Scott Engel is beginning his 10th season as the official Fantasy writer and analyst for Seahawks.com. Scott is a 25-year veteran of the Fantasy industry and an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame. He is a four-time FSWA award winner and 10-time nominee, including being named a finalist for the 2020 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award. You can also find more of his Fantasy analysis on RotoBaller.com, SportsLine.com, the Athletic and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. Scott won two Fantasy Football dynasty league titles in 2020, including one in the prestigious Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC) and he previously pulled off a three-peat in a highly competitive New York City league.
In most Fantasy Football leagues, you must start two to three wide receivers. Running backs tend to dominate the early selections, as the first seven players and nine of the first 12 taken are RBs, according to the latest Average Draft Position reports from NFL.com. The very best Fantasy WRs will likely go off the board in the second round, as the Top 8 players at the position are being taken in the first two rounds.
Among those top-shelf wide receivers that everyone will be targeting in the first two rounds is third-year Seahawk DK Metcalf, who leaped into Fantasy stardom in 2020. He may only continue to rise higher into the Fantasy stratosphere this year, so he may be picked higher than what his current ADP indicates in some leagues.
DK Metcalf: An Emerging Fantasy Standout at Wide Receiver
After showing signs of major promise quite often in his rookie season of 2019, DK Metcalf exceeded all Fantasy expectations in 2020, finishing with the seventh-most PPR points at the position (271.3). He averaged 17.0 Fantasy Points Per Game, which ranked 10th at wide receiver. Both numbers put him in very impressive company among the best WRs in Fantasy Football. Calvin Ridley had only just over 10 total points more than Metcalf, and Allen Robinson scored over eight points less than Metcalf. DeAndre Hopkins, a longtime top superstar at the position, averaged one more Fantasy Point Per Game than Metcalf.
Metcalf was named a second-team AP All-Pro last year and set a Seahawks franchise receiving record with 1,303 yards. His 10 TD catches were tied for sixth at WR with Tyler Lockett, who we will also spotlight in this edition of the Fantasy Football Insider, and were two more than Stefon Diggs and Ridley finished with. Metcalf's current ADP is 24.0, which puts him at the end of the second round in 12-team leagues. Yet there is a widespread perception among many Fantasy players that Metcalf may even have some more upside than he displayed in a terrific 2020 campaign. He has been taken as early as fifth at WR in some experts drafts I have participated in so far.
It is certainly possible that Metcalf could better his reception (83) and yardage and TD totals from last season. His statistical ceiling could be among the Top 3 WRs in Fantasy Football. Metcalf is just 23 years old, and it is not a stretch whatsoever to say we could see a top-level superstar Fantasy campaign from him very soon. He may only continue to improve as a wide receiver, and with new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron bringing his new influences to the passing game, Metcalf may find even more ways to terrorize opposing pass defenses. We have already witnessed Metcalf earning his place among the true No. 1 WRs in Fantasy Football. Now he may be on the verge of climbing to a lofty spot among the very elite at the position, so do not hesitate to pick Metcalf as soon as fifth at WR if you really want to make sure that you land him.
Scouting the Wide Receiver Position in Fantasy Football for 2021: Top WR1 and WR2 targets
Only three WRs averaged 20-plus Fantasy Points Per Game last season: Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill and Stefon Diggs. Hill has the highest ADP of all WRs (11.2), Adams is at 13.7 and Diggs is at 15.4. Those are the three top WRs you should target if you are going to take a top-shelf superstar early. If you do so, it will pivot away from a highly rated RB, so make sure to be comfortable enough with your knowledge of the RB position to grab another quality starter in the next round or two. Some savvy Fantasy players try to load up on two to three top WRs early and take their chances at the starting RB slots, but the safer route may be to grab a RB with your next pick after taking one of the Top 3 WRs.
Hopkins finished fourth at WR last year with 287.8 points last year and is an annual safe play to finish among the best at the position. He gives you peace of mind at an ADP of 19.5. Ridley finished as WR5 last year and has Top 3 promise, as he will be the clear No. 1 in Atlanta this season. Justin Jefferson is coming off an amazing rookie year in which he finished as Fantasy WR6 and he has the potential to deliver a Top 5 campaign this year.
