Play fantasy football? Of course you do! Fantasy football has become one of the most popular forms of sports entertainment in the 21s century. As you know, Fantasy Football takes a serious amount of effort and preparation. Luckily, Lineups.com has you covered. We’ve dedicated this page to our Fantasy Football player rankings, and we make sure to keep them updated daily to reflect the latest news and injury reports. Plus, with the different scoring formats available, we make sure to provide full reports and rankings for standard, PPR and half-PPR formats. Before you get ready for your draft or set your Week 1 lineup, make sure to check in here to stay ahead of the curve. If you’re an exceptional fantasy football player, and know the players who are overvalued or undervalued in your league, I’d recommend using your analytical skills in the sports gambling space. Arizona Sports betting and Virginia Sports betting have both been legalized, along with many other states, and there are several sports books to set up an account with. For example, DraftKings Arizona is a top-notch sports book offering some of the most diverse and unique markets in the state. Or, if you’re in another state that’s legalized sports betting, check in with lineups.com and get access to our personal promo codes. You can use the BetMGM bonus code “LINEUPS” to get a $1,000 risk-free bet when you create an account; or you can use the Caesars Promo Code “LINEUPSRF” to collect a $5,000 risk-free bet when you sign up there.
The week-to-week rankings are based on quite a few things. One of the first steps we take is viewing all the injuries and changes leading up to the current week. That even means looking at defensive injuries that many overlook and offensive line injuries that could deter a running back with said lineman being out. We want to get a good grip on the current week before we start diving in. With the correlation between fantasy points and faster-paced games, we look at games that are going to be quick-moving and present many chances for teams to have an above-average number of possessions.
For example, the Arizona Cardinals are playing at one of the fastest paces in the league, and their passing volume has gone through the roof under Kliff Kingsbury. This has spiked a jump in wide receiver production across the board and made Kyler Murray a quicker fantasy threat than expected. Each week the matchups play a big part in how we set our fantasy football lineups. You will find weekly projections, streaming options, players to avoid, and much more within our rankings.
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Opportunity is king, and opportunity is one of the bigger variables across the season. For wide receivers and tight ends we want to see who is getting targets, and also seeing targets within the red zone. Running backs we are looking at touches, which is a combination of rushing attempts and receptions. We also dive into red zone usage, which correlates with fantasy points. As for quarterbacks, volume is something we look at, but we want efficiency to be a part of it as well. We look at defenses and kickers in a similar way where matchups factor in a bit more. Kickers on high-scoring teams are always at the top of the table, while defenses we look directly towards the matchups.
When digging into matchups, defenses just simply allow more and less fantasy points to specific positions. The Falcons have established themselves as a team to pick on with just about every position this season. When we look at teams to target through the air, we want teams with weaker secondaries, but also ones who struggle to get towards the quarterback. Tight ends and wide receivers can pick on struggling secondaries, while teams like Las Vegas, Cincinnati, and Dallas have shown to struggle against teams on the ground. Using all these factors, we come up with our weekly rankings and projections.
The Best Players for Fantasy Football in 2021
Cumulatively ranking players across all fantasy football positions is a bear, but our rankings eliminate the need to blindly do so on your own. Additionally, the page provides last year's statistics and fantasy scoring totals (for Standard, PPR and Half PPR) as well as Lineups own projected fantasy footall stats and 2021 fantasy football projections (again, for Standard, PPR, and Half PPR). Regardless of the scoring type selected, the top of the rankings and Tier 1 is dominated by running backs. It seems the death of feature backs has been overstated, and they once again rule the roost owning the top four spots in the rankings for all three league scoring types.
Starting with the quarterback, there are a number of elite options at the top of drafts. Patrick Mahomes, the former MVP and Super Bowl winner, remains the highest-drafted quarterback in one of the best offenses in the NFL. Kyler Murray is our top-ranked quarterback as the Cardinals’ passer is set for another leap forward in his third season; his passing and rushing production makes for a lethal scoring combination. Lamar Jackson is an elite option as he’s run for over 1,000 yards in each of the last two seasons, while Josh Allen should remain one of the top options after his breakthrough year.
Alvin Kamara was the top scorer at running back last year, and he remains one of the top options, while Christian McCaffrey should be back as the top option after an injury-plagued 2020. Saquon Barkley also missed most of last season, but he should return to being one of the top options. Ezekiel Elliott had career-low efficiency amidst injuries to Dak Prescott and most of the Cowboys’ offensive line last year, but he should be in for a bounceback season. Dalvin Cook and Derrick Henry also remain among the top options.
At wide receiver, there are a ton of elite options to consider. Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, DeAndre Hopkins, and Calvin Ridley make up the top tier while D.K. Metcalf, Justin Jefferson, Terry McLaurin, and A.J. Brown are exciting options to consider early in drafts. The third through fifth rounds present a number of exciting options, as well, with Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Amari Cooper, Tyler Lockett, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and more making up the high-upside options.
Tight end is a mess in fantasy football as it’s hard to come by truly consistent production, but there are some elite options at the top of drafts. Travis Kelce’s brilliant production makes him a first-round pick in most leagues while Darren Waller and George Kittle should be off the board in the first couple of rounds. Mark Andrews and T.J. Hockenson follow close behind while Kyle Pitts is a name to watch as the rookie tight end should make an instant impact.
