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AFC North 2021 Fantasy Football Profile

AFC North 2021 Fantasy Football Profile

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Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens addressed a huge need at Wide Receiver after letting Willie Sneed walk during the offseason adding Sammy Watkins in Free Agency then drafting Rashod Bateman in the first round. Orlando Brown was traded to Kansas City but, the additions of Alejandro Villanueva in Free Agency and Ben Cleveland in the Draft should solidify the unit headed into 2021. The subtraction of Mark Ingram will free up 23% of the Running Back snaps which will most likely be divided between J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. With increased production from the Wide Receiver position, Baltimore should be an elite offense in 2021.

Lamar Jackson

  • Per the NFL Season Long Study Hub, Jackson finished 2020 at QB10 scoring 333 Standard and PPR points in 15 games.
  • Attempted only 376 passes in 2020 which is the second-lowest total for Quarterbacks that started 15 or more games. Only Cam Newton threw less passes.
  • Accrued 159 rushing attempts in 2020 racking up 1,005 yards via the ground game.
  • Threw 26 touchdowns and added 7 touchdowns on the ground.
  • Total attempts (Passing and Rushing) in 2020 resulted in a 9.2% decrease from his 2019 MVP season.
  • If Jackson sees an uptick in attempts, he could return to elite fantasy status in 2021.

J.K. Dobbins

  • Finished the 2020 season at RB17 in Standard leagues and RB24 in PPR leagues per the NFL Season Long Study Hub.
  • Dobbins played 48% of the snaps accruing a 26% Market Share (MS) of the Running Back Carries.
  • Only received 2 targets per game.
  • Attempted 25 rushes inside the 20, 13 inside the 10, and 8 inside the 10.
  • Accumulated 9 rushing touchdowns and 0 receiving touchdowns.
  • An increase in Snap% should help Dobbins but, the lack of usage through the air is concerning in PPR formats.

Gus Edwards

  • Per the NFL Season Long Study Hub, Edwards finished the 2020 season at RB28 in Standard leagues and RB37 in PPR leagues.
  • Listed as a Late Round Target and Sleeper in the Quick Picks Sheet.
  • Played 34% of the snaps accruing a 26% MS of the Running Back Carries.
  • Minimal usage in the passing game with only .81 targets per game.
  • Attempted 25 rushes inside the 20, 17 inside the 10, and 9 inside the 5.
  • Ended 2020 with 6 rushing touchdowns and 0 receiving touchdowns.
  • Like Dobbins, should benefit from an increase in snap % but, his usage in the passing game is nonexistent.
  • Late-round value given how close his production was to Dobbins and their current ADP difference.

Marquise Brown

  • Per the NFL Season Long Study Hub, Brown finished as WR33 in Standard leagues and WR36 in PPR leagues.
  • Played 78% of the snaps racking up 100 targets and a 25.6% MS.
  • Clearly the WR1 for this team but, Baltimore runs 57.8% of their plays. League average run percentage is 43.4%.
  • Received 39.3% of the team’s air yards in 2020.
  • Ranked 8th in ADOT among WRs with at lest 100 targets.
  • Tallied 8 receiving touchdowns with 5 coming inside the 20 yard line.
  • Saw 10 targets inside the 20 yard line and 6 targets inside the 10.
  • High upside and usage in the Ravens’ offense. Should continue to develop in year 3 of his career.

Sammy Watkins

  • Acquired as a free agent.
  • Finished 2020 as WR96 in Standard leagues and WR87 in PPR leagues.
  • Missed 6 games in 2020 with a concussion and hamstring strain
  • Tallied a 12.8% MS on Kansas City in 2020.
  • Has been inconsistent his whole career and has been riddled with injuries.
  • If you draft Watkins, you’re banking on touchdown upside at the end of the draft.

Rashod Bateman

  • Drafted 27th overall in the 2021 Draft.
  • Third wide receiver listed in the Rookie Big Board.
  • Strong receiver in 50/50 scenarios which should bode well in the red zone
  • He could take MS away from Marquise Brown if he performs well.
  • Not a burner but, should be a solid possession receiver.
  • High upside in a Ravens’ offense that needs a WR2.

