Bold Predictions (2021)
12/28/20: Everyone had high expectations for Ceedee Lamb heading into his rookie season... then Dak Prescott went down with an ankle dislocation/compound fracture. Lamb's ceiling value, at least in 2021, will have much to do with the resigning of Dak Prescott. If the Cowboys don't retain Dak, it's harder to imagine Lamb rising into consistency. He will certainly still shine bright on and off, but it will cap his value a bit and maybe push his top 5-10WR season back a season. If Dak is retained, something I predict at the moment, I think Lamb shines early and often in 2021 and he drops Justin Jefferson-type numbers in 2021. In fact, I think both WRs could be on equal playing field in 2021, and that's saying a lot given Justin Jefferson could get ranked inside the top 25 in early 2021 fantasy football mock drafts. Now, don't go over-drafting the guy, the value is in getting him well outside of Justin Jefferson-type value. As for Dak, I think his injury hurts his chances of landing anything close to the offers he was getting prior to the injury. Dallas will likely overpay, as losing Dak would destroy the franchise's momentum. And, given how difficult the recovery will be for Dak, my guess is that the passer will want to keep things simple and familiar on his road back. These are guesses on my part, know that, but it feels logical. Stay glued to the SleeperU Newswire for updates on Dak and the Cowboys... until then, 2021 is going to be Lamb Szn.
2/16/21: When looking at Justin Jefferson entering 2021, I really think we are looking at a top 1-5WR. By default, at least for now, you're going to see him rank somewhere in the 18-30 overall range heading into early 2021 mock drafting. That's a big range, I know, but much depends on who you're drafting with.. Now, I'm super high on him, and we mock draft a lot on my YouTube Channel... we move ADP a lot. I know this sounds arrogant, but it's just fact: we move ADPs more than almost any fantasy football show out there, and when we lock onto a player as a whole within our community, we mock draft them higher than normal over and over... thus, we affect ADP data a ton in the fantasy industry. We draft Jefferson in the 18-24 overall range (over and over), whereas most humans draft him in round 3 or later. In fact, when super-new people to my brand or youtube show comment on my Jefferson-related content, they usually leave a comment like "wow, you guys are drafting Jefferson high" or "wow, is Jefferson really a second-round pick?" The answer is: No, not according to the average person. We are forcing him higher and higher with every single mock draft that we do, which is cool in one sense, that we have that much pull in the industry ADPs; however, it's a catch-22 for us all, as we will have to soon overpay come August if we keep it up.
Justin Jefferson had an insane 1,400 yards receiving as a rookie, which is near unheard of. He pulled in 88 balls, 7TDS and had 7 100+yard outings. You don't just trip and fall into those numbers. When you have 1,400 yards as a rookie wide receiver, that means you're an amazing talent. You are elite-in-the-making. Kirk Cousins is a small concern, as I'm not sure how consistent or long-lasting he feels. What if he gets hurt? That said, we could say that about a lot of player's QB... That's literally the only concern I can come up with when it comes to Jefferson. He's electric. He has spacial intelligence you can't teach, proof in his jump-ball game, and his hands and polished skill set make this one of the easier bold prediction calls I can think up.
Frankly, I'm shocked I can even make this a bold prediction. I'm shocked that this feels bold to so many. I bet people warm up to this bold call, though... as we near August, I venture to say that this is like my DK Metcalf and AJ Brown predictions from 2020... they seem bold when written, but will become less bold with each passing day, as people start catching up. Go get Jefferson in existing dynasty leagues before people catch up. Move your yearly-league draft dates up before people catch up (ok, I'm kind of kidding on that one. Kind of). Watch this video I did on Jefferson:
(4/24/21) This might become less bold after the NFL Draft. Or, it may not. I say that because the Chargers could draft another offensive weapon this coming week. A trade-up would be required for the Chargers to land Kyle Pitts, know that... but, there is a ton of talk about Devonta Smith's weight and how it could have him slip a bit in this upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. If Herbert lands one of Pitts, Smith or Ja'Marr Chase, expect the entire fantasy world to be infatuated with Herbert's future and now. This is why I say that this could turn from bold-ish to common place immediately after the draft.
