Dynasty Fantasy Football

2021 Dynasty Football Profile: Justin Jefferson


Welcome to the 2021 Dynasty Football Profile series with the 2021 Dynasty Football Profile: Justin Jefferson.

We’re rolling out a series of posts on players entering their second year in the NFL. In the first week we covered Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers, the RB8 according to our Dynasty Football rankings. Then last week we talked about our RB4, Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts.

This week we will be talking about the most hyped wide receiver in last year’s rookie class Justin Jefferson. The LSU product broke Anquan Boldin‘s rookie record for receiving yards (1,377) in a season. Jefferson finished his record-breaking rookie season with 88 receptions 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns.

Let’s dive into the 2021 Dynasty Football Profile: Justin Jefferson.

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2021 Dynasty Football Profile: Justin Jefferson

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Rookie Campaign

Where do we start with Justin Jefferson? Well, let’s first look at where he finished last year in his record-breaking rookie season. He finished as the WR6 of the year in PPR formats according to FantasyPros. His 1,400 receiving yards were third in the entire NFL behind only Stefon Diggs and Deandre Hopkins. He managed that on only 88 receptions which were tied for 13th with Diontae Johnson.

That means he averaged 15.9 yards per reception in 2020, which was more than the Cheetah himself Tyreek Hill, who only averaged 14.7 yards per reception. His 15.9 yards per reception was the highest out of all wide receivers to finish as WR1’s in 2020. This young Fantasy Football superstar is one big play after another waiting to happen.

He was and is the Minnesota Viking’s number one option through the air for 2021 and beyond. His 125 targets and 88 receptions were both tops even on a team with Adam Thielen. The only stat Thielen beat Jefferson was touchdowns, where Thielen had 14 to Jefferson’s seven. That number should come up in the second year of his career.

Offseason Change of Scenery

The Vikings didn’t make any draft picks or sign anyone in free agency that would make a direct impact on Jefferson’s Fantasy Football outlook. They did make some minor moves that could affect his efficiency with Kirk Cousins. This will be the fourth straight year Cousins will have a different offensive coordinator. With the promotion of Klint Kubiak, not much is expected to change to an offense that helped Jefferson break records.

The Vikings also used two of their three first picks on an offensive lineman. Left tackle Christian Darrisaw out of Virginia Tech in the first round and guard Wyatt Davis from Ohio State fell to them in the third round. This could help boost Jefferson’s 70.4 catch percentage and increase his 15.9 yards reception with Cousins having more time to throw deep.

The last minor change is seeing longtime Vikings’ tight end Kyle Rudolph walk in free agency. It’s not major news since they drafted Irv Smith Jr. in Round Two of the 2019 NFL Draft. But Rudolph did get 37 targets in last year’s offense, so those targets need to go somewhere. I don’t expect Theilen to see an uptick in targets at age 30, so it’s easy to see Irv Smith Jr. and Jefferson possibly splitting those 37 targets in 2021.

2021 Role/Potential Speed-Bumps

Now it’s easy to say Justin Jefferson has an easy path to being a WR1 this year, but it could be harder for him to accomplish. Now I only say this because the Vikings’ defense last year ranked 29th in team defense. Only the Las Vegas Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Detroit Lions were worse as a team. Because of that, Cousins was 15th in passing attempts last year and 13th in completions in the NFL.

With the additions of defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, cornerback Patrick Peterson, and linebacker Nick Vigil I expect this defense to be a lot better in 2021. When Mike Zimmer’s defense is at its best he doesn’t want to throw the ball, he wants to control the tempo of the game with Dalvin Cook.

If the defense had to rank at 29th in the NFL for Cousin’s to look Jefferson’s way 125 times in 2020, what does he if Zimmer’s defense returns to top form in 2021? It still seems like he will be the top guy for Cousins in 2021 but just how much will the volume decrease if Captain Kirk doesn’t need to throw it 516 times?

In 2019 Zimmer’s Defense was ranked fifth in total defense according to Pro Football Reference. This resulted in Cousins only throwing the ball 444 times which was the 24th in the NFL in 2019. In 2019 when Stefon Diggs was still on the team he only received 94 targets, and Thielen got 48 targets in his ten games.

Even though his volume may decrease because of that, his efficiency could rise as a result. This would mean longer touchdowns set up by play action with Dalvin Cook, and longer time in the pocket for Cousins to make the right decision.

Wrapping It Up

Unfortunately, this is the beginning of the end of the 2021 Dynasty Football Profile: Justin Jefferson. I know I may have spooked a few of you with that take on the defense returning to form. But let me just remind you how dominant Justin Jefferson’s rookie year really was. He recorded 100 or more receiving yards on seven different routes last year. The only other player in the NFL who did that was Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs.

He had an NFL-high 606 yards against press coverage and ranked seventh in the league in yards gained on deep catches with 308 yards. As if that wasn’t enough he also had the third-most receiving yards from the slot with 187 yards. He’s shown he’s a threat inside and out and anywhere else he is on the field.

That’s it for the 2021 Dynasty Football Profile: Justin Jefferson! Check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers!

About Mike LaPlant

Once upon a time, there was this kid who hated to write since high school. Then his friends talked him into writing about Fantasy Football. Now he has the time of his life writing Fantasy Football articles. He'll give it to you straight even if you don't wanna hear it. The only thing this guy loves more than winning his fantasy football leagues is helping everyone else win their leagues.

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