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.
Every single professional football player is in fact a terrific athlete. It’s possible to make just about anybody look good by selecting certain highlights.
Don’t believe me? Look.
Sam Darnold is the best rushing QB the Panthers have had in a yearpic.twitter.com/Va1kuUcqpu
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) August 11, 2021
Having spent the better part of the last decade churning out one piece of fantasy football content after another, I feel confident in my ability to talk up virtually every skill-position player in the league.
- Backup Pittsburgh Steelers RB Kalen Ballage? Thrived away from Adam Gase and has the sort of theoretical three-down ability to take over this backfield if Najee Harris fails to make it through the season healthy.
- Pint-sized Las Vegas Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow? Ranks 25th in yards per route run among 76 qualified receivers, ahead of guys like D.K. Metcalf, Adam Thielen and CeeDee Lamb.
- Likely backup New York Jets TE Chris Herndon? One of just four rookie tight ends to average at least 8.0 yards per target since 2000 (min. 50 targets).
Today’s goal isn’t to confirm our priors and talk up the game’s best players. Rather, what follows is a breakdown on how the top 12 fantasy football quarterbacks could go wrong in 2021. I’ll use our PFF consensus fantasy ranks to list the top-12 signal-callers before explaining how things could go south with an emphasis on brevity.
Great day to be great. Or in this case, to determine why some of the league’s best talents could feasibly be less great than usual in the year 2021.
QB1: Patrick Mahomes
How it could go wrong: Rushing usage dips as the Chiefs emphasize getting Clyde Edwards-Helaire more involved in his second season. While Mahomes posted gaudy touchdown rates in 2018 (8.6%) and 2020 (6.5%), his 5.4% mark in 2019 produced “just” 26 passing scores in a little fewer than 14 games of action. Kansas City continues to function as one of the league’s better teams; they just don’t rely on Mahomes throwing the ball 40 times per game to do so.
QB2: Josh Allen