Fantasy Football Draft Prep- Tier 1

Fantasy Football Elite Players

As we get closer to Fantasy Football Draft Season, preparing for the draft is one of the most important things in order to win a fantasy football championship. It also can be some of the most fun that you can have with fantasy football. At this point, you will never be more optimistic about your team’s chances. As I started in my earlier article, I prepare for the draft by ranking my players in tiers. Regardless of my draft position, my goal is to stick to my tiers and come out with at least 3 of my top 36 players in the first three rounds. For context, this is set as a 12-teamleague with a full point PPR system. Let’s start with the Tier 1 players for the upcoming season.


RankingPlayerPlacement Rational
1Christian McCaffrey- RB- CarolinaComing off an injury does scare me a little bit, but I highly expect a bounce back year. With the development of DJ Moore and the addition of Robby Anderson, teams won’t be able to load up to stop CMC. I expect a minimum of 1200 yards on the ground, 800 yards receiving and close to 20 total scores. 
2Dalvin Cook- RB- MinnesotaCook proved to be a fantasy stud last year with 17 total touchdowns. He still will be the primary focus in the offense that still has Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson. Cook will rarely face eight in the box and always will be a receiving threat out of the backfield. Kirk Cousins has checked the ball down a lot in the offense. If healthy, Cook could take over McCaffrey for the number 1 spot. Expect at least 1400 yard rushing, 500 yards receiving and 18 scores.
3Tyreek Hill- WR- Kansas CityThis ranking will shock a lot of people, but Tyreek Hill is a monster in the Kansas City Offense. While much has been made of helping Mahomes with a rebuild offensive line, Tyreek Hill will also benefit. More time to throw, means more time for him to get open. I think that this year will be the best to come for Hill. I’m looking at 105 receptions, 1500 yards and 16 scores. In a PPR league,  he’s worth being number 3. 
4Saquon Barkley- RB- New YorkSimilar to McCaffrey, I’m nervous with him coming off injury. But while McCaffrey has been paid, it’s time for Saquon to earn his extension. Saquon is going to be a man on a mission and I highly expect him to approach similar number in 2018. Saquon is only fourth because it hasn’t been announced that he’s fully ready for Week 1. Expect 1300 yards on the ground, 70 receptions and 15 total scores. 
5Alvin Kamara- RB- New OrleansIf Brees didn’t retire, I wouldn’t be hesitant for Kamarato be in the top 3. But even with the Quarterback battle between Winston and Hill, Kamara will still be a QB’s best friend. Kamara has never been a killer in terms of rushing yards, but is so destructive catching the ball out of the backfield. I have a hard time seeing Kamaragetting more than 900 yards rushing but will still have 70 to 80 catches and find the end zone 15 to 16 times.  
6Stefon Diggs- WR- BuffaloAnother wide receiver? Let’s look at the facts- Diggs had 127 catches on 166 targets in his first year with Josh Allen. Sign me up for year two of that. The chemistry between Allen and Diggs is special. I know that Buffalo’s schedule is tougher this year, but Diggs torched pretty much every defensive back he faced last year. I’m going out on a limb here for Diggs. I’ll go with 148 catches for 1700 yards with 10 scores. 
7Derrick Henry- RB- TennesseePeople will think this is extremely low for Derrick Henry, but history has taught us this lesson before. Look at the season of every major running back that has had a 2,000+ yard-rushing season. There is a drop off the next year. Tennessee lost their offensive coordinator, which could be a huge loss for them. Then added Julio Jones to give Ryan Tannehill another option. Plus with only 42 total catches out of the backfield for Henry the last three years, he isn’t the receiving threat of the other backs on this list. I still expect 1400 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns, but he just doesn’t have the receiving chops.
8Davante Adams- WR- Green BayBefore drafting Adams, ask yourself one question: Is Aaron Rodgers the quarterback of the Packers? If that answer is no, drop him down a few notches. This spot is solely based that Rodgers will be taking the snaps under center. Even hurt last year, Adams still posted 115 catches with 1370 yards with 18 scores. With Rodgers, Adams will approach those numbers again and possibly exceed them. Without Rodgers, it’s would be closer to 95 catches for 1100 yards and 12 scores.  Adams could be one of the toughest draft decisions for owners leading into the season. Let’s just hope Rodgers makes his decision early. 
9Nick Chubb- RB- ClevelandNick Chubb is really good at football. He’s great at wearing down a defense and punishing them in the 4thquarter. Chubb is one of the players that only has 8 or 9 fantasy points in the 3rd quarter, but then doubles it during the 4th. He’s going to be the bell cow in Cleveland’s run first offense that is built for running backs. His only down side is the lack of catches out of the backfield (mainly due to play-action) and Kareem Hunt taking away key touches. Chubb will be good for 1200 yards rushing and 12 scores. 
10Jonathan Taylor- RB- IndianapolisJonathan Taylor had a quiet but amazing rookie year. He averaged 5 yards a carry and found the end zone 11 times. Most of these stats came in the second half of the season. The one thing that gives me a lot of hope for Taylor’s production is Miles Sanders in 2019 with Carson Wentz. Sanders had 50 catches as a rookie averaging 10 yards a catch. Wentz will love dumping the ball off to Taylor and letting him make something happen. If it all comes together, Taylor could be a top 3 draft pick for the 2022 season. 2021 is a prove it year. I see 1100 yards rushing with 8 scores but 55 catches and 500 receiving yards. 
11Aaron Jones- RB- Green BaySee Davante Adams. A lot of this depends on who is quarterbacking for the Packers. Jones won’t be as impacted as Adams. Adams is definitely the more talented player, but Jones showed that he has everything to be an every down back. Even if Jordan Love is the quarterback, I can still see some designed dump offs to Jones. I just hope that in that situation, Jones won’t be facing 8 man boxes daring Love to beat them with his arm. Jones stats won’t be terrible regardless of who is the Quarterback, but will definitely be better with Rodgers. Look for 1000 yards rushing and a combined 10 scores on the ground and receiving. 
12DK Metcalf- WR- SeattleDK Metcalf could easily be higher on this list as well. As he enters year 3 with Russell Wilson, I fully expect his stats to take another major jump. Metcalf is a physical freak of nature standing in at 6’4 and 230 lbs. This is as close as we could get to the second coming of Calvin Johnson. The only down side is that Ty Lockett is a great wide receiver in his own right. That means that he will be splitting Wilson’s attention and targets. I’m still really high on DK Metcalf. I wouldn’t be shocked if Metcalf got 100 catches for 1400 yards and 13 scores. It’s a risk but the reward could be incredible. 

These are my top players to draft this fantasy football season. There were a few players who just missed the cut that will be in my Tier 2 group of players. Just missing the cut is: AJ Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas, Cam Akers, Travis Kelce, and Ezekiel Elliott. Each of these players have major upside coming into the 2021 season, but bigger questions than the top 12 players in Tier 1. I hope this helps you in your preparation for fantasy football this year.

About SHappel

Hosts The Irrational Confidence Podcast with Fresh.

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