First off, the dude was electric as a rookie last year, flashing signs of top 5QB numbers on and off all year. Sure, the Chargers struggled as a whole at times last year, but rookie QBs are just built different now. And, you can see 'elite' in them from the jump, and they produce elite-like numbers from the jump (even if it's in spots as they develop a bit). Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, even Jalen Hurts for a short, short time.. all three showed they could thrive right away, and I think the same thing will happen for Trey Lance, Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson. Herbert, Allen, Patrick Mahomes.. all three are inside my 1-3 for dynasty QBs... and Herbert could drop 4,500-4,800 yards, 35-40TDs with 8-12 INTs in 2021.. with maybe 300 or so rushing yards. That will be top 3QB numbers and at least have this guy in the convo for league MVP. Mark it down.
Out of all these 2021 rookie runners, I am starting to get the most excited about Javonte Williams. The guy is going in the 5th- to 6th-round range in redraft, and a few rounds higher in dynasty... but, he has the upside of a top 10RB. Honestly, I think 8-12 isn't even crazy... he could produce much better than just top 10 numbers in 2021. He reminds me a lot of Jonathan Taylor... he runs like him, he's elusive like him, and many compare him to other runners like Alvin Kamara, which may not make a ton of sense in terms of their exact frame, but style-wise they do have some huge similarities. J-Williams may play in Denver, and he may have Melvin Gordon to compete with; however, they drafted Williams at the top of the 2nd-round, which is super-high draft capital... plus, Gordon didn't show up to OTAs, he's at the age of significant drop-off, and multiple beat writers have predicted that Williams will both start Week 1 and be the main guy in 2021. The writing is on the wall with this one, and when you watch the film on Williams, it's head-scratching to imagine anyone not seeing top 10RB talent in this kid. Aaron Rodgers being traded to Green Bay (unlikely at this point, but still a small possibility) isn't even a factor in this evaluation. So know I'm not even considering that boost he'd get.. If for any reason ARod does land in DEN, Williams to the moon!
Prediction: Williams ends up being one of the biggest ADP climbers from now through Week 1. He now goes in late round 5, sometimes round 6... that's gonna change.
Javonte Williams will help win leagues in 2021 fantasy football. He will rush for over 1,000-1,100 yards, pull in 300-400 receiving yards and rack-up double-digit TDs.
8/30/21 - It's easy to blame Clyde Edwards-Helaire for our hesitancy to trust Najee Harris with the responsibility of first-round draft value. But, everyone needs to let go of last year. Last year has very little to do with this year, especially given the fact that the pandemic changed everything for rookies (and everyone for that matter). CEH didn't have a preseason and he had no opportunity to learn pass protection (or one of the league's most complex playbooks). Najee is already fully embeded in the Steelers offense, from the pass attack to the run game. He is going to be top 5ish in the entire league in total touches. It wouldn't shock me at all if Najee consistently flirted with the top 1-5 in rushing yards. Some weeks he may be 1 or 2 or 5.. he's gonna get used a ton. While hitting a rookie wall is a threat, it really is his only red flag. Volume will be present, talent most certainly is present, and Big Ben look healthy enough to muster up one more solid season, solid enough to move the chains, which should provide some better offensive line production than many originally expected.
Pro Tip: With the injuries to JK Dobbins and Travis Etienne (even Michael Thomas), the landscape of rounds 1-3 is changing before our very eyes. Runners are going to get pulled up multiple overall draft slots due to the Dobbins injury alone, which means that guys like Antonio Gibson, Najee Harris and even CEH will float to the top of round 2... the scarcity of RB mixed with JK getting hurt will have people rethinking WR/WR and even RB/WR approaches. That's why even one injury to one player (like JK) will have RBs rising more than just one single spot. So, we have to outthink the trend... the answer? Najee Harris at even 7 overall. I know it's early, but the volume will be there. Najee and Stefon Diggs will be a fantastic start to any team. And, if Diggs does not fall to round 2, think Ridley with Harris. In any case, Harris is important enough to grab in 7-12 overall as the elite WRs are deep in numbers, and one could argue that Ridley could be the No. 1 overall WR in 2021.. so why not pass on WR in Round 1 and get the RB you love.. then grab Ridley. Give me Harris and my choice of 2-3 WRs that all still have 1-5 overall WR value.
