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Break-Out Candidate: Henry Ruggs III

Break-Out Candidate: Henry Ruggs III

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The Extra Point: Alabama's Biggest Breakout Candidate in the NFL This Season is ...

If you've done a fantasy NFL draft already, you know that a lot of teams are counting on former Crimson Tide players to have big seasons this fall.

Sports Illustrated fantasy writer Michael Fabiano recently updated his top-10 lists for the 2021 season, which include breakout players, sleepers and deep-sleepers, and all three included former Alabama standouts. 

Here's a sampling of what he wrote about them: 

Breakout Players

Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles traded Carson Wentz to the Colts this offseason, which opens the door for Hurts to take over the top spot in Philadelphia. He started and finished three games as a rookie, averaging 79.3 rushing yards and more than 25 fantasy points. His skills as a runner make him a dangerous dual-threat, and mobile quarterbacks can be valuable assets in fantasy land. Hurts needs to improve as a passer, but he still has top 10 upside.

Jerry Jeudy, WR, Denver Broncos

Jeudy had an uneven rookie season, finishing outside of the top 40 fantasy wideouts while averaging just 9.9 points per game. He did show flashes of potential, however, and the presence of the accurate Teddy Bridgewater under center could be good for Jeudy's stock this season. While the team does have a lot of offensive mouths to feed, I wouldn't be surprised if the Alabama product led this team in targets this season.

Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Harris is in a great position to become the best rookie in fantasy football this season. A three-down back at Alabama who rushed for nearly 1,500 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2020, Harris should earn a featured role in Pittsburgh right out of the gate. Coach Mike Tomlin has preferred to use one main runner for most of his time in the Steel City, so a season with 250-plus touches is certainly in the cards for Harris in his rookie season


Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots

Harris showed some flashes of potential last season, posting three games with at least 100 rushing yards and finishing with an average of five yards per attempt. He won’t do much in the passing game, but Harris will open the season as New England’s starting running back after the trade of Sony Michel to the Rams. He'll be worth a look in the middle rounds as an RB3 on your roster who could develop high-end flex value. 

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins

Tagovailoa didn't have a spectacular rookie season, but he did show some flashes of potential despite not having a preseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was also coming off a serious hip injury, so the cards for statistical success were stacked against him. Now in 2021, with a traditional offseason and the addition of offensive weapons like Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle, Tagovailoa could end up being a fantasy asset.

DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Smith is coming off a bananas final season at Alabama, posting 117 catches for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns. While those totals are a pipe dream at the NFL level, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner landed in a great spot to succeed as a rookie. He'll be reunited with Jalen Hurts in an Eagles offense that doesn't have a true No. 1 wideout. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Smith is the most targeted Eagles wide receiver in 2021.

Deep Sleepers

Henry Ruggs III, WR, Las Vegas Raiders

Remember when the NFL world was absolutely gushing about Ruggs, comparing him to Tyreek Hill? Heck, he was the first wideout picked in the 2020 NFL draft! I'd guess that the Raiders regret that decision now, but Ruggs is still young, talented and in an offense that lost its top wideout (Nelson Agholor) as a free agent. Maybe he'll be better off as a late-rounder in best ball, but I'd take a chance on Ruggs as a No. 5 in redrafts.

Check out his full top-10 lists including ... 


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Deep Sleepers 

Also check out his top 10 rookies, a list that includes three former Crimson Tide players, but we won't give them away.

The Extra Point is a regular feature on BamaCentral, and often includes video and other elements from our FanNation partners. Other recent segments include:

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How Will Jimbo Fisher's Quarterback Fare, Hold Up vs. Alabama?

Jedrick Wills Jr. in Great Position to Get Even Better with Browns

Former Alabama Safety Eddie Jackson a Player to Watch This Season

Sports Illustrated fantasy writer Michael Fabiano recently updated his top-10 lists for the 2021 season, which include breakout players, sleepers and deep-sleepers, and all three included former Alabama standouts. 

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