Biggest Winners & Losers of the Offseason at Each Position

Sunday, Jul 25, 2021 at 4:08 pm ET

Was going to make this a winners and losers at each position after the draft but after waiting a couple of weeks to see how some of these moves played out and if any teams added some veterans to block these rookies or if an Aaron Rodgers trade happened which could cause some massive winners and losers on a couple of teams. This article has turned into the biggest winners and losers of the offseason, with so many moves still on the brink of happening right after the draft, I had to wait on this one. Being new to this has been one of the great experiences so far in my life, actually feeling the struggle I used to read about from some of my favorite fantasy analysts, knowing the pain of writing a full article only to have a better idea or an offseason move kill it all. We've seen some big rumors for trades this offseason and some big name players actually being traded, Julio Jones and Aaron Rodgers being names on other ends of the spectrum, one getting his request of trade and the other just chilling in Hawaii and doing 'The Match'. We have already seen a major season ending injury in the offseason as well, with Cam Akers going down with a torn achilles, so we have already seen some craziness and I'm sure we'll see some more.



Sam DarnoldSam Darnold
I thought this guy was a huge winner after being traded for early in the offseason, we heard a lot of Justin Fields and Trey Lance rumours for the Panthers and they seemed to fuel the fire by not picking up his 5th year option right away. But they bolstered the defense more in this draft and added some really nice pieces to the offense. Adding two offensive lineman, one being Christenson out of ND, as well as adding two offensive weapons in Marshall Jr out of LSU and Tremble, an athletic TE who has some upside as well. The biggest win was when they were at 8 they didn't draft Justin Fields who was available, they took Jayce Horn a CB with that pick and seemed to cement Darnold in there for the next two years.

Ryan FitzpatrickSam Darnold
Bet you didn't expect to see this name, trust me neither did I. This guy somehow survived the entire draft without a young QB coming in to learn and possibly steal his job. So you can almost pencil this guy in for starting a majority of games, with no real threat, Fitzpatrick a sneaky big winner. Washington already has a great defense and with Fitzpatrick's propensity to be a gunslinger out there, this offense should be really exciting to watch, with McLaurin and Dyami Brown on the outside and Curtis Samuel in the slot. As well as Logan Thomas at TE and Gibson in the backfield who can take any screen pass to the house, he should have a really nice fantasy season and would be a great pick for people who wait on their QB in the draft. Adding Charles Leno after the draft as a starting LT was another win for this veteran QB, more time in the pocket means more time to whip that ball down field.

Matthew StaffordMatthew Stafford
Wow was this an easy one, when you go from being in Detroit, then moving to LA, going from a horrendous franchise from talent ,coaching and the front office to Sean McVay, a front office that loves to spend money and trade for talent and a team filled with talent. He gets Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, D.Jackson, and some other young talented wide outs and an offensive scheme that will show Stafford the most open targets he's probably seen since he had megatron. Stafford has always been one of the most talented players in the league, except he has been posioned by the awful cure of a franchise that is the lions, he could easily be a top 8 option at the QB position this year. I love Stafford this year, I think he is absolutely going to be an every week start in fantasy and you can get him in the late rounds every time, if you subscribe to the late round QB strategy.


Andy DaltonAndy Dalton
He was told he was going to start and that's the whole reason Dalton came to Chicago. But they had an opportunity to get in my opinion the 2nd best QB in this draft in Justin Fields. People are projecting Dalton to start 8+ games for this team as a bridge to Fields. I'm sorry for Dalton but that is not going to happen. Justin Fields is going to wow people in camp, practice and preseason, and between his arm talent and his legs I don't think the people of Chicago are going to be waiting too long.  Fields starts in the first couple of weeks in my eyes, the fans are going to be screaming for him after a boring start with Dalton.

