View more in
NFL

2021 Fantasy Football Open Targets - NFC Teams

Posted by 
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
 25 days ago

The NFL's offseason has been, well, interesting to say the least. It's seen a lot of free-agent movement, big trades, and a draft that some would argue wasn’t all that fantasy-friendly (at least for 2021). Just ask anyone who was high on Rashod Bateman!

So, which offenses have seen the biggest transformations and figure to see new players in more prominent roles next season? Who figures to benefit or suffer in terms of offensive chances? Well, this is your one-stop-shop for answers to those questions.

Below is a list of all 16 NFC teams, ranked in order of the squads with the most open targets (running backs, wide receiver, tight ends) compared to 2020 rosters down to the teams with the least. Keep in mind, rookies and players who opted out last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic don’t factor into the totals. The teams on the positive side have targets available in the offense, while those on the negative side will field crowded pass attacks that could cause headaches for fantasy managers. Keep these numbers in mind when you're drafting your 2021 fantasy football teams!

Want even more fantasy and betting analysis?

Become an SI Fantasy PRO member today and start beating the books and winning your leagues with us!

1. Detroit Lions (210)

Notable additions: WR Tyrell Williams, WR Breshad Perriman, WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (R), TE Daren Fells

Notable losses: WR Kenny Golladay, WR Marvin Jones Jr., WR Danny Amendola

Notes: The Lions passing game will have a different look in 2021, and chances are it won’t be for the better in fantasy leagues. The team lost Golladay (6.4 targets a game) and Jones (7.2 targets a game), and Amendola (4.9 targets a game) remains unsigned. In the absence of this trio, Detroit added two journeymen in Williams and Perriman, plus a rookie in St. Brown. Nobody in the trio will be worth drafting as more than a No. 4 or 5 fantasy wideout. Don’t be surprised if T.J. Hockenson leads the team in targets in 2021.

2. Los Angeles Rams (150)

Notable additions: WR DeSean Jackson, WR Tutu Atwell (R)

Notable losses: WR Josh Reynolds, TE Gerald Everett

Notes: The Rams have 150 open targets based on the raw numbers, but it’s somewhat deceiving. The combination of Reynolds (81 targets) and Everett (62) account for 143 open targets, with the other 33 coming from the loss of Malcolm Brown. Jackson had just 26 targets due to injuries last season, and the Rams also added Atwell in the NFL draft. I’d still expect Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp to dominate the targets in the passing attack, with Jackson, Atwell, and Van Jefferson battling for scraps. The loss of Everett, who led Rams tight ends in targets last season, is good news for Tyler Higbee’s value.

3. San Francisco 49ers (135)

Notable additions: WR Mohamed Sanu, WR Marqise Lee

Notable losses: WR Kendrick Bourne, TE Jordan Reed

Notes: The main loss of targets in San Francisco came from Bourne (74) and Reed (46). Bourne’s targets will be absorbed by Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, but the team doesn’t have another fantasy-relevant wideout at this point. Reed’s targets came in part because George Kittle missed half of the 2020 campaign due to injuries, so look for the Iowa product to get back into the 130-plus range for the upcoming NFL season.

4. New Orleans Saints (132)

Notable additions: None

Notable losses: WR Emmanuel Sanders, TE Jared Cook

Notes: The Saints' pass attack will look much different without Drew Brees, who retired after an illustrious career. Jameis Winston is the favorite to take his place, and he’ll be throwing the ball (hopefully often) to Michael Thomas. In a disappointing 2020 season, he averaged nearly eight targets per game. Behind Thomas, the Saints will lean on Tre’Quan Smith and a mish-mosh of wide receivers with little fantasy appeal. The loss of Cook opens the door for Adam Trautman to become a potential sleeper in drafts.

5. Carolina Panthers (104)

Notable additions: WR Terrace Marshall Jr. (R), WR David Moore, TE Dan Arnold

Notable losses: WR Curtis Samuel

Notes: The two biggest losses the Panthers suffered this offseason were Samuel (97 targets) and Mike Davis (70 targets). Christian McCaffrey will eat up most of the targets Davis left behind of course, while Moore and Marshall Jr. will compete for chances behind D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson. Arnold will struggle to find enough targets in the passing attack to make much of an impact for the Panthers and fantasy managers.

6. Green Bay Packers (55)

Notable additions: WR Amari Rodgers (R)

Notable losses: None

Notes: The Packers' biggest loss in the passing game could end up being superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but for now he’s still on the roster. The passing game will look much like it did last season, as the Packers didn’t lose anyone of note (besides Jamaal Williams in the backfield). That means another big season from Davante Adams and Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling behind him in secondary roles. Amari Rodgers will likely struggle to make an impact as a rookie, but he has dynasty appeal.

