2021 Preseason Rankings

Our teams are officially set! NFL draft has come and gone. Our draft has come and gone. Our cut day has come and gone. Now. Now it’s time for some preseason rankings y’all! One of my favorite times of the year. It’s where I rank my team too high and Paul’s team too low. It’s where the People’s Champion can’t wait to be devastated and Alex is peak eeyore. It’s time to guess where our teams will finish this year. I’ll start us off:

  1. @ianamunrud Ian A…
    Well, we all knew that I would be putting my team first. I’ve done it more often than not I think, but this year, can you blame me? After winning last year, this team is primed and eager to compete for a repeat. With top QBs, RBs, WRs, TEs, this team doesn’t have a glaring weakness. The RBs are getting older, but there is some depth behind them in case of injury (even with the loss of JK Dobbins.) Plus we know this team will be wheeling and dealing! It’s certainly not a lock, but there’s a good chance this team sits at the top.

  2. @mikeastock Michael Stock Eleven
    This team has been a force to recon with the past few seasons and it looks to stay that way. With elite WRs, Russel Wilson at QB, and Alvin Kamara at RB this team is scary to play any week. Plus this team will be making trades. As demonstrated with the acquisition of Melvin Gordon to help with some RB depth. Don’t be surprised if this team finds their way to the top of the standings. Certainly don’t be surprised if this team finds their way to the finals after narrowly missing out last year and finishing 3rd.

  3. @IanC Ian C (The C stands for Commish I think)
    After a shocking and disappointing season last year, with a 9th place finish but 6th place PF placing, this team is ready to come back strong. Injuries and tough beats held this team back last year, but a strong draft (with loads of picks) has this team set up for success. Elite QBs (Dak is back!), strong RBs, and a strong TE has this team in a good spot. WR has a couple strong options too, just not as strong as past years. All that said, get ready for the return of TEAM DYNASTY.

  4. @Alex Mr. Dr. J
    This is where the rankings get tough. And I’m gonna get a little wild here and put our resident doctor in this spot. With the return of CMC, that alone is enough to win some redraft leagues. He’s just that good. Add in Chubb and this team is scary. Just…well don’t look at the WRs too closely. I’m putting this team here because well…I did look at the WRs closely and I think there are a couple breakouts waiting to happen in Jeudy and Aiyuk. Old Man Tom is at the helm as always and I think this team has a shot at the top if they all hop on CMC’s back. Chubb will help carry some of the load too so that CMC doesn’t break again. (if one or both of those RBs gets injured this team drops hard and fast.)

  5. @chasenrogers THE PEOPLE’S CHAMPION
    Continuing in the rankings the man, the myth, the legend himself lands here at 5. Mahomes at QB, bam. DK, Ceedee at WR, bam bam. Tonyan was a solid pick up last year and has a chance to be baller again this season so: bam. Everyone is down on montgomery for some reason and I don’t get it. The dude was a stud last season so: bam. Etienne out, James Robinson still there: bam. A lack of depth has this team only 5th, but I think playoffs are a reasonable expectation for this team.

  6. @jonathan SB Sailors baby!
    They started at the bottom, now they here. After earning the number one pick in the draft and trading back for value and to address a need at TE, this team is ready to push for playoffs again. Julio to Titans means that an already baller Ridley is the main focus for real this season. Akers out means Henderson is a strong flex play. With other middle of the pack RBs and middle of the pack WRs this team has enough plays to make the playoffs. Now at TE. If Pitts is for real from the very beginning, this team is gonna finish higher. But he is a rookie, and rookie TEs usually takes time, so I’m keeping him here at 6.

  7. @ventura AV Club
    After a second place finish, this is the team i have first to miss out on playoffs. Now…this is what proves how hard these rankings are to make. With Zeke, Jacobs, this team has a solid 1-2 RB punch. The addition of Amari Cooper makes this teams WR trio pretty solid. Kyler Murray has been a beast and I expect that to continue. TE is on the weaker side I think and there is very little depth. So I have this team here, but boy oh boy could it be looking for another chance at the title.

  8. @awmelman Daddy Melton
    This team looks like it’s rebuilding. The past few trades they’ve made have indicated that. And well, this roster looks eerily familiar to when I started my “Rebuild” so man watch out for the freaking future with this team. With okay QBs and zero RB depth, this team will need to rely on it’s studs to compete this year. Luckily, they have a couple of those in Jefferson and Gibson. Godwin can certainly come back into that status too. A solid young TE in hockenson helps too, but just the lack of RB depth and the way this team is transitioning has me keeping expectations for this season lower. But expectations for the future are sky high.

  9. @gbhart Garrett Heartthrob
    I completely intended on putting this team high. With RBs like Saquon, JT, and mixon, I completely intended on putting this team high. Then I looked at the WRs…and dropped it down a bit. I probably dropped this team down too much, to be honest. Because those three RBs could carry this team. Stafford in LA could help with top QB numbers. TE is interesting with NE having a couple so if Henry is the one to own, that helps this team a lot I think. But one injury at RB away from a tough season has this team at 9 for me. Lots to build on and this team has stocked up on picks, so expect them to bounce back in the coming seasons.