Matt RyanMatt Ryan
Yes I know he just got Kyle Pitts but he is still a rookie who is going to go through some growing pains, and historically Ryan has played much worse without Julio Jones on the field, we saw him be unstartable this past year when Jones was out. In the last 3 seasons without Julio Jones in 8 games he has 8 interceptions with an 85 passer rating, where when he had Julio, his pass-rating was up at 100, he averages double the interceptions and almost 40 less yards per game without Jones as well. It might not be as bad now that Pitts is there but losing his most reliable and favorite target for the last 8 years is going to put him in the loser column this year.

Running Backs:


Mike DavisMike Davis
The big winner at RB is this man Mike Davis, who might not have had a special career by any means to this point. But after a really nice stretch in fantasy filling in for CMC and coming to the ATL with no competition we could be looking at a really good fantasy season. Now most people thought this would be a split backfield with whatever rookie they drafted, but the draft has come and gone and still no running back, they didn't draft one in any round. For the time being Davis is a big time winner and if they don't add any veteran backs that could split the backfield 50/50 then he could be looking at a breakout year. It seems like the reports out of Atlanta now are that they are set in their RB room and most likely wont add more, and even if he can't do it all season as we saw him slow down after killing it in the Carolina backfield for weeks, he could be a valuable trade piece if he gets hot to start the season off.

Myles GaskinMyles Gaskin
I'm going to make this one quick since there were a couple big winners and this is the name I've seen the most in the industry. Everyone expected the Dolphins and Falcons to draft RBs but neither did, these two guys are big winners and I expect an even bigger year from Gaskin in fantasy since he is younger and a little more explosive at this point in his career than Davis. He should be a top 20 back this year unless the Dolphins add a veteran RB between now and the preseason, but I do like his fantasy outlook this year behind a young O-line that is still getting better and reports from camp show a staff confident in Gaskin and very confident in how Tua looks this year, looking a lot more confident in the offense.

Joe MixonJoe Mixon
I thought this guy was a sneaky big winner from the draft with no significant draft capital spent on RB in this year's draft and Gio Bernard leaving Mixon should be looking at an even bigger workload this year. It's also going to be a more spread out offense with the addition of Chase in the draft so a lot less stacked boxes for Mixon and more runs out of the shotgun too. The reports out of camp are everything with Burrows knee is looking great and he is ahead of schedule and should be ready to go for week 1. With no real threats behind him, everything points to him being on the field for 3 downs with no 3rd down back like Bernard there anymore. The biggest argument people have are 'What about the injury concerns, he missed all those games at the end of the year' and my answer is that was a tank job, Burrow was done for the season and they were losing games left and right, there was no reason to put their young workhorse out there anymore, this could actually be a dangerous offense this year.


James Robinson and Melvin GordonJames Robinson
Now I put these guys together since they both are on here for the same reason and because they're the most listed guys by fantasy analysts. Both teams added two of my top RBs in the draft in Williams and Ettiene, and they spent significant draft capital on both, with a 1st round pick spent on Ettiene and the Broncos traded up in the 2nd round to draft Williams. Meyers loves Ettiene and I see him getting him involved as much as possible all over the field. Melvin Gordon has an injury history and he isn't as efficient at this stage in his career. We definitely won't be seeing Robinson lose his job unless due to injury, we could see Gordon lose his job to inefficiency, and with an offseason DUI we could also see Melvin get suspended for the first couple games, I don't see him keeping his job long, especially when the Broncos traded up in the 2nd round to get Javonte Williams out of UNC.

Cam AkersCam Akers
This one makes me sad to write, a lot of us in the fantasy community were very high on Cam coming out of the draft last year and his potential to be a breakout this year. But the news just came out a couple days ago, that he will be out for the season with a Torn Achilles, so he will be out the entire fantasy season and probably have no chance to come back. So the breakout will have to wait till next year and we just hope he has a successful recovery and comes back strong in 2022. A quick fantasy fallout from his injury will be a huge rise in ADP for Darrell Henderson, who was a back out of Memphis I really liked when he came out and played really well when he was on the field next year. As long as the Rams don't sign another back which they have come out and said they don't plan to do, I would be leaving my drafts with Henderson anytime I can get him in the 5th round or later, he was going in the las couple rounds of drafts, I can see him coming up to middle rounds now but not nearly as high as the 2nd and 3rd were people were drafting Akers.

