Each season there is always a sense of euphoria and hopefulness following the NFL Draft and, as OTAs startup (for everyone except Aaron Rodgers), we begin to look a bit deeper at which teams are ready and expected to produce viable fantasy options. Now, like all preseason articles you will read this offseason leading into Redraft drafts, EVERYTHING is contingent on draft value—so while this article will discuss Offenses We’re Avoiding in 2021 Redraft, it’s not to say we don’t like these offenses or their players entirely. It’s to say that at the moment, these players' ADPs and rankings are too high for our liking based on the offensive environment. This analysis is largely for PPR leagues.
Not everyone at The Commish is fading the Bears Offense in 2021, but we’re all in agreement that the early report of Matt Nagy naming Andy Dalton as the Day 1 starter in Chicago gives us reason to pause on this offense entirely.
Per NFL.com, Matt Nagy stated “Andy is the starter….Andy’s going to get the one reps.”
Now the question becomes, ‘for how long?’
It’s no secret to anyone in Chicago that the decision to eventually start Justin Fields will come in 2021, it’s just a matter of when his debut comes. This will likely determine when fantasy managers should draft guys like Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney, and Cole Kmet. Dalton has proven that he can walk into a room and kill a party with open bar top-shelf products. The production of the Dallas Cowboys offense was dismal under Dalton following his takeover of Dak Prescott. 2020 Rookie Ceedee Lamb had been averaging 17.12 points per game with Prescott but fell to 11.29 points per game thereafter.
In the collective opinion of The Commish the only receiver worth his value at current ADP (WR54/145.3 Overall) is Darnell Mooney. We understand the brilliance and target share of Allen Robinson, but at WR11 we feel much more comfortable taking players like Terry McClaurin or even Najee Harris in that area.
With that said, once Fields is onboarded as the team’s full-time starter, there is a chance guys will GO TO THE MOON. Pass on the expensive draft picks (Robinson) and trade for him later. We’re okay with Mooney, Kmet, and even Montgomery at current ADPs.
San Francisco 49ers
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of the 49ers Offense is “Move the chains, don’t make mistakes, and use Kittle”. Outside of George Kittle (who is seemingly being faded for some reason this offseason *scratches head*), I’m not particularly in love with the 49ers offensive situation and their players at their ADPs. First, as an offense, here were the team’s statistical finishes in 2020:
12th in total passing yards (4033)
20th in total passing TDs (25)
15th in total rushing yards (1899)
11th in rushing TDs (19)
24th in the NFL in % of drives ending in an offensive score (36.3%) – with some bad offenses behind them (Jags, Bungals, Broncos, Eagles, Jets)
Given some of the team’s injuries, I also wanted to take a look at how the offense finished in 2019 for context and to be sure this analysis considered a multi-year sample size:
13th in total yards passing (3792)
11th in total passing TDs (28)
2nd in rushing yards (2305)
1st in rushing TDs (23)
5th in the NFL in % of drives ending in an offensive score
So we can see there was a significant drop off in production from 2019 to 2020 and this was largely due to the setback in the rushing attack. The passing offense overall only slowed slightly. Someone who is optimistic for the 49ers might argue that the 2020 49ers were riddled with injuries and that a healthy team will produce better outcomes. These are fair points and I totally agree. But how does this impact fantasy football for 2021—let’s take a deeper look at those numbers in relation to the players we’re analyzing.
The players we’re considering are the following:
RBs Raheem Mostert & Trey Sermon
WRs Deebo Samuel & Brandon Aiyuk
The mark of the 49ers elite rushing attack in 2019 was led by Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, and Jeff Wilson—a collective that was dominant on the ground. Yet, even at their best in 2019, leading rusher Raheem Mostert (772 yards) only finished as the RB26 in fantasy that season with 165.2 total points and averaging 10.3 PPG. For context, Devonta Freeman finished higher than Mostert while playing 14 games in Atlanta averaging 14.1 PPG in PPR. Currently going as the RB26 and 58 overall in redraft (PPR), I’d much rather take guys like DJ Moore, Tyler Lockett, and Mike Davis for that 4th/5th round draft capital. With that said, Trey Sermon as the RB47 and 122 Overall feels like great value! Skip on Mostert who lacks pass-catching work and grab Sermon.
Deebo Samuel (WR33) and Brandon Aiyuk (WR25)—while both are great talents, only one of them is worth their value and that is Deebo. Just so we all don’t forget, Deebo had a very respectable rookie season in 2019 finishing as the overall WR31 in fantasy averaging 12.6 PPG. Remember, the 2019 team was healthy, ran the ball, and the passing attack was led by Kittle. I say all that because if seems as though Brandon Aiyuk’s 2021 ranking of WR25 is largely inflated due to his production in 2020 averaging 15.4 PPG. While that is good, especially for a rookie…remember that the team was depleted on talent and the only assurance of consistent offensive production was, in fact, Aiyuk. As the 49ers heal up and build towards the 2021 season, I expect Aiyuk to not have to shoulder the responsibility of offensive production as he did in 2020. The team will want to revert to their identity “move the chains, don’t make mistakes, and use Kittle”. Therefore, I’d much rather take a Deebo Samuel as the WR33/79 overall and go out and grab a Kenny Golladay (WR21), DJ Moore (WR24), or even Chase Claypool (WR28) than take Brandon Aiyuk at WR25/62 overall.