Dynasty Outlook: Most Overrated and Underrated Players Entering the 2021 Offseason

by | Mar 1, 2021

No fancy intro today, folks.

Below are the players that I’m both looking to acquire and move on from in dynasty leagues this offseason. Toward the end, after I drop all the goods, I’ll explain why its important to trust your process and stay patient going into next season with 2021 rookies.

We’ve got a lot to unpack today, so let’s get after it:

Overrated Dynasty Assets

DeAndre Hopkins

What I’m not saying is: DeAndre Hopkins is bad, and you should sell him.”

What I am saying is: “Hopkins will finish as a top receiver for years to come, but no matter how you look at it, he is a declining asset — and if you want to build a dynasty team where you are both contending and rebuilding, selling him gives you the best chance to achieve that.”

Julio Jones is a perfect example of why getting out while still getting a haul is a must in dynasty. Even if that player is still putting up solid numbers for a while, the floor can fall out real quick and you don’t want to be stuck with that asset.

Think about it like this. The general community still views Hopkins as, at the very least, a fringe top-10 wideout. But at his age, there’s no real way for him to move up anymore, surpassing the young studs like Justin Jefferson, A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, etc. If you want to ride out his career, I wouldn’t blame you. In PPR scoring, D-Hop has finished as a top-5 WR for the last four years straight, and I would bet he manages to do it again next year. However, trading that production for another one to two more years of players like Tee Higgins, Terry McLaurin and D.J. Moore sets you up perfectly for the future.

Aaron Jones

Let me set the record straight: I LOVE Aaron Jones as a football player. He has scored 30 touchdowns over the past two years, which only trails Derrick Henry and ties Dalvin Cook for running backs!

However, I worry about a running back like Jones going into the second-half of his career, especially if he leaves Green Bay. I’ve banged the #FreeAaronJones drum for the last few years, but have admittedly ignored the reality that he’s actually enjoyed fantastic usage. Do his total touches on the past few seasons fall short of what people wanted to see? Sure. However, he’s enjoyed back-to-back top-12 finishes in Red Zone Touches and Weighted Opportunities. He has also had Aaron Rodgers standing next to him, which allowed him to finish outside the top 30 in Average Defenders in the Box for the past two years. In summary, if/when Jones leaves the Packers, how confident are we that we see the same player we’ve seen in Green Bay? I know I’m not confident either way.

One of the best cheat codes for dynasty backs is acquiring them on their rookie contract, and selling once they move teams/re-signs. If I can move Jones for some 2021 rookie RBs like Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, etc. I wouldn’t think twice. The fantasy football community has shown its respect for Jones, but his value, in dynasty, is too high for my liking.

Aaron Rodgers

The 2020 Most Valuable Player more than proved me wrong this season: I truly believed his play was declining, and that we’d possibly see him retire sooner rather than later because of it.

Although I still believe we don’t see him play as long as Tom Brady, it’s hard to deny that he is still as good as he was just a few years ago. On the contrary, I think this MVP season ends up inflating his value to an unprecedented level; too many people in this community play dynasty in a two or three-year window, and those people will happily buy Aaron Rodgers for much (much) more than he should be worth. Dynasty leagues are meant to be played for 10-plus years if done correctly and we should be playing with that assumption. It’s not often that quarterbacks play past 40 years old and we’ve been spoiled.

Overall, my argument is less about Rodgers’ inevitable decline and more about how long he will play for. It’s easy to use Brady or Drew Brees as an example of QBs playing into their 40s and still doing it at an elite level, and I have little doubt at this point that Rodgers could do that as well, but what’s holding him back from winning the Super Bowl in the next year or two and hanging it up?

David Montgomery

The stars, moon, and planets all aligned for David Montgomery to have his epic finish to the 2020 season where he averaged 23.1 Fantasy Points per Game (Half PPR) and was the RB2 during that time.

If you want to believe that is who he really will be going forward, go right ahead.

I, for one, will not be falling for it.

From Weeks 1-9, Montgomery averaged 10.6 Fantasy Points per Game and was RB14 through that period. I don’t think he will fade into oblivion going forward, but he never had the game-breaking athleticism like Saquon Barkley, and thus needed a lot to take place for him to hit his absolute ceiling. Not only did Tarik Cohen get hurt early in the year, he faced the easiest possible schedule down the stretch, and his offensive line improved in a big way to end the year.

I don’t have Montgomery on any of my teams, but if I did, he wouldn’t be on any by the start of next year.

Almost every tight end?

The unfortunate reality for the tight end position in fantasy football is that without extra bonuses (see: tight end premium leagues), these players just don’t move the needle and warrant being drafted anywhere close to the first round of redraft or even dynasty leagues.

Even with the incredible season Travis Kelce had in 2020, and we can even look at Darren Waller to an extent, if you went up against players like Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara, Davante Adams, or Stefon Diggs in the playoffs, you likely lost.

As far as positional advantages: Kelce and Waller gave gamers clear advantages over the field, but when it comes to the total point output, you still would have been better off taking the other players.

For example, during the fantasy playoffs this year (typically Weeks 14-16), we saw Kelce average 20.6 Fantasy Points per Game and Darren Waller average 16.7, which is great until you realize that Diggs averaged 27.1 and Kamara had a 30.2 point average

In my opinion, there’s not a single tight end worth more than an early-first round rookie pick in dynasty. Guys like George Kittle, Mark Andrews, and T.J. Hockenson are nice to have and provide great consistency at a position that is consistently tough to predict, but you’d be giving up an opportunity at game-breaking-type talents (ex. week-winners) that provide astronomical upside at a different position.

