relevant rookie quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end as they come off the board.
This tracker is loaded with reactions from Rounds 1-3 and will be updated throughout the final day of the NFL Draft. For an instant reaction to each and every pick — including those non-fantasy-related — be sure to check out the PFF Draft Show, which will be streaming live for the duration of the draft.
For additional information on each rookie, visit PFF’s all-encompassing Fantasy Football Rookie Scouting Report for profiles on more than 75 prospects.
View PFF's 2021 NFL Draft position rankings:
1. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: QB TREVOR LAWRENCE, CLEMSON (QB1)
Projected 2021 Rank: High-end QB2
Widely regarded as one of the nation’s top recruits coming out of high school, Lawrence became the first freshman quarterback to earn a PFF grade above 90.0. He continued that success in 2019 and 2020.
Lawrence earned a PFF grade of 90.7 last year, 10th among QBs since the 2019 season. The new Jaguars quarterback displayed effectiveness throwing deep, earning PFF’s fifth-highest grade on 20-plus-yard throws (95.2) while finishing eighth in adjusted completion percentage on those deep passes (48.4%). Combine that with his upside as a runner, and we have a deadly fantasy asset at our disposal.
Lawrence rushed for 682 yards at 7.8 yards per attempt (second among QBs) in 2019, scoring nine rushing touchdowns in the process. Having a quarterback who can add value with his legs is the new norm in fantasy football, and Lawrence fits that mold.
He is as NFL-ready as a rookie quarterback can be and is well-deserving of the first pick in dynasty Superflex formats. Urban Meyer has a track record of leveraging QBs as rushing threats, and Darrell Bevell helped unlock Matthew Stafford’s deep ball over the past two seasons.
2. NEW YORK JETS, ZACH WILSON, BYU (QB2)
Projected 2021 Rank: Low-end QB2
Fantasy Outlook: The New York Jets couldn’t be a better fit for Zach Wilson, as he's likely best suited for an offense that leverages an outside-zone scheme. New Jets offensive coordinator Mike LeFleur stems from Kyle Shanahan’s outside-zone coaching tree, making the Wilson-to-New York pairing one we should be excited to watch.
His special arm talent will be on full display with the Jets as often as it was during his magical 2020 season when he finished first in PFF passing grade on a 20-plus-yard and tight-window throws. Wilson's ability to throw into tight windows bodes very well going forward because the NFL requires passes to be thrown into narrow spaces.
Wilson’s arm talent checks all the boxes for NFL teams, but his underrated rushing threat will be a deciding factor for fantasy gamers. His 34.9 rushing yards per game are nearly identical to Lawrence's (34.3).
The big question for fantasy managers is whether Wilson’s production is sustainable at the next level. He saw pressure at the fourth-lowest rate (21.6%) among 2021 draft-eligible quarterbacks because he played behind the nation’s eighth-highest-graded pass-blocking unit.
Wilson will also face an insane uptick in defensive competition, which could lend him to start his rookie season slow out the gates. The Jets have mediocre playmakers around him — Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, Chris Herndon IV and Keelan Cole — which doesn’t help Wilson’s case as a late-round fantasy QB option in 2021.
Don’t fall head over heels for the training camp reports of Wilson shredding the Jets’ starting defense this summer. That’s to be expected versus a unit that ranked 30th in PFF coverage grade last season.
3. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers: QB TREY LANCE, NDSU (QB3)
Projected 2021 Rank: QB3
Fantasy Outlook: The 49ers are adding one of the most physically talented quarterbacks in the draft. Lance played in a run-first offense in college and will stay in one in the pros, but he will now have George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel as options in the passing game for the next several years. The 49ers seem set on Jimmy Garopollo being the quarterback for 2021, leaving Lance with little fantasy value in the short term.
Lance has QB1 potential in the long run. He wants to attack downfield and will add value as a runner, which is ideal for a fantasy quarterback. He’s landed in the best situation, giving him possibly the most dynasty value among the quarterbacks in the class.
4. Atlanta Falcons: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida (TE1)
Fantasy Outlook: The Falcons are landing the best receiver in the draft. He’s already red-zone cheat code, which should force his name into the TE1 conversation even as a rookie. He has more upside than the other tight ends getting drafted in the low-end TE1 range, too, which will slowly push Pitts' ADP up between now and September.
Atlanta is a very good landing spot for Pitts, as Matt Ryan has a track record of working with elite tight ends — look no further than the numbers he put up with Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez. The only downside is that Pitts will need to compete for targets with Calvin Ridley and potentially even Julio Jones.
