Home Fantasy Football ESPN Fantasy Football Rankings Are WRONG – Fantasy Football Sleepers

ESPN Fantasy Football Rankings Are WRONG – Fantasy Football Sleepers

Fantasy Football Sleepers David Montgomery
Fantasy Football Sleepers – David Montgomery is #1

I am completely unbiased, unlike the ESPN Fantasy Football Ratings. Here are some unsullied fantasy football sleepers, backed by years of excellence.

No favorites, no payola. Just a man looking at fantasy rags and seeing gaps. Logic.

And, wanting to beat all my scumbag friends in our league again and go back-to-back on these HoseHounds.

Below I’ve listed fantasy football sleepers for 2021 at each position.

I’ve also included the current ESPN fantasy football ratings for that player. Which are way off in every case.

Fantasy RB Sleepers

Parameters: Drafting the best fantasy football running backs is all about probability and risk/reward.

Who has the best depth chart scenario?

Who is the goal line back (Zack Crockett/Jerome Bettis goalline vulture type)?

Who is dual threat?

Based on that…

RBBC That I’m Staying The Hell Away From:

49ersDeath Trap, they just recycle dudes off a running back scrap heap, like Mike Shanahan used to do in Denver. Google “Mike Ball.” Thank me in your Will.

Patriots – Sony Michel, Damian Williams, Rhamondre Stevenson, James White, Brandon Bolden; and that’s the short list, friend.

Eagles – Miles Sanders and like 10 other weirdos

Texans – David Johnson, Philip Lindsay, Mark Ingram, Rex “Sex” Burkhead

Lions – D’andre Swift, Jamall Williams, some annual Theo Riddick-type

Dolphins – Myles Gaskin, Malcolm Brown, Patrick Laird, Salvon Ahmed

Cardinals – James Conner, Chase Edmonds, Your Mom, Kyler Murray essentially

Bills – Zach Moss, Devin Singletary (no relation to SAMAURI Mike Singletary)

Broncos – Melvin Gordon, Royce Freeman, Javonte Williams

After cutting the RB pool by about 1/3, here are the best fantasy football sleeper running backs in 2021:

David Montgomery

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 16

I just don’t understand why this guy is so undervalued. In the last 1/3 of 2020, he buoyed my fantasy team to a title. A workhorse, as both a ball-carrier and receiver. Red zone target. No clear challenger, Damian Williams could actually help his production. Ascending.

Kareem Hunt

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 25

841 rushing yards and 6 TDs, 38 receptions for 304 yards and 5 receiving TDs in 2020 – as a #2.

If you draft Chubb early, you HAVE to reach to get Hunt. Chubb and Hunt have been so productive, they are potentially worthy of being started each week.

Mike Davis

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 27

He reminds me of Kareem Hunt/Hunt reminds me of Mike Davis. A major waiver-wire find in 2020. After McCaffery’s Week 2 injury, solid consistent production. Has produced everywhere he’s been — Seattle, Chicago, Carolina — and should now in Atlanta.

In his first real opportunity to start during his NFL career, Davis posted 642 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns last year. He also had 59 catches for 373 yards. Davis posted 1,015 yards from scrimmage and 8 touchdowns while playing in 15 games, 12 of which he started. ATL has no clear cut #1 and it should be him.

James Robinson

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 28

(Note: this was published 2 weeks before Etienne’s SZN ender, obvious that increases his value)

It’s like everyone wants to forget what he did last year. An “Inconvenient Truth” Is that he rushed for $1,000+ yards last season as an undrafted free agent on a bad team.

I think him and Clifford Etienne can co-exist. It is being viewed as a cannibalistic situation when it could prove mutually beneficial. (See Chubb + Hunt earlier).

Robinson became the fourth undrafted rookie running back to start week one since 1970, and set the record for most rushing yards for an undrafted rookie in Week 1.

Robinson is the fourth undrafted player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in his rookie season, following Dominic Rhodes, LeGarrette Blount, and Phillip Lindsay.

There’s just too much value to ignore.

Gus Edwards

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 47

Edwards is the absolute model of consistency:

Ravens are committed to the run. Even if Edwards is #2, still valuable in terms of flex production, he was 21st in rushing yards in the entire NFL in 2020. Which is one of a multitude of reasons he is the most underrated RB in all of fantasy football heading into 2021.

Tony Pollard

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 49

He just brought a different energy to the offense in 2020. It was palpable. Zeke didn’t have that kind of juice all year.

Nyheim Hynes & JD McKissic

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 41 & 44

Kind of the same guy. McKissic was second to Alvin Kamara (83) in most running back receptions (80) in 2020. Hines was 3rd (63). Mike Davis was 4th (59), David Montgomery was 5th (54).

McKissic had 85 carries for 365. Hines had 89 for 380.

McKissic had 165 touches. Hines had 152.

McKissic gets 6.88 targets per game, 4.75 for Hines.

Alexander Mattison

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 48

Perfect handcuff for Cook.

Marlon Mack

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 65

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing out of Marlon Mack in 2019. A prototype between the tackles, big bodied RB with breakaway speed.

7 touches and 60 yards into 2020 he tore his Achilles. Prior to that, 22 TUDs on 594 touches. TD every 27 touches.

