5 players still going too late in 2021 fantasy football drafts


Nailing you fantasy draft is all about landing the best players at the best prices. It’s pretty easy to have a good-looking team after the first 3-5 rounds, but what about when you reach the middle of the draft or the double-digit rounds?

At the end of the day, the success or failure of your fantasy draft will largely depend on how you handle these middle and later rounds. So let’s look at six players still going too late in 2021 fantasy football drafts.

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Dak Prescott’s fantasy football reward is worth the risk

(ADP: Round 6, QB5)

Dak Prescott, whose deflated ADP is likely attributed to the fact he has a sore shoulder and has only recently started throwing in camp, is certainly a risk/reward pick, and not exactly a cheap one.

Yet signs do point to Prescott being ready for Week 1, and those who take him in Round 6 will have earned a full round advantage. Prescott is going a full round after his peers (Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson).

With arguably the league’s best trio of weapons in Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, Prescott has a chance to lead the league in both passing yards and passing TDs.

And while he doesn’t run as much as Murray, Jackson or Josh Allen, Prescott does still take off to run more than league average — and he often does so near the goal line. Prescott had 3 rushing TDs in five games last year and has 24 in 69 career games (roughly one every 3 games).

Chase Edmonds still has plenty of fantasy football upside

(ADP: Round 7, RB28)

Chase Edmonds is a popular player to hate recently, and there are, of course, red flags. You don’t fall to the seventh round without some question marks.

The biggest question mark is Edmonds’ usage in high-value areas, such as near the goal line. With James Conner now in Arizona, Edmonds is unlikely to be the team’s primary goal-line back.

Yet Edmonds brings elite receiving skills (53 receptions last year), explosive playmaking ability (his 150-yard, 3-TD game in 2019), and seems bound to achieve a career high in rushing attempts this year (current: 97).

Edmonds has been atop the Arizona depth chart all offseason, and at worst has been described as the team’s 1A to Conner’s 1B. We currently have Edmonds projected for over 1,000 total yards and over 200 touches.

In PPR leagues, Edmonds is being drafted at his floor. And if the oft-injured Conner misses extended time in 2021, Edmonds becomes an automatic fantasy RB1. Conner has missed time in all four of his NFL seasons.

Leonard Fournette is the Bucs back you want in fantasy

(ADP: Round 11, RB39)

Tampa Bay has a complicated backfield, and as a result, all three of the Bucs’ RBs (Fournette, Ronald Jones, Giovani Bernard) are sliding down draft boards. But In Round 11, it’s hard to find an RB that will provide the same floor/ceiling combo as Fournette.

Fournette is almost certain to double or triple Ronald Jones in terms of receiving work, which is why I like Fournette so much more than Jones. Even if you think the pair will be evenly matched in terms of rushing attempts and goal-line attempts, Fournette still gets the nod in the receiving department.

Perhaps I’m buying too much into recency bias after “Playoff Lenny” averaged over 110 yards on 20-plus touches with a TD per game in the playoffs last year. Jones was hobbled but active in three of the four playoff games, but Fournette still did the majority of the work. That’s the kind of upside I’m happy to chase in the 11th round. Like Edmonds, Fournette is being drafted at his floor. 

How big a role Bernard has is the wild card here. But the Buccaneers are unlikely to be trailing much this season, limited Bernard’s impact. And given that Fournette is a perfectly capable pass-catcher, the Bucs are unlikely to take him off the field on every third down, like we saw in New England with James White

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D.J. Moore is falling too far in fantasy football drafts

(ADP: Round 4, WR20)

D.J. Moore is going a full round after the WR tier he should be grouped with: Terry McLaurin, Allen Robinson, Amari Cooper, Robert Woods and Mike Evans. Moore has strung together back-to-back seasons with nearly 1,200 receiving yards, though his TD production (just 10 in three seasons) leaves plenty of room for growth.

Interestingly, Moore equaled in 2019 receiving totals despite catching 21 fewer passes. His 1,193 receiving yards on 66 receptions means he averaged 18.1 yards per catch — by far the most among WRs with at least 50 catches last year (Will Fuller was next, with 16.6 yards per catch). 

Moore coming off draft boards as the WR20 just makes no sense. He’s firmly in the tail-end WR1 conversation, so for him to be coming off the board with the tail-end WR2s makes this one of the best steals on draft day. You basically get two Round 3 picks when you take Moore in Round 4.

Don’t forget about JuJu Smith-Schuster’s fantasy football ceiling

(ADP: Round 7, WR39)

JuJu Smith-Schuster’s 97 receptions ranked seventh among WRs last year, and his 9 TDs ranked him in the top 10 at the position as well. His target share of 20% was smack in the middle of Diontae Johnson (23%) and Chase Claypool (17%). 

Claypool’s role is likely to grow in 2021, but it may not come at the expense of Smith-Schuster, who roams near the line of scrimmage now. Smith-Schuster has seen a complete role change (just 5.6-yard average depth of target last year), but it’s still viable for PPR leagues.

After a slow start to the season, Smith-Schuster found a groove. Over Pittsburgh’s last 11 games last year, Smith-Schuster was a fantasy WR1 or WR2 in 7 of the contests (64% of the time). He also went bananas in the playoffs with a 13-157-1 game. 

It’s too much to expect Smith-Schuster to put up fantasy WR1 numbers for your squad this year given the other mouths to feed in Pittsburgh, but finishing somewhere near WR20 is more likely than finishing near WR40 — which is where he’s being drafted.

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