(5/11/2021) This one is bold. This might arguably be the boldest prediction on the board to date. The reason it's so bold is that this kid ranks the lowest. He can be had so late in drafts, as people fear (rightfully so) how deep the RB room is in San Fran. With Mostert, Wilson, Gallman, Hasty, Mitchell (rookie) and Sermon (rookie) all on the roster, it's hard not to wonder if Sermon will ever get some run. The thing is, no runner that I mentioned above is the same kind of runner that Sermon is. In fact, all of the running backs in that 49ers' running back room are change-of-pace type rushers, or scatbacks... except Sermon. He is that between-the-tackles workhorse, an every-down back that can turn this rushing attack from top 2 in the league to #1 (and it not even being close). Many argued that SF didn't need a RB, that the system would produce elite numbers. But, to me, that seemed so close-minded. If you take good running backs and make them great, why on earth would someone stop there and not consider that a great RB would be come unbelievable? I have no clue. Sermon is great, maybe not 'elite' (something that CMC is, or Barkley).. but great can become elite in this system, that is the point, and that is why I pegged the 49ers drafting one of Najee Harris or Trey Sermon.
While the running back room is crowded, and there are zero gurantees that coach Shanny will turn to the rookie soon... I can't envision a scenario in 2021 where the 49ers don't start Sermon in at least 5 or so games. I just envision his uniquely-different frame (when compared to the other SF backs) floating to the top, no matter how many runners are on that SF roster. He floats to the top because he is different and ready-made for between the tackles work, something SF hasn't really had despite having so much success running the football over the years.
Prediction: Trey Sermon starts 6+ games in 2021 and plays like a top 5-8RB per start in those contests... this helps whomever drafts him win their league(s).
8-9-21: If you want a league winner in 2021, invest in AJ Dillon. Are you guaranteed any starts out of Dillon in 2021? Absolutely not. However, I venture to say that Dillon could be very flex-worthy even if Aaron Jones stays healthy all season long. Dillon, as a backup, could still score 8-10TDs in 2021 (especially with the extra game).. that's only 0.58TDs per game on a 17-game season. Dillon can easily do that in goal line situations. I know that Jones may not fully relinquish the goal line work, but if you separate yourself from fantasy football thinking for a second, it's smart to keep Jones fresh for the playoffs and smart to give Dillon looks at the goal line. That's not what Aaron Jones owners want to hear, but it makes logical sense. So, can this kind of production win leagues? No. But, it means he has build-in flex-like value no matter what, meaning he has zero risk at his 85-100 overall ADP.
The facts: Aaron Jones has some mild injury risk. I know most will argue against this, as he missed zero games in 2019, and he missed only two games last year... two missed games over the last two seasons isn't awful, but he did miss four games in both 2017 and 2018 (so eight total in just those two seasons). So, all in all, he has missed 10 games over his four-year career. That is 15% of his career games. I had him on my Top 10 Bold Predictions entering 2019, his breakout season (19TDs)... but he still feels a tad injury prone (again missing two games last season).
If Dillon starts games in 2021, I think he drops top 5-10RB numbers per start. He may give you 1-3 games, he could give you six games, or he could start zero games (and still get you 8-10TDs). At 85-100 overall ADP, he is well worth the investment and comes with some huge production potential. He could win you a league if starting handfuls of games in 2021.
