A Fantasy Football Free Agent Wishlist for 2021
While a lot of the fantasy world would rather focus on rookies and the NFL Draft, free agency is going to take place about two months before that and there are some huge names possibly moving in 2021. Normally, I’m not a big fan of playing the “hypothetical” game because you just end up getting yourself worked up over something that never happens, but for this article, I’m making an exception.
The nice thing with daydreaming about landing spots for free agents is that even if they don’t get the exact guy you hope for, you still know that the player that does take that role should carry some fantasy value heading into the next season. Instead of just giving you my thoughts, I took to Twitter to ask where you wanted players to land. Let’s see where we agree/disagree and discuss the merits of some new homes for some great players in 2021.
Jameis Winston (My Wish: New Orleans | Community Wish: New Orleans – 67%)
The first of many places where the community and I agree. Jameis staying in New Orleans makes the best sense, assuming that Drew Brees is going to retire. The obvious caveat here is that he is also going to be given the chance to take the job from Taysom Hill. When Brees was hurt in 2020, it was Hill that took over as the starter and Sean Peyton has been pretty clear that was his plan all along. Most would agree that Winston is a better QB, especially for fantasy purposes and his presence would certainly help the case for a Michael Thomas bounceback in 2021. It seems likely that Winston will start somewhere in 2021 but the fact that he already knows the offense and has some good weapons around him makes New Orleans more ideal than most for the former top-5 fantasy QB.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (My Wish: Washington| Community Wish: Denver – 50%)
Now for one of the few times that the community and I disagree. The appeal of Fitzpatrick in Denver cannot be denied. With Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, Noah Fant, and a returning Courtland Sutton, it would rival his Tampa Bay days for the talent surrounding him and he could make a real push as a backend fantasy QB1. So why do I want him in DC? It is my pure, unadulterated love for Terry McLaurin that drives my motive. McLaurin has looked good, not great, with sub-par QB play over the last two seasons. His talent is undeniable and Fitzpatrick has the perfect skill set to get the most out of him. For fantasy purposes, Denver is a better fit all around…I just don’t care!
Aaron Jones (My Wish: Miami | Community Wish: Miami – 33%)
This was the most hotly debated topic on the poll. For a while, it looked like a return to Green Bay was going to win over the community. Then, taking over in Seattle took over for a while. In the end, we all agree (well, at least me and 33% of the crowd), Jones in Miami would be the best for his fantasy prospects. The unique thing about Miami in 2020 was that they stuck with one RB on a game-to-game basis, whether it was former 7th-round pick Myles Gaskin or his UDFA backup Salvon Ahmed. In the ten games that Gaskin played last year, there was a total of 212 RB carries for Miami, Gaskin received 142 of them or 67%. In Green Bay, Jones only saw 55% (FIFTY-FIVE) of the carries. On a per-game basis, Gaskin saw 18 touches per-game to Jones’ 17. No matter how you slice, Jones in Miami is likely to touch the football more, and for one of the most efficient backs in the NFL, that would certainly be a good thing for fantasy.
Chris Carson (My Wish: Seattle | Community Wish: Buffalo – 60%)
Putting it bluntly: I do not see the appeal of any RB ending up in Buffalo. It’s been a favorite “wishlist” landing spot for RB free agents this offseason and I can’t think of a single RB that gets better for fantasy here. Speaking specifically to Carson, it’s a huge step-down. Over the last three seasons, all with Josh Allen at QB, Buffalo RBs have scored a total of 16 rushing TDs while Allen has scored 25 rushing TDs on his own. Carson has scored 21 over that same period while in Seattle. Over those same three seasons, all Buffalo RBs have caught 178 balls for four total TDs in the passing game while Carson has reeled in 94 passes and scored six receiving TDs. I love Josh Allen but he is no good for fantasy RBs. Seattle’s offense is good for fantasy RBs and there is a trust there between Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll, and Carson. I bring up Carroll for another reason: I’m not sure Carson can survive fumbling the ball the way he does anywhere else. Just about any other coach would have him riding the bench and he is no good for your fantasy team there either.
