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 picking 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 wide receivers could go wrong in 2020. I’ll use our PFF consensus fantasy ranks to list the top-12 receivers 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.
TE1: Travis Kelce
How it could go wrong: Father time comes roaring back, even though Kelce didn’t look any worse for the wear in terms of YAC ability in 2020. The man is only 144 days younger than Rob Gronkowski, but Kelce should age fantastically with Patrick Mahomes under center. An eventual dropoff in his athleticism, though, could make him less of a real life cheat code capable of defeating coverage from defenders of all shapes and sizes.
TE2: Darren Waller
How it could go wrong: Whatever ailment that caused Waller to miss the better part of the last two weeks of practice persists into the season. The Raiders don’t have much in this offense in terms of proven weaponry, and Waller could easily lead the entire position in targets if healthy for 17 games. Still, there’s a difference between being injury prone and already injured; it’s far from ideal that Waller is seemingly in the latter bucket at the moment.