Fantasy Football 2021 Sleepers: Which Players Have Been Overlooked Early In Fantasy Drafts?
(CBS Local)- Football is here with training camps in full swing and fantasy leagues setting dates for their draft ahead of kick off for the 2021 season. While every fantasy team owner likely has an idea of who the top guys are at each spot (if not check out our rankings from last week), the big question is which players are being undervalued?
The CBSSports.com fantasy experts: Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard and Heath Cummings have jotted down their thoughts, let's take a look at two potential sleepers at each position.
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Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
Lance appeared on both Richard's and Cummings' lists and it's easy to see why. Despite head coach Kyle Shanahan saying earlier this summer that Jimmy Garoppolo is the guy, Lance has continued to trend towards getting time with the starters in camp with Shanahan saying at the end of last week he'll play "situationally".
The third overall pick in the draft, Lance has the added benefit of being able to make plays with his legs, something that has played into that situational splitting of reps already this summer. As Cummings puts it when discussing both Lance and Bears rookie Justin Fields, "These are draft-and-stash guys, because it might take a month or longer for them to get on the field, but they'll have top-five upside if they hit."
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Washington Football Team
The Fitzmagic tour rolls into a new city for the 2021 season with the 38-year-old now taking over the reins in Washington. Jamey Eisenberg has him in the sleepers category largely because of his track record in fantasy in each of the last two seasons.
"In his past two seasons with the Dolphins, Fitzpatrick scored at least 20 Fantasy points in 12 of his past 14 starts," writes Eisenberg.
In Washington, he'll also have the benefit of better weapons than he had in Miami with receivers Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and tight end Logan Thomas. None of this is to say that Fitzpatrick should start for your team week in, week out. But as a No. 2 guy in the chance your top starter gets hurt or is on a bye? You could do worse.
Tevin Coleman/Michael Carter, New York Jets
Cummings has Coleman listed while Eisenberg is leaning towards Michael Carter. Either way, one of these backs will emerge as the lead guy in New York which, considering last season's rushing output from the Jets, isn't saying a ton.
But, both have the added upside of factoring in with the passing game. And with a rookie quarterback in Zach Wilson, having security blankets like Coleman and Carter out of the backfield doesn't hurt.
Carter is projected for the higher total of fantasy points (157.9) but Coleman isn't far behind (154.5). There's a big difference in draft position however. For Carter, his ADP of 92 puts him as a 7th rounder in a 12-team league while Coleman at an ADP of 173 is going in the 14th.
A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers
Dillon didn't see much action in his rookie season getting just 46 carries for 242 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games played. But, he was largely the third option in the backfield behind Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. Well, Williams is now in Detroit and Dillon steps into his role which saw Williams get 119 rushes. At the 5.3 yard per carry clip that Dillon averaged last season, that would check in around 630 yards for Dillon this year.
Plus, with Dillon, you're betting on him seeing time even with Jones healthy as Richard points out.
"It's also worth noting that Jones played just five games with more than 65% of the snaps in 2020, so there should be room for Dillon to do damage on perhaps seven or eight touches per game when Jones is healthy," Richard writes.
And Dillon fits the bigger body, more physical runner goal line role which could see him vulture some touchdowns in those situations.
Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The third receiver in the Bucs hierarchy, Brown appeared on both Cummings' and Richard's lists. The veteran receiver received plenty of targets from Tom Brady across his eight games with the Bucs last regular season (62) and he turned those targets into catches (45) at a high rate (72.6%). He won't be the focal point of the passing game with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin still on the outside but over a 17 game season, he can certainly provide value as a third receiver in what's sure to be a prolific Bucs offense.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
Another veteran who is maybe being forgotten by fantasy owners because of the depth and breadth of the receiver position. Hilton is coming off a bad (for him) 2020 season with 56 receptions for 762 yards and five touchdowns. But, there's not a clear option on the Colts depth chart to replace him. Even with his struggles last season, he was targeted 93 times, 22 more than the next closest receiver (Zach Pascal).
With an ADP of 113 (9th round in 12-team leagues) and projected for 198.2 points, Hilton still has plenty of value.
Adam Trautman, New Orleans Saints
The second-year tight end is stepping into a starting role this season and offers plenty to like as a weapon for whichever quarterback ends up under center in the Big Easy. The 6'5" 255-pound 24-year-old pulled in 15 of his 16 targets last season for 171 yards and a touchdown in just six games of action.
This season, he takes over for Jared Cook who had 16 touchdowns across the last two seasons as the team's primary tight end. Dave Richard and Jamey Eisenberg both note the, the Saints tight ends have combined for 21 TDs over the past two seasons, the third-most in the league. Trautman hasn't registered an ADP as of yet meaning he is likely available later in the draft.
Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears
With Kmet, like Trautman, Eisenberg is looking at it as more of a projection of what could be than what was last season. Overall, the rookie wasn't a huge factor for the Bears passing game with just 28 grabs and 44 targets (6th on the team) last season. But, he was featured a bit late in the season as Eisenberg notes.
"Kmet had at least seven targets in three of his final five games, and he averaged 10.3 PPR points over that span. I'm expecting him to do better than that in his sophomore season, and hopefully Kmet can be a reliable Fantasy option in 2021," writes Eisenberg.
A potential late round target for fantasy owners who have a slot available in their reserves for another tight end.
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