The 2021 NFL offseason could end up being the most exciting we've ever seen. There have already been two big trades involving quarterbacks: Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz will be wearing new uniforms in 2021. Based on reports, that could just be the start of the frantic movement of big-name superstars (Deshaun Watson, anyone?). With that in mind, let’s look at some of the players you should consider buying low on now before offseason movement improves their stock in dynasty leagues.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Elliott is coming off a disappointing season, so now is the time to pounce on him in a trade. In the five games he played with Dak Prescott, Zeke put up an average of over 22 fantasy points and was on pace for nearly 357 points. In his Dak-less games, Elliott averaged 11.2 points. Also, keep in mind the Dallas offensive line was a wreck due to injuries, but Tyron Smith and Zack Martin will be back at 100%. Plus, the Cowboys should add some offensive line help in the NFL draft (I have them taking Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater). Elliott will be 26 years old when next season starts.
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Mixon missed most of last season with a foot injury that didn't seem serious when it happened but wound up costing him 10 games. He had played in at least 14 games in his first three NFL seasons. During that time, he had multiple seasons with 1,400-plus yards and at least eight touchdowns. Mixon has a promising young field general in Joe Burrow under center, and the Bengals should focus on improving their offensive line in the offseason. Mixon was also on pace to produce career totals as a pass-catcher last season, and he's now entering the prime of his career at 24.
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Ronald Jones, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jones played second fiddle behind Leonard Fournette during the Buccaneers Super Bowl run, but Fournette is slated to become a free agent next season. Jones had a strong stretch of production during the regular season, but he missed time while on the COVID-19 list, and then he dealt with a quadriceps ailment down the stretch. Digging into the numbers, Jones was an impressive eighth in yards created among running backs, per FantasyData. He is also just 23 years old, so he has a lot of tread left on his NFL tires. If Fournette leaves, RoJo could return RB2 value in fantasy leagues.
Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos
Sutton missed all but one game this past season after suffering an ACL and MCL tear, but he'll be fine for the start of the 2021 campaign and beyond. Let's look back at his breakout season of 2019 when he finished 19th in fantasy points among wide receivers. He was also ninth in red-zone catches, 10th in air yards, and 12th in yard per pass route. While the Broncos group of receivers is a deep one with Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, and Noah Fant in the mix, I still like Sutton to reemerge as the top option in the passing attack for Drew Lock or whoever starts under center in Denver.
D.J. Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers
Moore finished this past season a disappointing 25th in fantasy points among wide receivers, and he failed to outscore teammates, Robby Anderson or Curtis Samuel. He had more receiving yards than in his breakout 2019 season, though, and his target share could rebound if the Panthers don’t retain free agent Samuel (97 targets in 2020). Moore will also be a mere 24 years old when the 2021 campaign begins, and the Panthers seem intent on upgrading their quarterback position.
A.J. Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers
Dillon’s stock could be declining in the eyes of some dynasty leaguers, and here’s the reason. Due to the projected lower salary cap, the Packers would be crazy not to put the franchise tag on Aaron Jones for around $8 million in 2021. That would be a 21.4% decline based on the running back tag total of 2020 due to COVID-19. While the Packers haven’t used their tag in over a decade, keeping Jones at a huge discount would allow them to retain their top running back and appease Aaron Rodgers. If this sort of scenario plays out during the offseason, Dillon will be at least one more year from making any significant impact for fantasy leaguers. He's a nice add right now.
D.J. Chark, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Chark took a statistical step back across the board this past season, as his targets, catches, yards, yards per catch, and touchdowns all took a dive. However, you can't blame it all on Chark as the Jaguars played a game of quarterback carousel that included Gardner Minshew, Jake Luton and Mike Glennon. However, the future will be much brighter as the Jaguars will be taking potential superstar Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Sure, there's a chance that the Jags use some of their cap space to add a No. 1 wide receiver like Allen Robinson, but Chark would still be catching passes from Lawrence in an offense that has a chance to be very fantasy-friendly. Laviska Shenault is another fantasy wideout to target.
Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Deebo was all the rage during his rookie season, proving he could be a playmaker both as a receiver and a runner in the 49ers' offensive attack. He ranked as the eighth-best wideout based on fantasy points from Week 8 to Week 17. Then came the addition of rookie Brandon Aiyuk, who made quite an impact in the stat sheets himself. Samuel also missed more than half the season due to injuries, and that didn’t help his stock in re-drafts or dynasty. However, he's still young at 25, and don’t forget he ranked fifth in yards after the catch and sixth in yards after contact among wideouts as a rookie.
Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys
To the surprise of no one, Gallup’s totals declined across the board last season after the Cowboys added rookie CeeDee Lamb in the NFL draft. He did finish tied for 22nd in points the previous season though, and he's yet to enter the prime of his career. Also, keep in mind that the Cowboys can get out of the Amari Cooper contract with no salary cap repercussions after the 2021 campaign. So, it’s absolutely within the realm of possibilities that Lamb and Gallup become Dallas’s top two wideouts in 2022 and beyond with Dak Prescott under center. That makes Gallup a worthwhile target.
Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Penny has been an absolute bust based on his first-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, but things could line up well for him heading into the 2021 campaign. Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde are both free agents, and recent reports suggest Carson could be more likely to leave than be back with the team moving forward. That could open the door for Penny to take over as Seattle’s top running back next season and beyond. Penny is also just 25 years old, and he’s had little NFL wear and tear. Since he won't cost much in a trade, Penny could be a decent dynasty addition ahead of next season.
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins
Tagovailoa didn't have a great rookie season, but not many quarterbacks will come out and produce like Justin Herbert in their first NFL campaign. He did show some flashes of potential, and he’s very likely to have much better talent around him in 2021 and beyond. The Dolphins have a lot of draft capital and money to spend, so Tua could have an arsenal that includes Ja’Marr Chase or Devonta Smith, DeVante Parker, Travis Etienne, Najee Harris (or Aaron Jones) and Mike Gesicki. Sounds good, right? Tagovailoa is also going to be 23 years old at the start of next season.
Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Goedert isn't going to be considered a bargain, per se, but I'd certainly like to get some share of him in dynasty leagues. The Eagles offense will look a lot different in 2021 without Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson, and it looks like Zach Ertz might have played his last snap in the City of Brotherly Love. Enter Goedert, who will be just 26 years old when the 2021 campaign begins and has a shot to be heavily targeted in the offense of new head coach Nick Sirianni. While the Eagles led the league in 12 personnel last season at nearly 34%, Sirianni's Colts were 15th at 19.3%.
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!