  10. @PaulDawg Daddy Wild Card
    It pains me to put this team here, it really does. I know he’ll take issue and call me a hater and let it fuel his season. And I love that. His unshattered optimism and faith in his players, his love to find gold in the waivers, his love of the game. I love all of that. I also love Waller the baller. Diggs, lockett, and Golladay are a high potential wildcard WR trio too. It’s just that…well…injuries have wrecked this team. They’re forced to start a current back up RB and their starter is RoJo. QB is a weak spot too. It’s just too many holes to fill for me to have this team higher. But I will be the first to say: I hope I’m wrong. Prove the haters wrong Paul. Prove me wrong.

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  1. Amunrud - his bench would make the playoffs. Enough said.

  2. Ventura - He’s got Green Bay’s A. Rodgers, oh wait, that’s not a QB. This guy will be back to contend - Murray and Herbert are two young stud QBs, Zeke and Jacobs are solid starters, and Allen, Woods, and Parker are also great WRs to rely on week in and out.

  3. Dr. J - The WRs are looking better than year’s past with CMC and Chubb as great options headlining the crew. I think this team will make playoffs, and once there, who knows what can happen.

  4. The Commish - This is a playoff team, but I think it’s a tier below our top two. This team has great depth, but I feel like the max weekly score from guys like Julio (at this age), Mims, Pittman, and Higgins isn’t going to be the door buster needed to pull away when it counts.

  5. Mike Stock - This team is stacked at WR with Scary Terry, Davante, Hopkins and Evans. And Brown, Claypool and Mooney on the bench? Wozers. The RB depth isn’t great here so injuries there can derail this contender. This was the luckiest team last year by Pythagorean wins, so look out for some regression

  6. Jonathan - I think this team is in a similar spot as the commish minus some RB options. Not a lot of guys that will win the week ala CMC, Jamaal Charles in his day or Tyreek Hill, but Kupp/Ridley/Landry/Beckham/Sanders/Ekeler/Hunt are all solid starters. Let’s see if this playoff bubble team for the past few years gets a lucky streak going.

  7. Garrett - This team needs young WRs to produce to supplement its solid RBs and hope for some better QB production. This team is just on the edge of playoffs for me.

  8. The People’s Champion - Decent starting 10 with a chance to make playoffs depending on that Flex matchup. R-Rob looks poised for another surprise year dominating. How could you not root for this team headlined by super bowl winning QB Patrick Mahomes!

  9. Team Wildcard - This team could challenge for a playoff spot if the RBs take root. It can always happen as the year drags on, so look out! I actually like this WR mix of Lockett, an underrated Davis as WR1, and a potential breakout in Ruggs. And Waller the baller is another solid pass catcher.

  10. Melton - This team is rebuilding around the WRs, without great options at QB and RB. Maybe the new man of the house will give Dad some good advice and bring this former champion back to glory.

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Ladies and Gentlemen - no, your eyes do not deceive you - I am pleased to present my first ever Preseason Rankings. It took about just as long as I feared it would, BUT it was a fun exercise and there’s a chance I may even think about doing it next year too. But as Kyle Shanahan would say, I can’t even tell you if who will be alive next year so there’s no way I can make any promises.

Anywho - I labored over these and after a pretty quick initial ranking, I went and changed them about 5 more times, empathizing too much and wondering whose days I was going to ruin and who would now hold a vendetta against me, and before long I just said eff it and went with my gut. Enjoy!

