Between now and next Fantasy football season, we have to get through the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl, free agency, the draft combine and the draft, offseason workouts, training camp and preseason games. Which is to say, there are a lot of ways for player value to change between now and then.
And we'll be here to update you on all of it throughout the offseason. That includes making sure you know what to keep an eye out for from each team as it heads into the offseason. For the teams that actually made the playoffs, those discussions can wait, but for the 18 sitting at home, the questions are just beginning. A bunch of those teams are looking for new head coaches or offensive coordinators, and a handful are looking for new general managers, too, so there's going to be a lot of change around the NFL even before we get to the inevitable roster churn.
Today, I'm looking at the biggest question for each of those 18 teams, focusing on what each needs to accomplish for Fantasy players to know what to make from them. Questions we can't even envision right now will obviously come up at various points in the offseason, but this is a good starting point.
I've also got the first draft of my 2021 WR rankings below that, and if you want to see the rest of the Fantasy Football Today team's too-early QB rankings, Jamey Eisenberg wrote about those Monday. And for you Dynasty players, Heath Cummings has updated his rankings for QB, RB, WR and TE, plus his overall top-150 rankings and trade values, so make sure you check those out. We'll be making adjustments to those rankings all offseason, accounting for free agency, trades and rookies, but here's where things stand right now.
If you've got any questions about the offseason, Fantasy playoff challenges or DFS, or your Dynasty and Keeper decisions, send them my way at Chris.Towers@CBSInteractive.com. For now, here's what the non-playoff teams have to answer for looking ahead to 2021.
Biggest questions for non-playoff teams
Dolphins -- Do they get Tua Tagovailoa more help?
The future of Chan Gailey as Miami's offensive coordinator remains up in the air, but it's clear he just didn't have the same trust in Tua as he did in Ryan Fitzpatrick this season, which made it tough for Tagovailoa to put up numbers. Adding some reliable weapons to the offense should go a long way toward helping this offense take a step forward, and an elite WR with the Texans No. 3 overall pick would seem to be one obvious spot. I still believe in Tagovailoa, but he needs more help to live up to his potential.
Patriots -- How do they rebuild the offense?
There really isn't just one place the Patriots need to make improvements on, so let's see if they opt for small changes or a full-scale rebuild. They need a long-term QB and they need weapons in the passing game, but if they opt to make the latter a priority, that could make Cam Newton a more viable Fantasy option (if they opt to reunite). .
Jets -- Do they get a new QB?
We know the Jets will have a new head coach and offensive coordinator after they fired Adam Gase, so now the question becomes whether they opt for a full rebuild or see if Sam Darnold can make a leap with a new coach. Between Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims, the Jets aren't barren when it comes to pass catchers, but the engine of the offense still needs an upgrade. If Darnold can make a leap, Mims especially would be a nice sleeper for 2021. .
Bengals -- How long does Joe Burrow's recovery take?
We're used to ACL tears being a relatively straight forward recovery process, but Burrow's is more complicated than your typical one, as he also tore his MCL in Week 11. A return for the start of 2021 isn't out of the question, but it isn't necessarily the most likely outcome at this point either, and as we saw even in his rookie season, the Fantasy value of the likes of Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins depends heavily on Burrow's availability. If he isn't ready for the start of the season, then you can't expect him to be fully right for at least a few weeks after, which means this offense could really struggle again at the start of the season.
Texans -- What does the offense around Deshaun Watson look like?
Watson is just about the only sure thing here because the Texans enter the offseason already over the cap for 2021 with Will Fuller set to be a free agent. David Johnson and Brandin Cooks could be cap casualties, which doesn't leave many familiar faces left over. We saw Watson put up 25.9 Fantasy points per game after Fuller's suspension, but it might be asking too much for him to do that for a whole season.
Jaguars -- Is James Robinson still the starter?
Trevor Lawrence will probably be brought in to start at QB as the No. 1 overall pick, but that isn't the only change coming. The Jaguars will have a new coach and GM for 2021, and they may not be invested in Robinson despite his impressive rookie season as an undrafted free agent. If he is the every-down back next season, Robinson's upside will only grow in what should be a better offense, but he'll have to make it through the draft and free agency before we can be confident in that.
Raiders -- Does Derek Carr return?
With just $2.5 million in dead cap money on the books if they cut him, the Raiders could move on from Carr. They likely wouldn't do so without an improvement coming in, but both Carr and the Raiders have pretty much maxed out at "just not good enough," so you have to think a change could be in the offing. The coaching staff likely isn't going to change much, but a new quarterback is always a new unknown variable to account for, and it may not be great news for Darren Waller, so we'll want to keep a close eye on that.
Which of the coaching vacancies is the most appealing? Plus we give you a sneak peak of our 2021 Top 12 on the Fantasy Football Today in 5 podcast. Listen below and subscribe at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts:
Chargers -- Who is the next coach?
For Fantasy purposes, at least, there's not much the Chargers need, so we'll be more interested in the offensive philosophy being installed than anything else. Under Anthony Lynn, the Chargers used Austin Ekeler a ton in the passing game, as he averaged 6.6 targets per game over the past two seasons. Let's hope whoever comes in mostly just keeps things rolling along, because there isn't that needs to be fixed here.