5. CINCINNATI BENGALS: JA’MARR CHASE, LSU (WR1)
Projected 2021 Rank: High-end WR4
Chase should immediately join the Bengals' starting lineup, replacing the void left by A.J. Green. He should have a relatively high floor for a rookie wide receiver, given the chemistry he already has with his quarterback. The only downside is the Bengals also have Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. Both players saw over 100 targets last season and should have that many again this year. This puts a ceiling on Chase’s target share for the next few seasons.
Projected 2021 Rank: WR4
Fantasy Outlook: Jaylen Waddle is the best slot receiver in the class and fits perfectly into the Miami Dolphins offense. The team was forced to play running back convert wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. into the slot last season, so Waddle presents a massive upgrade.
The speedy wideout knows how to get open, a luxury that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa did not have at his disposal last year. Tua's receivers created at least one step of separation on just 58% of his pass attempts — fourth-worst in the league.
He’s the exact sparkplug that the Dolphins’ offense needs to take the next step. He will be able to make do in fantasy because of his big-play upside.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (via Dallas Cowboys): WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama (WR3)
Projected 2021 Rank: WR3/4
Fantasy Outlook: No college player since 2018 has more receiving yards from routes that gained at least one step of separation than DeVonta Smith.
With the ability to play outside and inside — he led the nation in yards per route run operating from the slot last season — he can be an immediate contributor on an NFL offense. Separation at the college level translates well at the next level.
The Philadelphia Eagles entered the draft with one of the league’s weakest WR corps, so Smith gets a legitimate shot to ascend to be the No. 1 target in the passing game. Jalen Hurts’ receivers got open at the lowest rate in the league (54%) in 2020.
Projected 2021 Rank: QB3
Fantasy Outlook: Fields looked like a prototype QB1 coming into the draft, and he’s landed with a team that should unleash that potential. His pros in the PFF Draft Guide are exactly what you want in a fantasy quarterback: He’s deadly accurate, consistently attacks downfield and poses a threat as a dynamic runner.
The Bears traded a lot of draft capital to pick Jones. So while they have named Andy Dalton as the starter, Fields should be the starter by midseason. Chicago has Allen Robinson II in the receiving corps along with some promising sophomore receivers, potentially putting fields in an above-average situation. Fields should be a QB2 once he is a starter and has QB1 potential if he develops good chemistry with Robinson and also runs often.
14. New York Jets (via Minnesota Vikings): T Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
Projected 2021 Rank: QB3
Fantasy Outlook: Jones is a decidedly different kind of player than the new prototype at the position — he doesn't pose a threat in the ground game, and he won't be breaking the pocket to scramble all that often. The majority of QB1s see some of their fantasy value come from the ground, so Jones' play style will make it hard for him to ever become a consistent QB1, even if he lives up to the hype. The Patriots might let Jones sit a bit in Year 1, but he certainly has QB2 or low-end QB1 potential once he becomes the starter.
The Patriots spent the offseason surrounding their quarterback with talent. Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry were added at tight end, while Nelson Agholor joins Jakobi Meyers at wide receiver. Jones can be avoided in redrafts unless it becomes clear he will be the starter.
18. Miami Dolphins: EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami (FL.)
20. New York Giants: WR Kadarius Toney, Florida (WR4)
Projected 2021 Rank: WR6
Fantasy Outlook: Kadarius Toney is the most dynamic athlete in this draft class with the football in his hands. He forced 20 missed tackles on 70 catches last season, fifth-most among wide receivers. He's a human joystick in the open field.
Toney possesses sure hands, having dropped only three of 123 career catchable targets. He hauled in 83% of his targets last season, fifth-most in the nation and trailing only Elijah Moore and Jaylen Waddle among draft prospects.
The Giants now have a crowded receiving corps with the Florida speedster joining Kenny Golladay, Evan Engram, Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard. Toney is a very raw route-runner, but his game-breaking speed will get him on the field plenty in his rookie season.
21. Indianapolis Colts: EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan
Projected 2021 Rank: Low-end RB2
Fantasy Outlook: Harris is the first running back off the board and lands in the best situation for a rookie running back, as the Steelers just James Conner, their lead back in 2020, to free agency.
Mike Tomlin has shown a preference for fielding one every-down back instead of rolling with a committee. This should give Harris plenty of playing time starting in Week 1.
The main concern for Harris is that the Steelers have been a pass-first offense in recent seasons. Part of that is because they didn’t have a back like Harris, but there is also too much talent at wide receiver for Pittsburgh not to pass. Harris probably won’t get enough touches to reach the RB1 range, but he can be a consistent RB2 for the next few seasons.
Projected 2021 Rank: High-end RB3
Fantasy Outlook: The Jaguars make one of the biggest surprise picks of the first round, as they will let Trevor Lawrence keep his running back from college. The Jaguars already had a potential first-round pick in redraft leagues in James Robinson, but Etienne now puts a major wrench in that plan.