Still young. Who knows what the Colts offense will be after the Wentz injury, and how Hines and Taylor will be used? Late round flier.

Damien Williams

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – Unranked

22 TUDs in 6 seasons on 432 touches a TUD every 19. 138 receptions. 91-yard rushing TD last season. Super Bowl winner. 2020 was first season with more than 50 carries.

Perfect compliment to David Montgomery. Like Chester Taylor was for Matt Forte about 12 years ago.

QBs

Aaron Rodgers

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 8

The reigning MVP relegated to 8th amongst QBs? “R-E-L-A-X.” Rodgers will be fantastic and probably end in the top 3 amongst QB scoring. Hey, I’m a Bears fan and don’t like him either, but I am also a realist.

Tom Brady

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 9

Brady at 9 in THAT offense? I’ll take my chances!

Matt Ryan

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 16

2020 = 4,500+ passing yards and 28 TDs. Julio Jones leaving won’t hurt him like some people think it might – Calvin Ridley is a beast and Russell Gage produces as a #3. Kyle Pitts has the JUICE rn. Playing in a dome always helps. Five games of 300+ yards, 8 games with 2+ TD.

Trevor Lawrence

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 14

Urban Meyer and the Jags are going to do absolutely everything for him to succeed.  DJ Chark, Marvin Jones, and Phillip Dorsett on the outside gives him veteran receiving options.

WR Sleepers

Mike Evans

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 14

How long will he be slept on? What does he have to do to eschew the injury tag? 13 TUDS in 16 games in 2020. He is absolutely Tom Brady’s primary redzone target. 18 targets, 11 receptions, NINE TD led the Bucs in all categories.

Brandin Cooks

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 35

119 targets led the Texans and were 22nd most in 2020. 1,150 yards was 12th most in NFL. And now, Will fuller is gone.

Dionte Johnson

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 33

160 targets in 2020 was 5th in NFL. Sure, the Steelers purportedly want to run the ball more with Najee Harris, but I think that will open up the passing game. Plus, JuJu and Chase Claypool open open the offense for everyone.

Robby Anderson

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 36

Reconnecting with Sam Darnold, with whom Anderson had his most productive seasons, should be good. Plus, Carolina used him in a more diverse way than Adam Gase and the Jets ever dreamed, leading to 136 targets (15th most, more than Amari Cooper), 95 receptions (10th most), 1,096 receiving yards (15th most).

Marvin Jones Jr.

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 48

Everywhere he goes, he puts up NUMS. ANd as the de facto #1 in Jacksonville, he’s worth a late round stash.

Tight End

Mike Gesicki

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 11

Redzone target king. Led Phins with 14 targets, 5 receptions, 5 TD. On fire for last 6 weeks of the season when he established chemistry with Tua Tagovailoa’s.

Gerald Everett

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 26

Russell Wilson’s latest weapon at TE, Everett is immediately the #1 in an offense that likes to use the TE frequently. Between Hollister and Greg Olsen, SEA targeted the tight end 12 times in 2020, one less than leader Tyler Lockett (13) and two more than DK Metcalf (10).

Over the last two years as the Rams backup TE, Everett averaged 3 receptions a game and accumulated 400+ yards and at least 38 receptions in each of last two seasons.

Jimmy Graham

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – UNRANKED

Graham’s 22 redzone targets were tied with Travis Kelce for 8th most in 2020. HIs 8 TUDS were his most since 2017.

Kickers

Yunghoe Koo

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 8

I’ll admit, I drafted him because of his name. And because he kicks in a dome. Led the entire NFL in FGs of 40+ yards in 2020. Was 8-for-8 on kicks of 50+ yards.

Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley, Kyle Pitts = a lot of intermediate throwing this year. A productive offense. Worth the reach.

Matt Prater

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 12

Prater has made 6 kicks of 50+ yards in four of the past 5 seasons. Prater nailed a 59-yarder in 2020. Moving from Detroit to the Cardinals high-powered offense and kicking indoors means he should continue to kick ass.

Defense 

Redskins D

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 5

Sixth most sacks and 5th most INT. 3 TDs tied for 3rd-most. The other NFC East offenses should be crappy again. And the unit is lead by defensive minded HC Ron Rivera and former defensive stud Jack Del Rio as DC.

Rams D

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 8

The RAMS d, with two Madden 99 Club members, and the highest scoring fantasy football defense in 2020 at eight?

Colts D

ESPN Fantasy Football Ranking – 11

Ridiculously low. Great defense in RL as well as fantasy. 3rd in DST points in 2020, 5 defensive TD lead the league.

I’ve been a freelance journalist since 2000 and have had my work published via AskMen, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, Busted Coverage, and Autotrader. I’ve done stand-up comedy. I'm a dad, youth soccer club President, and former team statistician for the oldest indoor football team in the world, the Omaha Beef. I own a design agency in Omaha, NE called lgx branding. I’ve married six couples in 10 years and my Marriage to Still Married ratio is 6:6. I always say, it isn’t so much about the “love,” as it is the tasteless jokes that became vows. I started the I-80 Sports Blog to have all the work I've published located in one place and to write about things I want to write about. I don't take anything too seriously and it is a real time saver.

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