Mark Andrews

  • Finished 2020 as TE4 in Standard leagues and TE6 in PPR leagues.
  • Listed in Best Ball Stacks with Lamar Jackson.
  • Played 65% of the snaps racking up 88 targets and a 25% MS.
  • Accumulated 26.2% of the team’s air yards in 2020 per NFL Next Gen Stats.
  • Tallied 7 receiving touchdowns with 4 coming in the red zone.
  • Saw 16 targets inside the 20 yard line and 9 inside the 10.
  • Red zone threat and high volume target for Lamar Jackson.
  • Elite fantasy TE who should continue to produce at a high level in 2021.

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Cleveland Browns

Cleveland is going to run out the same cast of characters that we saw in 2020. The only relevant upgrade, for fantasy purposes, was Anthony Schwartz who was drafted in the third round of the Draft. I expect Cleveland to continue to run a run-first offense in which they ranked 4th in rushing attempts and 28th in passing attempts in 2020. This offense is going to start with the running backs and they have two good running backs to rely on!

Baker Mayfield

  • Finished 2020 as QB17 in Standard and PPR leagues.
  • Listed as a Faller in the Quick Picks Sheet.
  • Cleveland ranked 28th in pass attempts in 2020.
  • He threw for 3,563 yard and 26 touchdowns in 16 games.
  • 21 of his touchdowns came inside the 20 yard line with 17 of those coming inside the 10.
  • Tacked on 165 rushing yards in 2020 but, that won’t be enough to have a rushing floor on a weekly basis.
  • Clearly a game manager for this team. Will only pass at a high volume if the game script demands it.

Nick Chubb

  • Finished 2020 as RB9 in Standard leagues and RB11 in PPR leagues.
  • Missed 4 games in 2020 with a MCL injury.
  • 2nd in NFL in rushing in 2019.
  • Racked up a 49% MS for running back carries in just 12 games.
  • Rushed for 12 touchdowns with 10 coming in the red zone.
  • Received 38 carries inside to 20 yard line, 21 inside the 10, and 11 inside the 5.
  • Minimal role in the passing game with just 2.25 targets per game.
  • Chubb is going to be the lead back for a run-first offense. Should get 15-20 carries per game on a consistent basis.

Kareem Hunt

  • Finished 2020 as RB10 in Standard and PPR leagues.
  • Tallied a 39% MS of the running back carries in 16 games.
  • Decent upside in the passing game in which he received a 9% MS.
  • Punched in 11 total touchdowns with 6 rushing and 5 receiving.
  • Reliant on production in the passing game in negative game script scenarios.
  • Volatile target but, he has upside in both phases of the game.

Odell Beckham Jr

  • Finished 2020 as WR77 in Standard leagues and WR91 in PPR leagues.
  • Limited to 7 games in 2020 after suffering a torn ACL.
  • Received 39% of the team’s air yards in 2019 per NFL Next Gen stats.
  • Big play upside.
  • Doesn’t have the ceiling of the elite wide receivers due to the low passing volume in this offense.
  • Solid value at his current ADP given his big play ability.

Jarvis Landry

  • Finished 2020 as WR35 in Standard leagues and WR33 in PPR leagues.
  • Production should take a hit with Odell Beckham Jr. coming back from injury.
  • Played 73% of the snaps racking up 101 targets and a 24.5% MS.
  • Received 21% of the team’s air yards in 2020.
  • Not a “Home-Run Hitter”
  • Scored 3 touchdowns which all came inside the 10 yard line.
  • Ceiling is limited due to his low ADOT and Beckham getting a large share of the targets.

Rashard Higgins

  • Finished 2020 as WR59 in Standard leagues and WR63 in PPR leagues.
  • Benefited from Beckham Jr. being on IR.
  • Played 62% of the snaps racking up 52 targets and a 15% MS.
  • Only in play if Beckham Jr. or Landry are out.
  • Good late-round target if you need insurance for other Browns’ receivers.

