News & Analysis

Erickson: 2021 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings

Jan 10, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) reacts after a catch against the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter in a AFC Wild Card playoff game at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

There's no offseason for dynasty fantasy football leagues. So while we anxiously await the start of NFL free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft, there's still plenty of information — and rankings — to sort through. 

Offseason trades have provided a head start on the reshuffling for 2021, as we've seen three quarterbacks — all drafted with Top-2 picks — moved in Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. (You can read some of the fantasy fallout of those trades here and here.)

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The following are my top-300 dynasty rankings along with analysis on major risers and fallers by position. The list includes incoming rookies, but don’t consider their spots set in stone until we get further into the pre-draft process. 

If you’d like to dive even deeper into the dynasty rankings or see them by position, head over to PFF's fantasy football rankings page.

Rank Player Team Position
1 Christian McCaffrey CAR RB
2 Saquon Barkley NYG RB
3 Jonathan Taylor IND RB
4 Dalvin Cook MIN RB
5 A.J. Brown TEN WR
6 Alvin Kamara NO RB
7 Justin Jefferson MIN WR
8 Nick Chubb CLE RB
9 Davante Adams GB WR
10 Tyreek Hill KC WR
11 D'Andre Swift DET RB
12 Travis Kelce KC TE
13 D.K. Metcalf SEA WR
14 Cam Akers LAR RB
15 George Kittle SF TE
16 Stefon Diggs BUF WR
17 Derrick Henry TEN RB
18 Joe Mixon CIN RB
19 Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC RB
20 Calvin Ridley ATL WR
21 Ezekiel Elliott DAL RB
22 Darren Waller LV TE
23 Aaron Jones GB RB
24 Patrick Mahomes II KC QB
25 DeAndre Hopkins ARI WR
26 Michael Thomas NO WR
27 Antonio Gibson WAS RB
28 D.J. Moore CAR WR
29 Chris Godwin TB WR
30 Courtland Sutton DEN WR
31 J.K. Dobbins BAL RB
32 CeeDee Lamb DAL WR
33 Terry McLaurin WAS WR
34 Allen Robinson II CHI WR
35 Mike Evans TB WR
36 Amari Cooper DAL WR
37 Tee Higgins CIN WR
38 Keenan Allen LAC WR
39 Diontae Johnson PIT WR
40 Najee Harris ROOKIE RB
41 Brandon Aiyuk SF WR
42 Javonte Williams ROOKIE RB
43 Kenny Golladay DET WR
44 Travis Etienne ROOKIE RB
45 Ja'Marr Chase ROOKIE WR
46 Austin Ekeler LAC RB
47 Kyler Murray ARI QB
48 JuJu Smith-Schuster PIT WR
49 Odell Beckham Jr. CLE WR
50 Deshaun Watson HOU QB
51 Josh Jacobs LV RB
52 Miles Sanders PHI RB
53 Mark Andrews BAL TE
54 Josh Allen BUF QB
55 Julio Jones ATL WR
56 Dak Prescott DAL QB
57 David Montgomery CHI RB
58 Cooper Kupp LAR WR
59 James Robinson JAC RB
60 Kareem Hunt CLE RB
61 AJ Dillon GB RB
62 D.J. Chark Jr. JAC WR
63 Dallas Goedert PHI TE
64 Jerry Jeudy DEN WR
65 Jaylen Waddle ROOKIE WR
66 Damien Harris NE RB
67 Robert Woods LAR WR
68 Lamar Jackson BAL QB