Pass Catchers:


Calvin RidleyCalvin Ridley
Another section that was flipped upside down by the offseason so far, a full article on how AJ Brown could be the number one receiver in all of fantasy and an article how it looked like Rodgers was gone and Adams was about to be a big loser. This turns into the Calvin Ridley show now, this man is going to eat now that Jones is gone, we could see an astronomical target share for Ridley, with his ability to get open so easily and so often, this man could see over 100 receptions, 1400 yards and 10+ touchdowns, this man could be the next number one receiver in all of fantasy, do think it will actually happen probably not but I would write him down for that top 5 again easy.

Mecole HardmanMecole Hardman
This one I've gone back and forth on but in the end he is a wide receiver on a team with Patrick freaking Mahomes at QB. He has been working out to be the number two receiver on this team this entire offseason, this year is his best shot to take over as the 2 with Sammy Watkins out of town. He is by far the most talented of the players fighting for that #2 wideout spot behind Hill, he hasn't been  able to build the best chemistry with Mahomes on the field but hopefully a full offseason and training camp with the 1s will help him be the late round breakout we all think he can be. The good thing is you'll be able to see whether he's going to breakout in the first couple weeks, you should be able to see whether the connection and chemistry is there by week 3 or 4. He could very well be a boom or bust player, a guy that could win you a week but also put up <10 points well, this season should tell you everything you need to know about what kind of player Hardmans going to be on the chiefs, whether that's a star or special teams guy that can be special on the field inconsistently.

Sleeper Tight Ends

We've got a lot of late round tight ends that are talented and just had a lot of targets freed up from people leaving or them going somewhere else. The three names that come to mind and I'll give a brief description on each, let's start with my favorite name on the list and that's Irv Smith Jr as he was already one of Kirk's favorite red zone targets last year and now his snaps and targets will probably double now that Kyle Rudolph is gone and with Theilen another year older he could even see his targets decrease, Irv is one of those tight ends that's also a freak athlete with the ball in their hand. The next names on my list were teammates last year Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett both still in the NFC west and both getting upgrades at QB, with Stafford coming to the Rams and Everett going to the Seahawks with Russel Wilson. They are both big time athletes in offenses that like to target the tight ends and have really good receivers on the outside to take away teams from locking in on them. If you don't get one of the big three I'd wait on tight end and move to the late round TE strategy to go after one of these guys.


Michael ThomasMichael Thomas
Now if he keeps falling down draft boards he is going to be a winner for the people drafting him. But it's easy to be a loser when you go from a 1st ballot HOF, one of the greatest of all time at the position to an unknown. Brees historically is one of the most accurate passers as well, they were a match made in heaven running that slant route in that offense. He goes from that to either one the historically least accurate passers in Winston or really a complete unknown in what they will get from Taysom Hill. Now either one of them could end up being really good, but the offenses run through each QB would be completely different depending on the starter. While I do think he is being underrated going into the season, I also believe that an offseason change at QB can lead to a slow start from a star receiver.

Marquise BrownMarquise Brown
HOLLYWOOD...people were so divided on Brown last year, half the community calling for a major breakout and had him as a sleeper, others said he is too inconsistent and won't get the targets in the ravens offense. He was disappointing in any game he didn't score a TD and even in those games he was just average in some. The Ravens added two more rookies, spending a 1st round pick on one and the other was highly regarded coming out of college, in addition to Sammy Watkins. He isn't going to get close to the targets he got last year and honestly will probably regress in the TD department with two more red zone targets added and Andrews still there at TE. He definitely didn't come out of the draft or offseason looking like a good pick in fantasy, still has a big time upside just a lot harder to reach now.

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