Etienne was one of the most complete running back prospects in the class, in large part thanks to his ability as a pass-catcher. He will play on third downs for Jacksonville at the very least.
It shouldn’t be long before Etienne sees double-digit carries, given his status as a newly minted first-round pick. And with Lawrence having “his guy” in Etienne and Urban Meyer having “his guy” in Carlos Hyde, Robinson's role will almost certainly be reduced.
Etienne is a much riskier pick in redraft leagues due to the uncertainty of his role, but he should become an RB3 with upside.
Projected 2021 Rank: WR5
Fantasy Outlook: Bateman is a physical receiver and a gifted route-runner who can win both outside and from the slot.
The Minnesota wide receiver led college football in yards per route run from an outside alignment in 2019 before shifting to the slot on 67% of snaps in 2020 and averaging a healthy 15.5 yards per catch.
Bateman instantly becomes the No. 3 option in the Ravens passing offense behind Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews, with the potential to elevate to No. 1 duty earlier than many would expect. Bateman is plug-and-play ready and will be an undervalued asset in fantasy football that thrives on low-volume and high efficiency.
28. New Orleans Saints: Edge Payton Turner, Houston
30. Buffalo Bills: EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami (FL.)
31. Baltimore Ravens: EDGE Jayson Oweh, Penn State
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: EDGE Joe Tryon, Washington
34. New York Jets: WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
Projected 2021 Rank: WR6
Fantasy Outlook: There are receivers that play their size, and then there’s Moore. Obviously he’s plenty capable of causing problems as more of a traditional slot in the underneath areas of the field; just realize the Jets have a true downfield threat to work with as well. All in all, Moore caught 11 of 19 targets thrown at least 20 yards downfield, finding the end zone on four occasions and posting an elite 91 PFF receiving grade along the way.
People forget the stud Ole Miss WR averaged more receiving yards per game than DeVonta Smith in 2020. However, the negative stigma attached to this Jets offense likely won’t be forgotten anytime soon, making Moore and this entire offense the cheapest to stack in all of fantasy
The fit is in question for however long Jamison Crowder remains on the roster, but it’s unlikely the Jets used the No. 34 pick on someone that will be on the bench for long. Target share is unclear between Moore, Denzel Mims and Corey Davis even if Crowder takes his talents elsewhere; just realize the rookie offers plenty of juice and could make a name for himself early in 2021 if afforded the opportunity.
Projected 2021 Rank: Low-end RB2
Fantasy Outlook: Move over Melvin Gordon III. The RB king of breaking tackles has arrived. Javonte Williams’ missed tackle rate per attempt (48%) was 12 percentage points higher than the next running back in 2020.
Williams graded as PFF’s No. 1 inside-zone runner (92.3) last season, and that makes him a perfect fit for Denver’s offense. The Broncos finished second in inside zone/power runs in 2020.
With Denver spending a high Day 2 pick (and trading up) on Williams, we should expect him to finally see the type of workload that will unleash his vast talent as a true all-purpose back. MG3’s days in Denver could be numbered
36. MIAMI DOLPHINS: CB JEVON HOLLAND, OREGON
40. ATLANTA FALCONS: S RICHIE GRANT, UCF
43. Las Vegas Raiders (via San Francisco 49ers): S Trevon Moehrig, TCU
Projected 2021 Rank: WR6
Fantasy Outlook: Moore is a steal for the Cardinals in the middle of the second round. He is one of the most electric players in the draft, but he comes with two significant downsides: size that will likely limit him to the slot and a concerning injury history.
The Purdue receiver will end up in the slot in Arizona, taking over for Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald, and this pick makes it even more likely that Fitzgerald doesn’t return to the team. Moore ends up with arguably the best situation for a rookie wide receiver so far, ending up with Kyler Murray and a pass-heavy offense. He could very well end up with the second-most targets behind DeAndre Hopkins. This could make Moore one of the best receiving options in dynasty rookie drafts.
50. New York Giants: Edge Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
52. Cleveland Browns (via Chicago Bears): LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
54. Indianapolis Colts: EDGE Dayo Odeyingbo, Vanderbilt
Projected 2021 Rank: TE3
Fantasy Outlook: Freiermuth is a throwback tight end who can be both an impact receiver and blocker. He is a creative route-runner with freaky contested-catch skills who can separate from linebackers and safeties in coverage. Freiermuth’s 18 contested catches since 2018 are the fifth-most among all tight ends in college football. He is a load to bring down in the open field, forcing 12 missed tackles on 66 catches over the past three seasons.
The burly 6-foot-5, 251-pound tight end joins a crowded receiving corps in Pittsburgh. Freiermuth can be a red-zone weapon from Day 1, but it will likely take a year or two for him to carve out a real role in this offense. When that happens, the former Penn State tight end has Mike Gesicki-type upside.