Fantasy Football Rankings Frequently Asked Questions
Ideal fantasy football lineups are widely going to range based on where you are picking, what scoring system you are in, and also what size your league is. This is a popular 12-team PPR league, and with a randomized pick, we ended up with the 12th pick overall. We will look at the likeliness of players being there at each pick being over 70%. Anything less I will not include. QB - Aaron Rodgers (6.1)
The Packers’ quarterback is coming off a career-high 48 touchdowns in his MVP season, and he’s back with the team following a tumultuous offseason. Rodgers continues to be one of the best passing talents in the league and is set for another great season. RB - Jonathan Taylor (1.12)
Taylor was one of the top scorers at the running back position last year. While the Colts are bringing in a new quarterback in Carson Wentz, Taylor should remain one of the most efficient RBs in the league behind arguably the NFL’s best offensive line. RB - David Montgomery (3.12)
There are several talented running backs available in the third round, but Montgomery is the one who I would be hoping fell to me with the last pick in the round. The Bears’ rusher was one of the best players in fantasy last year after a torrid end to the season. WR - Tyreek Hill (2.01)
Hill is one of the most electric talents at the wide receiver position in the NFL, and his game-breaking speed makes him a constant threat to take a play to the house. The Chiefs’ wide receiver benefits from arguably the best quarterback in Patrick Mahomes and the best head coach in Andy Reid. WR - CeeDee Lamb (4.01)
Despite injuries to Dak Prescott and most of the starting offensive line, Lamb was quite impressive in his rookie season. Now, he moves from the slot to the outside and should be set for an explosive second-year breakout. WR - D.J. Moore (5.12)
The Panthers’ wide receiver will be getting another new starting quarterback in Sam Darnold, but his ability to produce no matter the QB is an impressive testament to his talent. Moore is set for another great season and is a steal at this range. TE - Tyler Higbee (10.01)
My favorite late-round tight end target, Higbee is a steal at his current ADP. With a quarterback upgrade in Matthew Stafford and the departure of fellow tight-end Gerald Everett from the team, Higbee is set for a big season. K - Harrison Butker (12.1)
Bryant may not have been terribly consistent last season, but he’s attached to one of the most high-powered offenses in the Chiefs. Upside is king at the kicker position, and Bryant should be in for some high-scoring games this season. DEF - Los Angeles Rams (11.12)
With the likes of Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey making the Rams one of the best real-life defenses in the NFL, Los Angeles is also my top-rated defense for fantasy football this season.
Landing an elite workhorse running back in the first round is very important with the lack of depth at the position, and there is one RB who stands out from the rest in Christian McCaffrey. CMC had an injury-riddled 2020 season in which he only played three games, but in 2019 he was the top-scoring running back by a huge margin. In that season, he had over 1,000 yards both on the ground and through the air. McCaffrey has spoken to being at full health following his disappointing 2020, and I’m in on CMC as the top player again this season for fantasy.
Quarterbacks are always controversial, as many analysts will tell you to wait on the position. Last season, Josh Allen, the #1 scorer at QB, was available in the 8th or 9th round. Players like Ryan Tannehill, Kirk Cousins, and Matt Ryan were top-12 quarterbacks available later in the draft. No quarterback since 2005 has finished as the #1 scorer in fantasy football in back-to-back seasons and quarterbacks famously have low repeatability as top-12 options. Last season, there were 38 different quarterbacks who registered top-12 finishes and there are plenty of options available later in drafts who can be streamed for great production depending on their matchup.
Don’t be afraid to reach for the guys you want. It can be a long turnaround depending on your draft position, so don’t tie the players you like to their ADP. For example, if you wanted Calvin Ridley last season but were drafting with the first pick in the draft in a 12-team league, you would have had to have taken Ridley with the first pick in the third round - that’s about 17 picks higher than his ADP. However, he finished as a top-5 WR, so that would have paid off and then some.
Look for upside later in drafts, and take some risks. There are going to be breakout players each and every year going in the double-digit rounds. You are going to be looking for high floor players early, which helps negate if you take risk late. The deeper you go in drafts, the lower the floors get.
Don’t draft kickers and defenses until very late. They are your lowest scoring positions, and 30-40 fantasy points can separate the top from the middle tier, which isn’t a huge drop off. You can also look to stream on a week to week basis and play more the matchups there.
This is a passing league, and therefore quarterbacks are your highest scorers. Outside of insane years like Michael Thomas and Christian McCaffrey have had, most of the year end scorers will be quarterbacks. They have the most volume of any position, where they have 35+ chances a game to put up fantasy points. Wide receivers and tight ends can range from 5-15 touches a game. Running backs truly need double-digit touches to have any sort of real impact. Wide receivers come in second, then running back, and finally tight end.
Do I Worry About Bye Weeks?
Teams have one week off a season, and that can create a headache for fantasy teams. Does it really matter? No. If you have three strong players on bye in Week 7, I would much rather be weak one week out of the season rather than not drafting players I truly want. Do not worry about bye weeks, and in fact don’t even bother looking at them when you are drafting. It should have no influence on building your roster.
What Are RB Handcuffs?
We have seen plenty of running backs go down over recent years due to injuries, which can create league-winning volume for running backs. Often you will see backup running backs being drafted. If they can bring some standalone value already without the RB1 being injured, that is great. Names like Alexander Mattison and Tony Pollard are strong talents backing up Dalvin Cook and Ezekiel Elliott. Anything happens to those names. You are looking at RB1/2 type production for as long as they are out.
You will be able to find the key backups to pick up within our running back handcuff chart. Be sure to keep a few bench spots open for backups.
What Positions Do I Take For Bench Spots?
Generally, we look at our bench spots as a place to back up each position. If you have a deeper bench in your league format, that can be the case. If you have standard five-six spots, you should be looking to get more running backs and wide receivers. They help give you options throughout the year, as you will be leaning on your quarterback each week regardless. They are also less likely to get injured, and the waiver wire will still have decent names out there.