2021 NFL Free Agency: Potential Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers

The 2021 NFL free agency frenzy is rapidly approaching, which means we will be seeing players sign with new teams. This will lead to fantasy football risers and fallers based on where players land. This year’s free agency class is filled with some big names from recent fantasy seasons. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest names that are potentially on the move this year and if their value will rise or fall. 

Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers: Risers

Allen Robinson (CHI): 2020: 102 REC, 1250 YDS and 6 TDS

Allen Robinson has been a PPR monster for the past couple of years in Chicago and is one of football’s most talented receivers. The issue that has plagued him his entire career is the quarterbacks who have been throwing the ball. Throughout his career, Robinson has seen a majority of his targets from Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, and Blake Bortles. Despite the lack of talent at QB, he has consistently shown value as a WR1 in fantasy football finishing as the WR 10 in each of the last two seasons with Chicago. 

Should Robinson move to a new team with a better quarterback situation, his value will rise, and he could enter the season ranked as a top 5 receiver going into drafts. Should he leave Chicago, it also leads to changes in the fantasy football value for the players there; Darnell Mooney would become the WR1 for the bears unless they bring in other talent and could become an exciting sleeper next year in fantasy football.

Riser: Juju Smith-Schuster (PIT): 2020 Stats 97 REC 831 Yards 9 TDS

If Juju leaves the Steelers, he will be leaving a team that threw the ball over 600 times this year, going to another team, he will most likely be entering an offense that won’t throw the ball as much. Despite that, Juju’s fantasy football value will rise if he leaves the Steelers. Juju’s value will increase if he leaves due to how the Steelers were using him this year. Juju became the check-down option for Big Ben. His yards per reception was at a career-low 8.6; he had never averaged less than 12 yards per reception.

Juju has shown the potential to be an elite wide receiver in this league, and for fantasy, moving to another team where he is used in a different role will raise his value even if the volume of pass plays lessens. Juju leaving the Steelers does not significantly impact Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool’s fantasy football value; they will both still be solid receiving options entering fantasy football drafts. 

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Aaron Jones (GB): 2020: 1,104 rushing yards, nine rushing TD’s, 47 REC, 355 YDS, and three receiving TD’s

Jones is the biggest name for fantasy football that is entering free agency this year. Jones has finished as a top 5 running back in fantasy each of the last two years. He may not get the volume of touches other running backs get, but he has shown consistently how efficient he can be with those touches. In his four year career, he has averaged 5.5 yards per carry in 3 of those years; the one time he didn’t average 5.5 yards per rush, he averaged 4.6.

He is more efficient with his touches than even Alvin Kamara is. Moving to a new team could mean more touches every game, and if he could continue the efficiency that he has shown every year he has played, his value will rise even more. The worry is that leaving a Green Bay offense led by Aaron Rodgers could shift defense focus to him, leading to decreased efficiency.

Even with that concern, Jones is a riser if he moves to a new team and could challenge for the overall RB1 this upcoming fantasy season. Back in Green Bay, AJ Dillion looks set up to take over as the starting running back and will be in the RB2 conversation should Jones and Jamaal Williams both leave.

Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers: Fallers

Chris Carson (SEA): 2020: 681 YDS and 5 TDS in 12 games

Carson had a bit of a down year this year, mainly due to missing four games. Despite missing those games, he still finished as the RB 16 on the season and averaged 14.6 half PPR fantasy points per game, slightly higher than his average last year of 14.3 when he finished as a top 10 RB in fantasy football. Should Carson leave the Seahawks for another team, his value should fall.

In the 2019 season, Carson had more than 20 carries in a game in 8 out of his 16 games; in 2020, he never had more than 20 carries. With fewer carries per game this past year, Carson was much more efficient with his touches but can that continue on a new team… most likely not. Carson will need to sign with a team that will give him 20 plus touches per game to see his value rise; otherwise, he will see his value fall due to the fact it is hard to maintain the efficiency he showed this year in Seattle. Should Carson leave Seattle, that will be a significant rise in value for Rashaad Penny or Deejay Dallas.

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Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers: Both

Jameis Winston (NO): 2020: 63.6 completion percentage, 75 passing yards, no touchdowns or picks, and an 83.5 quarterback rating.

When Winston signed with New Orleans last year, it seemed like he would become the chosen successor to Drew Brees. However, when Brees went down to injury, Taysom Hill, not Winston, took over. Winston will get one more chance to get a starting job as he enters free agency. Should he sign with a team that gives him the starting role, he will have value in fantasy football next year.

We need to remember Winston is only one year removed from throwing 5,109 yards, 33 TDS, and finishing as the QB 4 in fantasy football. If Winston does not sign with a team that gives him the starting job or does not earn a starting job through competition on a roster, then his time for fantasy is most likely up, and even if you have been hanging onto him in dynasty leagues, it will be time to move on. This makes Winston an extremely volatile player this off-season and one that surely deserves being on both the fantasy football risers AND fallers lists.

Thanks for reading my article on the fantasy football risers and fallers from the 2021 NFL free agent fallout. For more of my content follow me on Twitter @DylanLNFL and also follow @OTH_Football.

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