The 2021 Pro Bowl rosters have been announced, and while the actual contest has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we can still dive into this tradition that started back in 1970. The coaches for that contest were John Madden of the Raiders and Dick Nolan of the 49ers. The contest, which the NFC won 27–6, had two Most Valuable Players (LB Fred Carr of the Packers and DB Mel Renfro of the Cowboys).
The game was played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and each player from the winning team was rewarded $2,000. The winning players from the 2020 Pro Bowl were awarded $70,000, while the losers took home $65,000.
Had fantasy football been prominent in 1970, the fantasy Pro Bowl team would have included players like John Brodie, Fran Tarkenton, Ron A. Johnson, MacArthur Lane, Gene A. Washington and Dick Gordon. Brodie led all quarterbacks with 2,941 passing yards and 208.5 fantasy points. That total would have been good enough to finish a mere 22nd at the position this season.
Johnson, the top fantasy running back, had 1,514 total yards, 12 total touchdowns and 271.4 fantasy points. That would have earned him a top-four finish among 2020 backs. Washington, the top-scoring wide receiver, recorded 1,100 yards, 12 touchdowns and 235 fantasy points. He would have been the WR15 in 2020.
Times have changed, folks.
Now that we've taken a short trip down memory lane, let's take a look at the best of the best in the here and the now— the 2021 fantasy Pro Bowl squad.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills: Allen led quarterbacks with an impressive 396.1 fantasy points, which ranks as the fifth-most points ever scored in a single season at the position during the Super Bowl era (1966-present). His fantasy point totals have risen in each of his three NFL seasons, during which time he’s rushed for 1,562 yards and 25 touchdowns. He’ll be a top-three quarterback in 2021.
Runner up: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints: Kamara led all running backs with a total of 377.8 fantasy points, which was 50 more than the No. 2 runner, Dalvin Cook. He averaged 25.2 fantasy points per game, and Kamara scored 20-plus fantasy points in nine of his 15 games. He has now scored 320-plus fantasy points in three of his first four NFL seasons, and his 326 combined receptions are the most ever recorded by a running back during his first four seasons in the league.
Runner up: Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
MORE FROM SI: The 2021 Pro Bowl
Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers: Adams led all receivers with 358.4 fantasy points this past season. He finished with 18 touchdowns catches, which is tied with Mark Clayton (1984) and Sterling Sharpe (1994) for the third-most in a single season during the Super Bowl era. Adams has also recorded a combined 23 touchdown catches since 2019, which leads all wideouts. As long as Aaron Rodgers is back in Green Bay, Adams is a first-round lock in 2021.
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs: Hill scored 17 total touchdowns and was second behind Adams in fantasy points among wideouts in 2020. His 57.9 fantasy points against the Buccaneers in Week 12 were the most scored by a wide receiver in a single 2020 game and the most points scored in a single game at the position since 2000. With Patrick Mahomes under center, Hill is a locked and loaded top-five fantasy wideout for next season.
Runner up: Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs: Kelce finished as the top tight end in fantasy land for the fifth straight season, scoring a career-best 312.8 points. It's the second-most points scored by a tight end in a single season, behind only Rob Gronkowski's 330.9 points in 2011. Kelce's 1,416 receiving yards set a new NFL record at the position, and his 105 catches ranked fourth overall. Kelce could be worth as much as a first-round pick in some 2021 fantasy drafts.
Runner up: Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders
Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings: Cook put up a brilliant 2020 campaign, as he produced a career-best 1,918 scrimmage yards and 337.8 fantasy points. He also finished with 17 total touchdowns, tied with Derrick Henry for second among all running backs. Cook, who also finished second at the position in broken tackles and yards after first contact, will be a consensus top-two overall pick in 2021 drafts, either ahead of or just behind Christian McCaffrey.
Runner up: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Younghoe Koo, Atlanta Falcons: Koo finished in a tie with Jason Sanders for the most fantasy points scored among kickers, but he did it with one less contest. Koo averaged 10.7 points per game, and his eight field goals of 50-plus yards ranked tied for the second-most at the position. Koo also made 94.9% of his field-goal attempts while making 33 of his 36 extra points this season.
Runner up: Jason Sanders, Miami Dolphins
Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: White was an absolute defensive monster this season, ranking fifth in total tackles (140) while recording nine sacks and four passes defensed. In all, no linebacker scored more fantasy points than White, who will no doubt be a top-five IDP selection in 2021 drafts.
Runner up: T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
Jeremy Chinn, Carolina Panthers: This could have been Budda Baker or Jordan Poyer, but Chinn averaged more fantasy points (barely over Baker) over 15 games. Chinn was third among defensive backs in total tackles. He recorded five passes defensed and scored two defensive touchdowns in 2020.
Runner up: Budda Baker, Arizona Cardinals
Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams: The top defensive player in the league, Donald led all linemen in sacks (13.5) and ranked second behind Leonard Williams in QB hits. He also recorded 45 total tackles and tied for the league lead in forced fumbles among all lineman (4). He’ll be a top IDP DL in 2021 drafts.
Runner up: Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for all of the latest breaking fantasy football news and the best analysis in the business!