2021 Free Agent Wide Receivers
Hello Heat Seekers, welcome to episode 128 of Sully’s 2 Cents Fantasy Football Podcast. I am you host; I am Rob Sullivan. The Sully’s 2 Cents Fantasy Football Podcast is a proud member of the RotoHeat family of podcasts.
In Episode 128, I continue the four-part series that takes an early look at the Free Agent class of 2021. Today we will focus on the WR position. As usual I will be looking at it from a fantasy perspective and give you my two cents on where I would like to see these WR’s.
Similar to the group of Free Agent Running Backs that I reviewed last week, I believe that there are some Free Agent WRs that will have a hard time finding a gig in 2021. These WR are; AJ Green, Sammy Watkins, T.Y. Hilton, Breshad Perriman and Willie Snead.
Green has seen his play fall off dramatically due to injury the past three seasons, prior to that he was one of the elite WRs in the game. At age 32 this might be it for AJ Green and if he is to sign on for a 2021 season, I would expect it to be late in the summer or early fall.
Sammy Watkins is another WR that has struggles to stay health basically his entire career. Sammy struggled to get it done in KC, and if you can’t get it done in KC with Patrick Mahomes as your QB where can you?
TY Hilton, another aging WR that has had some injury woes recently. His play did come on late in the 2020 season and the Colts do have that cap space to retain him. Its possible he is back in Indy or he becomes a back up plan for those that swing and miss in the draft and free agency. Hilton likely will have to wait for his contract this offseason.
Perriman and Snead, I just don’t see either finding a deal until we get near training camp if at all. If I had to put one in front of the other, it would be Perriman. Perriman is 28 compared to Snead who is 29, and Perriman has shown flashes while Snead has done little.
There are 12 however that I fee are and those are the players that I will be discussing, starting with:
2020 was Allen Robinson’s 7th year in the NFL and in those 7 seasons he has compiled a stat line of 457 receptions, 5999 receiving yards and 39 touchdowns.
What makes A-Rob’s stats even more impressive is that his 2017 season was limited to 1 game, 1 catch and 1 yard due to a torn ACL. Remove 2017 and he is averaging 76 catches, 999 yards, and 6.5 touchdowns a season. What makes those numbers even more impressive, his quarterbacks have been Blake Bortles, Mitchel Trubisky and Nick Foles. In his three seasons in Chicago alone, his average season is 91 catches, 1120 yards and 6 touchdowns. That is an average of 239 PPR points a season with border line horrific quarterbacks. Robinson is a WR that could slide into the WR1 on almost any team in the NFL. So where is he going to land is a very difficult question to answer.
There is a very distinct possibility that Robinson does not go anywhere and that the Bears simply slap the franchise tag on him. Although that is a logical move for Chicago to take, it is boring, and I would rather predict a landing spot that is a little more interesting to think about. I have Allen Robinson signing with The Washington Football Team. The Football Team have Terry McLaurin at WR and little else. Adding A-rob gives them two top WRs along with a solid run game and a top defense. They will be a QB away from being a legit contender.
Similar to Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin is a WR that could find a home on any team in the NFL and instantly be a top producer. Simply put Godwin in an excellent WR. In 4 seasons with Tampa Bay, Godwin has totaled 355 grabs for 3540 yards with 24 scores, Highlighted by his 86 catch 1333-yard 9 score 2019. Godwin won’t come cheap. According to spotrac.com, Godwin has a market value of 17.1MM per season and will be looking for a deal similar to Stefon Diggs’ 5 years $72MM deal. The team that will be first in line to sign Godwin is his current club, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They are currently sitting with just over $11MM in cap room and its very early in the process.
The team that I see adding him however is the New York Jets. Simply put the Jets have a lot of draft capital but even more holes. They also have a pile of cap space. Adding Chris Godwin dramatically upgrades a WR room that currently is led by Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims. Regardless of the who the Jets QB is in 2021, Godwin will make them dramatically better.
After the Lions added Jared Goff and a pile of draft capital this weekend by initial thought was the Lions have to tag Golladay now. That is what I expect them to do, tag Kenny G. and work on a long-term deal. According to overthecap.com the projected franchise tag in 2021 at WR is $16,020,000. That is a bargain for A WR of Golladay’s skills set. If Kenny G makes it to market, I would expect him to land with the Baltimore Ravens who desperately need an upgrade at WR over Myles Boykin and Willie Snead.
After the 2018 season I found myself in many a debate that Juju Smith-Shuster had WR1 overall potential. If you recall this is a WR that after his first two NFL seasons had 169 catches for 2343 yards and 14 TDs.
Well, 2019 was a forgettable year full of injury and poor QB play and his 2020 season was ok. I say ok because in fantast WR16 as he finished a year ago was about where I ranked him. His 97 catches exceeded my expectations, and his 831 yards were disappointing. His fantasy success was driven in large part his career high 9 scores.
I believe he is done in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have some cap concerns and I believe are comfortable moving forward with Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and James Washington. Juju like Robinson, Godwin, and Golladay will be a welcome addition to their new offense. The team that welcomes him in 2021 is the Kansas City Chiefs. Out goes Sammy Watkins and his 15.875MM dollar deal and incomes Juju. This is a fir made in heaven. I sure hope I am right about this one.
Will Fuller was drafted in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft by the Houston Texans. In his 5 seasons in Houston, Fuller averaged 10.6 games a season, and the most games he played in was 14 in his rookie season.
