Carrying on with our season-long redraft rankings. Part 2 is live below, taking a look Round 4-ish players.
You can recap Part 1 (Round 5-ish players 60 thru 49) here. Let’s go:
48) Julio Jones WR Atlanta (2020 PPG: 16.2, Age: 31)
Likely depending on how much Jones you’re sitting on across your various dynasty rosters, this will seem either incredibly low or far too high for an all-time player. For both dynasty and redraft purposes, Jones seems to have slid back as the “WR2” in the Atlanta, getting bypassed by a younger Calvin Ridley, a player that exploded in his third season.
Jones also only played 9 games in 2020, which is concerning for a player of his age. But despite any and all risk factors, Jones will be hard to pass up with a 4th round ADP entering drafts this offseason. He still is a potential week-winner any time he steps on the field and provided Atlanta does not break up the Matt Ryan-Jones-Ridley passing game, expect Jones to equal or exceed his PPG.
47) Diontae Johnson WR Pittsburgh (2020 PPG: 14.9, Age: 24)
Diontae Johnson broke out in 2020 as the leading receiver in Pittsburgh. Despite playing in only 14 games, Johnson led the Steelers with 923 yards receiving in only his second year in the league. JuJu Smith-Schuster is a free agent and will most likely sign with another team.
We do have some concerning drops for Johnson, and an ascending talent in Chase Claypool challenging him for surefire WR1-status, but I expect Johnson to have 95 or more catches in 2021. He is a talented player on a team that values him. Some rankings will have Claypool higher than Johnson, but I lean Johnson based on his target floor.
46) Clyde Edwards-Helaire RB Kansas City (2020 PPG: 13.5, Age: 21)
The Fantasy community rejoiced when Edwards-Helaire was drafted in the first-round by the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs last year.
The top-notch receiving back was looked at as a perfect fit in a Pat Mahomes/Andy Reid offense. He immediately became a locked-in second-round pick in redraft, and a first-rounder in most dynasty start-ups. When Damien Williams opted out of the 2020 season amongst all the COVID-19 unknowns, the rookie rocketed up to mid-first-round status.
Week 1 was an immediate coming out party as he rushed for 138 yards and 1 touchdown against Houston. Later in the season, he had a 168-yard outburst against Buffalo. Those two outstanding performances were great, but he was a disappointing selection for redraft teams overall, given where he was going in August drafts or so.
He averaged less than 4 yards per carry, and only had 36 receptions. He could potentially make a huge leap next season, but I am apprehensive. Williams could return, and the Chiefs could also add someone (via the draft or free agency). He could be a 3rd rounder, but for now the 4th round sounds about right.
45) Tee Higgins WR Cincinnati (2020 PPG: 13.0, Age: 21)
One of the most exciting rookies in a deep and talented 2020 wide receiver class this past season, Higgins started the year slowly and chipped away at the pecking order, making big plays all along the way. By mid-season, there was no doubt that he was the wide receiver to own in Cincinnati (and players like A.J. Green were an afterthought for fantasy teams).
With Green set to depart, Higgins should take another leap forward in 2021. He will be a player a lot of us will aggressively target in redraft and dynasty startups. At 6-4, 215, Higgins has all the makings of a true, standout WR1. He showed a great connection with fellow rookie Joe Burrow, but also showed he could perform when Burrow was lost for the season. This ranking feels low for Higgins, and he could rise up our rankings all summer.
44) Will Fuller WR Houston (2020 PPG: 17.2, Age: 26)
With the departure of DeAndre Hopkins, the oft-injured Fuller had the best opportunity of his career to be a true, steady WR1. This past summer, he rose up draft boards, and by the time September drafts took place, Fuller was a trendy selection in the 5th round.
By the midway point of the season, Fuller looked like one of the best value picks in all of fantasy football: He averaged a sizzling 17.2 PPG (8th overall among wide receivers) and displayed outstanding consistency. At one point, Fuller scored a touchdown in six straight games.
His season reached its pinnacle on Thanksgiving Day against Detroit. In a national broadcast in front of all of America, Fuller exploded with 7 catches for 171 yards and 2 scores. What followed was a crushing blow not only to the Texans, but to everyone who rostered Fuller in fantasy: A season-long suspension related to PED use.
2021 will give Fuller a chance to reclaim his spot as Deshaun Watson’s WR1, but a few factors will prevent Fuller from moving higher up the list: 1) The presence of Brandin Cooks (who was considered for this top-60), 2) Fuller’s injury plagued history, and 3) a suspension that will keep Fuller out of the first game of the season. Expect Fuller to settle in as a 4th/5th round selection in most PPR leagues.
43) Robert Woods WR Los Angeles Rams (2020 PPG: 15.8, Age: 28)
When I initially did these rankings, I had Woods lower. But the more and more you analyze Woods’ game and steady-impact, it is very hard to have him any lower than mid-40s.
