The decision to start the NFL season on time sparks a new year of fantasy football. Currently we are a couple of weeks into the 2021 season and we’ve gotten to see how these first round picks will pan out.
The unanimous first pick in the draft was Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey injured his ankle after a 22 point performance in Week 2 and has been put on the injured reserve until at least Week 5. The most popular second pick was New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley. Unfortunately, Barkley tore his ACL in Week 2 and is out for the rest of the season.
Saints receiver Michael Thomas was the number one receiver in the NFL last year and was projected to have another big year this season. In Week 1 Thomas suffered a high ankle injury and has been ruled out until Week 7. Many people, including Franklin student Rye Storrs (11), traded him after his Week 1 injury. Storrs said, “I traded him because an ankle injury is really hard to overcome at wide receiver. Thomas only runs slants and you need to make really sharp cuts to do that. I just didn’t know if he could come back from injury this year.”
After signing a six year 90 million dollar contract last year, Ezekiel Elliot has lived up to his paycheck. Elliot has averaged 19.94 points per game through Week 5, making him the 12th highest scorer in fantasy football. The best pick in the first round is Saints running back Alvin Kamara. “I am pleased with how he’s played so far. Even though his last 2 games have been subpar he’s won me a lot of games,” says Leo Brown (11), who picked Kamara. Kamara averaged 25.72 points per game through Week 5. He is a dual threat running back; even when he isn’t in the backfield he is still going to make great catches and score more than anybody else.
King Henry, better known as Derek Henry, led the Titans to the AFC championship with some outstanding performances. This landed him in the top six projected fantasy players. So far, Henry has been great. Averaging 21.44 points per game on the season, he has averaged 28.06 points in his last three games, including a 39.4 point performance in Week 6. Henry has been on fire, so all we can do is wait and see if he keeps this hot streak rolling. The leader in rushing touchdowns through Week 5 is Vikings running back, Dalvin Cook. Cook has scored seven touchdowns and totaled 489 yards so far. He has averaged 21.46 points per game on the season, making him the seventh highest scorer in fantasy football. He has been great so far, but a pulled groin in Week 5 will keep him out for a few weeks.
Last year’s NCAA championship running back and 8th overall pick is Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Helaire has had a discouraging season so far, averaging only 13.16 points per game. His average is also likely to decrease with the Chiefs signing an all-pro running back, Le’veon Bell. According to Lawson Vella (11), a fantasy football enthusiast and Clyde Edwards-Helaire drafter, “Clyde looked really good coming out of college but he definitely wasn’t my first choice at the 8th pick. I only had him for two weeks before trading him though.” Helaire hasn’t lived up to expectations and his numbers will most likely decrease with the addition of Le’veon Bell to the Chiefs. The ninth player selected was Eagles star running back Miles Sanders. Sanders has had a somewhat disappointing season other than a breakout game against Pittsburgh in Week 5. Averaging 14.9 points per game, Sanders is still known as one of the top producers in football, even though his numbers aren’t amazing. Ending the first round with a bang is Josh Jacobs, Raiders running back. Jacobs put on a show in Week 1, scoring 33.9 points against the Carolina Panthers. Since then Jacobs has averaged an impressive 16.8 points per game. He was drafted by another fantasy football advocate and Cleveland High School student Finn Beeaker. Finn said, “I picked Jacobs because he was a workhorse his rookie year. His coach Jon Gruden has always been able to get the best out of his running backs and I felt like Jacobs was going to take a bigger role in the offense.”
All of these players will be great producers with the exception of Saquon Barkley. They all have massive potential and definitely shouldn’t be traded.