A Robbery?! Players that were stolen in 2021 Fantasy Drafts

Tuesday, Dec 14, 2021 at 5:53 pm ET

6pt Passing TDs, Full PPR, Rankings Before Fantasy Playoffs

Every year we get enamored with our drafts, and every year players are busts and breakouts. So next year, before drafting, just check out this article. This article is not just showing who was a massive steal this year, but showing the volatility of the NFL and fantasy football as well. The players in this article were not the first choice for most people - some were drafted as depth, some were shots in the dark, and some had their great seasons predicted by a select few people and fantasy analysts. Now, it will not be this way in everyones' leagues, but I would have to say that a good chunk of fantasy playoff teams had these players on them.

Quarterback – Late Round QB Movement Alive and Well

Starting with QBs because these were the easiest breakouts to predict due to the late round QB movement. If you are not onboard with it, hop on or get lost at sea. Every year it seems like the top QBs in fantasy are never drafted as them. A couple of years ago it was Mahomes and Lamar. Last year it was Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, and Aaron Rodgers. This year it was the pocket passers with the 44-year-old GOAT and the Gun Slingers out in LA. If I had to bet a significant amount of money on the top two QBs in fantasy next year being anyone but Brady or Herbert, I would put my lifesavings on it. Here is the top two list from the last 5 years.

2021Brady and Herbert
2020Allen and Murray
2019Lamar and Dak
2018Mahomes and Ryan
2017Russell and Cam
2016Rodgers and Ryan
2015Cam and Brady
2014Rodgers and Wilson
2013Brees and Newton

Not a single time in the last 8 years has a QB from the previous year repeated as a top 2 Fantasy QB. It might have been more likely 5 years ago when there was less parity at QB, but today there are so many talented QBs in the league that it makes it almost impossible to repeat at the top.

PlayerADPSeason Rank
Tom BradyQB9QB1
Justin HerbertQB8QB2
Matthew StaffordQB10QB4
Kirk CousinsQB20QB5
Jalen HurtsQB12QB6

Running back – Not the year to be a top 5 drafted RB

When I said that it was not a year to be an RB drafted in the first round, I meant it. You had CMC who for the second straight year has been injured and missed multiple games. Dalvin Cook has been hurt and underperforming until the 200-yard game in Week 14. Derrick Henry broke his foot, and while he is still a top 10 RB with five missed games, he is going to miss the fantasy playoffs. Kamara another one that has missed 4+ games and is not a top 15 RB this year.

We have 3 RBs that were not drafted in the top thirty at their position, and yet they are Top 10 backs right now. Not going to fault anyone on missing the breakout RB season from a 30-year-old converted WR/KR on a bad offense in ATL. Connor and Fournette both must have taken a sip from the fountain of youth because they both look great out there. Two guys that were being drafted back-to-back in drafts this year, Jonathan Taylor and Najee Harris, both are massive human beings and much quicker than guys that size should be. Taylor is easily the best RB in fantasy football right now, running behind a great offensive line and getting all the work. Najee is doing it differently - almost entirely through pure volume alone. His offensive line is bad and the offense he is in does not score a ton of points. But he does have 297 touches this year, which is what anyone who drafted him as their RB1 needed to have happen. Now Taylor and Harris might not have been robbery level steals, but they might be the reason you are in the fantasy playoffs right now.

PlayerADPSeason Rank
Jonathan TaylorRB10RB1
Najee HarrisRB11RB3
Cordarrelle PattersonRB81RB7
Leonard FournetteRB33RB5
James ConnerRB36RB10

Wide Receiver – Always Super Deep

Well, if you waited on WR this year in your drafts and ended up with one of these guys as your WR1, then you ended up really happy. These WRs crushed their ADP - like chewed it up and spit it into the stratosphere. Guys like Deebo and Kupp could be league winners on the right team this year. I say "could be" because a guy in my league has both but will be missing the playoffs at 4-9. The list for WR went much deeper than I wanted, but I kept seeing guys that were drafted later than WR30 but were coming in as top 20 WRs this year. Two rookies drafted in the top 10 in the NFL draft breakout in a big way this year being reunited with their college QBs and killing it. The third rookie drafted in the top ten that reunited with his college QB in Philly comes in at WR27, so not bad by any stretch - just not a steal. The final three guys on the list coming into the year were getting called "busts", "disappointments" and guys that probably won't be more than bench players or flex plays. Williams may be putting out some disappointing games lately, but he started of the season as one of the hottest and best fantasy WRs for the first 4-5 weeks. Pittman started slow but has been a very consistent WR all season for fantasy with only three bust games all season. Finally, "Hollywood" Brown, who has been called a boom or bust player since he was a rookie. Well guess who has boomed in 5 of 11 games, only busted in 1 and has been consistently scoring 13+ fantasy points all season?

PlayerADPSeason Rank
Cooper KuppWR18WR1
Deebo SamuelWR37WR4
Dionte JohnsonWR20WR6
Ja'Marr ChaseWR30WR8
Jaylen WaddleWR44WR12
Mike WilliamsWR48WR14
Michael PittmanWR43WR15
Marquise BrownWR49WR16

Tight End – A S**t-Show unless you had Kelce or Andrews

I am not going to spend too much time on tight ends. If you did not get Kelce or Andrews, you've been having to patch the position together. Now, there's a good chance that you are 100% disappointed if you drafted Waller or Kittle in the first four rounds - especially when you could have gotten so many other impact players at other positions. Even Kelce has been disappointing for where he was drafted given that a lot of people were taking him at the back end of the first round thinking he would finish around the same area as other top ten receivers. Kelce would be WR16 right now if that was his position. Andrews and Hock were the only ones in the top three with some value since they were being drafted at TE5 and TE6. My advice would be just to stream the position in the future. I have been rocking a pair of Gronk and Gesicki all year and it has been great. The only guarantee that you can get at TE is basically Kelce (if healthy). He is going to be the #1 TE in fantasy.

PlayerADPSeason Rank
Mike GesickiTE12TE4
Dalton SchultzUndraftedTE5

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