It was quite the exciting finale to the fantasy football season, as names such as Amon-Ra St. Brown, Rashaad Penny, Ja’Marr Chase, and Braxton Berrios stole the show in the fantasy football championship. But as the 2021 fantasy season now comes to an end, it’s time to name the All-Pro and All-Waiver Wire Teams.
Before we begin, I'd like to personally give a shoutout to Matt LaFleur. The last two years, my championship has come down to my brother having Aaron Rodgers (and this year Davante Adams) on Sunday Night Football, and me desperately begging for Matt LaFleur to run the damn ball. And for the second straight year, my buddy Matt listened and brought me home back-to-back championships. So, thank you Matt.
Now, for the last time this year, let’s talk some fantasy and dish out some All-Pro and All-Waiver Wire honors.
Quarterback: Josh Allen (Final QB Rank: 1)
Following his 2020 finish as the fantasy football QB1, Allen redeemed his crown as the top fantasy quarterback this season. Despite recording less total touchdowns and yards, while also throwing five more interceptions, Allen still outscored second-place finisher Justin Herbert by 26.38 fantasy points. Allen did however see an increase in rushing yards, finishing as Buffalo’s second leading rusher and tied for the team lead with six total rushing scores. Allen remains locked in as a top QB fantasy option for next season.
Running Back: Jonathan Taylor (Final RB Rank: 1)
Concerns about Taylor’s potential workload dropped his average draft pick (ADP) to the bottom half of first rounds (10.7) in the preseason. Owners who avoided the former Wisconsin Badger seemed smart, as Taylor struggled the first three weeks of the season, scoring in single-digits twice while his carries declined every week. From Week 4 on however, Taylor could not be stopped. The speedster recorded double-digit fantasy points in every game, including six games in the 20-29 fantasy point range, two games in the 30-39 point range, and a five-touchdown performance in which he recorded 53.4 fantasy points. He was easily a top-two fantasy player this year, and likely will be drafted as one next season.
Running Back: Austin Ekeler (Final RB Rank: 2)
The offseason hype for Ekeler was real, as the duel threat running back was selected as a late first- and early second-round pick. Ekeler rewarded those who put his past injury concerns to rest, suiting up for all but one game this season (due to Covid-19 protocols) and finishing as the fantasy RB2. As usual, Ekeler’s value came in the receiving game, as his 612 receiving yards and seven receiving scores led all running backs. Ekeler has cemented himself as a top fantasy selection next season.
Wide Receiver: Cooper Kupp (Final WR Rank: 1)
The fantasy football MVP. With Matthew Stafford under center in LA, Kupp posted over 400 fantasy points in a career year. Kupp lead all receivers in receptions (138), receiving yards (1,829), and touchdowns (15), as he posted seven games in the 20-29 fantasy point range and six games with over 30 fantasy points. He did not record one game in single-digits as he demolished his 42.0 ADP. He’ll most likely be a top three receiver off the board next preseason.
Wide Receiver: Deebo Samuel (Final WR Rank: 3)
While Davante Adams recorded 22.8 fantasy points more than Samuel, the 49er receiver was selected an average of 82.3 picks lower during drafts. Samuel looked electric as ever for San Francisco, recording career-highs in targets, receptions, and touchdowns. He also brought value as a rusher, as injuries to 49ers’ running backs shifted him to into a limited role in the backfield. Samuel saw 51 total rushes for 320 yards and an additional seven scores.
Tight End: Mark Andrews (Final TE Rank: 1)
Andrews put an end to Travis Kelce’s run as the top fantasy tight end, as he led all tight ends in receptions (99) and receiving yards (1,276), while being tied for most receiving touchdowns (9). Despite an array of quarterbacks under center, Andrews was surprisingly consistent, scoring double-digit points in 12-of-16 contests, while also posting a whopping 114.50 fantasy points over the last month of the season. He’ll once again be one of the top-five tight ends off the board next season.
All-Waiver Wire Team
Quarterback: Derek Carr (ADP: QB19, Final QB Rank: 12)
Drafted in just eight percent of Yahoo leagues, Carr was a draft day afterthought. Despite dealing with a chaotic season - losing his head coach and top deep threat - while also missing his top target, Darren Waller, for multiple games, Carr still recorded a career-high in passing yards 4,618 (fourth-most in the league). Carr was a top 10 option at the position at the beginning of the year, before the mess in Vegas and a late season rib injury slightly decreased his production. Either way, Carr outperformed his ADP and could be an underrated option entering next season if the Raiders continue to add more talent around him.
