By: Matt Hicks | @TheFF_Educator
Fantasy football seasons are coming to a close, but for dynasty and devy players the real season has just begun. The offseason is a time filled with questions, let’s jump into some of the ones submitted for the first of many fantasy football mailbags.
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Who Are The Sleeper Values In The 2021 Rookie Class?
The exciting part of the 2021 rookie class is that it is a very deep group of prospects. The first sleeper candidate that comes to mind is Ole Miss wide receiver, Elijah Moore. I left his tape review very impressed with his sticky hands and ability to catch off-target passes. He displays a high level of athleticism and is comfortable with the ball in his hands; I expect a creative-minded NFL head coach to fall in love with his skill-set.
Khalil Herbert is another name you should get familiar with. Herbert has great strength and contact balance. He also demonstrates consistent vision and the ability to change direction sharply.
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Which Ohio State Underclassmen Are You Targeting In Devy Drafts?
Ohio State is swarming with talent from the top-to-bottom of their roster. They are a roster that won’t rebuild once players like Fields, Olave and Sermon declare for the NFL Draft; they will reload.
Four Buckeyes come to mind: C.J. Stroud, Julian Fleming, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Gee Scott. Their trio of wideouts are all impressive and should develop into NFL caliber prospects but when it comes to devy fantasy football I will always prioritize the quarterback position. CJ Stroud is a four-star recruit that jumped to the top of his recruiting class after winning the Elite 11 quarterback competition in 2019. He is the favorite to take over the starting job from Fields next season and has the tools and necessary coaching to flourish in a quarterback-friendly system that should propel him into the first-round conversation for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Can Javonte Williams Be The RB1 In The 2021 Rookie Class?
Javonte Williams is an exciting prospect and is coming off of a great season for the Tarheels but he is not in the same talent tier as Najee Harris. Harris’ athleticism, size and pass-catching ability make him a special player; especially for fantasy football purposes. I weigh landing spot heavily when ranking rookies but I cannot see a situation where Williams will leapfrog Harris as the top back in the class at this point in the draft process.
I think the current push to make Williams a top-tier prospect is setting up false expectations for the impact he can have at the next level and our fantasy football rosters. If we properly value him as a top-five running back instead, we will be a lot happier with his production in the NFL.
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Is It Time To Give Up On N’Keal Harry?
The long development arc of Harry has been frustrating for fantasy football players, many of whom likely took him with a mid-first round rookie pick in 2019. Harry’s rookie season was a wash, due to injury. Through 19 career games, 12 of which have come in 2020, he has recorded just 42 receptions for 394 yards and four receiving touchdowns. We have reason to be concerned.
Fantasy football, though, is all about value. Trading Harry from your roster now would be selling very low on the athletic pass catcher. I would advise against that at this point in the offseason. That being said, I do not want Harry on my roster if the Patriots commit to Cam Newton for another year; that scheme does not allow for Harry to get the targets and touchdowns necessary to be a fantasy football impact player. If New England adds a big-armed veteran through free agency or a young gunslinger through the draft you will be happy you held on to him.
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Should Zach Wilson Be Considered A Top-Tier Rookie Prospect?
I always make quarterback a priority in Superflex leagues, so when given the options of Zach Wilson, Travis Etienne and Ja’Marr Chase my immediate reaction is to go with Wilson. Already having Lawrence, Wentz, Darnold and Lance on this roster is not a deterrent for me in drafting Wilson, you can never have enough talented quarterbacks on your Superflex roster. Wilson is exactly that; he is a gunslinger with the ability to make nearly any throw and extend plays with his athleticism.
Chase is currently the highest-ranked player on my rookie big board, though, so I will go with the former LSU wide receiver at this point in the offseason. He is an impressively well-rounded prospect that can run the entire route tree and is a contested-catch monster with the stickiest hands in the 2021 NFL Draft. The positional value may not be there when the rookie draft comes around, but right now Chase is the better prospect.