The Fantasy Football One-Hit Wonders of 2021


Every fantasy football season, we see players rise from obscurity and crush whatever expectations we had for them. This rapid ascension can be the birth of a long-standing fantasy asset or the passing of a fantasy point comet that will never return to our lineups. Looking back on the 2021 season, there are a few players whose shiny packaging looks closer to one-hit-wonder status than recurring fantasy superstars. Let’s discuss them. 


Fantasy Football – One hit wonders

Cordarrelle Patterson, RB/WR, Free Agent

Cordarrelle Patterson came out of nowhere to finish as the RB16 in fantasy points per game. He secured a 48.6% opportunity share and was 16th in weighted opportunity. Patterson doesn’t have a ton of mileage on the tires, but he’s already 30 years old and heading into free agency. While his yards per route run was fantastic (2.32), his other elusivity metrics are worrisome if he continues in the same primary running back role for Atlanta (or another team). He finished the season outside the top 30 running backs in juke rate, evaded tackles, and breakaway run rate (per Player Profiler). Patterson will likely log more productive seasons in the NFL, but we’ve seen his apex. 


Hunter Renfrow, WR, Las Vegas Raiders

Hunter Renfrow was an afterthought entering last season. But with Darren Waller banged up and Derek Carr taking to the air, Renfrow became the leader of the passing attack. He was the WR17 in fantasy points per game while soaking up a 21.7% target share and the sixth-most red-zone targets. Even just looking at his splits with Waller on the field, Renfrow is due to regress in 2022. In the games where Waller was out, Renfrow’s fantasy points per game would have placed him as the WR6, but when Waller was active, he fell to WR25. Renfrow will still be a mainstay in the Raiders’ aerial attack, but he’s best viewed as a mid WR3 in 2022. 

Splits with/without Darren Waller

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Dawson Knox, TE, Buffalo Bills

Dawson Knox balled out this year as the TE9 in fantasy scoring per game. His ability to repeat this in 2022 is questionable. Knox ranked outside the top 15 tight ends in target share (13.2%), targets per snap (30th), and air yards (16th). The area that boosted his value was ranking fourth in red-zone targets (19) and second in total touchdowns (nine). While Knox will undoubtedly remain inside a potent offense in Buffalo, touchdowns are fluky yearly, so banking on his reaching these heights again without a bump in volume or overall yardage is a slippery slope. 

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