One of the best ways to prepare and research for the 2021 Fantasy Football Top-10 Most Interesting Dynasty Players was to look at what my compadre Kyle Williams did last year for this article.
The problem was that I absolutely hated it.
Not that it was a bad article, poorly written, or lacked decent analysis. It had all of that. But in my humble opinion, he should have called it "young players with attractive upside". They were all players with high upsides that everyone had on their radar.
To me, "interesting" means players that have some interest to us. But it also means you are really not sure whether you want or not. Maybe you need to reach on them, maybe you need to wait on them.
Interesting to me is more about "swing" players. If the player's production swings the wrong way you could be looking at playing for next year early. If the player swings the right way, you could be looking at a championship this year.
A player that typifies that description is Deshaun Watson. And he's a good start as any for our 2021 Fantasy Football Top-10 Most Interesting Dynasty Players.
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2021 Fantasy Football Top-10 Most Interesting Dynasty Players
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Houston Texan Dynasty Options
DeShaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
We know the positives. Watson is one of the most electric quarterbacks in the league. He has averaged over four rushing TDs and over 400 rushing yards a year. But it's not just his legs. Despite the loss of all-everything WR De'Andre Hopkins to Arizona last year, he still threw a career-high 33 TDs and more than 4800 passing yards last year.
Alas, that was over 16 games, however. Due to some off-field legal issues, Watson is expected to miss at least the first four weeks of Houston's season. That assumes he is even in Houston come Week 1. Trade rumors abound including a potential landing spot of Denver. With the talent at WR that Denver offers, Watson could match his 2020 season numbers in just 13 games.
But he could remain in Houston, which would put a serious damper on his ceiling given the talent remaining in Houston. And his floor would also fall out of the Top 25 QB range as well. Its part of the reason Watson has publicly said he wants out of Houston. And if he's not in Houston or Denver, there are easily half a dozen other potential landing spots, making him one of the biggest swing players heading into this year's 2021 dynasty season.
And if you think Watson is going to have a one-way ticket out of Houston, then you need to consider....
Davis Mills, QB, Houston Texans
Mills was the top-rated pro-style quarterback in the country, but with only 11 collegiate starts on his resume questions abound. However, he was the Texnas top pick (67th overall) and could easily be starting come week 1 with Watson out. This Houston team is going to be bad, like bottom-of-the-barrel bad.
But the good thing about that is things can only improve so by year two of the Davis Mills era he could have some shiny new toys to play with after taking his lumps this year. I can promise you that his 2021 season will not go well, but his 2022 outlook makes him an interesting roster addition for 2021.
Nico Collins, WR, Houston Texans
And if you like Mills, there is a good chance you will like Collins. And yes, this is the last Texan on this list, I promise.
Big red-zone targets and short speedy guys can be great assets but I prefer my WRs to be big AND fast. Collins is both. He is 6'4 222 pounds but also posted a 4.43 40 time. With Brandin Cooks the only WR locked into playing time on this team, Collins could see plenty of targets, especially given the probability of how often Houston will be playing from behind.
It's a crowded WR room with Randall Cobb, Keke Coutee, Andre Roberts, and Chris Conly amongst a handful of others that Collins will have to beat out. But he has a far better skill set than any of those options and I would note surprised if he scores at least half a dozen TDs this year.
Non-Houston Texan Dynasty Options
Zach Wilson, QB, New York Jets
First the good.
The Jets overhauled their coaching staff and brought some new weapons to the offense as well. Corey Davis arrived through free agency and the Jets also drafted running back Michael Carter. Furthermore, the only other quarterbacks on the roster are James Morgan and Mike White. So unlike most situations where a rookie quarterback comes in, the Jets don’t have a guy that will compete with Wilson for the starting job.
Now the bad.
The Jets' offensive line still needs some help. And forcing him to start behind that line that will have him trying to play hero ball is a bad idea. Besides Corey Davis and Jamison Crowder, no skill position player on this team has really proven anything at this level yet. Remember, even Corey Davis has really only had one solid year of production in the NFL.
Comparing the other players at his position, I find it hard to take him over any quarterback drafted in the first round. All of those guys are either in a much more favorable position than Wilson is currently and even looking into the future. In dynasty drafts (both rookie and startup), I will probably avoid taking Wilson when looking for a quarterback unless I absolutely need a guy that is going to start this season.
Unless the Ravens completely deviate from the run-heavy success they've had for years now, Bateman's probability of being an annual top-20 fantasy receiver is remote at best. Barring some sort of quarterback change that requires the offense to either become more balanced or even pass-heavy, his targets won’t ever be up there with the receivers that are usually putting up big fantasy numbers.
However, there have been whispers of the Ravens changing their offense.
Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman said he wants more downfield passing in 2021.
— Alex M. (@Ace77ofnocal) June 4, 2021
But saying he wants more and making it happen are two different things. But stranger things have happened. Should Lamar Jackson become more effective with his deep throws, Bateman will be one of the biggest beneficiaries. Given the production and talent that made Bateman a first-round pick, Bateman could be a key cog of successful dynasty teams for the foreseeable future.
