There are a limited number of pass-heavy NFL offenses each season that are capable of supporting multiple relevant wide receivers for fantasy football. This article will prioritize offenses with quarterbacks who are projected to exceed 600+ pass attempts in 2021.
Pass-heavy NFL offenses with fantasy football value in 2021 | AFC
The Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams, and Pittsburgh Steelers are all projected to lean heavily on their starting quarterbacks and passing game. Let’s begin with the AFC teams.
Kansas City Chiefs
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has averaged 36.7 pass attempts, 308 passing yards, and 27.4 fantasy points per game over his last 45 active games in Kansas City. Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid’s offense is a match made in fantasy football heaven.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce each project to receive 140+ targets in 2021. Hill has averaged 8.3 targets, 84 receiving yards, and 20 PPR fantasy ppg since 2018. Kelce has had similar success over that time frame. He’s averaged 9.2 targets, 84.7 receiving yards, and 18.5 PPR fantasy ppg.
Mecole Hardman will also emerge as a more reliable receiver for the Chiefs in 2021. This offseason, he continues to develop as a route runner, which could result in more structured targets rather than manufactured touches. Hardman caught 41 of 62 targets for 560 yards and 4 touchdowns last season. Furthermore, Mahomes had a 116.3 passer rating when targeting him.
The Chiefs are a pass-heavy NFL offense you’ll certainly want exposure to in 2021.
The Bills were one of the top offenses in the NFL last season. Buffalo (385.4) ranked fourth in total yards per game behind the Chiefs (414.7), Green Bay Packers (393.8), and Minnesota Vikings (393.2). Quarterback Josh Allen was an important catalyst for the team’s offensive success.
In 2020, Allen averaged 35.8 pass attempts, 284 passing yards, and 28.3 fantasy ppg. He was also lethal as a runner — averaging 6.4 rushing attempts, 26.2 rushing yards, and 0.5 rushing touchdowns per game.
Last season, wide receiver Stefon Diggs and Allen were immediately calibrated. The veteran receiver averaged 10.5 targets, 96 receiving yards, and 20.5 PPR fantasy points per game. In 2021, Diggs again projects to receive 150+ targets.
Cole Beasley was also solid in 2020. He finished as a WR3+ in 67% of his games, averaging nearly 14 PPR fantasy points. In 2021, he projects to see 100+ targets.
Prior to the Bills signing Emmanuel Sanders, Gabriel Davis was positioned for a breakout season. Davis played in all 16 games last year, starting in 11 of them. He finished as a WR3 or better in 81% of his games in PPR formats.
Davis generated 62 targets, 35 receptions, 599 receiving yards, 945 receiving air yards, and 7 touchdowns. Were you aware that his receiving air yards ranked second on the team behind Diggs (1,713)? He projects to see 70+ targets in 2021.
Ben Roethlisberger’s return from an elbow tear left much to be desired. He averaged 40.5 pass attempts, 252.3 passing yards, and 20.4 fantasy ppg. Roethlisberger only produced four QB1 finishes and averaged a career-low 6.3 passing yards per attempt. However, Roethlisberger did finish 2020 with 72 pass attempts greater than 20 yards. The bad news is that he only completed nearly 28% of them.
This will likely be Roethlisberger’s final NFL season. He has all three of his top receivers returning in 2021, with Diontae Johnson leading the group. He averaged 9.6 targets and 15 PPR fantasy points per game in 2020. As the Steelers WR1, he is projected to receive 140+ targets this season. Johnson’s drops are an area of his game that can be improved.
Additionally, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool each project to receive 120+ targets. Therefore, all three Pittsburgh receivers could exceed 1,000 receiving yards in 2021.
Roethlisberger and the Steelers are likely to be a more pass-heavy offense than you may think. The veteran quarterback may not have the arm strength he did earlier in his career, but all of his receivers are excellent at generating yards after the catch.