7. Minnesota Vikings (38)

Notable additions: None

Notable losses: WR Tajae Sharpe, TE Kyle Rudolph

Notes: The biggest loss of targets this offseason came with Rudolph, who had just 37 last season. Those chances should go to potential fantasy sleeper/breakout candidate Irv Smith Jr. Expect more of the same at wide receiver with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen both in position to see 100-plus targets apiece in the passing game in 2021.

8. Philadelphia Eagles (23)

Notable additions: WR Devonta Smith (R)

Notable losses: WR DeSean Jackson, WR Alshon Jeffery

Notes: The two biggest offseason losses for the Eagles came with the releases of both Jackson and Jeffery. They combined for just 39 targets during injury-plagued seasons. Coming off a Heisman trophy-winning season at Alabama, Smith could become the Eagles team leader in targets among wideouts. Jalen Reagor is the only other wideout on the team worth a look in most redrafts, and he’s more of a late-round selection.

9. New York Giants (17)

Notable additions: WR Kenny Golladay, WR Kadarius Toney (R), WR John Ross, TE Kyle Rudolph

Notable losses: WR Golden Tate

Notes: The Giants might have 17 available targets based on the raw numbers, but this team has a crowded wideout group after the additions of Golladay, Toney, Ross, and Rudolph. Remember, Golladay had just 32 targets in five games a season ago. With Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Evan Engram all returning, it could be tough to find consistent fantasy point producers. Golladay could bring back No. 2 wideout value if Daniel Jones takes the next step in his development, but that’s a big if at this point.

10. Dallas Cowboys (13)

Notable additions: None

Notable losses: None

Notes: There won’t be much of a difference in the Cowboys' pass attack, as the team will continue to lean on Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup. Cooper and Lamb could both be top 15-20 fantasy wideouts in an explosive offense. Blake Jarwin could be a nice late-round draft bargain after missing last season with an injured knee.

11. Seattle Seahawks (9)

Notable additions: WR D’Wayne Eskridge (R), TE Gerald Everett

Notable losses: TE Jacob Hollister

Notes: The Seahawks passing game will continue to funnel through D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, who combined for 261 targets last season. Eskridge could push to be the No. 3 wideout, but Moore left behind just 47 targets from 2021. At tight end, Everett will be worth a late flier but must contend with Will Dissly for opportunities in the offense.

T-12. Arizona Cardinals (8)

Notable additions: WR A.J. Green, WR Rondale Moore (R)

Notable losses: WR Larry Fitzgerald, TE Dan Arnold

Notes: The loss of Fitzgerald, Arnold, and Drake opened up 142 total targets, but the Cardinals added 147 targets with the signing of Green and Conner. Arizona also added a playmaking rookie in Moore, who might find it difficult to find consistent targets with DeAndre Hopkins, Green, Christian Kirk, and Andy Isabella also in line for opportunities.

T-12. Atlanta Falcons (8)

Notable additions: RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson, TE Kyle Pitts (R)

Notable losses: None

Notes: The Falcons' biggest losses in terms of targets came in the backfield, as Todd Gurley, Ito Smith, and Brian Hill accounted for 91. The only other loss that was in the passing attack was Brandon Powell, so there’s going to be a lot of mouths to feed with Julio Jones back at 100 percent and the addition of generational talent Kyle Pitts. Jones averaged nearly eight targets per game and Calvin Ridley was at 9.5, so Pitts is most likely to take away a few from the latter and Hayden Hurst (5.5 TPG). Rookie tight ends typically don’t make a major fantasy impact, but Pitts could be an exception to the rule.

14. Chicago Bears (-37)

Notable additions: WR Dazz Newsome (R), WR Damiere Byrd, WR Marquise Goodwin

Notable losses: RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson

Notes: The biggest changes to the Bears offense came in the backfield at quarterback and running back, so don’t expect many changes in the passing attack. Allen Robinson will continue to lead the team in targets and don’t be surprised to see Darnell Mooney rise up the depth chart. He’s a late-round sleeper across the fantasy football landscape. The same goes for second-year tight end Cole Kmet, who could become a draft bargain.

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-39)

Notable additions: None

Notable losses: None

Notes: The Buccaneers are bringing back most of the roster that took home the Super Bowl from a season ago, so don’t expect many changes in the target share. In the eight games Antonio Brown was active, he averaged 7.8 targets per game and was second in targets behind Mike Evans (7.9 TPG). Chris Godwin was third at 6.9, so the chances were pretty much spread out among their top three wideouts. At tight end, O.J. Howard will return from injury and could affect Rob Gronkowski’s 4.8 targets per contest.

16. Washington Football Team (-127)

Notable additions: WR Curtis Samuel, WR Adam Humphries, WR Dyami Brown (R)

Notable losses: None

Notes: Washington didn’t lose anyone of significance, but it did add Samuel and his 97 targets. He’ll hurt both Steven and Cam Sims, who had limited targets last season, and his presence almost guarantees a decline in the 110 touches J.D. McKissic saw a season ago. Humphries, figures to be the new slot receiver and won’t have much appeal in fantasy drafts with Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas also in the mix.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for your late-breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business!