Last December when I released my top 25 and top 50 dynasty rankings for 2020, there were three rankings for which I was mocked most: Kerryon Johnson (way too high at #18, they scoffed), Joe Mixon (way too low at #26, they cried) and Juju Smith-Schuster (way too low at #50, they howled). Two for three would make me the best baseball player in the history of baseball, but in the game of fantasy football dynasty rankings it won’t fly. Also, I missed terribly on a bunch of other rankings including Fournette, OBJ and Hollywood. So now I must be held accountable and take responsibility for ranking my cousin Kerryon Johnson way, way, way too high last year. No excuses! No blame! Even though the freshly-fired-incompetent-coach/GM-duo of Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn seem like pretty good scapegoats—was it really necessary to spend an early 2nd round pick on D’Andre Swift AND sign Adrian Peterson AND not use your talented 23 year old RB Kerryon Johnson at all? Ah right, no excuses. But the sun was in my eyes last year when I was writing my rankings. So this year I brought in a ringer to keep me in check: Pat Fitzmaurice. Pat is currently sitting at #1 (out of 160 experts) in this year’s FantasyPros’ Ranking Accuracy Competition, he also finished #2 (out of 162 experts) in FP’s Draft Ranking Accuracy Competition in 2019 and he holds the title of #1 most accurate draft ranker from 2017-2019. In short, the man is a fantasy football ranking sorcerer and he was kind enough to record a YouTube show with me discussing each of our top 10s—subscribe and give us a like if you don’t hate it. Anyway, here’s that show, followed by my top 10 dynasty rankings for 2021 fantasy football:
*note: these rankings are geared toward half PPR full fledged dynasty leagues
Rank. Player | Position | Age on 9/1/2021 | Free Agency Year
1. D.K. Metcalf | WR | 23 | 2023
2. Christian McCaffrey | RB | 25 | 2024
Is ranking D.K. Metcalf #1 overall controversial? I have no idea, I live in a padded room and they don’t allow me to make contact with the outer world other than to write questionable fantasy advice. What I do know is I haven’t seen a receiver this naturally gifted since Megatron, and Metcalf is barely of legal drinking age. We’re looking at 7-10 years of elite WR1 production. What more do you want from your dynasty centerpiece?
The trickiest part about overall rankings is having to weigh one position versus another, it’s like comparing apples to kumquats. Then we add in the dynasty wrinkle which means we have to consider player age and our respective team’s contention window. Wide receivers and quarterbacks provide gold standards for durability and longevity, while running back valuations are wildly volatile like the pile of PutinCoin I bought. But if we wanna get rich and win our fantasy championships then we’ll need some crypto in the portfolio. Enter Christian McCaffrey. 2020 has been a frustrating season to own CMC with him already missing nine games with ankle and shoulder injuries. But he hadn’t missed a game during the first three seasons of his career, and when he’s been on the field McCaffrey has still racked up huge fantasy numbers. There’s no player I’d rather own if I was all-in for 2021.
3. Tyreek Hill | WR | 27 | 2023
4. A.J. Brown | WR | 24 | 2023
5. Dalvin Cook | RB | 26 | 2026
6. Davante Adams | WR | 28 | 2022
7. DeAndre Hopkins | WR | 29 | 2025
I did a lot of hemming and hee-hawing with this tier because it’s a pretty fluid group in my mind. The only thing that can hold Tyreek Hill back is if the Chiefs don’t re-sign him after the 2022 season (I do expect they extend him). That, or off the field issues. People get sensitive when I bring up the whole child abuse allegations and the domestic battery conviction in college, but his temperament always lingers in the back of my mind. Regardless, Mahomie has been looking Reek’s way even more than usual this season which might be a preview of what we can expect if and when Travis Kelce is out of the picture.
At one point I had Hill and A.J. Brown in their own mini-tier, but chickened out. Brown isn’t quite the physical freak that Metcalf is, but it’s not really fair to compare any human to D.K. Ryan Tannehill has now strung together nearly two full seasons of exceptional quarterback play, and he’s under contract in Tennessee through 2023. At the spry age of only 24, I see no reason to bump the budding superstar any lower than the 3-7 range as we head into 2021. Brown’s a blue chip asset worth building around.
Does Dalvin Cook‘s ridiculous production justify bumping him into the top tier? Maybe so, but the guy is also as fragile as my ego, missing at least a couple games every season of his four year career. Still, it’s difficult to contend in top heavy dynasty leagues without elite RBs and Dalvin is as elite of a runner as they come. Plus, he’s now locked down by the Vikings through 2025 and they aren’t shy about piling on the carries.
The question surrounding Davante Adams’ dynasty value entering 2020 was Aaron Rodgers’ future in Green Bay. With the Packers ponying up a first rounder for Jordan Love over the summer, the writing was on wall in Wisconsin Cheddar Cheez Whiz. But with Rodgers now discount double checking his way to a career year at age 37, someone may have to clean up all that Cheez Whiz. I have a hard time seeing Green Bay opting out of their QB’s contract after 2021 if he looks anything like this next year, and that’s fantastic news for Adams’ dynasty outlook.
DeAndre Hopkins is the old man of my top 10 at the crusty age of 29 entering the 2021 season. It’s far from a given with the elite receivers typically starting to fade anywhere from age 31 to 35, but my gut tells me we get five more elite seasons from Nuk. He has the benefit of a young QB in Kyler Murray, who throws a beautiful deep ball and keeps defenses on their heals with his legs.
8. Saquon Barkley | RB | 24 | 2023
9. Alvin Kamara | RB | 26 | 2026
10. Jonathan Taylor | RB | 22 | 2024
I hemmed and hee-hawed on the previous tier, but this is really where I started flip-flopping like Dan Marino out of water. That doesn’t make sense because dolphins are mammals, but only about 10% of what I write makes sense anyway. Point is, there’s some real question marks with these three running backs.
Saquon Barkley is coming off a torn ACL and he’s rotting away on a lost Giants team, but when healthy he’s the most physically gifted back in the league. Alvin Kamara was extended by the Saints and he’s special in the passing game, but we’ve already seen the negative effects of a Taysom Hill led offense. Is Taysom really the future play caller in New Orleans or will Sean Payton make other plans?
Jonathan Taylor is a patient runner (#12 in the league in average time behind the line of scrimmage) with freakish speed (4.39 forty) and one of the best offensive lines in the league. The questions on Taylor coming into the 2020 draft were his hands in the pass game and ball security after some fumbling issues at Wisconsin. JT answered those questions by catching 35 of 37 targets with no drops this year while fumbling only once in 184 rushing attempts. I’m all in on the kid from Home Improvement. Looking at a couple longer term assets who I strongly considered for the back end of the top 10, Nick Chubb, Micheal Thomas, Justin Jefferson and CeeDee Lamb all just missed the cut. You’ll have to check back in for the top 20 to see exactly how I ranked those dudes and more! Make sure you check out the video above for more context and insight regarding my ranking process and philosophy.