Fantasy Football 2021: Early Sleepers, Dynasty Tips and Team Names

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2021

Fantasy Football 2021: Early Sleepers, Dynasty Tips and Team Names

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    With daily fantasy sports (DFS) becoming a staple in the fantasy football community, dynasty leagues can feel like relics of the past. However, while drafting new teams each week—or even multiple times a day—can provide instant gratification, dynasty formats can provide a lasting sense of satisfaction.

    The trick, of course, is to be successful at maintaining a team over the long haul. Fans of long-suffering NFL franchises can tell you that there's no fun in losing year after year.

    Rookies inevitably become a big part of the equation. Just like in the real world, only a handful of players are drafted each year. Just like in the real world, picking a bust can set a franchise back for several seasons, while identifying a sleeper can set a manager's squad up for sustained success.

    With this in mind, we're here to examine some early dynasty sleepers, tips for drafting in the format and team names centered around the 2021 NFL rookie class.

    First, though, a look at the top 10 rookie rankings for dynasty and keeper formats. Rankings are based on points-per-reception (PPR) scoring.

Dynasty Rookie Top 10

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    1. Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

    2. Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons

    3. Ja'Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

    4. Travis Etienne, RB/WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

    5. DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

    6. Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos

    7. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins

    8. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

    9. Elijah Moore, WR, New York Jets

    10. Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens

Dynasty Drafting Tips

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    If this is your inaugural dynasty draft, it's best to approach it as you would a traditional multi-team draft—according to your scoring format. There is one caveat, however. Age and future situations must be considered.

    There's nothing wrong with scooping up a quarterback like Tom Brady for the immediate future, but managers had better have a long-term replacement plan. It's fine to grab a player like Davante Adams, but if you truly believe that this will b his final season with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, it'll be best not to overvalue him.

    In short, it's wise not to overdraft players in the latter stages of their careers or those facing uncertain situations beyond the 2021 season. It's far better to target players entering a five-year window of elite production—think younger players like Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffrey, Justin Jefferson and Kyle Pitts.

    When drafting to fill out rosters after Year 1, however, rookies and breakout stars should be at the top of the wish list. If a veteran has slipped through the proverbial crack, by all means, grab him. Your best value, though, is usually going to come in the form of first-year players.

    When drafting rookies, prioritize players who are joining an established supporting cast and those looking at prominent roles. Pittsburgh Steelers running Najee Harris is a great example. He is joining a playoff team and is expected to be the centerpiece of Pittsburgh's ground game.

    Drafting for need and for future need is also important. If, for example, you have soon-to-be 44-year-old Tom Brady at quarterback, it would be smart to scoop up a rookie signal-caller like Trevor Lawrence or Zach Wilson.

Rookie Sleepers

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    When searching for dynasty sleepers, many of the aforementioned draft rules apply. Upside and supporting cast are key factors, and it's best to consider a prospect's five-year outlook.

    In the short term, though, opportunity can be the biggest benefit for potential fantasy sleepers.

    For example, Washington Football Team wideout Dyami Brown is likely to see some early opportunities. Terry McLaurin is the only truly established Washington receiver returning from 2020, and Brown will be competing with the likes of Curtis Samuel and Adam Humphries—both offseason additions—for complementary touches.

    Brown, a third-round pick out of North Carolina, has the potential to out-produce receiver drafted ahead of him this past spring.

    When examining long-term outlook, coaching and the supporting cast are extremely critical. San Francisco 49ers rookie Trey Lance isn't expected to start right away, but he has the tools needed to eventually overtake Jimmy Garoppolo as the team's No. 1 quarterback.

    "He will take some time to develop his consistency as a thrower and to the speed of the NFL game, but Lance's natural traits and work ethic make his upside sky-high, with more nuance to his game that suggests his floor is higher than meets the eye," Nate Tice of the B/R Scouting Department wrote.

    With an established coach in Kyle Shanahan and weapons like George Kittle, Debo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, Lance has tremendous staying power.

Sleepers to Target

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    Amari Rodgers, WR, Green Bay Packers

    Dyami Brown, WR, Washington Football Team

    Anthony Schwartz, WR, Cleveland Browns

    Cornell Powell, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

    Dazz Newsome, WR, Chicago Bears

    Michael Carter, RB, New York Jets

    Larry Roundtree, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

    Chris Evans, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

    Gerrid Doaks, RB, Miami Dolphins

    Pat Freiermuth, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers

    Kenny Yeboah, TE, New York Jets

    Trey Lance, QB, San Francisco 49ers

Rooke-Themed Team Names

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    Zach to the Future

    Mac Attack

    Lawrence and Order

    Fields of Dreams

    Najee, I'm Good

    Chase Jam

    50 Shades of Trey

    Liquid Schwartz

    DeVonta's Inferno

    Moore Wins, Please!

    Bateman Begins

    Pitts' Creek

    Ja'Marr & B