In Wednesday's Fantasy Football Today Newsletter, we took a look at Heath Cummings' Dynasty tiers and rankings for quarterbacks and running backs, and one thing to keep in mind if you go back through is how many rookies might shake up those rankings. There's at least one generational QB prospect coming into the NFL this year, with as many as five or six with the all-around skill set that we're always looking for in Fantasy. Running back doesn't seem to be quite as deep with potential superstars, but Travis Etienne and Najee Harris could both end up as top-15 running backs for 2021 in the right spot, which might make them top-12 options for Dynasty.
Of course, if you paid any attention to the 2020 college football season or know anything about this year's draft class, you know the pass catchers might be the most exciting part. Devonta Smith and Ja'Marr Chase look like two of the best receiving prospects in years, while Kyle Pitts might be the best tight end prospect in a decade-plus. Exciting times.
And both WR and TE are in interesting places when you're looking at things from a Dynasty perspective. At wide receiver, the best players are mostly in the 27-28 range -- not old enough to worry about a significant dropoff happening right away, but also in the range where Dynasty value can crater quickly. And, at tight end, the position has three standout options, and they'll be 27, 28, and 32 in 2020. Pitts might be able to replace them at the top if he hits the ground running, but there are no sure things coming up.
All of which makes dealing with these two positions this offseason incredibly challenging. You don't want to be a year too late in selling off an aging star, but you also don't want to panic and move someone only to lose three years of elite play, and the best players at the position are largely in that age range where either is possible. Navigating that will be tricky, so I've got Heath's WR and TE tiers to try to help you through it. Plus, make sure you bookmark our Dynasty home page for all of our content this offseason, including mock drafts, rookie profiles, and more. Also, be sure to subscribe to the Fantasy Football Today podcast wherever you get your podcasts -- and you can find all places to subscribe here -- for the latest news, reaction and more to prepare you for the 2021 fantasy season and beyond.
Now, here's how to approach WR and TE in dynasty as we get set to enter a key offseason:
As with running back and quarterback, there is one wide receiver who stands out above the rest of the position as the clear top option in Dynasty leagues. Davante Adams has earned that right with his play over the last two seasons, with a 16-game pace of 122 catches, 1,459 yards, and 14 touchdowns over the last two seasons. He's locked in with Aaron Rodgers for what should be the foreseeable future and he deserves that top spot.
But, let's not forget, it wasn't that long ago that Michael Thomas was considered the consensus top wide receiver in Dynasty. It was just one year ago, but between a high-ankle sprain that deflated his numbers and the expected retirement of Drew Brees, Thomas looks like a much less sure thing now than we thought. And, Adams is a year older than Thomas was at that point, putting him a year closer to that cliff every player eventually hits. Adams just finished his age-27 season, and that is typically when wide receivers peak. There isn't typically a stark fall off just yet, but you typically start to see the decline around this time, and in Adams' case, it's hard to imagine he's got better seasons ahead than the one he just put up. If you're the kind of person who likes to sell a year early rather than a year late, this is probably the offseason to think about moving Adams.
Of course, while it's easy to say Adams may be about to relinquish the throne, it's harder to say who might be ready to take it from him. Tyreek Hill is the most obvious answer, since he's a year younger than Adams, but if you're playing in a PPR league, he just doesn't have that 100-catch upside. A.J. Brown may not either -- not in Tennessee's offense. The same is probably also true for D.K. Metcalf in Seattle or Justin Jefferson in Minnesota, among the elite recent draft picks.
Which is to say: "Who is next at the position?" might be the most interesting question you can ask. You can't necessarily go wrong with any of the young guys at the position -- I especially like Jefferson, myself -- but there isn't an obvious, under-25, PPR hog who seems poised to grab the top spot. Maybe the Ja'Marr Chase/Devonta Smith/Jaylen Waddle group from the upcoming draft can land in the right spot to leapfrog to the top in the next year or so. They certainly seem to have the chops.
1. Davante Adams
Travis Kelce is the clear best player at the position, but he'll be 32 midway through the 2021 season, so it's hard to say how much he's got left in the tank. Tony Gonzalez had his last 1,000-yard season as a 32-year-old, but he also had at least 850 yards and seven touchdowns in each year from his age-35 through -37 seasons, so selling high wasn't necessarily the right call there. On the other hand, Rob Gronkowski's last elite season came at 28, while Antonio Gates took a step back around age 30 as well, despite being a solid option for another half-decade. We haven't seen any signs of decline from Kelce, but you can't rank him as the No. 1 option at the position when he might be a year away from being washed up. Father time is undefeated.
That's why George Kittle is probably the default choice at the top of the position. He missed eight games in 2020, but was elite when he was on the field, with a 1,268-yard pace over his eight games. Darren Waller has similar value for 2021, but he's a year older, so it makes sense that Heath drops him a tier below.
After those three and Mark Andrews, there might as well be a two-tier drop to the next group, headlined by Noah Fant, T.J. Hockenson, and Dallas Goedert. There's no doubting the talent of that group, but there are QB questions for all three, and they've only shown brief flashes at this point. If Kelce, Kittle, and Waller take a step back, it's not clear if anyone else might be poised to step up as the class of the position.
For my money, Fant has the best chance, and I'd like him even more with a better QB than Drew Lock. Denver is one of my favorite dream destinations for any of the QBs likely to move this offseason, and even with Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy around, Fant has the closest skill set to Kittle of anyone in the league thanks to his ability to break tackles and make plays after the catch. Fant has big-play ability to rival pretty much anyone at the position, but I can't see him making the leap unless the QB play in Denver does first.
The name to watch from the draft is Florida's Kyle Pitts, considered one of the best tight end prospects in a long time in the draft. Potentially since Vernon Davis, if not longer. Pitts is more like a big wide receiver, and he just put together a season where he averaged -- averaged -- 96.3 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game as a 20-year-old in the SEC. He might immediately join the top tier at the position in Dynasty rankings, and could be a top-six option for 2021 in re-draft leagues even knowing how rarely rookie tight ends make a significant difference. He just has to land in the right spot in the top 10.
1. George Kittle
2. Mark Andrews
3. Darren Waller
4. Travis Kelce
5. Noah Fant
6. T.J. Hockenson
7. Dallas Goedert