69 T.J. Hockenson DET TE
70 Justin Herbert LAC QB
71 Kenneth Gainwell ROOKIE RB
72 Noah Fant DEN TE
73 Tyler Boyd CIN WR
74 Kyle Pitts ROOKIE TE
75 Chase Claypool PIT WR
76 Brandin Cooks HOU WR
77 Ronald Jones II TB RB
78 Joe Burrow CIN QB
79 Hunter Henry LAC TE
80 Will Fuller V HOU WR
81 David Johnson HOU RB
82 Adam Thielen MIN WR
83 Deebo Samuel SF WR
84 Melvin Gordon III DEN RB
85 Myles Gaskin MIA RB
86 Chase Edmonds ARI RB
87 Michael Gallup DAL WR
88 Russell Wilson SEA QB
89 Tyler Lockett SEA WR
90 Tony Pollard DAL RB
91 Laviska Shenault Jr. JAC WR
92 Aaron Rodgers GB QB
93 Evan Engram NYG TE
94 Kenyan Drake ARI RB
95 Mike Gesicki MIA TE
96 Trevor Lawrence ROOKIE QB
97 Devonta Smith ROOKIE WR
98 Marquise Brown BAL WR
99 Raheem Mostert SF RB
100 Curtis Samuel CAR WR
101 Leonard Fournette TB RB
102 Rashod Bateman ROOKIE WR
103 Rondale Moore ROOKIE WR
104 Justin Fields ROOKIE QB
105 Chris Carson SEA RB
106 Jalen Hurts PHI QB
107 Jonnu Smith TEN TE
108 Jarvis Landry CLE WR
109 Irv Smith Jr. MIN TE
110 Henry Ruggs III LV WR
111 Zack Moss BUF RB
112 Jalen Reagor PHI WR
113 Tarik Cohen CHI RB
114 DeVante Parker MIA WR
115 Baker Mayfield CLE QB
116 Ke'Shawn Vaughn TB RB
117 Ryan Tannehill TEN QB
118 Matthew Stafford LAR QB
119 Tua Tagovailoa MIA QB
120 Nyheim Hines IND RB
121 James Conner PIT RB
122 Logan Thomas WAS TE
123 Mike Williams LAC WR
124 Trey Sermon ROOKIE RB
125 Elijah Moore ROOKIE WR
126 Matt Ryan ATL QB
127 Michael Carter ROOKIE RB
128 Christian Kirk ARI WR
129 Parris Campbell IND WR
130 Devin Singletary BUF RB
131 Trey Lance ROOKIE QB
132 Rashaad Penny SEA RB
133 Zach Ertz PHI TE
134 Alexander Mattison MIN RB
135 Austin Hooper CLE TE
136 Robert Tonyan GB TE
137 Denzel Mims NYJ WR
138 Robby Anderson CAR WR
139 Hayden Hurst ATL TE
140 Sterling Shepard NYG WR
141 Cole Kmet CHI TE
142 Darrell Henderson LAR RB
143 Latavius Murray NO RB
144 Phillip Lindsay DEN RB
145 Mecole Hardman KC WR
146 Michael Pittman Jr. IND WR
147 Jamaal Williams GB RB
148 Carson Wentz PHI QB
149 Jamison Crowder NYJ WR
150 O.J. Howard TB TE
151 Derek Carr LV QB
152 Corey Davis TEN WR
153 Sony Michel NE RB
154 Darnell Mooney CHI WR
155 Kirk Cousins MIN QB
156 Tylan Wallace ROOKIE WR
157 Tyler Higbee LAR TE
158 Zach Wilson ROOKIE QB
159 Blake Jarwin DAL TE
160 Tom Brady TB QB
161 Marlon Mack IND RB
162 Darius Slayton NYG WR
163 James White NE RB
164 Taysom Hill NO QB
165 Eric Ebron PIT TE
166 John Brown BUF WR
167 Marvin Jones Jr. DET WR
168 Jeff Wilson Jr. SF RB
169 Jameis Winston NO QB
170 David Njoku CLE TE
171 Damien Williams KC RB
172 J.D. McKissic WAS RB
173 Cole Beasley BUF WR
174 Gus Edwards BAL RB
175 Khalil Herbert ROOKIE RB
176 Javian Hawkins ROOKIE RB
177 Chuba Hubbard ROOKIE RB
178 T.Y. Hilton IND WR
179 Elijah Mitchell ROOKIE RB
180 Dawson Knox BUF TE
181 Le'Veon Bell KC RB
182 Preston Williams MIA WR
183 Todd Gurley II ATL RB
184 Gabriel Davis BUF WR
185 Teddy Bridgewater CAR QB
186 Antonio Brown TB WR
