2021 Dynasty Rookie Rankings | 11-20
Which players just missed our top 10 rankings but deserved consideration?
11) Terrace Marshall (WR6 – Carolina Panthers)
Over the past two seasons, Terrace Marshall caught 94 of 134 targets for 1,402 receiving yards at LSU and played 19 games. Despite missing six contests over his final two seasons, Marshall was dominant in the red zone, scoring 23 touchdowns. It’s worth mentioning that he elected to opt out of the Tigers’ last three games to focus on 2021 draft preparation.
What has not been talked about nearly enough is how intelligent Marshall is mid-play. He is always cognizant of what his QB is doing and knowing when to break off a route and come back to the play. This trait could be what sets Marshall’s career off as he works with Sam Darnold. Carolina’s offense is as scary as it gets with Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, and Robby Anderson, with Marshall the clear WR3 in 2021.
12) Justin Fields (QB2 – Chicago Bears)
Justin Fields brings a dynamic aspect to the position that only a select few can match. In just 22 games as Ohio State’s starting quarterback, he accounted for 5,373 passing yards and 867 rushing yards. Fields threw 63 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions during that time frame while scoring another 15 TDs on the ground.
For as much as Matt Nagy would like to downplay it, there is a serious QB competition in Chicago and one that should go to Fields. While he might opt to start the season with Andy Dalton under center given the pressure on Nagy to deliver results, Fields will be on the field relatively soon. However, it might not be soon enough for us impatient fantasy managers.
13) Trey Lance (QB3 – San Francisco 49ers)
It’s a virtual coin flip between Fields and Trey Lance in 2021 dynasty rookie rankings for me. While Fields might have the safer floor, Lance might have the highest ceiling of all the QBs, including Lawrence.
As a true freshman, Lance threw for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns on 287 attempts in his breakout year while completing 66.9% of his passes. Lance also got it done on the ground, rushing for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 6.5 yards per carry. What is just as, if not more impressive, is that Lance never threw an interception. Lance did not play in 2020 as FCS moved its schedule to the spring, leading him to sit out while concentrating on the NFL.
There’s no question Lance carries a lot of risk. He’s not as polished as some would like, didn’t play in a Power Five conference, and doesn’t have many reps under his belt. He tended to miss a few deep balls, and on close crossers, throws a Jacob deGrom fastball at guys five yards away.
All of that is coachable. What is not is the pure talent and athleticism Lance brings. You either have that, or you don’t. At some point, Lance will take the starting role from Jimmy Garoppolo. When he does, look out world. Lance is in a system that has dreamed of having a QB like him operating it.
14) Trey Sermon (RB4 – San Francisco 49ers)
Playing in a shortened season, Trey Sermon racked up 965 total yards on 131 opportunities last season. Sermon exploded down the stretch last season with three straight 100-yard rushing games, including a 331-yard performance against Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship.
He had 16 rushes of 15+ yards, which ranked 11th at the position. For his career (Oklahoma and Ohio State), Sermon had 339 rushing attempts, 2,076 yards, and scored 22 touchdowns. Additionally, he caught 36 passes for 391 receiving yards and 3 scores.
Some use the fact he was the RB2 behind Master Teague as a knock against him, but it goes much deeper than that. Sermon was still dealing with lingering effects of his LCL injury. Therefore, the team felt comfortable with Teague, given the tumultuous nature of the offseason. Once he was healthy and trusted his knee, you saw what he was capable of. What is undeniable is Sermon’s power, vision, short-area quickness, and contact balance.
The 49ers are notorious for their implementation of a committee-style approach at RB. Even with Jeff Wilson missing several weeks due to his torn meniscus, Sermon will still compete with Raheem Mostert, Wayne Gallman, and fellow rookie Elijah Mitchell.
Early reports are positive for Sermon, as he has seen ample work with the first-team offense as they monitor Mostert’s workload. Although the returns might not be immediate for Sermon drafters, patience will be rewarded. Currently, Sermon and Mitchell are the only RBs under contract for 2022.
15) Rondale Moore (WR7 – Arizona Cardinals)
I was as bullish as anyone on Rondale Moore and have been for some time. While cooler heads have prevailed, it’s hard not to get excited for what Moore can do in the NFL. You would be hard-pressed to find someone more dynamic than him once he has the ball in his hands. As a freshman, Moore had 114 receptions for 1,258 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. However, due to a string of injuries, he has played in just seven games since.
While the Cardinals already have DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, and Christian Kirk, Moore will have the opportunity to make an impact in his rookie season. No team ran more 4WR sets than the Cardinals last season at 20% (215 snaps) and had three or more WRs on the field on 67% of their plays (736).
16) Michael Carter (RB5 – New York Jets)
The running back class of rookies for 2021 is relatively shallow in terms of immediate production or top-end skill. With that said, Michael Carter has the chance to catch quite a few people off guard and come out swinging in Week 1.