Fuller got nailed for Performance Enhancing Drug use in 2020 and as a result, was slapped with a six-game suspension, two of which carry over into 2021.
Fuller was heavily rumored to be on the move at the NFL trade deadline a year ago, a sure sign that his current team doesn’t have him in their plans going forward. The team that was linked to him was the Green Bay Packers.
Green Bay was unwilling to move a second-round pick for Fuller and will instead add him as a free agent this offseason. The Packers need WR help, as great as Devante Adams is, the offense as a whole is more lethal with an upgraded secondary target. Keeping Aaron Rodgers has to be a priority for Green Bay and keeping him happy, increases the odds he sticks around. This one makes sense to me and its one I think we see come to fruition.
Corey Davis, the Tennessee Titans 2017 first round draft selection had himself a career year in 2020. You have got to think the Titans wished they had picked up his 5th year option now. That option would have paid Davis 15.68MM in 2021. He will now almost certainly head to market and be in a tier with Will Fuller below the Robinson, Godwin, Golladay group.
My initial thought is Davis is a decent fall-back option for the Bears if and when they lose Allen Robinson and I do think that remains a possibility. The team I have Davis signing with however is the Jacksonville Jaguars. Davis will join DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault as primary pass catchers for Trevor Lawrence.
Curtis Samuel on the surface had a very good 2020 season. His 77 catches, 851 yards were career highs as were the 200 rushing yards. The reality it is took an offense without Christian McCaffrey for 13 games for Samuel to achieve those numbers.
Carolina is young and rebuilding and with DJ Moore and Robby Anderson in house there is no reason for them to retain Samuel. He will go to market and the Panthers will add a lesser WR or simple continue to build through the draft.
Samuel to the New England Patriots makes sense to me. They desperately need pass catching talent and they have the cap space to add one. He adds talent on the ground as well should the Patriots want to utilize that skill set.
AB had a brief return to the NFL last season joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and his pal Tom Brady for the final 8 games of the season and their current playoff run. Brown at age 32 played well and finished with 45 grabs for 483 yards 4 scores. Projected out on full season 90 catches 966 yards and 8 scores shows that he can still get it done. He wants to be in Tampa, and Brady wants him in Tampa. Simply put AB remains in Tampa. He is not going to break the bank and will likely sign a 1-year deal. Tampa will move forward with Evans, AB, Scotty Miller, and Tyler Johnson if and when Chris Godwin leaves.
Raise you hand if you saw the season that Nelson Agholor had in 2020 coming. I’m confident that your hand is not currently in the air right now. In 5 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Agholor looked like he was allergic to pig skin. In 2020 in Vegas, he set career highs receptions and touchdowns with 86 and 8, respectively. His new home in 2021 will be the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle has been searching for a third WR option for a few seasons now. They have tried 65 times to bring Josh Gordon back, were rumored to be in on Antonio Brown and were also linked to AJ Green in trade talks with the Bengals.
Agholor is a perfect third WR to add to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. He won’t get a boat load of targets and he won’t complain when he doesn’t. What he will do is make the most of playing with the most accurate deep ball passer in the NFL Russell Wilson.
Marvin Jones is an 8-year NFL veteran having played the last 5 seasons for the Detroit Lions. Jones in 2020 had his second-best season in Detroit. He nearly had his second 1000-yard season and he scored 9 times. He is also going to be 31 years old in 2021 and makes little sense for the rebuilding Lions. Jones nearly made my list of WRs that I felt would struggle to find work in 2021, but I have Marvin Jones landing in Houston with the Texans. Now Jones doesn’t make much sense for the rebuilding Texans either, but the reality is they will need pass catchers and Jones won’t be a kings ransom to add.
There are certain players that all fantasy managers have a soft spot for, players no matter what the scenario can’t quit. For whatever reason one of my guy’s is Josh Reynolds. His 2020 season was the best of his 4 seasons as a Ram. 52 catches, 618 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. He finished as WR62 in PPR scoring. I believe that the Rams drafted his replacement a season ago when they selected Van Jefferson in the 2nd round. I believe that Reynolds goes to market and joins his former quarterback Jared Goff in Detroit. Unlike Marvin Jones, Reynolds fits the rebuild in Detroit. He has chemistry with the QB and he’s good enough to keep the defense honest in terms of blanket covering Kenny Golladay.
I’ll wrap this episode up with Rashard Higgins. Higgins in a way is similar to Josh Reynolds, in the fact that he is supposed to be a spare part and a support to the remaining cast of his offense. In 2020 Higgins by necessity took on a larger role. The season ending injury to Odell Beckham Jr. and the less than 100% Jarvis Landry led to Higgins increased role.
He finished 2020 with 37 catches for 599 yards and he scored 4 times. His future with the Browns IMO is directly linked to OBJ. If Beckham is traded, I expect it to happen early in the offseason and as a result I see Cleveland brining Higgins back. If Beckham isn’t traded, then I see Higgins leaving via free agency. I am in the camp of Beckham not being moved and there for I have Higgins landing in New York and signing with the Giants. Golden Tate won’t be back for the Giants and they need another viable pass catching option. Higgins would be a nice complimentary piece in New York alongside Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton.
That’s going to do it for today’s episode. Thank you for listening to the 2021 Free Agent Wide Receivers episode.
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I’ll be back next week as we have a look at some of the key Wide Receiver Free Agents heading into 2021. Until then, stay safe and stay healthy Heat Seekers.