187 Lynn Bowden Jr. MIA RB
188 Jared Goff DET QB
189 Bryan Edwards LV WR
190 Terrace Marshall Jr. ROOKIE WR
191 Kadarius Toney ROOKIE WR
192 Tutu Atwell ROOKIE WR
193 Gerald Everett LAR TE
194 Dyami Brown ROOKIE WR
195 Anthony Miller CHI WR
196 N'Keal Harry NE WR
197 Nelson Agholor LV WR
198 Kerryon Johnson DET RB
199 Jakobi Meyers NE WR
200 Emmanuel Sanders NO WR
201 Sammy Watkins KC WR
202 James Washington PIT WR
203 Anthony McFarland Jr. PIT RB
204 Allen Lazard GB WR
205 KJ Hamler DEN WR
206 Chris Herndon IV NYJ TE
207 Darrynton Evans TEN RB
208 Adam Trautman NO TE
209 Duke Johnson Jr. HOU RB
210 Joshua Kelley LAC RB
211 Van Jefferson LAR WR
212 Sam Darnold NYJ QB
213 Keke Coutee HOU WR
214 Amon-Ra St. Brown ROOKIE WR
215 Breshad Perriman NYJ WR
216 Wayne Gallman NYG RB
217 Ian Thomas CAR TE
218 D'Wayne Eskridge ROOKIE WR
219 Jimmy Garoppolo SF QB
220 Jordan Akins HOU TE
221 Mike Davis CAR RB
222 Benny Snell Jr. PIT RB
223 Brevin Jordan ROOKIE TE
224 Boston Scott PHI RB
225 Pat Freiermuth ROOKIE TE
226 Tim Patrick DEN WR
227 Andy Isabella ARI WR
228 A.J. Green CIN WR
229 La'Mical Perine NYJ RB
230 Russell Gage ATL WR
231 Jimmy Graham CHI TE
232 Donovan Peoples-Jones CLE WR
233 Hunter Renfrow LV WR
234 DeSean Jackson PHI WR
235 Tre'Quan Smith NO WR
236 Salvon Ahmed MIA RB
237 Harrison Bryant CLE TE
238 Justice Hill BAL RB
239 Mac Jones ROOKIE QB
240 Jerick McKinnon SF RB
241 Royce Freeman DEN RB
242 Jared Cook NO TE
243 Giovani Bernard CIN RB
244 Daniel Jones NYG QB
245 Josh Reynolds LAR WR
246 Devin Duvernay BAL WR
247 Jermar Jefferson ROOKIE RB
248 Antonio Gandy-Golden WAS WR
249 Josh Oliver JAC TE
250 Travis Fulgham PHI WR
251 Albert Okwuegbunam DEN TE
252 Miles Boykin BAL WR
253 Rhamondre Stevenson ROOKIE RB
254 Jalen Hurd SF WR
255 Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB WR
256 Rob Gronkowski TB TE
257 Julian Edelman NE WR
258 Tyler Johnson TB WR
259 Donald Parham Jr. LAC TE
260 Scotty Miller TB WR
261 Jaret Patterson ROOKIE RB
262 Rashard Higgins CLE WR
263 Larry Rountree III ROOKIE RB
264 Pooka Williams ROOKIE RB
265 Collin Johnson JAC WR
266 Justin Jackson LAC RB
267 John Ross CIN WR
268 Anthony Firkser TEN TE
269 Marcus Mariota LV QB
270 Matt Breida MIA RB
271 Tevin Coleman SF RB
272 Dalton Schultz DAL TE
273 DeeJay Dallas SEA RB
274 Quintez Cephus DET WR
275 Carlos Hyde SEA RB
276 Malcolm Brown LAR RB
277 Randall Cobb HOU WR
278 Drew Lock DEN QB
279 Will Dissly SEA TE
280 Eno Benjamin ARI RB
281 Mark Ingram II ROOKIE RB
282 Ben Roethlisberger PIT QB
283 Golden Tate NYG WR
284 Trey Burton IND TE
285 Keelan Cole Sr. JAC WR
286 Mo Alie-Cox IND TE
287 Auden Tate CIN WR
288 Jack Doyle IND TE
289 Demarcus Robinson KC WR
290 Zach Pascal IND WR
291 Drew Sample CIN TE
292 Devin Asiasi NE TE
293 Kyle Rudolph MIN TE
294 Trayveon Williams CIN RB
295 Cam Newton NE QB
296 JaMycal Hasty SF RB
297 Kendrick Bourne SF WR
298 Rodney Smith CAR RB
299 Jason Huntley PHI RB
300 Devonta Freeman BUF RB