Carter ended his collegiate career with 3,404 yards (6.6 avg) and 22 touchdowns on 514 carries as a rare four-year player. He added 82 receptions for 656 yards and 6 touchdowns in his 44 games as a Tar Heel. Carter led the ACC in rushing with 1,245 yards and 9 touchdowns during his senior campaign and finished second in the conference with 151.6 all-purpose yards per game. Furthermore, he led the nation with 18 rushing attempts of 20+ yards.
In terms of skills translating to the scheme, Carter’s fit with New York might have been the best of any RB in the class. He was arguably the best wide-zone rusher in the draft and landed on a team that will run this same scheme with HC Robert Saleh and OC Mike LaFleur.
The Jets also have the fourth-highest percentage of vacated carries heading into 2021 at 54.2% (238). This also includes 35.7% of the carries inside the 5-yard line. His competition is Tevin Coleman, La’Mical Perine, Ty Johnson, and Josh Adams. That’s it. The coaches and media have given Carter nothing but rave reviews, and he’s been taking reps with the first-team offense and as the RB1 in drills.
17) Kadarius Toney (WR8 – New York Giants)
In 38 career games at Florida, Kadarius Toney recorded 2,641 all-purpose yards and caught 120 passes for 1,590 yards and 12 touchdowns. Toney also rushed for 580 yards and 2 touchdowns in his career.
Toney is raw and landed on a Giants team chalked full of pass-catching talent from Kenny Golladay to Saquon Barkley out of the backfield to Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton. It might take some time for Toney to blossom into a starting fantasy player, but the talent and explosiveness make him an intriguing stash.
18) Zach Wilson (QB4 – New York Jets)
Every year, a player goes on a meteoric rise in the pre-draft process seemingly out of nowhere. Last season, that player was Zach Wilson. He connected on 247 of his 336 attempts in 12 games (73.5%) for 3,692 yards with 33 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions for BYU in 2020.
Wilson is a guaranteed starter in 2021 compared to Lance and Fields, who are waiting on their time to shine. The problem is it is still the Jets. While I expect them to be improved, this is a team under development, much like Wilson.
19) Dyami Brown (WR9 – Washington Football Team)
Dyami Brown finished last year with 1,099 receiving yards. He became the first player in UNC history with two 1,000-receiving-yard seasons (2,133 yards and 20 TDs). The only receiver who recorded a higher passer rating when targeted over the past two seasons than Brown (137) was DeVonta Smith (152.4).
While Washington has one of the lowest vacated-target percentages heading into 2021 (6.4%), Brown can fill a much-needed role on the offense. He’s a deep-threat specialist and could serve as Ryan Fitzpatrick’s vertical target while Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Logan Thomas operate in short and intermediate ranges.
20) Amari Rodgers (WR10 – Green Bay Packers)
Amari Rodgers concluded his career at Clemson with 181 receptions for 2,144 yards with 15 receiving touchdowns over 55 career games. He ranked sixth in school history in career receptions, 12th in receiving yards, and tied for 14th in receiving touchdowns.
The third-round selection’s short-term fantasy value was altered by the Packers bringing back receiver Randall Cobb. Rodgers’ long-term outlook, however, looks promising. He’s someone you should proactively acquire.
How does the rest of the 2021 class rank? | 21-30
21) Nico Collins (WR11 – Houston Texans)
22) Pat Freiermuth (TE2 – Pittsburgh Steelers)
23) Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR12 – Detroit Lions)
24) Mac Jones (QB5 – New England Patriots)
25) D’Wayne Eskridge (WR13 – Seattle Seahawks)
26) Rhamondre Stevenson (RB6 – New England Patriots)
27) Kenneth Gainwell (RB7 – Philadelphia Eagles)
28) Tutu Atwell (WR14 – Los Angeles Rams)
29) Josh Palmer (WR15 – Los Angeles Chargers)
30) Chuba Hubbard (RB8 – Carolina Panthers)
31) Tylan Wallace (WR16 – Baltimore Ravens)
32) Elijah Mitchell (RB9 – San Francisco 49ers)
33) Dez Fitzpatrick (WR17 – Tennessee Titans)
34) Anthony Schwartz (WR18 – Cleveland Browns)
35) Chris Evans (RB10 – Cincinnati Bengals)
36) Hunter Long (TE3 – Miami Dolphins)
37) Tommy Tremble (TE4 – Carolina Panthers)
39) Kylin Hill (RB11 – Green Bay Packers)
40) Tre’ McKitty (TE5 – Los Angeles Chargers)
41) Simi Fehoko (WR19 – Dallas Cowboys)
42) Seth Williams (WR20 – Denver Broncos)
43) Larry Rountree (RB12 – Los Angles Chargers)
44) Brevin Jordan (TE6 – Houston Texans)
45) Davis Mills (QB6 – Houston Texans)
46) Michael Strachan (WR21 – Indianapolis Colts)
47) Kenny Yeboah (TE7 – New York Jets)
48) Javian Hawkins (RB13 – Tennessee Titans)
49) Ihmir Smith-Marsette (WR22 – Minnesota Vikings)
50) Cornell Powell (WR23 – Kansas City Chiefs)