(4/10/21) Look, this prediction could go from very unpopular (too bold) to obvious (people act like it wasn't ever bold at all) with one single "Aaron Rodgers to GB" announcement. Now, let me begin by saying that I've gone on record suggesting that I don't believe Aaron Rodgers will leave GB. I don't think the Packers trade him. They have too much tied up in the 'now' with Aaron Jones' new contract, and the prime age of Davante Adams... however, stranger things have occurred in the NFL, and the recent pandemic has taught us that anything is possible. That said, I do believe that Rodgers stays put. For this year. So, this write-up is assuming that Denver figures out its QB situation throughout this upcoming 2021 season and heading into 2022. If Arod does land in DEN via a trade in the coming months, well, what I said at the top of this write-up will come true... people will jump on the Jeudy bandwagon like wildfire. Buy Jeudy now, on the cheap, regardless. This way you're ahead of any trade or just his monster talent-driven development that is going to strike no matter what.. Jeudy's rookie season (52/856/3TDs with two 100-yard games) was solid if you watched him on the field... everything he did was very overshadowed by the seasons dropped by both Justin Jefferson and Ceedee Lamb. Jeudy's numbers won't wow you compared to Lamb and Jefferson, but he looked very solid on the field given his QB carousel of garbage that he was dealing with. AJ Brown had a bad QB situation heading into 2019, but then Ryan Tannehill emerged. I'm not quite sure how the DEN QB situation will develop, change and improve.... whether it's improved by trade, bench riser, or Teddy Bridgewater just playing much better than people expect... but I think it will improve. If this was resolved already, you'd see more people loving Jeudy.. the uncertainty is why he's cheap right now. And, being cheap right now makes him super exciting to acquire. His talent level is so insane. He is arguably one of the very best route runners in the league - already! More than one defensive back has made the claim and Jeudy has only played one season where he couldn't get good and consistent QB play. To be thought of as a 'top of the league' route runner already, it's quite amazing to be honest. It's amazing that defensive backs talk this kid up in that way and he hasn't even emerged yet. Imagine what happens to his development and speed of development once his QB situation is stable.
Prediction: Jerry Jeudy drops 70-80 receptions for 1,100+ yards and 8-10TDs in 2021, and he walks into 2022 as an excepted top 8-12WR in fantasy football.
If you need a refresher on his route running and film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmeI0z4SlQI
8/26/2021 - Marquez Callaway might be elite. Before you call me crazy, hear me out.. Look, sometimes we are going to miss on these big-time breakout calls, right? It's gonna happen. But, the great news here is not much happens to us if we miss on this one. The risk is minimal, as his ADP right now is going to be around 7-8 round ranges... and, if available on waivers still in your league, he's worth blowing the entire wad of cash on. He is. If he ends up busting, big deal. Move on. The risk is massive if you ignore this guy's ability and he ends up becoming 'that guy' on someone else's dime.
For those of you that don't know much about Marquez Callway, he is the currently-slotted WR1 for the Saints with Mike Thomas out with the foot surgery. And, MT may not be the same when he returns, as he played and worked out on that damaged ligament all off-season. Recklessly. Multiple Saints players have talked this Callaway kid up prior to his breakout Week 3 preseason performance last weekend, where he dropped straight fire pulling in 5-of-5 passes for 100 yards and 2TDs. He pulled in two near-impossible touchdown grabs where he manhandled everyone near him. Watch here:
Please take the time to watch all five of Callaway's catches in the video above, it won't take but 2 mins to watch. If you don't see an elite WR in the making in those highlights, I may not be able to help you 🙂 But, I will sure try.
Jameis Winston loves this kid, and Winston will feed him a ton. I would not be shocked one single bit if this kid becomes a top 10WR. Do not count on that, please understand the difference in trying to find the next James Robinson (but at WR) and me actually saying this guy is already top 10. There is a huge difference. But, if you don't strike at these opportunities while they are hot, and take your shots with such low cost and risk, you will never land the rare gems when they emerge, and I think this is one of those rare gems. Let's go, and listen to this podcast I just did on him yesterday:
OUTLOOK: Derrick Henry is a beast. He was a beast in 2020. He was a beast in 2019. He is a beast right this very second. So, if I love him so much, how on earth am I calling him a total avoid in 2021? It's simple. Data. During the NFL's existence, only 8 running backs have ever rushed for over 2,000 yards. Henry just became the 8th here in the 2020 NFL season. Of those 7 runners before him, every single one of them tanked big-time that following year after their 2,000-yard campaign.. production was at least slashed in half if not way worse. Here is the data, followed by a very detailed video breakdown:
As you can see, rushing for 2,000 yards does something to the human body. And, while one reaction people have to this data is that, "well, 1,200 yards was still a good season, Smitty!"... I urge you to watch the full video above, because TD drop-offs were in some cases much worse. I know, Henry is just different. I know, Henry takes care of himself very well during the off-season. I get it, it's hard to accept data like this. Believe me. I don't even like writing this article, because I love Henry and own him in a dynasty league. I'm proud to have him on that team. And, even if this content prevents me from selling high on him, as it is a follower-based league where I wear my opinions out in the open, I'm fine with it. I don't mind taking the chance he survives 2021 enough to still post something like 1,200 yards rushing and 9-10TDs. That is still very possible, as the data shows. But, for anyone drafting him, a non-PPR back, in the top 2-5 overall in PPR formats, I think there are just way safer options.