Projected 2021 Rank: WR6
Fantasy Outlook: The Seattle Seahawks were in “need” of a No. 3 WR, and they got their guy in D’Wayne Eskridge. The speedy wideout led his class in yards after the catch per game (81.5) and all of college football in yards per route run (3.36) when aligned out wide dating back to 2018.
He’ll compete with tight end Gerald Everett and backup wide receiver Freddie Swain for third in the target pecking order. Eskridge likely won’t have any immediate fantasy relevance outside of an occasional spike week (when Russell Wilson inevitably gets to cook) unless an injury sidelines D.K. Metcalf or Tyler Lockett.
Projected 2021 Rank: WR9
Fantasy Outlook: Atwell joins a very crowded Rams wide receiver room. Los Angeles has consistently rostered two great options in fantasy leagues in Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. They used a second-round pick last offseason on Van Jefferson and added DeSean Jackson in free agency.
Atwell can be considered a speedy gadget player, but he probably won't have many games with six-plus targets when all of the Rams' receivers are healthy. Atwell will have limited fantasy appeal in 2021 for this reason. His best chance for fantasy relevancy is if Woods or Kupp is traded in a year. He should find his way into the second round of dynasty rookie drafts.
Projected 2021 Rank: WR6
Fantasy Outlook: Part of Marshall's allure is his status as one of the bigger receivers in this smaller-sized class. Route running is the biggest issue here; it's a good thing he stood out as one of the best contested-catch artists in this class. Overall, Marshall made 25 catches on 41 contested targets over the past two years.
Today’s NFL understandably places a premium on receivers with high-end separation ability. Marshall doesn’t possess that skill just yet, although he’s hardly the first 20-year-old WR without pro-ready route-running skills. The most important thing about Marshall is that his medicals check out; that’s the only reason he was still available this late.
The future might very well be pleasant for the LSU product, but it’s tough to expect him to see immediate high-end target share. We expect Marshall to take over for David Moore in three-WR sets before too long, but D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson and Christian McCaffrey should each be projected for more total pass-game opportunities. Throw in the reality that Sam Darnold could very well be a downgrade from Teddy Bridgewater, and Marshall looks like nothing more than a late-round dart in fantasy football ahead of the 2021 season.
61. Buffalo Bills: EDGE Carlos Basham Jr., Wake Forest
Projected 2021 Rank: QB4
Fantasy Outlook: Is there a quarterback controversy brewing in Tampa Bay? All kidding aside, the Bucs have their heir apparent to Tom Brady. Trask is a 6-foot-5 and 235-pound gunslinger with a bomb-it-downfield mentality. He had a breakout 2020 season for the Florida Gators, leading college football with 41 big-time throws and 38 deep completions 20-plus yards downfield.
Trask will have to wait for the goat to ride off into the sunset, but he will get his shot to prove that he is the Bucs' quarterback of the future. The former Florida quarterback is a viable dynasty asset in one of the best quarterback situations in the entire league.
Projected 2021 Rank: QB4
Fantasy Outlook: Kellen Mond ranks third in the QB draft class in rushing yards on designed runs (623) since the start of 2019. Any rookie quarterback that can offer dual-threat ability will have fantasy value if/when he earns a starting gig.
Mond is going to have to wait until Kirk Cousins’ contract expires in 2023 before he can officially take over. But with the league transitioning to more mobile guys under center, Mond becomes an intriguing option to take a flier on later in 2QB/Superflex rookie drafts. He has the skill set to flash during preseason contests which could dramatically inflate his long-term dynasty value.
67. Houston Texans: QB Davis Mills, Stanford
Projected 2021 Rank: QB4
Fantasy Outlook: It remains to be seen how the Deshaun Watson situation will play out; Mills will theoretically be in the running for Week 1 starting duties if he can beat out the likes of Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Finley. Of course, this doesn’t mean he’s a recommended fantasy option: Mills doesn’t possess anything resembling dual-threat ability, which is basically a necessity for rookie QBs to succeed in fantasy land these days.
Mills is a former five-star recruit that simply didn’t have a ton of chances to put a ton of throw on film over the years; he’s the sort of third-round pick worth throwing a dart at. Our PFF Draft Guide pro comp is Matt Cassel, so expectations should certainly be held in check, but at least Mills has a more clear track to a starting job than the rest of this year’s third-round QBs.
69. Cincinnati Bengals: EDGE Joseph Ossai, Texas
71. New York Giants: CB Aaron Robinson, UCF
75. Dallas Cowboys: DI Osa Odighizuwa, UCLA
77. Los Angeles Chargers: WR Josh Palmer, Tennessee (WR10)
Projected 2021 Rank: WR9
Fantasy Outlook: Palmer joins the Chargers in the third round and will have the opportunity to fight for an outside receiving spot in three-receiver sets. Jalen Guyton and Tyron Johnson are the only receivers who stand in his way.