Underrated Dynasty Assets

Chris Godwin

There’s a large belief that Chris Godwin will be on a different team in 2021, but if I’m being honest, I don’t think it matters much.

Yes, he had a down year, but that was also with a new quarterback in town and battling through multiple injuries. He’ll be 25 going into next year and heading into the prime of his career. Don’t let this down year distract you from that fact that he is only one season removed from finishing as the overall WR2.

In 2020, he finished as the WR16 in Fantasy Points per Game, which is disappointing considering where he was drafted this year, but great receivers have down years. And if a down year is only a middle-of-the-pack WR2, I’ll take that every time. 

Godwin is still firmly in my top 10 WRs in dynasty and is as close to the “perfect receiver” as one can get. His talent will prevail no matter where he lands in free agency. 

Diontae Johnson

Diontae Johnson got a ton of attention this year and it wasn’t necessarily a good thing. He finished the season with the most drops by a receiver this season, so how could I think he is underrated going into the offseason, you ask?

There’s another category that he finished at the top of and that would be Hog Rate, which is a great statistic to show the attention a player receives when they are on the field. Even though he struggled with drops, the Steelers showed their dedication to Johnson, and we should too.

Diontae finished the year with 144 targets, which ranked No. 6 among wide receivers, and yet he was only able to put up enough fantasy points to finish as a back end WR2. Why? Well, not only did he struggle with drops, but pair that with a 75.0-percent (No. 65) Catchable Target Rate and you get the perfect storm for a player to disappoint despite fantastic volume!

With current teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster likely departing in free agency and rumblings that the Steelers could be looking to replace Ben Roethlisberger, Johnson has a great opportunity to grab the “alpha” role in Pittsburgh moving forward.

Jalen Hurts

The Eagles have traded Carson Wentz, so what does that mean for Jalen Hurts?

In the three games that Hurts started and played all of, he was QB3 during that time. He has all the attributes and tools to be a top-5 fantasy quarterback. The Wentz trade sets Hurts up to be the next young quarterback to break out in a huge way next year. Think 2019 Lamar Jackson and 2020 Josh Allen.

I know that he struggled in the passing game in the few games he started, but I’d like to remind you of what he was able to do in his last year at Oklahoma. In 14 games, he threw for 3,851 yards, 32 tds and 8 INTs at a 69.7-percent completition percentage. Neither Jackson or Allen came close to those type of passing numbers coming out of college and here they are, easy top-10 dynasty QBs.

Hurts has shown us what he can do with his legs when trying to play for an awful Eagles team last year, but I think he will surprise a lot of people when he shows us that he can throw at an elite level as well. I expect him to rocket into the top-10 at his position with ease by the end of next year.

Jalen Hurts to the moon!

Courtland Sutton

This is just a friendly reminder that Courtland Sutton is really good at football and will remind us why we were considering him to be a fringe-WR1 going into the 2020 season.

Sutton took some massive strides forward in 2019 to put together a 72-catch, 1,112-yard, six-score campaign. He finished as a top-20 receiver with some of the worst quarterback play in the league that year.

The obvious concerns are that the Broncos drafted Jerry Jeudy and that Drew Lock hasn’t show much consistency to provide some confidence for the future. But Sutton has all of the tools to be a true alpha WR in the league and his priced has significantly fallen since his injury that ended his 2020 campaign.

Ezekiel Elliott

I almost said “almost every running back” instead of just talking about Ezekiel Elliott in particular, but I really want to emphasize the overreaction we’ve seen this season regarding his output.

I understand that people really like Tony Pollard, but Elliott isn’t just going to disappear. There’s too much tied to him at this point in Dallas, money or otherwise. Even in a down year, 2020 will be his fifth straight time finishing as an RB1. It wasn’t pretty, but he made it happen.

@KayneRob wrote an article before this past season about how many times a back will typically finishes as an “RB1” during their career and only two runners have finished as an RB1 more than six times: LaDainian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson. And they both finished their careers with eight total finishes; somehow. Not to mention Peterson is still playing in the league.

Some would argue that Elliott is in a similar spot to Aaron Jones, but to be frank, I’d bet my life on the idea that Elliott finishes as an RB1 for another 3-4 years over Jones. The Cowboys have already committed long-term (until 2027, if we’re looking at contract details) and he may go down as one of the great backs of all-time.

Too many people are going to give up on him too early and for the right price, I’d look to add him in a heartbeat.

StayINg patient and trusting your process!

I wanted to touch on this because I made some mistakes this past year with the 2020 rookies in my dynasty leagues that I learned a lot from!

Justin Herbert and Cam Akers were two players that I absolutely adored going into the season. I drafted Akers and then traded for Herbert, but they weren’t necessarily doing great through the first quarter of the season. I then let other people, such as friends or Twitter, convince me that I was too high on them coming in and I ended up trading them for Dalvin Cook. That may not sound awful, but if I would have shown some patience with the rookies and trusted that I was looking for the right things, I could have gotten A LOT more.

You obviously don’t want to be stagnant in dynasty because player values are constantly changing, but when it specifically comes to rookies, we have to give them some extra time to get accustomed to the NFL. We’ve been spoiled over the past couple of years seeing rookies come into the NFL and be dominant right away.

So, I encourage anyone reading this article to practice some patience going into 2021. I’m here to tell you to trust yourself and let the situation play itself out!

If you are looking for some entertainment and want to get to know some folks on twitter this offseason, check out the @FPOpodcast_ for some light hearted fun!