Must Have Players For 2021

Friday, Aug 27, 2021 at 8:11 pm ET

Only one person in your league can have Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry, or Alvin Kamara. They are all must-have type players, but your draft order position determines whether or not you'll have the opportunity to put any of them on your roster. Fear not - there are plenty of players available after the first two rounds are in the books. For a multitude of reasons, these are the guys that we want on our squads this year.

Aaron Rodgers, QB - GB
Aaron RodgersThe reigning league MVP bounced back to fantasy relevance last season completing 71% of his passes and tossing a league-leading 48 scores. Most analysts expect a fair amount of statistical regression, so while we don't expect Rodgers to finish as the #2 fantasy QB again, he's historically been a lock to finish in the Top 12. He tends to play at a higher level with a chip on his shoulder, and the offseason drama certainly fits that mold. He's being taken at the end of the 5th/start of the 6th round - perfect for those who have their starting RB/WRs in place. With Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers added to the receiving corp along with the #1 fantasy WR in Davante Adams (contract year), the Aaron Rodgers Farewell Tour should provide plenty of scoring opportunities.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB - WAS
Ryan FitzpatrickIf you wait a long time on QB, plan to stream the position, or play in a Superflex league, Ryan Fitzpatrick is the guy that I'd want to have. With a legitimate run game spearheaded by Antonio Gibson, and a solid receiving corp including Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Logan Thomas, Fitzmagic is poised to make Washington's offense a legitimate fantasy staple. Starting for his record-setting ninth NFL team, Fitzpatrick can be had with one of your last draft picks typically going in the 15th round (7th round in Superflex). If we look at the last 16 games that Fitzpatrick has played start to finish, his production numbers are in line with the weekly output from guys like Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, and Ben Roethlisberger, but his ADP is significantly lower. In 1-QB leagues, he's a fantasy backup QB with the potential for weekly streaming consideration. For Superflex leagues, he's a great flex option that would allow you to stock up on other skill positions.

David Montgomery, RB - CHI
David MontgomeryWe saw David Montgomery climb into Top-10 fantasy RB range over the second half of last season including being fantasy's most productive back in the final month of the season. The loss of Tarik Cohen in Week 3 meant additional volume for him, and he made the most of it (twice as many receptions without Cohen in the mix). The big question is what will happen with Cohen - who has been on the PUP list since camp started. HC Matt Nagy said, "I don't have a timeline for him [to return], but I think that he's in a good place. I know it's been frustrating for him, but he's working hard." Perhaps Damien Williams will be more of a threat to Montgomery's volume than Cohen, but neither should prevent Montgomery from reaching 1K yards rushing. Montgomery is regularly going in the 3rd round of all formats.

James Robinson, RB - JAC
James RobinsonThe loss of Travis Etienne moved James Robinson's ADP value considerably. After finishing in the Top 10 last season (7th in PPR, 8th in STD), fantasy owners who drafted early could have had Robinson late, but now they're going to have to pull the trigger in the mid/late 4th round. He'll likely lose some work to Carlos Hyde, but he's still projected to see a 1K yard season. Robinson should easily be an RB2 with potential to be an RB1 once again - especially if the Jaguars focus on the run in order to protect rookie QB Trevor Lawrence.

Javonte Williams, RB - DEN
Javonte WilliamsWhile we anticipate Melvin Gordon to get the start in Week 1, we fully expect Javonte Williams to eventually get the bulk of the workload in Denver. The Broncos traded up to get Williams and are expected to make him a significant part of their offense. He's coming off the boards between the late-5th and mid-6th round ahead of Gordon - perhaps a bit of a high price given that D'Andre Swift, Mike Davis, and Myles Gaskin are also available and have already earned their starting spots. What we're banking on here is that the rookie will become the primary back in Denver sooner rather than later.

Robert Woods, WR - LAR
Robert WoodsOne of the most attractive things about having Robert Woods on your team is the consistency that he brings along with historically outperforming his ADP every year. This season, he gets an upgrade at QB with Matthew Stafford under center. He's typically coming off the board in the 4th round meaning that he'll be your WR1 or WR2. If you landed an elite WR earlier, Woods is the ideal pairing as he will certainly flirt with WR1 numbers. Don't be surprised to see career-high stats from him in 2021. He provides great upside and should remain a solid fantasy option.

Marvin Jones, WR - JAC
Marvin JonesWith nine seasons under his belt, you might not think that Marvin Jones has much left in the tank, but with an ADP (PPR) in the 11th round, Jones can be much more than a WR4 for your team. We've been watching his rapport develop with Trevor Lawrence during camp, and despite having to compete with Laviska Shenault and DJ Chark for targets, Jones could be this year's fantasy surprise. He's scored nine touchdowns each of the last four seasons and finished as the 15th best WR in fantasy last year (STD). There is a lot that remains to be seen about his new situation, but given his history and abilities, he could be a borderline flex option this season. Not bad for guy that can be had long after more obvious flex options are off the board.

Diontae Johnson, WR - PIT
Diontae JohnsonWith Big Ben under center, Diontae Johnson should be his favorite target once again. Johnson just missed having a 1,000 yard season last year, but should be able to eclipse that given another year of experience. His 144 targets last year made him the 5th-most targeted player in the NFL. The guys who finished ahead of him are going two or three rounds earlier in drafts right now. We're banking on him becoming more efficient (ie, less drops) because his ability to create separation at will is what makes him so special. He's a great value in the fifth round.

T.J. Hockenson, TE - DET
TJ HockensonOnce Kelce, Kittle, Andrews, and Waller are off the board, it's really down to Hockenson and Kyle Pitts when looking at ADP. Pitts could be a generational player and has a fantastic opportunity in front of him, but Hockenson is already a known quantity and a safer play. Hockenson could actually become the lead receiver in Detroit now that Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay are gone. In fact, 110+ targets is easily in reach for him. His solid floor, ADP in the late 5th/early 6th, and a TE-friendly quarterback in Jared Goff makes Hockenson a sure-fire TE1.

Logan Thomas, TE - WAS
Logan ThomasAfter Hockenson comes off the board, tight ends are holding for another three rounds before being drafted. He finished last season as the #3 Tight End (PPR) hitting double digits in eight games. He remains a solid red-zone target for Fitzpatrick. He shouldn't face much competition at his position, but could fight for targets with the current receiving corp. If you didn't land one of the top 5 tight ends, Logan is in contention with Goedert and Tonyan for your attention in the 7th or 8th round.

Join the Discussion

josh murphy CommentedAug 27, 2021 9:20 pm

New subscriber here...

Rogers, Dak or Brady ?
Scoring = pts for TDs 7pts or 10pt (TDs over 40yds)
and bonus 8pts for over 300yds
Im leaning Dak....but all three look good


Nerd CommentedAug 27, 2021 9:34 pm

It's Dak for me

Muscle man CommentedAug 28, 2021 1:18 pm

In my standard scoring 10-man keeper league, all the workhorse runningbacks will be kept. I seem to always pick last or next to last in this league. (woe is me)
Who should I keep:
Chubb in the 1st
or J Robinson in the 10th

Nerd CommentedAug 28, 2021 2:20 pm

I love Chubb there but the Robinson value is too much for me to pass on.

BFK CommentedSep 11, 2021 4:12 pm

As far as the Aaron Rodgers drama goes until the dominos start falling after the season I think all fans should remember the words of former New Orleans and Indy head coach Jim Mora, " think you know,but you don't know,, and you never will know"; at least until the last chapter of the book has been written and it has not been written yet.

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