DYNASTY TAKE: Henry has been in the league for five years now, so he's no spring chicken. He has also rushed for over 1,000 yards for three-straight seasons. At 247 pounds, taking lower body shots more than most runners (given no one wants to tackle him from the waste up), his body is taking a beating like no other. His frame crashing into the ground over and over, doing most all of his work between the tackles against multiple 300-pound lineman driving him into the ground... it's a matter of when Henry breaks down, not if. To take away your amo before you use, again, could he stay healthy for one more season? Sure, there is a certain percentage that Will Fuller plays a full season in 2021... there is. But the percentage is small. Still, that doesn't mean that percentage chance doesn't exist. It's an odds game. And, I think Henry has bad odds of staying healthy in 2021 based on the data above, mixed with the fact that he had 303 carries the year prior to 2020, which is an INSANE mount of carries in back-to-back seasons (681 carries over the last two-played seasons). That alone would have me near running for the hills. It would. The odds makers will suggest that another 300-carry season is very, very hard to imagine. Mix in the fact that he is 247 pounds crashing down onto the ground over and over, taking leg shots often due to his big size, and given the fact he had the 5th-most carries ever in one single season in college football history, the mileage is more than a concern. The 2,000-yard data above is a whole other concern.
Debate this topic below!
8/9/21 - Predicting bust, or even disappointment, in fantasy football is a tough business. For starters, anyone that already owns the player that you're casting doubt around immediately hates the take. I get it, it's only natural to hate a take that predicts disappointment for your dynasty player. But, as I always scream, a player should be drafted with caution when there are multiple red flags. One red flag is understandable, or shall I say acceptable... however, when you have injury risk, situational risk, offensive limitation-related risk, well, the player in question is probably a good avoid (unless the ADP accounts for every single bit of that risk). Take the Michael Thomas lesson into consideration... MT was coming off injury, we had report after report suggesting that he 'did not' have surgery, and you have some quarterback questions in New Orleans... that is a boatload of question marks surrounding MT, yet so many just discarded the risk in hopes that everything would just work out. I mean, it's Michael Thomas... it has to work out, right?
Applying this lesson to D'Andre Swift, he has the following red flags:
- Injury Risk
- New QB with little rapport
- Downgraded QB in Goff
- Loss of Kenny Golladay
- Diminished Scoring Opportunities with bad offense
- Lions Will Play From Behind and pass late in games
- The Lions haven't had a stud RB since Barry Sanders
- Full RBBC according to coaching staff
All of the above is self-explanatory accept for #8, which is RBBC... let me provide you with the facts:
- June 30 Report: Lions coach Dan Campbell referred to D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams as a "one-two punch."
- June 3rd Report: Lions OC Anthony Lynn said he's going to "ride the hot hand at running back" on gameday.
- May 20 Report: According to NBC Sports: "My 'A' backs are normally my bigger backs," Lynn continued. "They can run between the tackles, block probably a little better than a 'B' back, they can also run the perimeter. I can leave those guys in there for all three downs." Lynn also labeled D'Andre Swift as a "speed-space back," reaffirming that he sees the duo more as being complementary than interchangeable.
As much as many will try and fight the above information, I think there is no denying that there is a grip of discouraging info to refute. Is Swift the best runner on the roster? Yes. But, that isn't in question. You and I don't decide who starts... the coaching staff does and they CONTINUE to provide horrible RBBC-looking headlines. And, with all this risk above, eight bullet points deep, it boils down to ADP (average draft position).. look at Swift's ADP.