I'll warn you right now that you're going to hear a lot from me this summer about Hawkins. He is on very few radars as he went undrafted. Just because that crime occurred, does not mean it's too late to put out an APB for Hawkins. He is a little undersized (just 196 pounds) but should be a perfect change of pace back to starter Mike Davis early in the season.
Watch the clip below and tell me you don't love his homerun potential immediately:
Don't be surprised if he actually has the starting role come 2022 week 1 if not before. But enough rookies for now, let's take a look at some other players on the potential rise/rebound.
Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons
With Julio Jones taking his talents to Tennessee, Gage immediately becomes one of the more interesting non-rookie WRs. The hype train is already a-ways down the track, but despite playing 47 games the last three years, he has yet to grab 75 passes, have 800 passing yards, or even score more than four touchdowns. But the 109 targets he saw last year when Julio Jones was in town is making dynasty owners who secured him cheaply salivate.
He is still only 25 years old. Atlanta was fourth in the league last year with just slightly over 39 pass attempts per game. Julio Jones' 68 targets last year will have to go somewhere and my guess is that Gage will see at least a quarter of those. I don't think the hype train will be bringing Gage to its expected destination, but it will be stopping at a location further up the mountain.
Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
There is a lot of argument surrounding just how good (or bad) Hurts might be this year. I own Hurts in my favorite league, so I fall definitely in the pro-Hurts camp.
The anti-Hurts argument however goes something like this: Hurts only started four games last year and if they proved anything, it is that Hurts has limitations as a passer. He only had five passing touchdowns in four games, which might be great 50 years ago, but is not going to cut it in the pass-heavy NFL of today. After zero INTs his first two weeks, did the league see enough tape on him that they figured him out? Perhaps that's why he threw three INTs his last two weeks? Furthermore, questions abound about the Eagles offensive line. Our friends over at PFF had them ranked 19th (i.e. below average) this past season which seems to be the general consensus.
The pro-Hurts argument
However, it was also one of the most injured offensive lines last season. The Eagles lost starting left tackle Andre Dillard and right guard Brandon Brooks before the season even started. The injury woes continued as an eye-popping eleven different OL played at least 50 snaps last year. Bad news for last year, but good news for this year. There is no way the OL will be that battered this year. Plus, it gave some of the reserves for this year some much-needed experience. But the line is not the only place where Hurts surrounding cast improved.
The Eagles drafted Hurts' former teammate DeVonta Smith, who was universally seen as the top WR in this year's draft. The drafting of Smith doesn't automatically mean that Hurts will throw for 50 touchdowns, but it sure can't hurt his passing numbers, right?
And Hurts could do enough on the ground alone to make him fantasy-worthy. His rushing prowess enabled him to put up a whopping 37+ fantasy points in week 16 last year but still managed to average around 18 points in his three other starting games. And that including the controversial benching at halftime in week 17. Had he put up 18 points every other week, he would have finished as the QB11 in fantasy last year. That is what the floor looks like. It's not hard to see why the Eagles made a change at QB.
Which brings us to the guy who Hurts replaced....
Carson Wentz, QB, Indianapolis Colts
There might be just as much debate about Wentz as there is on Hurts, the difference is that both camps have ample evidence on their side to make their argument. But let's boil it down to this: Before Wentz was injured during the Eagles Super Bowl run, he looked like one of the league's brightest young stars who would be a fixture in Philadelphia. Since then he looks like a shadow of his former self and if he can't "get right", he will be out of the league before another Creed movie comes out.
Wentz absolutely needed a change of scenery and the trade to the Colts might be a perfect landing spot. Head Coach Frank Reich is a former quarterback and knows a thing or two about comebacks. The Colts have a better offensive line than the one fielded by the Eagles last year. Furthermore, I would expect the Colts to feature their Pro Bowl running back Jonathan Taylor, thereby forcing Wentz to not have to do as much as he was expected to do in Philadelphia.
Wentz's arm strength is still there but the biggest question is where he is between the ears. With that being nearly impossible to tell, he is an extremely interesting dynasty option in 2021.
Jameis Winston, QB, New Orleans Saints
And we finish off our list of the 2021 fantasy football top ten most interesting dynasty plays for this year with the esteemed member of the 30/30 club. 30 TDs is good, but 30 INTs is not. That is why Winston is often an unpopular choice. Throw in the fact that Taysom Hill was the starting QB when Brees went down last year and Sean Payton's love for Taysom, the odds of Winston even having the opportunity to throw 30 INTs let alone 30 TDs is not high.
But I can't shake this feeling that Winston is the starting QB this year. Yes, Hill might get five to ten snaps a game to keep the defense on its toes. But Winston will be the starter. And when you are the starting QB with weapons like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara at your disposal, 30 TDs should not be a difficult milestone to reach.
Is anyone more fitting than Winston to be on our list of 2021 Fantasy Football Top-10 Most Interesting Dynasty Players?
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