The NFL season is just around the corner, and attention is turning towards fantasy football predictions. Rankings are being finalized, and managers are debating the value of drafting Derrick Henry or Alvin Kamara and whether they’d rather roster Jonathan Taylor or Antonio Gibson.
Fantasy football predictions for 2021
The majority of fantasy drafts will begin in the next few weeks.
It’s also a good time to think outside the box. When all others zig, you can zag, and that can win fantasy championships. Fantasy football predictions can be bold without being illogical, though. Here are two with a realistic chance of success.
Prediction #1: Julio Jones will outscore A.J. Brown
This isn’t an anti-A.J. Brown prediction. This is a “hey, remember how good Julio Jones is?” prediction.
Jones played only nine games in 2020, but he was on pace for 1,370 receiving yards before his injury. Brown will be targeted heavily, but Jones is coming from a situation where he was sharing targets with Calvin Ridley and was still incredibly productive. Between Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith, and Adam Humphries, the Titans had 192 targets walk out the door in free agency. Josh Reynolds will be targeted, but Jones is in the perfect position to capitalize.
Jones’ touchdown production has been disappointing over the years
Jones has reached double-digit touchdowns just once and has just 60 in 135 games — a low number for one of the most talented wide receivers of all time. However, the Titans have been remarkably efficient in the red zone. They should continue to be even without Arthur Smith, who left his offensive coordinator position to become the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.
Jones will find himself in an offense with a formidable running game, another outstanding receiver, and a quarterback who continues to improve. There’s a chance that both Brown and Jones finish as top-10 WRs. They’ll take advantage of the attention that the other player draws. Thus, Jones will prove once again why he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Jones’ average draft position (ADP) on Sleeper makes him a bargain despite fantasy football predictions often favoring the younger player. Jones is currently being drafted as WR13, and he should comfortably outperform that.
Prediction #2: Justin Fields will finish the season as a top-five QB
We all know that finding a QB who can run the ball is a fantasy football cheat code. Whether it has been Michael Vick, Robert Griffin III, Lamar Jackson, or Josh Allen, dual-threat playmakers win championships. Due to their rushing upside, even Tim Tebow, Blake Bortles, and Mitchell Trubisky have been productive fantasy starters. Justin Fields is the latest rookie who will benefit.
The Chicago Bears’ first-round pick is impressing everyone in training camp. Yet, it’s hard to know when Fields and fellow rookie QBs will hit the field. There are rumblings that head coach Matt Nagy wants Andy Dalton to start, preferring the sit-and-learn approach that the Kansas City Chiefs used to great effect with Patrick Mahomes.
Maybe there’s some logic in that, for Nagy and the Bears introduced Trubisky early in the season. Trubisky is now a backup for the Buffalo Bills, while Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL and tops PFN’s fantasy QB rankings. The Bears have wasted decades of good teams with mediocre quarterback play. Putting their faith in a 33-year-old Dalton would be a mistake, especially given his past struggles with poor offensive lines.
Can Nagy really afford to sit Fields?
The Bears will eventually hand Fields the keys to the offense, and he’ll light up the league. He is 6-foot-3, 228 pounds, and ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash. Oh, and he just so happened to complete 70.2% of his passes in his final season at Ohio State.
There’s been a general devaluation of the position in fantasy in recent years, but finding value can be the difference between winning a championship and not. Fields is currently being drafted as the QB16. He is the ultimate fantasy sleeper with the possibility of surpassing all fantasy football predictions. He’ll be among the leaders in fantasy points per game.
If he is the starter, then he’s worth the draft capital. If the Bears decide to be patient, Fields could be an outstanding free-agent pickup.
Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast
Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.