2021 Fantasy Football: Five players we're not sure you can trust next season
With the 2020 fantasy football season on the books, we look forward to the future and the next season. Our analysts each announce a player they cannot trust for the next season.
Brady has to fade at some point
Andy Behrens: Tom Brady not only created extraordinary and unprecedented stats for a 40s quarterback, he also helped lead my best fantasy squad to a title for 2020. He was great both in real life and in the wrong game. And still I'm pretty sure I'll be outside in his 2021 season, except in super-flex. It's not just the fact that he'll turn 44 in August, though that's an obvious concern. It feels like we've left the era where we could rely on non-rushed QBs to carry our imaginations. Unless you can actually predict a TD season in excess of 40 for a passerby - and realistically, you can't really do that for anyone - it's difficult to get the Allen, Murray, Watson, Jackson et al. To ignore.
Don't let Montgomery's end of 2020 fool you
Dalton Del Don: As much as it hurts me, I have to agree with Andy Behrens when it comes to fading David Montgomery next year. He finished the # 4 Fantasy RB in 0.5 PPR leagues and feature backs are becoming increasingly rare so he will undoubtedly be drafted in early 2021. Montgomery impressed in its strong second half, but don't forget about the off-season how simple its schedule was. In addition, Tarik Cohen is expected to return to Chicago as well, so a lesser role in passing seems certain. The bears are likely to continue to have a QB problem and for some reason plan to run it down with Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace so I won't trust Montgomery with his likely high ADP.
Gordon's best days could be in the past
Scott Pianowski: It is probably a good time to step away from Melvin Gordon. I understand he was RB13 this year and the Broncos have an interesting offense. But Gordon's efficiency as a pass catcher fell through the bottom (4.9 per catch, 3.6 per target) and he kicks in his season at age 28, which has become what 30 years and older earlier on the return spot were. You need to stay young in this position. If I'm a year early in a Gordon Cliff season, so be it. Gravity always wins.
Thielen didn't chase the Vikings WR
Liz Loza: Adam Thielen's fantasy numbers skyrocketed with Stefon Diggs in Buffalo. The local product increased its fantasy production by almost 4.5 points per game from 2019 to 2020. His presence in the red zone (20 targets, WR3) obviously helped take his numbers (14 TDs, WR3) to the next level. But he wasn't the only Viking receiver to take the plunge. After Minnesota's reunion in week 7, Justin Jefferson's playing time spiked up. While the vet had almost four more snapshots per game on the field, Jefferson outperformed Thielen in weeks 8 to 17 with a lead of 8.9: 6.5 Thielens 86.1 / g). With Jefferson likely to continue on his rise and the defense is believed to begin to mature, fantasy managers rusting Thielen may be chasing TDs ... which rarely results in consistent performance.
New team won't help Juju's prospects
Matt Harmon: There will be a lot of hype about a stacked free agent wide receiver class in 2021, but unless it ends up in a beautiful place, it will be hard to get me upset about JuJu Smith-Schuster. The last two seasons have shown his tight skills. There's a reason Ben Roethlisberger has dialed so heavily into new players like Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool despite their mistakes. They offer greater possibilities than external downfield separators than Smith-Schuster. His next team will likely know the same limitations. You just cannot direct healthy crime through such players. So it is a big challenge to imagine that he will ever reach more than 120 goals again. I don't care if he dances to logos or something, but I also don't care about the "age-adjusted" production glory from his first two seasons.
We also asked you, the people, about the players that you are wary of next season:
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