Josh Jacobs has been one of my favorite running backs since the Raiders drafted him in 2019. I've drafted him in several Fantasy leagues, touted him as a breakout and still have hopes of him being a dominant rusher in the NFL. Maybe that happens this season, but I'm not overly optimistic, which is why Jacobs is listed here.
Jacobs is a bust candidate heading into this season for two major reasons. For starters, the Raiders adding Kenyan Drake in free agency will hurt Jacobs' workload. Drake is a better receiver than Jacobs, and Drake will certainly get his share of carries. This could be frustrating throughout the season for both running backs if the workload is even.
The other concern is the Raiders offensive line, which lost three starters this offseason. Right tackle Trent Brown was traded to New England, center Rodney Hudson was sent to Arizona and right guard Gabe Jackson was shipped off to Seattle. Kolton Miller remains at left tackle, Richie Incognito is back at left guard and Las Vegas selected rookie right tackle Alex Leatherwood in the first round of the NFL Draft, which was considered a reach at No. 17 overall.
Maybe the offensive line improves this season -- Pro Football Focus had the Raiders offensive line ranked No. 24 last year -- or things could get worse with three new starters. Either way, this unit will be a work in progress, which could be a detriment to the running game.
Jamey's 2021 Sleepers 2.0 | Breakouts 2.0
Jacobs will likely be drafted in Round 3 in most Fantasy leagues, but I would prefer him in Round 4. While I still believe in his talent, his situation got worse for 2021. He's no longer someone I plan to target in most of my Fantasy leagues.
And the same goes for Drake. I'll settle for him with a mid-round pick as a reserve, but he's going to need an injury to Jacobs to become a weekly Fantasy starter once again.
Now, let's look at some other bust candidates heading into 2021.
GB Green Bay • #12
Age: 37 • Experience: 17 yrs.
I had Rodgers in this spot last season, and I was clearly wrong. It was great to see him play like he did in 2020 when he was the NFL's MVP, and he finished as the No. 1 Fantasy quarterback at 29.2 points per game. But now he has to produce at that level again, and I'm not sure that's realistic at 37. We also don't know where he'll play given the uncertainty of his future. At the time of publication, Rodgers remains with the Packers, but a potential trade could happen by the time you read this. I'll clearly adjust my rankings and review of Rodgers if he's with a new team. Currently, I have Rodgers as a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback and a top-10 option. But I'm expecting him to regress, and I'm not sure I would be targeting him on Draft Day. Remember, prior to 2020, he averaged 23.0 Fantasy points per game or less for three years in a row. If he's closer to that range, which is still respectable, you'll regret drafting him as a potential top-five Fantasy quarterback. At best, wait for Rodgers with a mid-round pick in all leagues.
Matt Ryan QB
ATL Atlanta • #2
Age: 36 • Experience: 14 yrs.
It's hard to trust Ryan as a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback with Julio Jones now in Tennessee. In seven games without Jones last year due to injury, Ryan averaged just 18.3 Fantasy points per game, including four games with 17 points or less. We'll see how Ryan does with Kyle Pitts now in Atlanta, and he still has a standout receiver in Calvin Ridley. And hopefully Russell Gage will make some plays as well with an increased role. But new coach Arthur Smith might opt to run the ball more -- Ryan has attempted at least 608 passes in each of the past three seasons -- and any decline in volume will lower Ryan's ceiling. If you target Ryan as a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback with a late-round pick then that should be fine, but don't plan to draft Ryan as a starting Fantasy option this year with Jones now gone.
CHI Chicago • #32
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Montgomery helped many Fantasy managers win championships in 2020 with how he finished the year, and he ended up as the No. 4 PPR running back. He was amazing over the final six games of the season with at least 19 PPR points in each outing, and he averaged 24.8 PPR points per game over that span. But it's doubtful he produces at that level if Tarik Cohen (ACL) is ready for Week 1, which should be the case barring a setback, as well as the addition of free agent Damien Williams. In 19 career games with Montgomery and Cohen both healthy, Montgomery averaged just 10.7 PPR points per game. He'll be better than that, and he's still worth drafting as a No. 2 Fantasy running back in all leagues. But the earliest I would consider Montgomery is Round 4, and I'm afraid he'll get selected earlier in most formats. That could be a mistake this year.
DEN Denver • #25
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Melvin Gordon was someone I was actually excited about prior to the NFL Draft. Phillip Lindsay was gone. Gordon was looking like a potential bargain as a No. 2 Fantasy running back. And then it happened. In Round 2, the Broncos traded up to No. 35 overall to select rookie running back Javonte Williams, and here we are. I still expect Gordon to be the lead running back for the Broncos, and he's worth drafting in the Round 6 range. But Gordon and Williams are going to share work in Denver, and that was bad for Gordon last year with Lindsay. In the nine games when Gordon and Lindsay were active, Gordon averaged just 10.9 PPR points per game. And what happens if Williams is actually better than Gordon? You might be better off passing on Gordon and targeting Williams a round or two later, and Gordon is now a bust candidate in 2021.
Kareem Hunt RB
CLE Cleveland • #27
Age: 25 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Hunt proved to be a great handcuff for Nick Chubb in 2020, but Hunt struggled to produce when Chubb was active. Chubb suffered a knee injury in Week 4 against Dallas and missed four games. Including Week 4, Hunt averaged 14.0 PPR points over his next five outings with Chubb sidelined. But after Chubb returned in Week 10 against Houston, Hunt scored more than nine PPR points just three times over his final eight games. He also had 10 total touches or less three times over that span. Hunt can still be a potential flex option in tandem with Chubb, and Hunt is worth drafting with a mid-round pick in all leagues. But he's not someone to target as a Fantasy starter as long as Chubb is healthy heading into Week 1.
