Fantasy football position rankings for the 2021 NFL season

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen reacts after throwing a touchdown pass during an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins on Jan. 3, 2021. (John Munson/AP)

Fantasy football drafts are rapidly approaching as we creep ever closer to the start of the 2021 NFL season. That means deep diving into rosters, exploring depth charts, and — of course — poring over positional rankings.

Using a half-PPR fantasy format, I’ve laid out my top 12 players — plus a sleeper pick — at each offensive position group. Let me know your ratings on Twitter @AndyMc81 and Instagram @andymcsports using #AskAndy.

QUARTERBACK

1. Josh Allen, Bills
2. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
3. Dak Prescott, Cowboys
4. Kyler Murray, Cardinals
5. Russell Wilson, Seahawks
6. Justin Herbert, Chargers
7. Ryan Tannehill, Titans
8. Lamar Jackson, Ravens
9. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
10. Matthew Stafford, Rams
11. Tom Brady, Buccaneers
12. Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars

SLEEPER: Baker Mayfield, Browns

Few quarterbacks have survived what Baker Mayfield has as an NFL starter. Being the first-overall draft pick after the Browns went 0-16, not to mention playing for four head coaches and four offensive coordinators in three seasons, is a steep hill to climb. Persevering through severe dysfunction, the Oklahoma Sooner seems to have emerged stronger than ever in Kevin Stefanski’s QB friendly system.

Over his last eight games, including two in the playoffs, Mayfield produced an exceptional ratio of 17-touchdowns to just two interceptions. The Browns are a run first attack, but targets like Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr., Rashard Higgins, Austin Hooper, David Njoku, and Kareem Hunt give the gunslinger a lot to work with. Is it that unreasonable to think that Mayfield could reach similar Top-10 fantasy heights like Ryan Tannehill who also leads a run-heavy scheme?

RUNNING BACK

1. Christian McCaffrey, Panthers
2. Dalvin Cook, Vikings
3. Derrick Henry, Titans
4. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys
5. Nick Chubb, Browns
6. Aaron Jones, Packers
7. Alvin Kamara, Saints
8. Saquon Barkley, Giants
9. Austin Ekeler, Chargers
10. Jonathan Taylor, Colts
11. Antonio Gibson, Washington
12. Najee Harris, Steelers

SLEEPER: D’Andre Swift, Lions

I want as many shares as I can get of D’Andre Swift heading into this season. A new head coach (hopefully more competent than the last) and more clearly defined roles in the Detroit backfield give the sophomore top-eight overall running back potential. Remember that despite the complete nonsensical cluster of running backs with the Lions last year, Swift finished as the 18th-best running back in fantasy last year.

Having dink-and-dunk specialist Jared Goff under centre also benefits him as that quick dump-off option. Swift’s average draft position (ADP) is currently at 31st overall. With the type of ceiling I believe the former Georgia Bulldog has, if you can grab him in the third round then hurry to do so and reap the benefits come September.

WIDE RECEIVER

1. Stefon Diggs, Bills
2. Tyreek Hill, Chiefs
3. Davante Adams, Packers
4. Justin Jefferson, Vikings
5. DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals
6. A.J. Brown, Titans
7. D.K. Metcalf, Seahawks
8. Calvin Ridley, Falcons
9. Ceedee Lamb, Cowboys
10. Terry McLaurin, Washington
11. Mike Evans, Buccaneers
12. Keenan Allen, Chargers

SLEEPER: Marvin Jones, Jaguars

Rookie quarterbacks often lean on a reliable veteran early in their career, and I feel that Marvin Jones will be that security blanket for Trevor Lawrence. It may be a surprise to learn that Jones was the 17th-ranked wide receiver in half-point fantasy formats with the Lions in 2020. He’s hauled in nine touchdowns in consecutive campaigns, and at age 31 can still be a quietly consistent contributor.

Jones’s current ADP has him going around the 10th round. That’s a great spot for someone that presents a solid flex or high-floor WR3 in a revamped Jacksonville offence.

TIGHT END

1. Travis Kelce, Chiefs
2. Darren Waller, Raiders
3. T.J. Hockenson, Lions
4. Kyle Pitts, Falcons
5. George Kittle, 49ers
6. Mark Andrews, Ravens
7. Dallas Goedert, Eagles
8. Jonnu Smith, Patriots
9. Logan Thomas, Washington
10. Tyler Higbee, Rams
11. Mike Gesicki, Dolphins
12. Blake Jarwin, Cowboys

SLEEPER: Mo Alie-Cox, Colts

The more I think about it, the more I want Mo Alie-Cox on my fantasy football team this year. New quarterback Carson Wentz consistently fed two tight ends in Philadelphia, and his best bud Frank Reich has continued that formula as head honcho in Indianapolis.

Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert were both top-10 fantasy tight ends in 2019, and options at wide receiver for the Colts are just above average. Alie-Cox flashed at times last season and has more athletic upside than Jack Doyle. Don’t be surprised if the 6’5” Mo lands as a mid-range TE1 at the end of 2021.

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