Mike Williams is in the last season of his contract with the Chargers, so Palmer has a chance to become the top outside receiving option in an offense that features one of the best young quarterbacks in the league.
Expectations for Palmer shouldn’t be too high in 2021, but he's landed in a better situation than most wide receivers drafted so far.
79. Las Vegas Raiders: Edge Malcolm Koonce, Buffalo
81. Miami Dolphins: TE Hunter Long, Boston College (TE3)
Projected 2021 Rank: TE3
Fantasy Outlook: Long stacks up nicely from an experience and production standpoint. He led the nation in targets (89) and catches (57) while also finishing second in receiving yards in 2020, all career-high marks for the Boston College tight end. He’s most likely going to be regulated to TE2 duties behind Mike Gesicki, but that may only be for one season. Gesicki is a free agent at the end of the year.
Adding Long signifies that the team might deploy more 12 personnel in the future, which will greatly benefit quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Last season, Miami TEs finished second in passer rating generated (146.3).
82. Washington Football Team: WR Dyami Brown, North Carolina (WR10)
Projected 2021 Rank: WR6
Fantasy Outlook: The Football Team offense just got even more explosive. Dyami Brown was one of the premier vertical weapons in college football — he led the nation with 10 catches of 50-plus yards and 26 deep catches on throws 20-plus yards downfield since 2019. He will be a perfect deep-threat complement to Terry McLaurin on the outside and Curtis Samuel in the slot.
Brown has an NFL-ready skill set so should see the field immediately as the No. 4 receiving option in this exciting Washington offense. YOLO gunslinger Ryan Fitzpatrick will have an absolute blast hurling bombs downfield to Brown. The former North Carolina wideout can be the prototypical boom/bust wide receiver in the same mold as players such as Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Mecole Hardman.
83. Carolina Panthers: TE Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame (TE4)
Projected 2021 Rank: TE4
Fantasy Outlook: On the one hand, Tremble's athletic intangibles are borderline erotic. Tight ends who stand 6-foot-3, 241-pounds, with a 4.6-second 40-yard dash and 37-inch vertical don't fall off trees. On the other hand, Tremble is a block-first player at this point in his career and dropped five of 40 career catchable targets.
Our PFF Draft Guide bottom line: “In the right scheme, Tremble could very easily take the torch from Kyle Juszczyk as the league's best fullback.”
84. Dallas Cowboys: Edge Chauncey Golston, Iowa
85. Green Bay Packers: WR Amari Rodgers, Clemson (WR11)
Projected 2021 Rank: WR8
Fantasy Outlook: Packers fans have waited a long time for the Packers to use a Day 1 or Day 2 pick on a wide receiver, and that time has come. Our draft guide compared Rodgers to Ty Montgomery, while NFL Network compared him to Randall Cobb — both of whom are former Packers. Rodgers should quickly become the Packers' new slot receiver, as the players currently on the roster are best suited to play on the outside.
Green Bay played around with the idea of having a gadget player last year with Tyler Ervin and Tavon Austin. Rodgers could be used in a similar way, leading to some carries as well as slot targets. His fantasy value for 2021 will largely depend on the ongoing Aaron Rodgers saga.
Projected 2021 Rank: WR6
Fantasy Outlook: Nico Collins is a 6-foot-4, 215-pound wide receiver with massive 34 ⅛-inch arms and the freaky athleticism to jump out of the gym. He excels at tracking and adjusting to the football in the air, and his enormous frame gives his quarterback a huge target. Collins averaged a whopping 19.7 yards per catch while recording a 91.2 PFF grade on contested targets in 2019 (minimum 20 contested targets), ranking 13th among all wide receivers in college football.
Collins walks into a wide-open receiving corps and is immediately the second-best such player on this team — after Brandin Cooks. Opposite of Cooks, Collins will compete for snaps and targets with Randall Cobb, Keke Coutee, Chris Conley, Donte Moncrief and Alex Erickson — not exactly a who's who of starting-caliber NFL wide receivers.
This landing spot is far from ideal, but 90-plus targets is certainly in the realm of possibilities for Collins. The Houston Texans will be doing a lot of losing next season, assuming Tyrod Taylor is the starting quarterback, which could mean plenty of garbage-time fantasy points for the Texans' new No. 2 wideout.
Projected 2021 Rank: WR10
Fantasy Outlook: The Browns reached to add the fastest receiver in the class. They chose to add him in the third round, so they will have a plan to get him the ball, but he’s unlikely to ever see significant targets. Cleveland is already loaded at wide receiver, with Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins and Donovan Peoples-Jones taking the top four spots on the depth chart.
The Browns could also find a use for Schwartz on special teams, which will help Cleveland but not your fantasy team. Schwartz can be avoided in re-draft leagues and should be taken later than most third- and fourth-round wide receivers in dynasty formats.
92. Tennessee Titans: LB Monty Rice, Georgia
96. New England Patriots: EDGE Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma
97. Los Angeles Chargers: TE Tre' McKitty, Georgia (TE5)
Projected 2021 Rank: TE4
Fantasy Outlook: Per PFF’s NFL Draft Guide, “Tre McKitty was much improved this past season, but he profiles as little more than a reliable No. 2 in the NFL.” The third-round draft capital (originally a sixth-round projection) is encouraging for McKitty, but he still has a long way to go before sniffing any kind of fantasy relevance. His increase in draft stock is probably due to his proficiency as a blocker — the exact thing we don’t want our fantasy tight ends to take any part in.
101. Detroit Lions: CB Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse
104. Baltimore Ravens: CB Brandon Stephens, SMU
105. Denver Broncos: LB Baron Browning, Ohio State
DAY 3: Fantasy Relevant Players Only
Fantasy Outlook: Carter was the other half of the North Carolina one-two running back punch with Javonte Williams. He starred with a 91.7 PFF grade (fourth) last season and is a big-play threat with 29 runs of 20-plus yards since 2019 (first). The 5-foot-8 and 201-pound running back does not have ideal size for the position but possesses the vision and playmaking skills to contribute immediately as both a runner and receiver.
Carter lands in a New York Jets backfield where he will compete for touches right away with Tevin Coleman and La’Mical Perine. He will be an exceptional target for zero-RB drafters who could emerge as a starting running back midway through the 2021 NFL season.
Fantasy Outlook: A.J. Brown might actually get 200-plus targets in 2021. Adding Dez Fitzpatrick provides depth to the position, but he’s nothing more than a real-life back-up wide receiver. His overall college production paled in comparison to fellow Louisville WR Tutu Atwell and his physical gifts — 6-foot-2, 208 pounds — never translated to elite on-field production (22% career dominator rating).
He’s already 23 years old (same as AJB), making him an easy fade even with fourth-round draft capital. Continue to pound away at Brown and Anthony Firsker to your heart’s desire in across all draft formats.
112. Detroit Lions: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC
Fantasy Outlook: St. Brown lands in Detroit, which needed a wide receiver more than any other team in the draft. They lost all of their top players in free agency. Detroit added Breshad Perriman and Tyrell Williams in free agency.
St. Brown has significant experience playing in the slot in college and should take that role with the Lions. He has graded slightly better in his college career on the outside, so there's a chance he could play there, too. It’s unlikely he will ever develop into the Lions' top wide receiver long-term, but he should see more production this year than a typical fourth-round wide receiver.
Fantasy Outlook: I can’t help but think that Vikings wanted Nwangwu as a replacement for Mike Boone. Nwangwu’s workout numbers were off the charts at his pro day — 99th percentile 40-yard dash, 87th percentile broad jump and 94th percentile three-cone drill — all while measuring in at 6-feet and 212 pounds.
He’s definitely worth stashing in dynasty formats because he’s got a ton of upside if he ever finds a way to get into the starting lineup.
Fantasy Outlook: Stevenson is a tank of a running back at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, and he absolutely plays like it. The burly back seeks out contact and wants to run over defenders — he tallied a massive 36% forced missed tackle rate last season, second-best in college football.
The Patriots now have a crowded running back room, as Stevenson joins Damien Harris, Sony Michel, James White and Brandon Bolden. However, the early-down hammer role is up for grabs, and Stevenson will look to beat out Michel and Harris for those touches. The Patriots running back situation has caused headaches for fantasy managers for years now and 2021 will probably be more of the same.
Fantasy Outlook: Bates is a well-rounded tight end who should see playing time as a rookie in Washington’s two-tight end sets.
The Football Team currently has Logan Thomas as their lead tight end. Thomas broke out as a fantasy contributor last year, but Washington hadn’t invested much at the position behind Thomas. Thomas will be 30 by the time the 2021 season begins, so it’s possible Bates can take over for him within the next two to three seasons. Bates can be avoided in redraft formats but is worth a flier late in dynasty drafts.
Well folks, it looks like the Carolina Panthers have found their backup to Christian McCaffrey in Chuba Hubbard. Hubbard’s 2019 campaign was epic and gives us a glimpse of his high-end potential with a three-down workload. But with him firmly entrenched behind CMC, he is nothing short of another running back praying for an injury. His landing spot behind CMC will likely nuke his draft stock in dynasty rookie drafts.