He is the model of consistency in terms of PPR production, and has a coach who manufactures touches for him. This past season, he averaged 15.8 PPG (15.2 back in 2019). Target-wise, he now has three straight seasons with at least 129, and in 2020, he saw a career high 24 rushing attempts.
The Rams showed their confidence in Woods with a $65 million dollar contract extension, and there are no worries on him seeing a decreased role or playing for a new team. He is a perfect receiver for a limited QB like Jared Goff — and a great draft pick for risk-averse fantasy managers. Expect more of the same in 2021.
42) Chris Godwin WR Tampa Bay (2020 PPG: 14.6, Age: 24)
In 2019, Chris Godwin was the second-highest scoring WR in all of football with a spectacular 19.7 PPG. Fantasy drafters confidently took Godwin in the 2nd round of drafts all summer-long. What followed was a disappointing season: Godwin played in only 11 games, and his PPG dropped all the way down to 14.6 (Godwin did have a monster 133 yards and 2 touchdown performance for Week 17, but we did not count Week 17 stats for the purpose of these early rankings).
2021 will be a great chance at a rebound season. Godwin is only 24-years old and has shown he is an elite talent in this league. Fantasy managers can look forward to a discounted 3rd/4th round price for a player going in the teens last season. Free agency is looming and could change our outlook on Godwin if he is able to sign with a team that would show him a [DeAndre] Hopkins/Stefon Diggs-like target share. If he stays in Tampa Bay, it will be in another “1A/1B situation” with teammate and fellow standout Mike Evans; Godwin could be a potential riser in our rankings.
41) Terry McLaurin WR Washington (2020 PPG: 14.8, Age: 25)
In 2020, Washington had a new coach, a new offensive coordinator, and four different signal-callers under center, but McLaurin was still able to improve over his impressive rookie season to the tune of 87 catches for 1100-plus yards. However, McLaurin had a disappointing 4 scores, down from 7 as a rookie. Look for McLaurin as a positive regression entering 2021, and a third-year player that could potentially crack WR1 status.
Expect better and more consistent QB-play this year from Washington no matter who they bring in this offseason. The emergence of Antonio Gibson should help the offense as a whole, and give McLaurin a chance at an even higher PPG. He will be a target in the 4th round in redraft leagues.
40) Chris Carson RB Seattle (2020 PPG: 16.1, Age: 26)
2021 has a lot of enticing young runners who will be justifiably buzzed about all offseason, but as long as Chris Carson is attached to Russell Wilson, he will be a locked-in RB2 until further notice.
In 2020, Carson only played in 11 games, but averaged 16.1 PPG, a slight improvement over his 15.5 in 2019. Carson is a capable runner (4.8 YPC) and a solid receiver (4 receiving scores). He also is a potential building block back for teams that want to target WR (or TE) early in drafts.
The former 7th round draft pick has continually exceeded expectations and held onto the starting job in Seattle. The firing of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer leaves a few questions up in the air as we enter the offseason, but we can expect another solid season from Carson.
39) Mike Evans WR Tampa Bay (2020 PPG: 15.5, Age: 27)
Tom Brady’s arrival in Tampa Bay certainly did not hurt Mike Evans in the touchdown department as he finished 4th in the NFL with 13 total scores; this high total helped Evans overcome a career low of 109 targets. There were a few games with very low yardage totals, but Evans would save the day with a timely touchdown in the red area on a consistent basis. Inside the 5-yard line, there are few pass-catchers better in the NFL.
One of the standouts from the legendary 2014 (WR) draft class, Evans can safely be viewed as a WR2 in 2021. There is a chance that he could see a considerable volume spike if [Chris] Godwin were to leave as a free agent.
38) Kenny Golladay WR Detroit (2020 PPG: 13.2, Age: 27)
In 2019, Kenny Golladay had career highs with 1190 receiving yards coupled with 11 scores. This past offseason, he was a coveted player, going off the board in the 2nd/3rd rounds. The Christian McCaffrey– or Saquon Barkley-start combined with Golladay was a popular way for many teams to begin the early portion of their drafts.
Golladay started the season with touchdowns in his first two games, and two 100-yard performances in October, but a strained hip flexor cut his season short and he only played in five games total.
An impending free agent, Golladay will now fall somewhere around the 3rd/4th round of drafts. He could be a great value selection and depending on his landing spot, Golladay could rise up our rankings.
37) Adam Thielen WR Minnesota (2020 PPG: 17.5, Age: 30)
Despite the presence of all-world running back Dalvin Cook and immediate-impact rookie wideout Justin Jefferson, Thielen led the NFL in receiving touchdowns with 14. While we will not see the 130-140 target seasons of 2017 and 2018, Thielen is still one of the top receivers in the league, and has shown no signs of slowing down.
He has a great connection with Kirk Cousins and has two years left on his contract. Jefferson’s meteoric rise in drafts will keep Thielen as a great value once again in 2021. For teams that draft running backs early, Thielen will be a great target in 3rd/4th round range. Don’t overthink it.