Fantasy Football 2021: Flex Rankings, Team Names and More Draft Cheat Sheets

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIAugust 25, 2021

Fantasy Football 2021: Flex Rankings, Team Names and More Draft Cheat Sheets

0 of 5

    Stacy Bengs/Associated Press

    For fantasy football managers, there's no better time than the start of a new season. It marks a fresh opportunity and the beginning of four or five months of fun.

    While the NFL season doesn't begin until Sept. 9, the two weeks leading up to it will be enjoyable in the fantasy world because of drafts. If your league hasn't already held its talent grab, then it will be coming up soon. And it's exciting to prepare strategies and map out which players you want to land for 2021.

    Of course, a good draft isn't the key to fantasy success. It can help you build a strong core, but you're going to be hard at work all season trying to build depth and finding ways to better your lineup. But it's important to have a strong base.

    Here are some tools to help you prepare for your fantasy football drafts, from team-name suggestions to flex rankings to tips to consider.

Team Names to Consider

1 of 5

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Home Sweet Mahomes

    Run CMC

    Hot Chubb Time Machine

    Lights, Kamara, Action

    Mr. Rodgers' Neighborhood

    Cobra Kyler

    Hurts So Good

    Dak to the Future

    Can't Stop the Thielen

    Fantasy Football Team

    Fresh Prince of Helaire

    Jake Fromm State Farm

    Fant Touch This

    Pop Lockett Drop It

    Catalina Wine Mixon

Top-40 Flex Rankings

2 of 5

    Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

    1. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

    2. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

    3. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

    4. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

    5. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

    6. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

    7. Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills

    8. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

    9. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

    10. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

    11. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

    12. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

    13. Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons

    14. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals

    15. Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

    16. Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

    17. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts

    18. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

    19. Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

    20. Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team

    21. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

    22. DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks

    23. Allen Robinson II, WR, Chicago Bears

    24. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

    25. A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans

    26. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

    27. Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Football Team

    28. David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears

    29. Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks

    30. Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders

    31. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys

    32. D'Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions

    33. J.K. Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens

    34. Darrell Henderson Jr., RB, Los Angeles Rams

    35. James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

    36. Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys

    37. Julio Jones, WR, Tennessee Titans

    38. Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks

    39. Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    40. Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Don't Overthink It with a Top-4 Pick

3 of 5

    Derick Hingle/Associated Press

    Many fantasy managers want to consider all their options with a pick, especially their first-round selection. After all, it's the time in the draft when all of the best players in the NFL are still on the board for the taking. It can be overwhelming with all the available talent.

    However, if you're fortunate enough to have a top-four pick this year, keep one thing in mind: Don't overthink your selection. There are four clear running backs who are above the rest and should be taken in succession to begin your draft.

    Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey should be the first player selected, while Minnesota's Dalvin Cook, New Orleans' Alvin Kamara and Tennessee's Derrick Henry should follow him off the board in some order. And that's the way it should go, no matter how enticing players such as Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams or Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce might be.

    McCaffrey, Cook, Kamara and Henry are workhorse running backs who are guaranteed a large number of touches (barring injury) and will be the stars of the fantasy season. So, make sure you come away with one of them if you have a top-four selection, because they're each too valuable to pass up.

Load Up on RBs Early in the Draft

4 of 5

    Daniel Kucin Jr./Associated Press

    It can't be overstated how important it is to have two or three clear starting running backs in fantasy football these days. There are plenty of teams splitting carries and rotating numerous players in and out of the backfield, and those situations can be tricky to navigate for fantasy managers.

    If things line up for you to take a running back in each of the first two rounds, capitalize on that. Even if you miss one of the top four running backs, you could land somebody like Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley or Nick Chubb late in the first round and pair him with a second-round back such as Joe Mixon, Antonio Gibson or Najee Harris.

    Sure, you'll miss out on the top few wide receivers and Kelce, but those are positions that have depth and can be addressed later in the draft. In the later rounds, there are no running backs with guaranteed touches, just those who likely will only see the field if there are injuries ahead of them on the depth chart or they somehow get a breakthrough opportunity.

    Perhaps even take three running backs in the first four rounds. By doing so, you'll have RBs who can anchor your roster while using the waiver wire to improve other positions throughout the season, which is much easier to do than it is with running backs.

It's Fine to Wait for a QB

5 of 5

    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    If you're loading up on running backs and picking up a few wide receivers in the first half of your draft, you're going to miss the top-tier quarterbacks. That includes Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes, Buffalo's Josh Allen, Arizona's Kyler Murray and others.

    But don't worry. There are some quarterbacks getting taken around the middle of fantasy drafts who have a strong chance of outperforming their projections for the 2021 season. So they could end up being steals who allow you to build other areas of your roster first.

    For example, Ryan Tannehill's average draft position in standard fantasy leagues is late in the eighth round, per Fantasy Football Calculator. In case you forgot, the Titans quarterback passed for 3,819 yards and 33 touchdowns last season. And now, Julio Jones has joined Tennessee's receiving corps. So Tannehill could be in line for a big year.

    If you're not high on Tannehill, then Philadelphia's Jalen Hurts and Cincinnati's Joe Burrow also have ADPs in the eighth round or later. These are two potential breakout quarterbacks who could become reliable starting options in 2021.

    And if for some reason they're busts, there will be plenty of breakout QB options on the waiver wire midseason, making this strategy a smart one to consider.