127. Indianapolis Colts: TE Kylen Granson, SMU
Fantasy Outlook: Granson was more slot receiver than tight end at SMU, and he might end up being more of an H-back in the NFL. The Colts use a lot of two-tight end sets and rotation among the tight ends, so Granson will probably never be an every-down player in Indianapolis. If anything, this is bad news for Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox because they have another player to rotate in and out with. Granson can be avoided in redraft and doesn’t have a lot of appeal in dynasty.
Fantasy Outlook: Darden is a new breed of slot receiver with dynamite athleticism and ankle-breaking moves to make defenders miss; his 23 missed tackles forced in 2020 led all college football receivers. His slot production was elite last season, headlined by 63 catches (third), 935 yards (second) and 16 touchdowns (first).
Tampa Bay possesses arguably the deepest receiving corps in the NFL, and Darden will have a difficult path to playing time early in his career. However, neither Chris Godwin nor Antonio Brown is locked into a long-term contract, which puts Darden in position to compete for a full-time role perhaps as early as 2022.
Fantasy Outlook: The Ravens are getting toys for Lamar Jackson to play with. After drafting Rashod Bateman in the first round, Baltimore went back to the well by selecting Tylan Wallace in the middle of the fourth round. Wallace was extremely productive at Oklahoma State — generating a 32% college dominator rating — and nearly all of his production came from out wide. He is PFF’s highest-graded wide receiver since 2018 when lined up outside.
Wallace also has the second-most contested catches since 2019, and that’s an area the Ravens have struggled in. Their receivers posted a meager 32% contested-catch rate (31st) in 2020. Unfortunately for Wallace, the lack of passing volume in Baltimore is going to make it extremely difficult for him to have fantasy relevance in 2021. Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown and Bateman all figure to work ahead of him on the depth chart.
His presence is just another boost for Jackson, who is getting a massive upgrade in offensive weaponry heading into next season. In dynasty leagues, the landing spot will make Wallace a great value. Buy the talent in dynasty, as situations can change rather quickly.
133. New Orleans Saints: QB Ian Book, Notre Dame
Fantasy Outlook: The Saints already had a crowded quarterback room with Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. Book should fill the third quarterback role on the depth chart in 2021. There is a chance he could be active on game days if Winston wins the job and Hill moves back to his role of playing every other position. Neither Winston nor Hill is under contract beyond the 2021 season, so it’s in the realm of possibilities for Book to start in 2022.
He has the size of former Saint Drew Brees, but he hasn’t been close to matching the play. Book is touted for his competitiveness and intangibles, but there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about his play. PFF's Draft Guide projected him in the seventh round or as an undrafted free agent. Book will be an option only in deeper dynasty leagues or dynasty leagues with two starting quarterbacks.
141. Los Angeles Rams: TE Jacob Harris, UCF
Fantasy Outlook: Harris is a borderline tight end/wide receiver who has a lot of fantasy potential for a fourth-round pick. The Rams lost Gerald Everett in free agency, so Los Angeles had a need for a second tight end behind Tyler Higbee. He’s a red zone threat, giving him the chance to score a lot of touchdowns.
Harris probably won’t see much playing time in 2021 while he learns behind Higbee. If Harris shows enough potential over the next year, Higbee could be released or traded before the 2022 season.
Fantasy Outlook: Farrell is strictly a blocking tight end and thus serves almost no purpose in fantasy football. He caught just 34 balls on 54 targets (3% target share) in four years at Ohio State. He was PFF’s 11th-highest-graded run-blocking tight end in the FBS last season.
Fantasy Outlook: Jordan looks and plays like an oversized running back — he has 21 forced missed tackles on 105 career catches with a rare ability to make cuts for a tight end. The 6-foot-3 and 248-pound athlete was the only tight end with over 300 receiving yards after contact last season (348).
From a physical perspective, new Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith is the optimal player comparison for Jordan. The Texans do not have an established starting tight end and Jordan can immediately push for playing time with Jordan Akins, Kahale Warring and company. His powerful after the catch skill set would make him fantasy relevant should he carve out a role in this offense.
Fantasy Outlook: The Bengals drafted a kicker after the duo of Randy Bullock and Austin Seibert missed seven field goals over the 2020 season. McPherson was drafted higher than kickers typically go in the NFL draft, so the Bengals will likely stick with McPherson for at least a few seasons. The value of a fantasy kicker is heavily tied to the team’s offense, and the Bengals offense has the potential to be the best in the league. This means McPherson could soon be one of the most valuable kickers in fantasy football.
Fantasy Outlook: In 2019, Kenneth Gainwell ranked fourth in PFF receiving grade (85.0), fourth in receptions (51), first in receiving yards (610) and second in missed tackles forced (20) on receptions. His excellent receiving ability is going to be a major headache for Miles Sanders, who already was going to see a downtick in targets with a mobile Jalen Hurts under center.
