The Los Angeles Rams were dealt a serious blow when they learned that starting running back Cam Akers had ruptured his Achilles' tendon, thus ending his NFL season before it officially began. Akers was expected to be one of the top backs in the 2021 Fantasy football rankings after an impressive rookie season in which he led the team with 625 rushing yards in just five starts. Not only does the injury affect the Rams' plans, but it also likely threw a wrench into the plans of those who had already taken Akers with their 2021 Fantasy football picks.
Akers was a sleeper last season, so which running backs should you consider as potential 2021 Fantasy football sleepers? The Rams have unknown players behind presumptive starter Darrell Henderson, while Sean McVay loves to utilize multiple backs, so there is potential lying deep in the Rams' depth chart. Before making any 2021 Fantasy football picks, be sure to check out the 2021 Fantasy football cheat sheets from the proven computer model at SportsLine.
Last year, the model accurately predicted a big season for Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown. The second-year playmaker had a fifth-round Fantasy football ADP, but the SportsLine Projection Model predicted he'd be a WR1. The result: Brown caught 70 passes for 1,075 yards and 11 touchdowns to finish as the No. 10 wide receiver in Fantasy football.
Additionally, it's called past Fantasy football sleepers like Derrick Henry in 2019, Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara in 2018, and Davante Adams in 2017. Anybody who banked on players like those made a run at their league title.
The model is powered by the same people who generated projections for all three major Fantasy sites, and it beat human experts last season when there was a big difference in ranking. The projections update multiple times daily, so you're always getting the best Fantasy football advice.
Now, SportsLine has simulated the entire NFL season 10,000 times and released its latest Fantasy football rankings 2021, identifying several potential Fantasy football sleepers. Head to SportsLine now to see them.
Top 2021 Fantasy football sleepers
One of the 2021 Fantasy football sleepers the model is predicting: Bills receiver Emmanuel Sanders. The 34-year-old will be on his fourth team in three years and posted 61 catches for 726 yards and five scores last year with the Saints. Sanders will replace John Brown, who bolted in free agency and averaged over 50 receiving yards per game last year in the Bills' high-octane attack.
Buffalo's base offensive set consists of three receivers, so Sanders will get plenty of targets opposite Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley. Sanders has the potential to elevate even higher up the depth chart as Beasley has flirted with retirement due to the NFL's COVID-19 protocols.
Last year, Sanders showed he still has plenty left in the tank when sharing the field with a traditional quarterback. He averaged over 62 receiving yards per game with Drew Brees compared to under 33 yards per game when the Saints' other quarterbacks were under center. He gets another elite passer in Josh Allen, and the SportsLine model has him outperforming players like Curtis Samuel and Tyler Boyd, who are being drafted three rounds earlier on average.
Another sleeper that SportsLine's Fantasy football rankings 2021 have identified: Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. The 30-year-old quietly had the best season of his career in the Raiders' first season in Vegas, as he set new career-highs in passing yards (4,103) and passer rating (101.4). Carr led the seventh-ranked passing offense and threw for 27 touchdowns while also rushing for 140 yards and three touchdowns, also new highs.
The Raiders made notable upgrades to several offensive positions, which should allow Carr to surpass last season's numbers. The team added John Brown at receiver, Kenyan Drake as a pass-catching threat out of the backfield, and drafted tackle Alex Leatherwood in the first round to help protect Carr. Further progression from Henry Ruggs III should allow Carr to maximize his proficiency with the deep ball and he still has one of the game's elite tight ends in Darren Waller. SportsLine's model likes Carr more than Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins, all of whom are being drafted three rounds earlier on average.
How to find proven 2021 Fantasy football rankings
SportsLine is also extremely high on a surprising quarterback you aren't even thinking about being picked in the middle rounds of drafts. This quarterback is listed as a shocking top-five option in the Fantasy football rankings 2021, ahead of superstars like Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. You can only see who it is, and the 2021 Fantasy football rankings for every player, at SportsLine.
So which 2021 Fantasy Football sleepers should you target? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five performance? Visit SportsLine now to get 2021 Fantasy Football cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called A.J. Brown's huge season, and find out.