10 NFL Free Agency Predictions (2021 Fantasy Football)
On March 17, we will be formally turning the page to the 2021 NFL season. Lots of big names will be switching teams in a free agent period that figures to be more active than most. The shrinking cap is bound to lead to a higher number of cap casualties, which will only add to the frenzy! To get a preview of what the future might hold, we’ve asked our featured analysts to make one prediction on a transaction they think might happen during free agency.
Q. Please name one free agent skill player and tell us where you think he will go and what it will do for his fantasy value.
“Kenny Golladay to the New York Giants makes a ton of sense for both the player and the team. The Giants will need to do some work to clear enough money in cap space in order to make this happen, but there is enough there with the roster to do so. Bringing in the 6’4″ receiver would be a perfect complement to Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, and would give third-year quarterback, Daniel Jones, a much-needed big-bodied target. With the Giants, we could potentially see Golladay get back (or close) to his 2019 form when he had 65 receptions, over 1,100 yards receiving, and 11 touchdowns. While he may not be ranked as such, that type of production has been good enough to be a fantasy WR1.”
– Rich Piazza (Fantasy Shed)
“In an offense bereft of playmakers, Kenny Golladay is the game changer for the Patriots, who desperately need to shake up their lackluster passing game. For a frame of reference, through his career with the Lions, Kenny Golladay has produced 3,068 rec. yards and 21 TDs, compared to Calvin Johnson’s 3,166 rec yards and 22 TDs. I’m not saying he’s Megatron, I am saying he’s a true WR1 with his prime still ahead of him. The Pats have the cap space to make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)
“I’ve been wrestling with this one in my head for the past few days only because it’s looking more and more like the ‘salary cap is a myth’ narrative is looking pretty spot on at this point. Pair up the ever-efficient Will Fuller with the equally-as-efficient Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay? I think that’s a very realistic scenario and one that would benefit Fuller greatly. Let’s face facts: Marquez Valdes-Scantling is dust. Take his 17% drop rate and insert Fuller, who stayed healthy this season until his six-game PED suspension ended his stellar 2020 campaign. The WR11 in fantasy points per game (17.2) in the games he DID play (including a scoreless Week 2), he wouldn’t have to worry about being THE guy as a complementary piece for the Packers. Fuller would be a locked-in WR2 for fantasy, regardless of the landing spot, but increased touchdown equity in an uber-efficient offense like Green Bay’s could vault him into WR1 territory.”
– Kevin Tompkins (Fighting Chance Fantasy)
“Will Fuller is an intriguing name to monitor on the free-agent market this offseason. He has the suspension hanging over his head for 2021, but he could simply come at a discount in fantasy drafts because of it. The Bengals are a team to watch for Fuller. They have a need at WR opposite of Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd and they’ve been looking for a speed element to this offense for years. John Ross didn’t work out, but Fuller would come in and fill a crucial role in this offense and give Joe Burrow another receiving weapon. Fuller would have to be viewed as a reliable fantasy asset in this situation and he could potentially push his way into the top-30 WR discussion.”
– Kyle Yates (FantasyPros)
“I know that no one gets excited thinking about talented players signing with teams that are expected to struggle, but often the rebuilding teams are the ones that present the greatest opportunity for fantasy production. With both of their top wide receivers expected to move on this offseason, the Detroit Lions will be in the market for receiving help. There is no greater fit for the Lions than JuJu Smith-Schuster. He led the NFL in both receptions (81) and touchdowns (nine) from the slot last season (per PFF). Jared Goff, someone who has made a career out of targeting his slot receivers, will be controlling an offensive designed by Anthony Lynn whose offenses have historically emphasized short, high-percentage passes. Smith-Schuster in an Anthony Lynn offense, catching passes from Jared Goff with minimal competition for targets could potentially put up numbers that would rival his breakout 2019 season where he hauled in 111 receptions for 1,426 yards with seven scores.”
– Matthew Hill (DataForce Fantasy Football)
“Gerald Everett to the Bengals: There are a lot of exciting free-agent tight ends in 2021, however, Everett is rarely considered one of them. Widely regarded as the third-best free-agent tight end (behind Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith) Everett’s talents are being overlooked. The Rams drafted Everett with their first pick (44) of the 2017 draft, 22 picks ahead of Cooper Kupp. The 6’4″ 240-pound ex-basketball player has managed consecutive 400-yard seasons while sharing the field with Tyler Higbee. His playmaking talents are exactly what Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals need, as last season the tight end position and A.J. Green combined for 30% of Burrow’s targets. With Green leaving and the potential of saving five million in cap space if they release C.J. Uzomah, Everett could be stepping into a very favorable role for fantasy. If this happens, he is worth a flyer in redraft leagues as his opportunity could get him a top-10 finish at the position.”
– Ellis Johnson (True North Fantasy Football)
“The best place for Chris Carson would be the New York Jets. They have a clear need at the position and with his versatility can easily serve as a workhorse in Robert Saleh’s and Mike LaFleur’s new scheme. All he has done is be productive. From 2018 to 2020 he is RB12 in total fantasy points (PPR), RB6 in carries (666), RB5 in total yards (3,062), and RB12 in rushing touchdowns (21). Many distrust him because of fumbles, but in 2020 he only had one. While has the third-most fumbles among RBs since 2018, backs like Ezekiel Elliott, Dalvin Cook, and Derrick Henry are also top five in fumbles within that span. With the Jets, he could be a solid top-18 RB next season.”
– Mauricio Gutierrez (Estadio Fantasy)
“The Packers’ decision to draft A.J. Dillon in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft signaled they were not going to extend Aaron Jones or franchise tag him. The Miami Dolphins are a team with both the cap space and the need at running back to sign Aaron Jones to a contract. Miami would be an interesting fit. Even though they did not have a bell-cow back last year, they were 15th in fantasy points scored by running backs. Jones would have low-end RB1 value on a team that won 10 games and is going to be looking to make a playoff push in 2021.”
– Derek Lofland (FantasyPros)
“Whenever Bill Belichick has been given a chance to talk about Jonnu Smith, he raves about him, saying that he’s one of the top tight ends in the game. After working with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez for some time, the man might have an idea as to how good Smith is. I can 100 percent see Jonnu Smith going to the Patriots, as it’s a position of need for them, too. While we don’t know who the quarterback will be right now, it’s targets that we want to follow at the tight end position, and Smith would be in line for plenty of them on a team that’s lacking proven commodities. Because of that, Smith would become an instant low-end TE1 based on volume alone with the upside for more should they upgrade at quarterback.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)
“I’d like to see Curtis Samuel land in Washington. Terry McLaurin needs help and Samuel would offer a dynamic and versatile playmaker to the offense along with Antonio Gibson and whomever their new quarterback will be. Washington has the stabilizing force of a great defense and I would love to see what Samuel can do as the clear No. 2 in the offense.”
– Andy Holloway (The Fantasy Footballers)
Thank you to all the experts for giving their free agency predictions. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter for more great advice. Also, please check out our latest podcast episode below.