Gainwell kept Antonio Gibson on the bench in Memphis, so the talent is there for him to carve out a role on the Eagles’ offense. He’s a nice target in the late rounds of drafts for those following a zero-RB strategy.
Fantasy Outlook: The Vikings don’t boast much receiver depth behind Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, so it’s not crazy to imagine Ihmir Smith-Marsette ascending into the WR3 conversation as soon as 2021.
I’d be more likely to fade that potential narrative because the Vikings rely heavily on two-tight end sets, making the WR3 in their offense much less valuable. Also, ISM’s career dominator rating (20%) and career PFF grade (65.0) rank near the bottom among his 2021 peers. There are more than a handful of other receivers I’d rather take a flier on with a fourth- or fifth-round rookie draft picks.
179. Dallas Cowboys: WR Simi Fehoko, Stanford
Fantasy Outlook: Simi Fehoko possesses a rare speed and size combination for a wide receiver, which was appealing enough for the Dallas Cowboys to take him in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He was used primarily as a deep threat in Stanford’s offense — ranking fourth in team air yards share in 2020 — but doesn’t display any semblance of route-running polish.
Fehoko won’t find the field anytime soon in a stacked Dallas passing attack, but if he flashes, there’s hope he can crack the starting roster in 2022. Amari Cooper has a potential “out” in his contract, and Michael Gallup is a free agent at the end of the season.
181. Kansas City Chiefs: WR Cornell Powell
Fantasy Outlook: Kansas City needed a receiver after losing Sammy Watkins in free agency. None of the wideouts behind Tyreek Hill have stepped up, which will lead to a rotation of receivers behind him. Powell can join that rotation and potentially earn an every-down role.
Powell is a bit older for a rookie wide receiver. The bottom line from PFF's Draft Guide says, “He’s got NFL-ready tools as a No. 2 or 3.” This fits exactly what Kansas City needs right now. He should still be avoided in re-draft, but he has an opportunity to see a decent number of targets and plenty of playing time with Patrick Mahomes.
Fantasy Outlook: Frank Darby is a big downfield play waiting to happen. He averaged over 20 yards per reception in his first three seasons at ASU. His ability to get off press coverage should help him compete for snaps on the outside against a wide receiver depth chart that isn’t all that impressive behind Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones. Not to mention Jones could get traded, which would create a clear path to opportunity for Darby.
Fantasy Outlook: Elijah Mitchell has a three-down NFL skill set, with a combination of size, speed, contact balance and explosiveness. He blazed an unofficial 4.38 40-yard dash (96th percentile) and registered a 128-inch broad jump (93rd percentile) at his pro day.
From an on-field perspective, Mitchell landing with the 49ers couldn’t be better. He was PFF’s fourth-highest-graded running back (84.3) running on outside zone runs last season. The glaring issue is that he’s going to need a multitude of injuries to occur for him to get playing time. The 49ers’ backfield is quite crowded with Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., Trey Sermon and Wayne Gallman.
198. New York Giants: RB Gary Brightwell, Arizona
Fantasy Outlook: Brightwell is an angry north-and-south runner who offers little in the passing game. He should be able to make the Giants roster as the third player on the depth chart. The Giants used four different backs last season once Saquon Barkley went down, and none of them are returning in 2021. Devontae Booker was signed to back up Barkley, but Brightwell should be the third back. He probably won’t see the field much unless there is another injury in New York.
Fantasy Outlook: Rountree tallied a career 3,746 rushing yards and 40 rushing touchdowns working as a feature back for four straight seasons at Missouri. He is a patient runner who makes calculated cuts but lacks the burst and wiggle to be anything more than a committee back at the NFL level.
202. Cincinnati Bengals: RB Chris Evans, Michigan
Ladies and gentlemen, we have found our new backup for Joe Mixon. Michigan running back Chris Evans has seen his production decline since a stellar 2016 season, but his ideal size/speed profile and coveted three-down skill set make him the perfect plug-and-play option should anything happen to Mixon. Evans is a freakish athlete, which should help him rise the ranks to No. 2 RB status over plodding RBs Samaje Perine and Trayveon Williams.
Fantasy Outlook: What once was a backfield clearly dominated by David Montgomery has now become extremely muddled. Veterans Damien Williams and Tarik Cohen will be in the mix along with sixth-round rookie selection Khalil Herbert. The Virginia Tech product has a legitimate shot to win the backup role outright.
He should thrive in that role given the Bears’ heavy outside zone scheme. The team finished fourth in outside zone rushing attempts in 2020. Herbert earned PFF’s highest grade (91.7) among running backs and ranks first in yards per attempt (9.2) on outside-zone runs since 2019.