Pass-heavy NFL offenses with fantasy football value in 2021 | NFC
The Cowboys, Buccaneers, and Rams are the pass-heavy offenses from the NFC that bring a ton of value in fantasy football.
Dak Prescott averaged 50 pass attempts, 422.5 passing yards, and 36.3 fantasy points per game in his first four games last season. After his injury in Week 5, the Cowboys’ offense fell apart. The bulk of the quarterback snaps were taken by veteran Andy Dalton, and he only averaged 192 passing yards per game.
The Cowboys scored 31 or more points in four out of their first five games. However, after Prescott’s injury, they reached that mark just three times over the rest of the season. Prescott’s return elevates the entire Cowboys’ offense in 2021.
Receivers Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup all have the potential in Dallas’ offense to exceed 100+ targets this season. Moreover, they will have to continue to lean heavily on the offense.
The Cowboys’ defense has made improvements this offseason but could still be tested in 2021. In addition to the other teams in the NFC East, they will also face the AFC West and the NFC South. As a reminder, the Cowboys’ defense allowed the ninth-most fantasy points per game to opposing offenses in 2020.
Cooper and Lamb are projected to each receive 125+ targets while Gallup will receive 100+ targets. In addition, tight ends Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz project to combine for around 100 targets.
Thus, it’s easy to see that the Cowboys are another high-powered pass-heavy NFL offense you’ll want to target this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady threw 4,633 passing yards and 40 TDs last season. The future Hall of Fame quarterback’s presence and mindset propelled Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl win. Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians’ vertical passing attack and the team’s magnificent receiving weapons unlocked the best version of Brady we’ve seen since 2007.
Receiver Mike Evans has now accumulated seven consecutive seasons with 1,000 or more receiving yards. He’s finished as a WR2 or better in 52% of his 106 career games. Chris Godwin, meanwhile, has averaged 8 targets, 83.6 receiving yards, and 18 PPR fantasy points per game over the last two years. This dynamic duo should pick up where they left off last season as they each project to receive 120+ targets.
Furthermore, the Buccaneers have veteran receiver Antonio Brown — who projects for 90+ targets — and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard on the roster.
The return of Howard hurts Gronkowski as he was outperforming Gronkowski before his season-ending injury. Howard’s 146 receiving yards from Weeks 1-4 were the most by any tight end and third-most on the team behind receivers Evans and Scotty Miller. Howard scored 2 touchdowns in those four games, joining Evans as the only Buccaneers with multiple touchdown receptions during that time frame. As a result, Howard finished as a TE1 in two of those four games.
Los Angeles Rams
The addition of veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Rams is one of my top signings of the offseason. Head coach Sean McVay finally has a quarterback who can make any throw on the football field and maximize his offensive scheme.
In 40 games from 2018-2020, Stafford averaged 34.4 pass attempts, 259 passing yards, and 19 fantasy points per game. Likewise, from 2015-2017, he averaged 36.5 pass attempts, 271.6 passing yards, and 21 fantasy ppg. He finished as a QB1 in 46% of those games during that time frame.
With the receiving weapons Stafford will have in Los Angeles, it’s possible he has a career season. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp have prospered over the last three seasons catching passes from Jared Goff. Since 2018, Woods has finished as a WR2+ in 51% of his games. Kupp, on the other hand, has finished as a WR2+ in 41% of games. Both players may receive 130+ targets each in 2021.
Stafford has no problem throwing the football deep, and this will mesh well with play-action, which McVay features heavily in his offensive scheme.
Receivers DeSean Jackson and Van Jefferson will combine for around 100 targets. At this stage of his career, Jackson can be viewed as more of a situational deep threat. Meanwhile, Tyler Higbee should see around 70 targets.
Goff’s passing air yards per game dropped dramatically over the last two seasons. This negatively impacted Woods and Kupp’s statistical production. However, both are in a position to greatly exceed expectations in 2021 in the Rams pass-heavy offense.
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