Fantasy Football Rankings 2021: Sleepers, breakouts, busts from proven model that called Josh Allen’s big year

by Ryan

Changes to the Houston Texans‘ backfield have flown under the radar. The team ranked 31st in rushing yards last season but fortified its backfield, which currently consists of three former Pro Bowlers. Incumbent David Johnson is now joined by Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsay, both of whom joined the team during free agency. All three running backs averaged at least 4.2 yards per carry last season, but who should you prioritize in your 2021 Fantasy football rankings?

Will one of the backs emerge as the lead ball-carrier and return flex value, making him among the top 2021 Fantasy football sleepers? Will the the dreaded running back-by-committee occur instead, thus reducing all of their values? Before setting your 2021 Fantasy football draft strategy, be sure to check out the 2021 Fantasy football cheat sheets from the proven computer model at SportsLine.

Last year, the model accurately predicted that Bills quarterback Josh Allen was being drastically undervalued. His Fantasy football ADP was barely in the top 70, but the model pegged him as a top-five Fantasy quarterback, a QB1 who would finish well ahead of players like Kyler Murray, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Allen ended up being the No. 2-scoring Fantasy QB, outscoring all three of those other quarterbacks and even surpassing Patrick Mahomes. Fantasy players who followed SportsLine’s advice reaped plenty of value with that pick. 

The same model has a proven track record providing Fantasy football tips, also identifying A.J. Brown as another sleeper in 2020 and players like Devin Singletary and JuJu Smith-Schuster as busts last season. Additionally, it’s called past Fantasy football sleepers like Derrick Henry in 2019, Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara in 2018, and Davante Adams in 2017. Anybody who banked on players like those made a run at their league title.

The model is powered by the same people who generated projections for all three major Fantasy sites, and it beat human experts last season when there was a big difference in ranking. The projections update multiple times daily, so you’re always getting the best Fantasy football advice.

Now, SportsLine has simulated the entire NFL season 10,000 times and released its latest Fantasy football rankings 2021, along with plenty of sleepers, breakouts and busts. Head to SportsLine now to see them

Top 2021 Fantasy football sleepers 

One of the 2021 Fantasy football sleepers the model is predicting: Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The former first-round pick looked like he might be destined for a backup role when the Dolphins traded him in 2019, but he supplanted Marcus Mariota as the starter and reinvigorated his career with an incredible season in 2019. That earned him a contract extension and he delivered another efficient season in 2020, completing 65.5 percent of his passes for 3,819 yards and 33 touchdowns while adding 266 rushing yards and seven scores on the ground.

This offseason, the Titans’ offense is looking to make up for the loss of Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith with future Hall-of-Famer Julio Jones. Now, Jones will pair with A.J. Brown to form one of the most dynamic receiver duos in the NFL, and with Derrick Henry still commanding as much respect in the box as any running back in the NFL, Tannehill stands to benefit. The model predicts he outperforms Dak Prescott and Russell Wilson, who are both being drafted at least two rounds earlier on average.

Top 2021 Fantasy football breakouts 

The model is also projecting Steelers running back Najee Harris as one of its top 2021 Fantasy Football breakouts. After finishing fifth in Heisman voting at Alabama, Harris was taken 24th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. He was the first running back selected and enters the season atop Pittsburgh’s depth chart following the departure of James Conner.

The Steelers ranked last in rushing yards last season as defenses loaded the box once they realized Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t throw deep. Now, another year removed from elbow reconstruction surgery, Roethlisberger’s health should open up rushing lanes for Harris. Also, unlike many Alabama backs before him, Harris is a true three-down running back, as his 43 catches last year were the most ever by a Crimson Tide back under Nick Saban. Harris is squarely on RB2 radar, and SportsLine’s Fantasy football rankings 2021 project him to outperform players such as Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Josh Jacobs.

Top 2021 Fantasy football busts 

As for players to avoid, the model lists Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. as one of its top 2021 Fantasy football busts. A torn ACL ended the flashy receiver’s season after just seven games in 2020, and he posted 23 catches for 319 yards and three touchdowns before getting hurt. It marked the third time in the last four years that Beckham’s season ended on injured reserve.

All signs point to Beckham being fully recovered for the 2021 season, but a bigger obstacle to posting All-Pro numbers is the Browns’ offense. Cleveland has a run-heavy attack with the one-two punch of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, as the Browns ranked fourth in rushing attempts last year and only 28th in passing attempts.

Beckham also has to compete with Jarvis Landry for targets, as Landry had more receptions and receiving yards than Beckham in the seven games they played together in 2020. Thus, he may be no higher than fourth in the Browns’ pecking order for touches most games, so Beckham is someone to avoid with your early 2021 Fantasy football picks.

How to find proven 2021 Fantasy football football rankings

SportsLine is also extremely high on a surprising quarterback you aren’t even thinking about being drafted in the middle rounds of 2021 Fantasy football drafts. This quarterback is listed as a shocking top-five option ahead of superstars like Patrick Mahomes and Lamar JacksonYou can only see who it is, and the 2020 Fantasy football rankings for every player, at SportsLine.

So which 2021 Fantasy Football sleepers, breakouts and busts should you target and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five performance? Visit SportsLine now to get 2021 Fantasy Football cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen’s huge season, and find out.

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