Fantasy Football 2021: QB, RB, WR, TE Rankings and Top Sleepers

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2021

Fantasy Football 2021: QB, RB, WR, TE Rankings and Top Sleepers

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    Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

    We're now in the third and final week of the 2021 NFL preseason. Time is running short for managers in season-long fantasy leagues to conduct their drafts. The Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are set to kick off the regular season on September 9, and few leagues will wait until opening day to draft.

    This, of course, means that there's even less time for predraft prep. Fortunately, we're here to help with a crash course in the latest rankings and sleepers to know with the preseason wrapping. We'll dive into the key fantasy positions—quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end—and pick out a few top sleepers to consider on draft day.

    All rankings and picks are based on point-per-reception (PPR) scoring.


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    1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

    2. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

    3. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

    4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

    5. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

    6. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

    7. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

    8. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

    9. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    10. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

    11. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

    12. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals


    Sleeper: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Washington Football Team

    Journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn't been named the Washington Football Team's starting quarterback just yet. However, the seasoned veteran makes the most sense for a Washington team with an improved receiving corps and playoff aspirations.

    "He's smart, he understands, he's been around, so he's going to be a great addition for you guys, especially even just in the locker room and dealing with coaches," Hall of Famer Dan Marino told 106.7 The Fan.

    Though Fitzpatrick has never established himself as a high-end starter, he's been a fine fantasy option in recent years. In 2020, he averaged 256 yards and 1.7 touchdowns per start. In an offense that now features J.D. McKissic, Terry McLaurin, Adam Humphries, Curtis Samuel, Logan Thomas and Dyami Brown, he could be even more productive.

    Fitzpatrick should be viewed as a quality streaming option, and with an average draft position (ADP) of 185, he's being significantly undervalued.

Running Back

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    1. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

    2. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

    3. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

    4. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

    5. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys 

    6. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

    7. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

    8. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts

    8. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys 

    9. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

    10. Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

    11. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

    12. Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team

    13. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs

    14. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks

    15. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

    16. J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens

    17. D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions

    18. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders

    19. Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns

    20. Damien Harris, New England Patriots


    Sleeper: Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots

    With Sony Michel being traded to the Los Angeles Rams, Damien Harris lands in our top 20 for PPR running backs. Though not a premier PPR back (only five receptions last season), Harris averaged just over 70 scrimmage yards per game last season even with Michel, James White and others in the fold.

    If you're going to draft Harris, though, it's smart to pick up rookie fourth-round pick Rhamondre Stevenson as well. Based on what we've seen in the preseason, Stevenson has a good chance of supplanting Harris as the team's primary ball-carrier.

    Stevenson rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns in the opener and had 74 scrimmage yards and two more scores in Week 2. 

    Even if you don't draft Harris, Stevenson is worth a flier in the mid-to-late rounds because of his upside. He still has Harris and White ahead of him on the depth chart, but that may not last. With an ADP of 194, he too is being seriously undervalued.

Wide Receiver

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    1. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

    2. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills

    3. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

    4. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals

    5. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers

    6. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

    7. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons

    8. Allen Robinson II, Chicago Bears

    9. DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

    10. A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans

    11. CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys

    12. Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team

    13. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    14. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    15. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams

    16. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys

    17. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks

    18. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers

    19. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings

    20. Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns


    Sleeper: Marquez Callaway, New Orleans Saints

    The preseason can be deceiving, which is why Stevenson isn't a mid-round lock. The same is true for New Orleans Saints wideout Marquez Callaway.

    A 2020 undrafted free agent out of Tennessee, Callaway had 21 receptions for 213 yards as a rookie. However, he's been a breakout star this preseason. He had three receptions for 61 yards in the preseason opener and five for 104 and two touchdowns in Week 2.

    Adding to Callaway's upside is the fact that Emmanuel Sanders departed in the offseason, while No. 1 target Michael Thomas is expected to miss significant time following June ankle surgery. There's a realistic chance that Callaway could be New Orleans' de facto No. 1 receiver early in the season.

    The pending return of Thomas must be considered, though. Callaway may be a big asset early but potentially bench-worthy by the fantasy playoffs. Still, if he can help you win early games, he's worth a flier, and with an ADP of 168, he shouldn't carry a ton of risk. 

Tight End

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    1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

    2. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders

    3. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

    4. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions

    5. Noah Fant, Denver Broncos

    6. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

    7. Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

    8. Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers

    9. Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team

    10. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

    11. Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings

    12. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams


    Sleeper: Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks

    There is still an elite group of tight ends at the top, consisting of Travis Kelce, Darren Waller and George Kittle. However, the second tier is vast with more than enough starting-caliber options to fill a 12-team league.

    One tight end who could move into that second tier this season is Gerald Everett of the Seattle Seahawks. With an ADP of 195, he isn't being valued there currently, but he's in a terrific situation and has been productive in the past.

    Last year with the Los Angeles Rams, Everett caught 41 passes for 417 yards and a touchdown. However he was splitting time with Tyler Higbee, who started 15 games. He should split time with Will Dissly in Seattle, but Dissly has a notable injury history (he played only 10 games between 2018 and 2019).

    Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron spent the last four years in Los Angeles and will know how to maximize Everett in the offense. With an elite quarterback in Russell Wilson under center, Everett has serious upside and is worth that late-round flier.