We’re in the thick of the NFL offseason and it’s officially time to start fantasy football prep. I’ll be answering the biggest questions heading into the 2021 season. Click here to read the series of questions answered so far.
One of my favorite sayings in fantasy land is: Don’t hate players, hate average draft position (ADP). Even the worst player to ever grace an NFL field got paid to play a game; floating negative vibes toward any professional footballer is not cool and should be avoided on social media platforms of all shapes and sizes.
Of course, fantasy football is a game built around scoring as many points as possible: We need to take stands on players in order to fulfill the goal of taking home first place. What follows are the 10 players I consider “my guys” ahead of the 2021 season. There isn’t a specific criteria for making the list; the majority of players listed are simply guys that I’ve found myself continually coming away with in best-ball drafts and believe to be undervalued at their present ADP.
Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins | My Rank: QB18, Underdog ADP: QB19
First things first: Cousins is better than you think he is.
Kirk Cousins throwing dimes in the year 2020 pic.twitter.com/mNdZSdTXSG
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) May 18, 2021
The “problem” in my line of work: Cousins hasn’t been a particularly good fantasy QB over the years. He’s generally finished as a solid enough performer thanks to starting at least 15 games in six consecutive seasons; the issue is that his utter lack of a rushing floor these days has prohibited him from flirting with more than borderline QB1 status. Overall, Cousins has finished as the QB12, QB19 and QB16 in fantasy points per game since joining the Vikings in 2018.
Don’t confuse this for a lack of upside: Only Aaron Rodgers (12) had more games with at least three passing scores than Cousins (8) last season. At the moment, Cousins is being priced far closer to this floor than ceiling; he’s a great late-round quarterback target, particularly for those rolling with Justin Fields or Trey Lance and need a streamer for the first part of the season. The Vikings’ first seven games before their Week 8 bye: Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys. Sign me up.
Seriously: Pairing Cousins with Fields or Lance provides your lineup with a mixture of floor and upside that is hard to come by in late-round quarterback land. Don’t underestimate the ease and upside of employing this strategy; it’s been my favorite route all offseason long. I’m a fan of Ryan Fitzpatrick as arguably fantasy’s premiere late-round quarterback, but his job security and opening season stretch pale in comparison to Cousins.
New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley | My Rank: RB6, Underdog ADP: RB7