Austin Hooper

  • Finished 2020 as TE22 in Standard leagues and TE21 in PPR leagues.
  • Listed as a Bust in the Quick Picks Sheet.
  • Missed 3 games in 2020 with a neck injury.
  • Played 77% of snaps racking up 70 targets and a 19% MS.
  • ADOT was only 6.4 yards.
  • Scored 4 touchdowns which all came inside the 10 yard line.
  • Only 9 targets in the red zone in 13 games.
  • Not a vertical threat in this offense.

The Team Rise or Fall Study Hub, seen above sorted for Pittsburgh WR, was an invaluable tool for researching the information in this division preview.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh comes into 2021 with the same weapons on offense at every position except running back. James Connor left in free agency and has been replaced by Najee Harris who was drafted in the first round of the Draft. This is likely Ben Roethlisberger’s last season and he has plenty of weapons at his disposal.

Ben Roethlisberger

  • Finished 2020 as QB14 in Standard and PPR leagues.
  • Listed as a Bust in the Quick Picks Sheet.
  • Missed most of 2019 with an elbow tear
  • Per NFL Next Gen Stats, Roethlisberger had the least amount of time to throw among qualified passers (2.2 seconds)
  • Average Intended Air Yard was only 7.1 yards. Most likely due to the poor offensive line play.
  • Led the NFL in pass attempts and passing yards in 2018. 3rd in pass attempts and 16th in passing yards in 2020.
  • Going to pass at a very high rate and has the supporting cast to succeed.

Najee Harris

  • Drafted in the first round of the 2021 draft.
  • Listed as a Riser in the Quick Picks Sheet.
  • Will likely start at the beginning of the season.
  • Should get the bulk of James Connor’s 54% MS of the running back carries.
  • Caught 43 passes in 2020 for Alabama. Three down back potential.
  • Should be a high usage back with high upside in a high scoring offense.

Benny Snell Jr.

  • Finished 2020 as RB59 in Standard leagues and RB62 in PPR leagues.
  • 29% MS of the running back carries in 2020.
  • Not talented enough to be a high volume NFL running back
  • Only saw 1 target per game in 2020. Minimal PPR upside.
  • Only needed for insurance if you draft Najee Harris

Juju Smith-Schuster

  • Finished 2020 as WR22 in Standard leagues and WR16 in PPR leagues.
  • Listed as a Faller in the Quick Picks Sheet.
  • in 16 games, accumulated a 20.4% MS and a 22.4% Target% in the red zone in 2020
  • Per NFL Next Gen Stats, he was 17th in targets, 10th in catch percentage but, only received 15.7% of the team’s air yards.
  • Caught 9 touchdowns in 2020 and 7 in 2018. Did not have Ben Roethlisberger in 2019.
  • High volume target that will be a factor in the red zone.
  • Not a big play threat in this offense.

Diontae Johnson

  • Finished 2020 as WR26 in Standard leagues and WR21 in PPR leagues.
  • Listed as a Bust in the Quick Picks Sheet.
  • In 15 games, received a 22.9% MS and a 13.2% Target% in the red zone in 2020.
  • Per NFL Next Gen stats, accumulated 24,4% of the team’s air yards in 2020.
  • Targeted 144 times and caught 88 passes.
  • Caught 7 touchdowns with 4 coming in the red zone.
  • High volume target and the big play upside is there.

Chase Claypool

  • Finished 2020 as WR14 in Standard leagues and WR23 in PPR leagues.
  • In 16 games, racked up a 16% MS and a 17% Target% in the red zone.
  • Per NFL Next Gen Stats, received 30.5% of the team’s air yards in 2020.
  • Targeted 109 and caught 62 passes.
  • Caught 9 touchdowns with only 4 coming inside the 20.
  • Lower volume target than Smith-Schuster and Johnson but, he has the highest upside in the unit.

Eric Ebron

  • Finished 2020 as TE14 in Standard and PPR leagues.
  • In 15 games, received a 15% MS and a 21% Target% in the red zone.
  • Targeted 91 times and caught 56 passes per NFL Next Gen Stats.
  • Accumulated 14.6% of the team’s air yards in 2020.
  • Red zone and possession for this offense.
  • Decent upside if he falls in the late rounds of drafts.

