2021 Fantasy Football: How NFL Free Agency Impacts Everyone Else - The Losers

SI Fantasy's Michael Fabiano takes an in-depth look how free agency roster moves hurt some players

The 2021 NFL free-agency frenzy period is nearly in the books, and we now have a clearer picture of how all 32 rosters are going to look heading into the NFL draft. I've already examined the free-agent winners and losers, but we also have to take a look at how player movement has impacted the value of players who didn't change teams in a virtual domino effect of sorts. We looked at the winners earlier in the week, so now it's time to target players whose fantasy appeal experienced a decrease via free agency.

READ MORE: How NFL Free Agency Impacts Everyone Else - The Winners

Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders: Jacobs was the RB8 last season, seeing a 37.1% touch share as the featured back in Las Vegas. Good luck hitting those numbers now that Kenyan Drake is in the mix. Drake, who saw a 30.5 % touch share in Arizona a season ago, is going to take a big bite out of Jacobs's stats. He's now more of a No. 2 fantasy runner.

Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans: This offseason has not been good for Watson. He's at odds with the Texans and wants to be traded, and he's facing multiple lawsuits for sexual harassment and assault. On the field, Watson lost DeAndre Hopkins (2020) and now Will Fuller, who was his top option in the passing game this past season. 

David Montgomery, RB, Bears: Montgomery was a star for fantasy fans during the second half of last season, ranking second in points at the position over his final six games. During that time, he averaged more than 23 touches. That total seems destined to decline, however, as the Bears added veteran Damien Williams in free agency. With Tarik Cohen also coming back from injury, Montgomery's stock has fallen.

D.J. Chark

D.J. Chark, WR, Jaguars: Chark is closer to a push than a loser because he's going to get Trevor Lawrence. But for now, you have to be concerned about his ceiling with the addition of Marvin Jones Jr. He has commanded at least 103 targets in four straight seasons where he'd played at least 15 games, and he knows Darrell Bevell's offense.

Chase Claypool, WR, Steelers: When the Steelers didn't apply the franchise tag to JuJu Smith-Schuster, it looked like he was on his way out of the Steel City. But when he ultimately returned on a one-year, $8 million deal, it put a cap on what Claypool might have been able to achieve in the stat sheets. He'll remain a No. 3 fantasy option.

David Johnson, RB, Texans: Johnson led the Texans backs with a 24.8% touch share last season, but that total is destined to decline in 2021. Not only did the Texans add Mark Ingram to the mix, but they also added Phillip Lindsay as a free agent. In what could be a three-headed backfield monster of sorts, D.J.'s stock has fallen hard.

DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins: Parker led all Dolphins wideouts in target share (18.8%) a season ago, and no other receiver on the roster had more than a 9.8% share (Jakeem Grant). That's going to change with the addition of the field-stretching Fuller, who saw nearly seven targets per game in his final season with the Texans. 

A.J. Dillon, RB, Packers: Dillon was looking like the favorite to start for the Packers when the team decided not to franchise Aaron Jones, but he was (maybe surprisingly) brought back on a four-year deal. So while Dillon should see more touches without Jamaal Williams (Lions), he won't make a major fantasy impact with Jones in the mix.

Ronald Jones, RB, Buccaneers: Jones might have had the top spot on the depth chart in Tampa Bay locked up, but the Buccaneers decided to bring back Leonard Fournette. That means that even if RoJo enters next season as the starter, Fournette is going to get his share of the touches. Neither runner will be a reliable flex option in 2021.

Marquise Brown, WR, Ravens: Brown was last season's WR36, posting 183 fantasy points on 100 targets and a 25.5 percent share. Those totals will be in jeopardy in 2021, though, as the Ravens added Sammy Watkins as a free agent. Chances are he'll see more than the nine percent target share he had in his final season with the Chiefs, meaning fewer opportunities for Hollywood to shine. Brown will be a WR4 in 2021 drafts.

Jamison Crowder, WR, Jets: Crowder was quietly solid for fantasy managers in 2020, scoring 17-plus points five times (12 games) while averaging 14.3 points. Unfortunately, he'll be hard-pressed to see the 19.2% share he had with Corey Davis and Keelan Cole being added to the roster. Crowder is now more of a WR3/WR4 in drafts.

Evan Engram, TE, Giants: Engram finished a disappointing 15th in fantasy points at tight end last season. Kenny Golladay and Kyle Rudolph's additions don't bode well for him, making a production improvement unlikely. A decline in his 21.8% target share is imminent, as is his fall from being in the No. 1 fantasy tight end conversation. 

Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants: The Giants' adding Golladay and Rudolph is also bad news for Shepard, Darius Slayton, and all of the team's pass-catchers. In his last full season (2019), Kenny G commanded a near 22% target share. Shepard was at 18% last season, and Slayton was at 19.2%. Those totals are destined to diminish.


Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans: Tannehill has lost his offensive coordinator, Arthur Smith, and his second and third options in the passing game in Corey Davis (92 targets) and Jonnu Smith (65 targets). The Titans did add Josh Reynolds and had Anthony Firkser on the roster, but you have to wonder whether negative regression is coming in 2021.

Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks: It looked for a moment like Penny would finally get a chance to start for the Seahawks. Then the team decided to bring back Chris Carson on a two-year, $14.6 million contract. That squashed Penny's value not only in re-drafts but in dynasty formats as well. At this point, he's worth a late-round selection in drafts.

Taysom Hill, QB, Saints: Hill looked pretty good, at least from a fantasy standpoint, in his four starts at quarterback last season. But with the re-signing of Jameis Winston, Hill's stock has a lot more question marks. That could change if he wins the starting job in training camp, but for now, it looks like Winston is the favorite to start next season.

Jared Goff, QB, Lions: Goff's stock had already fallen after being traded to the Lions, but now it's gotten even worse. Their top two receivers, Golladay (Giants) and Jones (Jaguars) are off to greener pastures. That leaves two journeymen, Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman, as Goff's top options at wideout. That's not good for his draft value.

Gabriel Davis, WR, Bills: Davis showed some flashes in his rookie season, and the release of John Brown seemed to be an indication that the Bills would expand his role in 2021. However, that thought went out of mind as the team added veteran Emmanuel Sanders and his 82 targets from a season ago. That move stunted Davis' draft stock.

Van Jefferson, WR, Rams: Jefferson's fantasy stock seemed to be on the rise with Josh Reynolds (Titans) leaving as a free agent, but the excitement was quelled when the Rams brought in veteran DeSean Jackson. He still has speed even at the age of 34, and his presence in the passing attack means Jefferson's target share might not grow.

Julian Edelman with the Patriots.

Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots: Edelman missed most of last season due to injuries, and one has to wonder if he'll even be back with the Patriots (or in the NFL) in 2021. If he does return to New England, Edelman will have to share targets with new additions like Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, Nelson Agholor, and Kendrick Bourne. That's not ideal.

Donald Parham, TE, Chargers: The Parham bandwagon was growing quickly after the Chargers lost Hunter Henry to the Patriots, but the wheels fell off when the team signed veteran Jared Cook. Over the last four seasons, Cook has averaged 78 targets and 50.5 catches. That's enough to keep Parham from making a big move in 2021.


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!

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