D'Andre Swift's ADP = 32 overall
(ADP is from Underdog Fantasy - Play Best Ball at Underdog Fantasy using code Smitty and get a FREE Phone Call)
Keep in mind that players just above Swift's 32nd overall ADP are guys like Terry McLaurin, Keenan Allen, Ceedee Lamb.. of course those guys are much safer/better options than Swift, but let's assume that those players are all gone and we are using this exact ADP Data... look at all the players highlighted in GREEN (below Swift)... Patrick Mahomes, JK Dobbins, David Montgomery... even players below that, like Kyler Murray, Travis Etienne, and especially Josh Allen... all of these players are just SAFER picks over Swift. Much safer.
So all in all, why go after Swift in round three when you can grab a much, much safer player and avoid the huge red flags and enormous risk? What is the benefit? If Swift had a 4th- or 5th-round ADP, I would swing back in favor of Swift, as again, it's all about ADP. However, his ADP isn't even close to a range in value that I would consider safe, and I can comb all the way down into the late fourth-round and still find plenty of players that I like more than Swift. Meaning, his ADP won't ever sniff a range that I'll be interested in.
8/18/21 - Clyde Edwards-Helaire disappointed big-time in 2021, but I just dropped a very long Player Outlook on CEH here. Give it a read and it will explain, in tremendous detail, why I believe CEH can drop 1200 rushing, 50/350+ receiving and well into double-digit TDs in 2021.
(4/23/21) I know this one will get a lot of heat initially, but so did my "Leonard Fournette will bust" predictions that I posted early last year. I know many forget this, but in January and February of last off-season, Fournette was a top 8-14 overall-ranked player by the masses. He had first-round value entering 2019.. His early ADP was right at 8-14, as he came off a huge 2019 year and big PPR uptick. I made him one of my first bust predictions in that January-February timeframe, and it was a hot take at that time. It wasn't well received at all. "He was a receiving beast in 2019, Smitty, how can you doubt him?" Well, fast forward a couple months (basically about 12 months ago from today, not that long ago) and he gets cut from the Jaguars and busts entirely in 2021. And, if you're saying "well, Chubb is different, Smitty," you're misremembering... because it's not. Chubb has the exact same ADP (8-12) that Fournette did back then (8-14). No one doubted Fournette then just like no one doubts Chubb now. There is no difference.
So what concerns me about Chubb? Chubb had one of the very worst knee injuries ever in college football history.
Honestly, it is near a miracle that he is even playing today. He dislocated his knee, as seen in the image above, and he tore just about everything but his ACL. Not tearing his ACL, according to Dr. Jesse Morse (who I actually showed this photo to and he was shocked at how bad his injury was; I asked him to give me his take on the knee go-forward, and he had never seen the footage or photos prior to us talking), was the only reason Chubb was likely able to rebound and enter the NFL. This kind of trauma, according to numerous doctors that I've spoken with, will most likely cause a faster breakdown in Chubb's knees (than the average runner). And, runners like Chubb, who grind it out between the tackles more than most, will eventually see a breakdown in the knees. And, Chubb suffered a significant knee injury (the other knee) in 2020. For a guy that doesn't really divide up his touches between receptions and rushes, like a Kamara or CMC, getting overworked rapidly (3-4 years vs 4-6 years) is much more likely; and when you mix in the fact that his knees are way more susceptible to issues than the average running back, a rapid/unexpected decline is likely. Could I be a year early on Chubb's drop off? Sure. But, I'd rather be a year early than a year late, and if I'm wrong, keep in mind that I'm merely advising that fantasy owners select much safer players in the value range of a Chubb (ex, Calvin Ridley, DK Metcalf, even a James Robinson). Also, keep in mind how useful and valuable Kareem Hunt is to that Cleveland Browns' coaching staff. And, keep in mind that Chubb runs so aggressive, he is more abusive to his own body than most all runners in the league. These are a lot of red flags, folks. From injury concern, down to style of play, down to Hunt, Chubb is just not safer than those players I just listed above (and near 5-8 more names I didn't even get to). He just isn't. Call me crazy, but I'll take Justin Jefferson over Chubb in round 2 (and most would take Chubb in round 1).