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Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals are a team that is rebuilding but, they have exciting fantasy options on offense! Joe Burrow should be put in a lot of negative game script situations in which he will have to throw a high volume of passes and he has exciting options to throw to. Joe Mix coming back from injury should benefit the offense in both the running and passing game. A.J. Green left during free agency which led to Ja’Marr Chase in the first round of the Draft.

Joe Burrow

  • Finished 2020 as QB25 in Standard and PPR leagues.
  • Listed as a Riser in the Quick Picks Sheet.
  • Missed the final 6 games of 2020 with a torn ACL.
  • Threw 13 touchdowns with 12 coming in the red zone.
  • Per NFL Next Gen Stats, Burrow only averaged 2.65 seconds to throw per dropback. The offensive line struggled in pass blocking.
  • Tallied at least 30 pass attempts in every game in 2020.
  • Going to pass at a high volume, has quality weapons at wide receiver and should be in passing game scripts often.

Joe Mixon

  • Finished 2020 as RB49 in Standard and PPR leagues.
  • Only played 6 games in 2020 due to a foot injury.
  • Mixon was 8th in rushing yards and punched in 8 total touchdowns in 2019.
  • Targeted 26 times in 6 games in 2020 which equates to 69 targets in a full season.
  • No competition for MS in the Bengals’ backfield.
  • High upside in Standard and PPR leagues if healthy.

Samaje Perine

  • Finished 2020 as RB66 in Standard leagues and RB67 in PPR leagues.
  • Should get a bump in usage with Giovanni Bernard no longer on the team.
  • 12 of his 63 carries came in the red zone in 2020 per the NFL Season Long Study Hub.
  • Likely a short distance type back. Could vulture touchdowns in goal-to-go situations.
  • Not going to start over Mixon.
  • Only worth a roster spot as insurance for Mixon.

Ja’Marr Chase

  • Drafted in the first round of the Draft.
  • First wide receiver listed in the Rookie Big Board.
  • Listed in Best Ball Stacks with Joe Burrow.
  • Already has chemistry with Joe Burrow from their time at LSU.
  • Deep threat.
  • Likely absorbs most of A.J. Green’s 104 targets and 30.7% of the team’s air yards per NFL Next Gen Stats.
  • Should get plenty of opportunities to produce.

Tee Higgins

  • Finished 2020 as WR28 in Standard and PPR leagues.
  • Listed as a Mid-Round Target in the Quick Picks Sheet.
  • Listed in Best Ball Stacks with Joe Burrow.
  • In 16 games, received an 18.9% MS and a Target% of 14.5% in the red zone.
  • Per NFL Next Gen Stats, accumulated 27.6% of the team’s air yards.
  • Targeted 108 times, caught 67 passes, and scored 6 touchdowns.
  • Should see similar usage and produce at a higher rate with a full year of Joe Burrow at quarterback.

Tyler Boyd

  • Finished 2020 as WR36 in Standard leagues and WR29 in PPR leagues.
  • Listed in Best Ball Stacks with Joe Burrow.
  • In 15 games, tallied a 20.8% MS and a Target% of 18.8% in the red zone.
  • Racked up 20.5% of the team’s air yards per NFL Next Gen Stats.
  • Targeted 110 times, caught 79 passes, and scored 4 touchdowns.
  • Lower ceiling than Chase or Higgins but, the floor is higher for Boyd.
  • Not a “Home Run Hitter.”

Drew Sample

  • Finished 2020 as TE39 in Standard leagues and TE30 in PPR leagues.
  • In 16 games, racked up a 9.3% MS and a 15.9% Target% in the red zone.
  • Red zone threat that should only be used if you are DESPERATE for a tight end.
  • Received only 5.9% of the team’s air yards per NFL Next Gen stats.
  • Most likely, not going to be worth rostering.

Make sure to check out the Rise or Fall Draft Kit for comprehensive research and draft tools as you prep for the upcoming Fantasy Football season!

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