You obviously can't write him off for good, but Lock had the highest interception rate in the NFL this season and is averaging a meager 6.6 yards per target over his first 18 starts. Between Melvin Gordon, Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant, there's no shortage of talent in the skill player spots for the Broncos. But this is a team that ranked 26th in passing yards and 28th in points this season, and it's pretty clear Lock was the weak link. The Broncos are introducing a new decision-making hierarchy this offseason with John Elway delegating final say on football decisions, and I wouldn't mind seeing a new QB there to get the most of all these weapons.
Giants -- Can they find some receivers?
Daniel Jones likely gets one more year to take a step forward, and you have to figure the Giants are going to do a better job of putting the right pieces around him. Getting Saquon Barkley back from his torn ACL should help, but if the Giants go into next season with Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard as their top two options in the passing game, why should we get excited about them?
Cowboys -- Do they bring back Dak Prescott?
In a sane world, this wouldn't be a question, and I would guess the big extension Kellen Moore just got to remain as the offensive coordinator is a pretty good sign. But it's not a guarantee, especially if the Cowboys try to short change Prescott coming off his injury. This is an incredibly talented group of skill players, but we saw even a relatively competent backup quarterback in Andy Dalton couldn't come close to getting the most out of them. Prescott and Moore are a perfect pairing with these receivers, and if Prescott's back under center, I'll be investing a ton in the Cowboys offense in 2021. If not, it would take a lot of convincing.
Eagles -- Who is the quarterback?
The Eagles are in a tough place with Carson Wentz, who will reportedly demand a trade this offseason but who also carries a massive dead cap hit if the Eagles trade him. Maybe they decide that's worth it and move on, which would make Jalen Hurts a top-10 QB for Fantasy in my eyes for 2021. If they decide to keep Wentz -- and my money would still be on that outcome for now -- it's a lot harder to get excited about this offense, though I wouldn't bet against a bounce-back season overall. The Eagles just need to figure out what went wrong for Wentz.
Vikings -- Can they improve the defense?
Every other team here has a focus on the offense, but the Vikings don't really elicit any complaints from the Fantasy community anymore. Dalvin Cook is going to keep getting fed -- whether he can hold up to this kind of workload year after year is a different question -- and the play-action and downfield-heavy approach in the passing game helps make up for a lack of volume. However, if Cook does stay healthy and the defense bounces back … well, Stefon Diggs led the team in targets with 94 in 2019, when the Vikings ranked fifth in points allowed and were rarely chasing points as a result. Justin Jefferson is an absolute superstar, but Adam Thielen might have trouble making an impact if the pass volume diminishes.
Lions -- Does Matthew Stafford return?
The Lions could pivot toward a full rebuild, which might mean Stafford, Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay could all be out of the picture, with no viable in-house replacement for any of them. This wasn't a great offense with Stafford, but it's hard to see it improving if the Lions opt for a blank slate, which could limit the breakout appeal of T.J. Hockenson and D'Andre Swift. Both should be in line for a big step forward in 2021, but they might have an uphill battle ahead of them.
Panthers -- Do they look for a QB upgrade?
Like Carr, Teddy Bridgewater is pretty firmly ensconced in the "Just not good enough" tier at QB. He's not bad, but you'll never be able to get the most out of your offense with him. And, given that this is an offense that figures to feature Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel, this is an offense we want to get the most out of. For whatever reason, Bridgewater just hasn't been able to get the ball in the end zone often enough in his career, and that's a trend we've seen across three different teams, so it probably isn't a fluke. Bridgewater is still due a ton of money in 2021, but he's also the perfect bridge quarterback if the Panthers want to chase someone with a bit more upside.
Falcons -- Do they add a running back?
Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are basically untradeable with their cap hits in 2021, so unless they can come up with some clever accounting, the Falcons are likely to run things back in the passing game. However, a new lead running back seems like a safe bet after Todd Gurley flopped again. Brian Hill and Ito Smith have had some flashes, but neither has been able to earn much more than a limited role, with just two games between them with more than 13 carries in seven seasons between them. The Falcons figure to bring in at least some competition for the top spot, and that could be a very valuable role -- Gurley, Smith and Hill combined for 11 touchdowns in 2020.
Early WR Rankings
- Davante Adams
- DeAndre Hopkins
- Stefon Diggs
- Tyreek Hill
- Michael Thomas
- Calvin Ridley
- Julio Jones
- D.K. Metcalf
- Terry McLaurin
- Allen Robinson
- Keenan Allen
- Justin Jefferson
- A.J. Brown
- D.J. Moore
- Robert Woods
- Diontae Johnson
- Cooper Kupp
- Will Fuller
- Chris Godwin
- Mike Evans
- Tyler Lockett
- Adam Thielen
- Brandin Cooks
- Amari Cooper
- Kenny Golladay
- Tyler Boyd
- Courtland Sutton
- Deebo Samuel
- Devante Parker
- Marquise Brown
- DJ Chark
- Robby Anderson
- Tee Higgins
- JuJu Smith-Schuster
- Cole Beasley
- Odell Beckham