HOU Houston • #31
Age: 29 • Experience: 6 yrs.
We don't know what's going to happen with Deshaun Watson this season, but if he's out then this Texans offense could be a disaster. But even if Watson plays then Houston's backfield could still be a mess. The Texans added Mark Ingram, Lindsay and Rex Burkhead this offseason, and Johnson is headed for a shared workload after being a solo act for much of 2020. He finished as the No. 21 PPR running back at 14.9 points per game, and he was a nice surprise for Fantasy managers last year. But he only had six games of the 12 that he played with more than 50 rushing yards. And a third of his 33 receptions came in one game in Week 15 at Indianapolis. At 29, Johnson's best days are likely behind him, and he's not worth trusting on a terrible team with extra mouths to feed. Johnson is a flex option to settle for at best in 2021.
NYG N.Y. Giants • #19
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
I hope I'm wrong on Golladay here because I love him as a player, but I would only draft him as a low-end starter after Round 5 now that he's with the Giants. While the Giants are counting on him to be a star after signing him to a four-year, $72 million deal, including $40 million in guarantees, Fantasy managers are counting on Daniel Jones to help make Golladay successful. And that's risky. There also are a lot of mouths to feed in this offense with the addition of first-round rookie Kadarius Toney joining Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley. The Giants also will be a run-first team now that Barkley (knee) is back at 100 percent. Golladay will have plenty of positive moments, but I'm concerned about him remaining a high-end Fantasy option now that he's with the Giants.
HOU Houston • #13
Age: 27 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Cooks should easily be the No. 1 receiver for the Texans this season, and he should get plenty of targets. But we don't know who's throwing him the ball yet because of Watson's unsettled situation, and I'm hesitant to trust Cooks with either Tyrod Taylor or rookie Davis Mills under center. I'm only drafting Cooks with a mid-round pick as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in all leagues. He was great last year in Houston, scoring at least 13 PPR points in eight of the 15 games he played, and he only had four outings with fewer than 11 PPR points. But will he be that successful without Watson? That's the gamble if you trust Cooks and Watson is out, and it's a situation to monitor. Now, if Watson is the starter for the Texans this year, then I'll remove Cooks from this list and draft him as early as Round 5 in all leagues.
Will Fuller WR
MIA Miami • #3
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
I loved Fuller going into last season, and he exceeded my expectations when he was the No. 9 PPR receiver on a per game basis at 17.1 points. In the 11 games he played, he had five outings with more than 19 PPR points. But then he missed the final five games due to a six-game PED suspension (he's out for Week 1 this year), and now he's in Miami. Fuller can become the Dolphins' No. 1 receiver this season, but it's a crowded receiving corps with first-round rookie Jaylen Waddle, DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki. And we're counting on second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to help Fuller play on the same level he was on with Watson in Houston. Along with that, you have Fuller's track record of missing time, mostly due to injury, and he's played 11 games or fewer in each of the past four seasons. Fuller will definitely have some wow moments, and he's capable of some huge weeks. But I'm not excited about him in Miami with Tagovailoa and a crowded receiving corps, and Fuller's only worth drafting with a mid-round pick in all leagues.
BAL Baltimore • #5
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
The Ravens were last in pass attempts in 2020 with 406 in 16 games. In 2019, when Lamar Jackson was the NFL MVP, Baltimore was also last in pass attempts with 440. It's hard to imagine a huge shift in philosophy this season, and Brown now has plenty of company to share targets. The Ravens signed Sammy Watkins as a free agent and drafted rookies Rashod Bateman in the first round and Tylan Wallace in the fourth round. Along with Mark Andrews still being a primary weapon for Jackson, it's hard to count on Jackson being a consistent Fantasy option, and he's only worth drafting with a mid-round pick in all leagues, with his value higher in non-PPR formats. Brown closed last season on a high note, averaging 15.5 PPR points per game. More importantly, he averaged 6.8 targets per game, which was up from his career average of 5.7. I still like Brown as the best wide receiver in Baltimore, but Bateman, Watkins and Wallace will be a problem for Brown's production this year.
Logan Thomas TE
WAS Washington • #82
Age: 30 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Alex Smith leaving Washington is bad for Thomas since Smith relied on Thomas as a safety blanket, and Ryan Fitzpatrick won't do the same thing. Washington also added Curtis Samuel to its receiving corps, and that should hurt Thomas' target share. In 2020, Thomas was great with 72 catches for 670 yards and six touchdowns on 110 targets, and he finished as the No. 3 PPR tight end. It's hard to expect Thomas, who turns 30 in July, to repeat that type of performance. He's worth drafting as a low-end starting option, with his value higher in PPR, but don't be surprised if Thomas ends up on the waiver wire by the middle of the season if his production is lacking.
GB Green Bay • #85
Age: 27 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Tonyan was great for Fantasy managers in 2020 when he finished as the No. 4 PPR tight end. He had 52 catches for 586 yards and 11 touchdowns, but it's highly doubtful he comes close to finding the end zone that much again this year, especially since he had just 59 targets. That number was No. 24 among tight ends in 2020 -- behind guys like Gerald Everett (62) and Tyler Eifert (60). Tonyan still has the chance to be a low-end starter in all leagues, especially as a key weapon for Rodgers, but he's someone to settle for on Draft Day instead of target. And if Rodgers is traded then forget about drafting Tonyan in all formats.
So which sleepers, breakouts and busts should you target and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five performance? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen's huge season, and find out.