Prediction: Kareem Hunt outscores Chubb in 2021 and Chubb isn't a top 10 RB.
(1/18/21) Kyle Pitts is a new breed of tight end, as he is 6-6, 240-245 pounds. He is built like AJ Brown and Terrell Owens, not like a prototypical tight end. He moves like a WR because he is a WR. This is similar to the point guard in the NBA going from a 6-0 guys with handles to the 6-8 Forward playing point go-forward. This is the football version of that evolution.
Pitts has great hands, a fantastic vertical game, and he is a mismatch nightmare for LBs and DBs alike. He may very well reshape the TE position moving forward.
The tight end position has been evolving differently over the last two decades. Tight ends have been getting bigger, stronger, faster, and they are now used more like WRs when on the field. And, while the position has slowly morphed into athletes with basketball player-like frames, the new direction could be breeding 6-6, 245-pound TEs that look and play like AJ Brown and DK Metcalf (no longer Jared Cook or Antonio Gates). Elite TEs have been a size mismatch and not so much a quickness mismatch... now it's going to be both. I'm not saying every tight end will resemble a ripped 6-6, 245-pound WR, but I think it will become more and more common place each and every season.
I see elite in this kid, and given we landed both TE predictions last year on the Bold Predictions Board (Waller and Hockenson), I tight end predictions can be taken pretty seriously around these parts.
Watch this video on Pitts for more of my thinking:
(2/21/21) These two rookie WRs are insane. Both Devonta Smith and Ja'Marr Chase are Justin Jefferson and DK Metcalf kind of special. And, early guesses have them landing in solid spots coming out of the top 10 overall in this year's 2021 NFL Draft. Now, if one lands in a horrible spot, let's call such a spot New England (where NKeal Harry has gone to vanish), I will have to get cautiously-optimistic until a QB change occurs. But, the Eagles, Bengals, Dolphins all sound like likely landing spots for these two stud WRs, and I'm going on record right now in February that if both are in CIN/PHI, they are my 1.1 and 1.2 in all rookie-only fantasy football draft rankings. Yep. You heard me. In my 17 years as a fantasy football analyst, I have never once ranked a WR 1.1 in rookie-only rankings. However, the WR position is changing.. they are just more dominate players and more prepared for the NFL game.. and in dynasty, owning Chase or Smith for a decade trumps the value of landing the next RB that could last 2-4 years. Plus, I'm not super sold on this year's 2021 rookie RB class - yet. I love Hubbard, I think he can be the next Kamara; however, a team will have to agree and draft him boldly as an every-down Kamara-type back.. I worry that his situation will be disappointing. If he gets a good home, then watch me conduct the hype train all the way into Week 1. For now, given how confident I am in both Chase and Smith from a talent perspective, they come in higher-ranked than even Najee Harris. I get it if you're not there yet with this, but my job over the next weeks and months is to keep providing reasons why you too should be considering Smith and Chase at 1.1 and 1.2 in your upcoming 2021 rookie-only drafts. Oh, and if you're asking yourself, well, why not trade down, Smitty? I am not yet advising that, if you own the 1.1 let's say, because you always want to wait and see what happens... injuries, bad landing spots, etc., but I will also say that I'm predicting that his kind of 'off-base' thinking of going WR at 1.1 and 1.2 will become more and more talked about as we get deeper into the off-season. Which means you won't want to dump your 1.1 for a 1.3 and assume you will get your guy... the trend could change, we may just be ahead of the curve here.
Prediction: Devonta Smith, in the right spot, will be a top 1-5WR in fantasy football by his second year, or into his second year. Ja'Marr Chase will be DK Metcalf good, and 6-10 worthy in that same time frame. If Chase lands in the great spot and let's say Smith doesn't, I think Chase could be 1-5 worthy for sure, and Smith would start out slower and eventually be the player his bad situation builds around. Let's hope both land in PHI/CIN or CIN/PHI.