Fantasy football rankings: From cheat sheets to championships

Feb 4, 2020; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) warms up before playing the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet

Fantasy football draft day(s) will be here before we know it! So, here is a preliminary redraft top-20 ranking (fantasy football cheat sheet) of each position (QB, RB, WR, TE, DEF, K) as we look ahead to the 2021 season.

Keep in mind, these fantasy football rankings will be adjusted and expanded as NFL training camps play out.

Then once the regular 2021 NFL season kicks off, these fantasy rankings will change weekly based on individual player matchups and opportunities. Furthermore, this list will also cover key fantasy football starts and sits for each week of the season.

Fantasy Quarterback Rankings

Fantasy football rankings: Quarterbacks
Dec 27, 2020; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes before the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

2. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

3. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

4. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

5. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

  • Rodgers will remain in Green Bay for at least two more years after restructuring his contract. Whew! The fantasy football world is relieved. Rodgers is a slam-dunk fantasy QB1 who last threw for a league-high 48 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He’s a fantasy game-changer in any given week of the season.

6. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

7. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

8. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

9. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

  • Tannehill will keep the fantasy spoils coming in by using his feet and by throwing to an exciting cast of wide receivers. His stock is definitely on the rise with the addition of Julio Jones.

10. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

11. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

12. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

13. Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts

  • Wentz was a fantasy bust who should rebound nicely in his fresh surroundings. Because of his disastrous 2020 season, Wentz could be quite the steal as a fantasy sleeper QB who has inherited a very talented set of wide receivers to help boost his production this year. Don’t miss out!

14. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

15. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

16. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

17. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

18. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Does Lawrence belong in the top-20 fantasy football quarterback rankings? At this point, yes. This No. 1 overall pick of 2021 will accumulate fantasy points both in passing and rushing. Plus, we are talking about a quarterback who sported a 90:17 touchdown to interception ratio during his three years at Clemson. Let’s see what he brings to the gridiron as a fantasy QB.

19. Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints

20. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Washington Football Team

Fantasy Running Back Rankings

Fantasy football rankings: Running backs
Dec 20, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs the ball in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

1. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

2. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

3. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

4. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

  • The Saints’ offense should lean on Kamara plenty, especially with Michael Thomas out (ankle surgery) for likely the first month of the season. And, no matter who standing in at quarterback in New Orleans, Kamara will remain one of the best dual-threat PPR running backs in the league.

5. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

6. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

7. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

8. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts

  • Taylor dazzled in the second half of his rookie season in 2020, finishing the year with 1,468 scrimmage yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s just getting started and he will fly off draft boards as quickly as ever in both redraft and dynasty league formats.

9. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

10. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

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11. Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team

12. Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

  • The Steelers ranked dead-last in rushing in 2020. So, enter Harris. He’s a first-round rookie RB who will have an immediate fantasy impact as a three-down back. Note, that Harris averaged whopping 6.0 yards per carry en-route to 26 rushing touchdowns in Alabama in 2020.

13. J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens

14. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

15. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs

16. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

  • Montgomery evolved into a dependable fantasy running back in his second season, and his ADP entering 2021 is 3.12. With that said, he boasts plenty of upside as an RB who will be looking to best the 1,508 total yards and 10 touchdowns he recorded in 2020.

17. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks

18. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

19. Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins

20. D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions

Fantasy Wide Receiver Rankings

Fantasy football rankings: Wide receivers
Jan 16, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) makes a catch during warm ups before an AFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

1. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills

2. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

3. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

4. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons

5. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals

  • Hopkins should remain a ball hog after averaging 10 targets per game in his first year as a Cardinal. He’s easily a WR1 who should be best his six touchdowns accomplished in 2020. One would think this should come pretty easily.

6. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

7. D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

  • Metcalf is a freak of an athlete and he easily stands to rise within this ranking. He enters 2021 having recorded 1,303 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Can he top these stats in 2022?

8. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

9. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers

10. A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans

11. Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team

12. Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

13. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • McLaurin should continue to thrive as a fantasy WR who can be trusted on a weekly basis to earn his keep. He averaged 74.5 yards per game last season, with this stat standing to increase with stability at QB in Washington. He also stands to record more than the four lowly touchdowns he produced in 2020.

14. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys

15. Julio Jones, Tennessee Titans

16. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers

17. CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys

18. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams

  • Woods will play with a new quarterback which should boost him into the top-20 fantasy WR discussion. Plus he’ll likely pick up some extra targets with stud RB Cam Akers out for the season. Hopefully, this keep Woods producing solid WR2 fantasy points on a weekly basis.

19. Kenny Golladay, New York Giants

20. Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

Fantasy Tight End Rankings

Fantasy football rankings: Tight ends
Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller (83) reacts against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

2. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders

  • Don’t sleep on Waller as top fantasy TE option in 2021. Among receivers and tight ends last year, Waller ranked 10th-overall in receiving yards with 1,196. He also scored nine times. There is little to suggest that Derek Carr won’t continue to look Waller’s way tons starting with Week 1.

3. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

4. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

5. Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

6. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions

7. Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

8. Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team

  • Thomas was a pleasant surprise in 2020, putting up 670 yards and six touchdowns playing under an array of Washington QBs. Get Ryan Fitzpatrick in the mix and Thomas’ fantasy stock should clearly climb.

9. Adam Trautman, New Orleans Saints

10. Hunter Henry, New England Patriots

11. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

12. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

13. Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

14. Noah Fant, Denver Broncos

  • Those waiting to draft a fantasy TE will want to keep Fant on their radar. He was a bright spot on Denver’s offense last year after garnering 93 targets in 15 games. That target share should keep coming as the Broncos’ offense often relies on their passing game to catch up from playing behind.

15. Evan Engram, New York Giants

16. Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers

17. Irv Smith, Minnesota Vikings

18. Jonnu Smith, New England Patriots

19. Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys

  • Jarwin should return as the No. 1 TE in Dallas after playing in just one game last season. Keep an eye out as training camp plays out to be sure it is Jarwin that stays atop of the depth chart ahead of Dalton Schulz, who was serviceable as a fill in for the 2020 season.

20. Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears

Fantasy Defense Rankings

Fantasy football rankings: Defense
Dec 7, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Football Team defensive end Chase Young (99) reacts after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Washington won 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2. Washington Football Team

  • You can’t go wrong with taking a flier on the WFT defense in your fantasy league. This defense gets to face Daniel Jones and Co., as well as a fresh Jalen Hurts twice per year for starters. And as a unit in 2020, the Washington defense allowed only 20.6 points slip by per game.

3. Baltimore Ravens

4. Los Angeles Rams

5. Pittsburgh Steelers

  • T.J. Watt led the league with 15 sacks in 2020. With that said, there are more fantasy points to come from this bruising pass rusher starting in September. In addition to Watt’s efforts last year, the Steelers gave up a total of just 19.5 points and 305.8 total yards per clash. This is a solid fantasy defense to kick your season off with in 2021.

6. Indianapolis Colts

7. San Francisco 49ers

8. Seattle Seahawks

9. Miami Dolphins

10. New England Patriots

Fantasy Kicker Rankings

Fantasy football rankings: Kickers
Jan 16, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (9) practices field goals with punter Sam Koch (4) as his holder before a divisional round playoff game against the Buffalo Bills at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

1.Harrison Butker, Kansas City Chiefs

2. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens

3. Greg Zuerlein, Dallas Cowboys

  • The ‘Boys will be back to putting up yards and points galore with the return of Dak Prescott. Meaning Zuerlein will have plenty of opportunities to be on the field, sealing the deal with PATs and game-changing field goals.

4. Ryan Succop, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5. Rodrigo Blankenship, Indianapolis Colts

6. Will Lutz, New Orleans Saints

7. Tyler Bass, Buffalo Bills

  • The Bills’ offense will continue to thrive which means Bass, who is entering his second year, will remain a very busy guy in 2021. His 57 extra points made as a rookie rank him 24th overall in the NFL’s history of single-season leaders.

8. Younghoe Koo, Atlanta Falcons

9. Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers

10. Matt Prater, Arizona Cardinals

Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings

Weekly Fantasy Football Start/Sit and much more coming in September 2021.