Robinson finished as WR9 last year and the Bears have improved their QB outlook. Metcalf's former teammate at Ole Miss, A.J. Brown, averaged 17.7 FFPG last year, sixth among WRs. Like Metcalf, he has already earned his place among the No. 1 WRs in Fantasy Football. Terry McLaurin could deliver his best season yet working with gunner Ryan Fitzpatrick. Keenan Allen, who averaged 17.5 FFPG last year, has always been worthy of consideration among the Top 12 WRs. If you pick a RB first, any of the WRs outside of the Top 3 to the end of the range we have mentioned so far will be comfortable WR1 selections for you.
Robert Woods is a terrific WR2 target, as he will be a top playmaker for the newly acquired Matthew Stafford in Los Angeles. Mike Evans was WR11 last year and is a strong TD producer to consider at an ADP of 39.4. CeeDee Lamb is a major breakout candidate with a lot of upside packed into a 38.1 ADP. Cooper Kupp, D.J Moore and Chris Godwin are proven performers who will slide in nicely next to your ideal No. 1 WR. Ideally, you want to come out with one of the WRs in this range as a second starter at the position in the first four rounds. Other WRs that fit into this group include Adam Thielen, Diontae Johnson, a potentially resurgent Odell Beckham Jr., and Tyler Lockett.
Tyler Lockett: Ready to Explode at Any Time
When you are considering No. 2 Fantasy WRs, players who have ability to deliver outstanding performances that could propel your Fantasy team to a win at any time may stand out. Lockett is a great example of such a Fantasy WR2, as he can bust out for a memorable Fantasy performance in any given week. As noted in our new rundown of the 12 Greatest Fantasy Seahawks of All Time, Lockett had the third-most PPR Fantasy Points of any Seahawk player in franchise history when he scored 53.0 points on October 25 of 2020 against Arizona. He caught 15 passes for 200 yards and three TDs. Those sorts of outings can not only propel you to decisive Fantasy victories, they can also make a difference in the end of regular season standings when your league is using total team points as a tiebreaker.
Lockett also scored 37.0 points against Dallas last season (9-100-3) and 33.0 against the 49ers (12-90-2). Those superb performances were significant and often matchup-winning Fantasy boosters and lifted Lockett to finish as fantasy WR8 last season with 265.4 points. Waldron's imprint on the Seahawks passing game should be one newer factor that leads to frequent quality outings from Lockett in 2021. His ultra-strong on-field rapport with Russell Wilson cements his status as a Top 20 Fantasy WR.
Highlighted WR3 and Value Targets
Tee Higgins and rookie Ja'Marr Chase may become the Top two WR targets for a healthier Joe Burrow. … Brandon Aiyuk is a popular breakout candidate. … Curtis Samuel will fit into a WR2 role with Washington and can also have his best year yet as a prime target for Fitzpatrick. … Russell Gage will step forward as the new No. 2 WER for Atlanta and is a good value target in the double figure rounds. … Laviska Shenualt Jr. may develop into a quality Fantasy starter in his second NFL season. … Mecole Hardman is a nifty later round pick, as the Chiefs have bigger expectations for him in 2021… Darnell Mooney is another later upside target, as he could become more of a downfield threat for the Bears this year. … Rashod Bateman and Amon-Ra St. Brown could step into significant roles as rookies.
Scott Engel's Top 36 Fantasy WRs for 2021
- Tyreek Hill
- Davante Adams
- Stefon Diggs
- DeAndre Hopkins
- Calvin Ridley
- DK Metcalf
- Justin Jefferson
- Allen Robinson
- A.J. Brown
- Terry McLaurin
- Keenan Allen
- Robert Woods
- CeeDee Lamb
- Mike Evans
- Cooper Kupp
- Kenny Golladay
- D.J. Moore
- Chris Godwin
- Amari Cooper
- Tyler Lockett
- Adam Thielen
- Diontae Johnson
- Odell Beckham Jr.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster
- Tee Higgins
- Brandon Aiyuk
- Courtland Sutton
- Ja'Marr Chase
- Curtis Samuel
- Robby Anderson
- Julio Jones
- D.J. Chark
- Michael Thomas
- Michael Pittman Jr.
- Deebo Samuel
- Tyler Boyd
For the rest of the Top 70 at WR, check out more of Scott Engel's 2021 Fantasy Football analysis and rankings at RotoBaller.com. Enter promo code "seahawks" at checkout for an additional discount on the RotoBaller Fantasy Football season pass. Also try out the new Mock Draft Assistant, where you can practice quick drafting against computer for free.