Running Back: Cordarrelle Patterson (ADP: RB89, Final RB Rank: 7)
Talk about shattering your ADP. Patterson was an afterthought in every fantasy league this year, as Atlanta was expected to lean on newly signed Mike Davis. However, it was Patterson who the Falcons’ offense relied on, as the ultimate duel-threat - with both wide receiver and running back eligibility - fantasy option. Unfortunately, the Falcons started to lean away from Patterson the last few weeks for whatever reason, but he was a true RB1 for the first 14 weeks of the fantasy season. He likely earns the reward of top overall waiver wire addition of the year.
Running Back: Eli Mitchell (ADP: RB77, Final RB Rank: 28)
Dealing with their usual backfield injuries, rookie Eli Mitchell took advantage of his opportunity in the 49ers backfield before getting injured himself. After San Fran’s Week 6 bye, just five running backs scored more than Mitchell through Week 13, despite him missing a game with a finger injury. His low-rank was a result of him missing six contests, but Mitchell provided true RB1 value whenever he suited up. He’ll likely be drafted as a high-end RB2 next season.
Wide Receiver: Hunter Renfrow (ADP: WR86, Final WR Rank: 11)
We banged on the Renfrow drum all year, as the Raider receiver was Mr. Consistent to start the year - catching five or more passes in six of his first seven games, but only scored two touchdowns and did not record more than 80 yards in any game. But, those who trusted his consistency were rewarded after Vegas’ Week 8 bye, as Renfrow took off. From Weeks 9-14, only Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson scored more fantasy points than Renfrow, as the slot receiver became the de facto WR1 in the Raiders’ offense. Renfrow delivered another strong outing in the fantasy championship as well, posting 20.60 points. A true PPR weapon.
Wide Receiver: Amon-Ra St. Brown (ADP: N/A, Final WR Rank: 25)
It took some time for St. Brown to provide true fantasy value, but once he did, he provided some serious value. Over the last five weeks of the fantasy season, only Cooper Kupp scored more points at the receiver position than St. Brown. With T.J. Hockenson sidelined, Detroit leaned on their rookie receiver, as St. Brown saw 11 or 12 targets in five straight games, while recording at least eight receptions in each of those contests. He also found the end zone five total times. St. Brown truly falls under the “league winner” category.
Tight End: Dalton Schultz (ADP: N/A, Final TE Rank: 4)
The tight end position is always the hardest to gauge in fantasy football, and Schultz rewarded those who added him early in the season. Despite seeing fellow teammate Blake Jarwin drafted over him in fantasy drafts, Schultz operated as Dallas’ TE1 even before Jarwin landed on the IR. He was a consistent force in Dallas’ passing attack, posting five or more receptions and at least double-digit fantasy points in 10 games. Schultz also rewarded those who stuck with him throughout the year, as his 54.3 fantasy points over the last three weeks were the third highest among tight ends.
Kicker: Nick Folk (ADP: K20, Final K Rank: 1)
Folk faded down the stretch as the Patriots’ offense ran into a dry spell, but was the highest-scoring kicker in fantasy despite being drafted in just 19 percent of Yahoo leagues. From Weeks 1-14, Folk led all kickers with 33 field goals made, as he scored double digit fantasy points in seven of those contests.
Defense/Special Teams: Dallas Cowboys (ADP: D/ST20, Final D/ST Rank: 1)
Like Folk, the Dallas D/ST was the 20th ranked preseason D/ST - more proof to never draft a defense or kicker before your final two picks. Dallas’ D/ST was largely consistent this season, scoring 10-plus fantasy points in eight games. From Weeks 1-14, Dallas scored six defensive and special team touchdowns while leading the league with 20 interceptions. And before championship weekend, their 79 fantasy points from Weeks 13-16 was easily the highest point total from any D/ST unit.
Thank you for following along this fantasy season! Let me know how your team did this season and make sure to reach out on Twitter @iambrianhines!