Leonard Fournette (My Wish: Atlanta | Community Wish: Tampa Bay – 48%)
Playoff Lenny has clearly skewed the community! I’m not even saying I hate Tampa Bay as a landing spot. If he were to have the backfield to himself, I would love it. But he doesn’t. Ronald Jones will still be there, Ke’Shawn Vaughn will be heading into his 2nd season, and Fournette will still be fighting for carries. Before his playoff explosion, he hadn’t seen more than 18 touches in a game and was averaging just about ten touches-per-game. Fournette in Tampa Bay is a great football move but not so great for fantasy football. Atlanta however, could be a gold mine. The new coach in Atlanta, Arthur Smith, came from Tennesee, where they gave a single RB the ball as much as he could possibly carry it. Fournette is no Derrick Henry, but he has shown the ability to carry the ball over 250 times in a season and finished as the RB8 and RB9 in the two seasons where he has done it.
Juju Smith-Schuster (My Wish: Green Bay | Community Wish: Green Bay – FIFTY-FIVE%)
Not gonna need a ton of words to explain this one. Green Bay desperately needs to get Aaron Rodgers another weapon and Juju would be an insane compliment to Davante Adams. Juju desperately needs a change of scenery and there aren’t many better QBs to play with or WRs to play across from. This a literal “match made in heaven”…so it is unlikely to happen. We can dream though.
Chris Godwin (My Wish: Tampa Bay | Community Wish: Tampa Bay – 50%)
Again, not a lot to explain here. Tom Brady certainly looks ready for another season and Godwin looked good in games where he was healthy last year. While he finished as the WR32, if he scored his average of 13 fantasy points in the four games he missed, he would have been the WR12. Godwin in Green Bay (instead of Juju) could be equally as promising but he already knows this offense and the chemistry is there. Tampa is still the best place for Chris Godwin.
Allen Robinson (My Wish: Baltimore | Community Wish: Baltimore – 48%)
Both the community and I are already forgetting one of the 2021 “10 Things To Remember” lessons from The Fantasy Footballers. Andy Holloway said that we should avoid “big slices of small pies” or, in other words, wide receivers in low-volume offenses. The lack of volume leads to a lack of consistency and none of that is any good for fantasy football. Robinson landing in Baltimore would be great for the Ravens as a team but Green Bay or Indianapolis is probably a much better spot for him in fantasy. Our curiosity is probably getting the better of us but the dream of A-Rob with a good QB and Lamar Jackson having a true WR1 is too good to pass up.
Hunter Henry (My Wish: LA Chargers | Community Wish: LA Chargers – 59%)
Early this offseason Henry said that “he would like to play with a good QB.” He doesn’t need to look far. Justin Herbert smashed rookie QB records last year and looks like the real deal in Los Angeles. He’s not the best QB in the league but he may be the best one on a team looking for a TE. Henry was far from great for fantasy last season but a lot of that is owed to him scoring just four TDs. That number could easily double in year two as his chemistry grows with Herbert and Henry is a great TE for the young QB to lean on.
Jonnu Smith (My Wish: Arizona | Community Wish: Arizona – 35%)
This story basically tells itself. Take one of the most athletically-gifted TEs in the league, put him with one of the most athletically-gifted QBs, in one of the most exciting, high-volume offenses, and watch the magic happen. Jonnu’s time in Tennessee almost feels wasted. We saw glimpses of what could be but he was never targetted enough to make a real impact. In Arizona, he would easily be the 2nd or 3rd option behind DeAndre Hopkins and would likely pass his career-high 65 targets pretty easily. Arizona TEs were targeted 66 times in 2020 and none were as talented as Smith. The Cardinals just paid a bag to land JJ Watt, so this marriage seems even less likely, but it would certainly be fun to watch and great for fantasy managers aching for another relevant TE.