2021 Fantasy Football: Five players we're not sure you can trust next season

Yahoo Sports Fantasy Staff
·4-min read

With the 2020 fantasy football season in the books, let’s look forward to the future and next season. Our analysts each reveal one player they’re not sure they can trust next season.

Have to fade Brady at some point

Andy Behrens: In addition to producing exceptional and unprecedented stats for a 40-something quarterback, Tom Brady also helped lead my best 2020 fantasy squad to a title. He’s been tremendous, both in reality and the fake game. And still, I’m pretty sure I’ll be out on his 2021 season, except in Super-flex. It’s not just the fact that he turns 44 in August, although that’s an obvious worry. It feels like we’ve left the era in which we could bank on non-rushing QBs to carry us in fantasy. Unless you can actually forecast a 40-plus TD season for a passer — and, realistically, you can’t really do that for anyone — then it’s tough to ignore the weekly floor available from Allen, Murray, Watson, Jackson, et al.

Don’t be fooled by Montgomery’s 2020 finish

Dalton Del Don: As much as it pains me, I have to agree with Andy Behrens when it comes to fading David Montgomery next year. He finished as the No. 4 fantasy RB in 0.5 PPR leagues, and feature backs are increasingly rare, so he’ll no doubt be drafted early in 2021. Montgomery impressed during his strong second half of the year, but don’t forget during the offseason just how easy his schedule was down the stretch. Moreover, Tarik Cohen is also set to return to Chicago, so a lesser role in the passing game seems certain. The Bears will also likely continue to have a QB problem and, for some reason, plan to run it back with Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace, so I won’t be trusting Montgomery at his likely lofty ADP.

Gordon’s best days might be in past

Scott Pianowski: It’s probably a good time to step away from Melvin Gordon. I get it, he was RB13 this year, and the Broncos have an interesting offense. But Gordon’s efficiency as a pass-catcher fell through the floor (4.9 per catch, 3.6 per target), and he’s entering his age-28 season, which has become what age-30 and up used to be at the running back spot. You need to stay young at this position. If I’m a year early on a Gordon cliff season, so it goes. Gravity always wins.

Thielen not the Vikings WR to chase

Liz Loza: With Stefon Diggs in Buffalo, Adam Thielen’s fantasy numbers skyrocketed. The local product increased his fantasy production by nearly 4.5 points per game from 2019 to 2020. His presence in the red zone (20 targets, WR3) obviously helped take his numbers (14 TDs, WR3) to the next level. But he wasn’t the only Vikings receiver to make a leap. After Minnesota’s Week 7 bye, Justin Jefferson’s playing time went way up. While the vet was on the field for close to 4 more snaps per game, Jefferson out-targeted Thielen by a margin of 8.9:6.5 from Weeks 8 through 17. He was also top-seven in air yards, averaging 93.1 per game (to Thielen’s 86.1/gm). With Jefferson likely to continue his ascent, and assuming the defense begins to mature, fantasy managers rostering Thielen may be chasing TDs … which rarely leads to consistent output.

New team won’t help JuJu’s prospects

Matt Harmon: There’s going to be a ton of hype about a stacked free-agent wide receiver class in 2021 but unless he lands in a gorgeous spot, it’ll be tough to get me amped up about JuJu Smith-Schuster. The last two seasons have exposed his narrow skill-set. There’s a reason Ben Roethlisberger so heavily dialed into new players like Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool despite their mistakes. They offer greater possibilities as outside, downfield separators than Smith-Schuster. His next team will likely be aware of the same limitations. You just don’t funnel healthy offenses through players like this, so it’s a stretch to imagine him ever garnering 120-plus targets again. I don’t care one bit about him dancing on logos or any of that, but I also don’t care about any of the “age-adjusted” production glory from his first two seasons either.

We also asked you, the people, for the players you’re wary of next season: