Do not leave your fantasy football draft without these players
Every single fantasy football content creator has guys they love or hate. Maybe they have a list called “My Guys”. Here at Once Upon a Sunday I have my guys I love! My guys I love are more than just a feeling I have. I absolutely believe in both of these players to the moon and back. I know I cannot roster both of these guys in all 40 leagues I participate in, but I sure do try because I know 2021 is going to be their year. So please understand that you should not leave your draft without them.
33 carries in college really had fantasy players choosing sides
Antonio Gibson had a laundry list of question marks coming into the 2020 season. His biggest knock was that he only had 33 carries in college. You are really trying to sell me on a running back that only carried the ball 33 times? If you listened closely last year, you heard the comparisons to Christian McCaffrey. The CMC comparisons had me laughing out loud last year. I totally blew this kid off and I missed out. This year is different and I am all in.
Big changes in Washington means a bigger role in the backfield for Gibson
What has Gibson done to make me love him so much? 4.7 yards per carry on 170 attempts and the nose to find the endzone with 11 touchdowns is a nice start. The only thing that was missing from his rookie campaign was the targets and receptions. Gibson only had 36 catches on 44 targets. Meanwhile, J.D. McKissic had 80 receptions stealing all of the work. Look for Mckissic’s targets to fall as Alex Smith is no longer there to check down to his safety net. McKissic also played in the slot acquiring 21 of his 106 targets spread outside. Almost none of Mckissic’s targets were by design. With the addition of Curtis Samuel and Washington wanting Gibson to take that leap, expect big numbers for the sophomore running back.
Expectations vs. Reality
What kind of big numbers are we talking about when it comes to Antonio Gibson? We know what Ron Rivera did with McCaffery in Carolina. Rivera was fired in December of 2019 and in that time McCaffrey averaged 101 catches with 1,814 total yards a season. These numbers seem nearly impossible to duplicate and most likely will not happen. What if we tempered our expectations to 75 receptions, 1,600 total yards, and 10 touchdowns? That would put him at 295 points, 17.35 points per game, which is good enough for a top-5 fantasy running back. Top-5 is where he will land and is where we will all be drafting him in 2022
Travis Kelce is all elite, but some younger talent want a shot at the title
When it comes to tight ends the elite tier is hard to break into. Travis Kelce has been the gatekeeper of the position since 2016. Since 2016-2020 Kelce has never finished below the TE1 spot. In 2021 I expect nothing to change at the top, but are there any tight ends that can contend for that spot? Darren Waller and George Kittle are obvious choices to contend with Kelce because they have been up in the top-3 for more than just a cup of coffee. My guy at the tight end position this year finished TE5 last year in PPR formats and is currently the only viable target in Detroit. My guy I love this year is T.J. Hockenson.
The last man standing in a lackluster offense
Detroit totally gutted this team letting Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones walk in free agency. The Lions traded away Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff and signed the very underwhelming Breshad Perriman. The Lions have a brand new receiving core that also includes 4th-round draft pick Amon-Ra St. Brown. Who can Goff really trust to catch the football out there? There is nobody in the world I am willing to put any stock in on this offense other than their #1 target.
The leading target was Marvin Jones with 116 targets and as we established, he is now gone leaving Hockenson to fill the void. Hockenson had 101 targets which were good for an 18% target share. I expect Jared Goff and the lions to be down in the majority of their games which means positive game scripts for Hockenson. Last year Detroit threw the ball 37 times a game and I expect that number to go up to at least 40. 40 attempts per game with an 18% target share means 7.2 targets a game which would put him at 122 targets on the season. Hockenson had a 66.3% catch rate so at that pace Hockenson should glow up to 80 receptions on the year, putting him in the Waller class.
Guys going ahead of Hock just will not return fantasy value
Hockenson’s ADP is a giant reason why he’s a guy I love this year going at TE6 60 overall. Tight ends going ahead of him are Kelce, Waller, Kittle, Kyle Pitts, and Mark Andrews. You’re not going to get any argument with me about Kelce and Waller being drafted ahead of him. Pitts is a hotshot rookie and we know how rookie tight ends usually fare. The one that really has my gears grinding is Andrews. Andrews’s entire career is predicated on touchdowns and that is it. He is in an offense that will never feature him as a 100-target weapon and he needs to be extremely efficient and score 8-12 touchdowns to return his ADP of 49th overall. The combination of increased targets and being the true number 1 on his team is why Hockenson is a guy I love this season.