I always enjoy writing bold predictions articles because it gives you the chance to take your general feelings about a player, turn them up to 11, and then look really smart when they come true. And if they don’t come true, well they were just bold predictions and bold predictions are meant to be bold. It’s really a win-win.
It’s WR Week here at NerdBall, so I’ve got four bold wide receiver predictions for 2021 fantasy football, all which I could realistically see happening if a few breaks go their way.
Robert Woods Finishes a WR1
I’m not even close to turning the dial to 11 here. This isn’t really a bold prediction, it’s what I think will happen. I’ve been hyping up Robert Woods and the Los Angeles Rams’ passing attack throughout the offseason and now I’m going to put pen to paper to explain why.
From a fantasy perspective, Woods has been remarkably consistent over the last three years. He finished the WR13 in .5PPR last year, the WR17 in 2019, and the WR10 in 2018. He’s seen at least 129 targets and caught at least 86 balls in each of those seasons. He’s also had at least 17 carries, 115 rushing yards, and a rushing touchdown in each of those seasons, a sneaky source of fantasy scoring.
All of that was done with Jared Goff. Now he has Matthew Stafford.
Since joining the Rams in 2017, Woods has proven to be a fundamental part of Sean McVay’s offense and is now playing with a quarterback who can make every throw asked of him. I really don’t think it’s wild to think that the upgrade in quarterback and question marks surrounding the team’s backfield could lead to Woods putting forward a top-12 season.
most heavily targeted wide receivers in the red zone over the last 3 years:
deandre hopkins – 472
davante adams – 440
keenan allen – 426
stefon diggs – 404
allen robinson – 397
robert woods – 394
the robert woods WR1 campaign continues to thrive pic.twitter.com/OH9cri8lMg
— pete a sex appeal celtics fan rogers (@petemrogers) July 27, 2021
Davante Adams Falls Outside the Top 5
I know with the news of Aaron Rodgers returning, it’ll be hard not to go back to ranking Davante Adams as the clear cut WR1 this year. And if you’ve already adjusted your rankings, I wouldn’t blame you. After all, the Rodgers/Adams mindmeld led to 18 touchdowns and Adams running away with the WR1 spot last year.
The reason for my hesitation comes directly from those 18 touchdowns Adams caught last year. In 2019, Adams only caught five touchdowns. He played just 12 games, but even across 16 games, he was just on a 7 touchdown pace. 2018 saw Adams’ previous career high in scoring with 13. That’s still a lot of touchdowns, don’t get me wrong, but the difference between 18 and 13 touchdowns is 30 fantasy points.
It feels like the wide receiver position is as deep as ever this year. Young players like Calvin Ridley, Justin Jefferson, D.K. Metcalf, and A.J. Brown are all stating their case for the WR1, while veterans such as Stefon Diggs, DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, and Allen Robinson find themselves in the best situations of their careers.
Adams might finish out of the top five this year not because he had a bad season, but simply because there might be 10 wide receivers who have similar seasons.
Allen Robinson Leads the NFL in Touchdowns
This is the year Allen Robinson re-announces himself to the world as a top 5 receiver in the NFL. Robinson has been one of the best WR in the league through most of his career but hasn’t gotten the recognition he deserves mainly because he’s had some of the worst quarterback luck imaginable. (Shocking I know I don’t consider Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, and Blake Bortles a great group of passers.) With some combo of Andy Dalton and Justin Fields passing him the football this year, Robinson is set to play with the best QB room of his career.
Last year, only three other teams in the league had a higher red zone pass% than the Chicago Bears. Since 2018, only five receivers have seen more red zone targets than Allen Robinson. The narrative is pretty easy to spin that with improved quarterback play, Robinson—one of the best red zone targets on one of the most pass happy red zone teams—could see his touchdown numbers skyrocket.
Both Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy Finish WR2s or Better
We saw the pass catching duo of Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy for all of five seconds last year before Sutton tore his ACL and was out for the year. Jeudy went on to have a solid rookie season—catching 52 balls for 856 yards and 3 touchdowns—but the offense wasn’t anywhere near as explosive as many were anticipating.
Now, Sutton has a full year of recovery under his belt and Jeudy has a full year of professional football under his. These two receivers are big, physical pass catchers who can dominate at the point of attack and can gain separation with elite route running. Sutton was 6th among wide receivers in 2019 in yards per reception (15.3, min. 65 receptions) and Jeudy ranked 7th last year (16.5).
The quarterback situation in Denver is a tad worrisome with Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater battling it out in camp. Let’s hope Bridgewater takes the starting job early as we saw him last year support two WR2s in fantasy with the Carolina Panthers.
Which bold prediction do you think has the best chance of coming true? Let me know in the comments!