QUARTERBACKS

It seems only fit that we open with the man of the hour, new Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz’s dynasty stock took a major nosedive after an atrocious 2020 season that saw him finish as the No. 20 quarterback overall in fantasy points per game (16.5). 

Posting low-end QB2 numbers has been Wentz’s recent standard in fantasy football — that’s pretty much all he has produced as the team’s starting quarterback aside from his miraculous 2017 MVP campaign. 

But make no mistake that I was drinking the Wentz Kool-Aid entering 2020, as I had him ranked seventh in my dynasty quarterback rankings. I had really bought into the addition a downfield weapons in Jalen Reagor along with returning talent like DeSean Jackson and Dallas Goedert. But, alas, the injury bug did its worst on the Eagles once again with almost all key offensive players missing time. The offensive line had several injuries as well. 

Wentz landing with the Colts is definitely a big boost to his dynasty stock — this is the best-case scenario for him. He’s in a familiar system and gets the chance to play behind PFF’s seventh-highest-graded offensive line from last season. 

Those two things alone won’t make Wentz a fantasy superstar because his problems go much further. But after hitting rock bottom last year, he really can’t go anywhere but up.

He’s currently ranked as my QB20 in the dynasty — in a tier with other experienced QBs like Derek Carr (QB21), Matt Ryan (QB18), Matthew Stafford (QB15) and Ryan Tannehill (QB14). 

Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The replacement at No. 7 in my rankings is Justin Herbert. The Los Angeles Chargers’ rookie quarterback averaged over 22 fantasy points per game on his way to becoming the NFL’s rookie of the year in 2020. 

There are some signs for potential regression in Year 2, but that's why I have him at QB7 as opposed to landing in the top-five. 

Herbert wasn't the only rookie quarterback flying up my dynasty rankings — Philadelphia Eagles future QB1 Jalen Hurts takes a massive leap forward, going from QB40 back in July to QB13 now.

Hurts has the chance to be fantasy football’s next superstar, but I’ll need some reassurance from the coaching staff that he will indeed be the team’s quarterback after a report surfacing that the Eagles could be looking to address the quarterback position with the sixth pick in the 2021 draft. 

But, again, that source is not a member of the Eagles’ organization, so we can’t assume that's the plan. I'm still looking to acquire Hurts because of the upside he offers if he does become the full-time starter. 

RUNNING BACKS

There’s no question that a running back’s shelf life is short in the NFL. But I’d argue that a running back’s fantasy shelf life as an elite or just usable asset is even shorter. Looking back at the running backs who absolutely tanked from 2019 to 2020 in the rankings, there’s a pretty common theme.

Most of these RBs are all older and playing on second or third contracts with new teams. Consider the cases of Todd Gurley II, Mark Ingram, Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman and Le’Veon Bell.

This severe drop-off shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering a running back’s best production almost always comes during the first few seasons of their careers. This should be viewed as a warning sign for those holding the likes of Melvin Gordon III, Kenyan Drake, Raheem Mostert, Leonard Fournette, Chris Carson, David Johnson and James Conner. Their fantasy value could come crashing down as early as the 2021 season. It might be wise to get out now before their value evaporates.

Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions running back D'Andre Swift (32) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Washington Football Team at Ford Field. Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Plus, we have a nice new crop of second-year running backs to help lead our dynasty teams to championships. Antonio Gibson, A.J. Dillon, D’Andre Swift, Cam Akers, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, J.K. Dobbins and James Robinson all reside in the top-25 dynasty running backs.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ rookie running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn is currently sitting at RB40, which is actually a few spots up from last year’s rankings. If things play out in his favor in free agency, we could easily see him take over the pass-catching RB role in Tampa. 

WIDE RECEIVERS 

There isn’t a more debated wide receiver in dynasty fantasy football than Odell Beckham Jr. After melting faces during his days with New York Giants, OBJ hasn’t been the same star player in Cleveland. He has dealt with injuries, but even when healthy he's been much more of “just a guy” than a true difference-maker.

Beckham averaged 14.3 fantasy points per game (24th) and 14.6 expected fantasy points per game (15th) in his six healthy games in 2020. OBJ’s fall-off has caused him to drop in my dynasty rankings from WR11 to WR25, just two slots behind LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase.

But I’ll say that there is some reason for optimism and to consider buying-low on a player like Beckham now that he doesn’t carry a heavy price tag. Many will point to the Cleveland Browns’ overall improvement on offense without Beckham during the second half of 2020 and conclude that the team is better off without him. 

But PFF’s Ben Linsey argues that a lot of the Browns' struggles early on were because they were playing difficult defenses. Baltimore, Washington, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh accounted for four of the six teams they opened with in 2020.

All graded out as top-12 defenses by PFF. OBJ averaged 28 fantasy points in the other two games against the poor defenses of the Bengals and Cowboys. Not too shabby for a WR2 in fantasy. 

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches a pass for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys defensive back Anthony Brown (30) at U.S. Bank Stadium. Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to wide receiver risers, the two I want to call out are A.J. Brown and Justin Jefferson, who rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in my dynasty wide receiver rankings. I understand the argument for ranking players like Davante Adams or Tyreek Hill ahead of those guys, but we need to think longterm. 

At just barely 22 years old, Jefferson posted an historic rookie season and produced a yards per route run of 2.66 — a mark we only see from elite wide receivers like Julio Jones, Michael Thomas and Davante Adams

Brown also ranks among 2020's elite receivers due to his insane efficiency on a yards per route run basis. Next year is shaping up to be his best season to date. 

Next season presents an opportunity for Brown to finally see 120-plus targets with Corey Davis likely on the move. When Davis disappeared toward the end of the year, Brown gobbled up all the targets. He commanded a 35% target share in the team’s final five games.

With at least one of Davis or Jonnu Smith almost certainly off the Tennessee roster next season, we need to embrace the fact that A.J. Brown is the No. 1 wide receiver in dynasty.  

TIGHT ENDS

Zach Ertz was the most notable faller at the tight end position, dropping from TE5 all the way to TE15 after looking like a shell of himself last season. But at just 30 years old and likely in a new situation in 2021, he is surely giving off buy-low vibes.

The entire Eagles offense was a mess last season and Ertz was banged up throughout, so I’d be willing to go dumpster diving for his services. No tight end scored fewer points versus expectation (-48.4) than the Eagles’ veteran tight end. His expected fantasy points per game (11.3) ranked seventh at the position. 

He’s still probably still a bit too low as TE15, but I can see that quickly moving upon a change of scenery.

Landover, Maryland, USA; Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert (88) catches a touchdown pass as Washington Football Team safety Troy Apke (30) and linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (54) defend during the first half quarter at FedExField. Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Ertz’s eventual departure from Philadelphia will be a huge gain for one of my guys in Dallas Goedert. I was high on Goedert heading into last year, ranking him as my No. 4 tight end in dynasty. I've stuck to my guns here, ranking him No. 5 for 2021. 

That’s probably one of the bigger discrepancies you’ll find across all dynasty rankings, but it’s for good reason. Goedert showed massive upside with Ertz out from Weeks 8-12, finishing as fantasy’s No. 2 tight end (12.3 fantasy points per game) behind only Travis Kelce. He averaged nearly 38 routes run per game.

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