  1. @ianamunrud - The Reigning Champ
  • By far one of the most committed members of this league, Ian’s been chasing that championship for years. Year after year we’d watch his top-ranked squad face bad luck, freak underperformance, and injuries before he finally said ‘enough is enough’ and decided to do a [Trent Baalke voice] ‘Reload’.
  • Last year was a fun one to watch. Ian’s revamped squad finished with the most PF in the league with 1,604 and is absolutely loaded. Like, no joke, it kinda makes me sick to see a starting lineup that just starts with Aaron Rodgers, Davin Cook, Derrick Henry, Tyreke Hill, etc. Pretty much my only question mark about his team at this point is if first overall pick Ja’Marr Chase can get out of his head and remember how to catch again.
  1. @mikeastock - The CEO
  • Don’t let last year’s finish at 3rd fool you. In the Championship weekend, he finished with a 203.3 point week, which is absolutely bonkers. Prior to last season, Mike turned up the heat and got extremely aggressive and hit the trade market strong.
  • Russell Wilson has consistently put up strong numbers despite an OC and gameplan that has never utilized his strengths, and I’m scared to see what happens now that they are changing things up and building around him this year.
  • My X-Factor for this team? Raheem Mostert. He can be outrageous if he stays healthy and if Shanahan doesn’t get too cute with the offense.
  1. @Alex - Salty Boi
  • Finishing 6th last season, but rising to #3 in my rankings is Mr. Dr. Alex Johnson - Friend, Husband, Warzone Partner, and resident keeper of all the salt.
  • I Initially had Alex ranked lower based on last season’s finish, but after looking at his roster, I just can’t. Old Man Brady is getting younger like Brad Pitt in Benjamin Button, he has a healthy stud muffin in McCaffrey, and has Nick Chubb leading the Browns rushing attack. You also have a number of studs at WR in Theilen, Jeudy (who should benefit from a better QB this year), and Aiyuck who is primed to be WR1 for the Niners.
  • Depth is looking good as well with Zack Moss, Justin Fields, Mecole Hardman… jeez this roster is making me a little Hardman myself… (okay let’s just ignore that last line). Fully expect this team to make a very strong push into the playoffs. Watch out.
  1. @chasenrogers - The Peoples Champ
  • That’s right baby, number 4 on the list! Writing my own rankings warrants a little boost up the rankings and I was determined to be ahead of the team below me.
  • Constantly doubted, yet always loved, I may be a bit biased but I think there’s more to this team than most people think, coming off of last years 4th in PF finish.
  • Mahomes is Mahomes, and we’ve got a strong RB core of James Robison and David Montgomery (assuming Nagy decides to utilize his weapons for once). At WR, we’re expecting big things out of CeeDee hopefully taking the torch from Amari, have DK hopefully benefiting from a new Seahawks offense, and we’re excited to see things out of newly acquired DJ Moore.
  • I lost some depth to get Moore, and I have some aging/useless vets like Latavius Murray, Gio Bernard, Desean Jackson, etc. - so I’ll need to maintain a newly acquired passion for trading to stay competitive in the long haul.
  1. @IanC - The Commish Himself
  • I don’t have much of a story for why he slipped last year to a 9th place finish, but I’d boil it down to 1) bad luck w/ 2nd highest PA in the league, and 2) a dominant team that is now aging.
  • I expect Lamar to keep giving people fits while Najee should be a very strong rookie.
  • The question marks for this team: Julio. He is getting older and for the first time won’t be with Matt Ryan, so what should we expect? And Chris Carson. I’m sure this is my anti-Seahawk agenda, but I keep expecting Carson’s usage to fall down. It hasn’t happened yet, so we shall see…
  • All that said, Ian’s commitment to his team, to this league, to being active with trades and the waiver wire, he’ll be back on top after a fluke season.
  1. @jonathan - Founder, Owner, and General Manager of the Santa Barbara Sailors
  • What a weird season last year was with a last place finish in the league. I’d say a lot of this had to do with bad luck, finishing with the most PA at 1,413.
  • Currently ranked first in sleeper (eye emoji), this team has too much talent to duplicate last yaer. Josh Allen is a certified stud, I expect Miles Sanders to do more than just flash talent, and I think Kupp is really going to benefit from a QB that McVay believes in.
  • Depth starts with guys like Baker, Ekeler, and Pitts who I love, but not too excited about anybody past that which holds this team back a little bit.
  • Bonus points for being an all-around great guy AND having a team name and logo AND for his new logo tease/announcement last off-season.
  1. @ventura - Team Chubba Lubba
  • I’m still in shock with Ventura’s run to 2nd place last season, but I suppose I shouldn’t be, just look at his core: Kyler Murray and Justin Herbert at QB, a surprisingly likable Zeke, and Josh Jacobs.
  • That said, I’m really not crazy about his depth and I think that can be a really big issue for this team if there are any injuries at all to his top 3-4 players.
  • I found it prett hard to rank this team, so I won’t be surprised with a stronger finish than this ranking, but there will be some hurdles to get there.
  1. @gbhart - No witty team name here, just the classiest man of all of us
  • Finishing 7th last year, I have to go with a similar rank this year. I absolutely love Saqon, and I think Stafford may have himself one heck of a season with McVay, and we have a great young lead back in Jonathan Taylor, but I’m a bit worried about that WR position. AJ Green is slowly, sadly, turning into an afterthought, and Gallup is solidly the 3rd WR in Dallas, so his targets will continue to go down. We could see Hunter Henry get a slight boost, though, as I expect Mac Jones to utilize that TE safety valve more often than a veteran QB might. The depth here is just tough and is holding Garrett back a little.
  1. @awmelman - Big Poppa
  • Melton, I hate putting you here, I do, especially when you actually have some of my favorite young players in the game. I love Deebo and think he can actually be sneaky good this year, with the way he’s used in the run game and passing game, and he appears to be healthy. And I’ve loved Justin Jefferson from day 1. I also think Trey Sermon could be our goal line back this year meaning he could steal some TDs away from Mostert.
  • I just think this team is a year or two away from making its come back. Kirk is only going to get you so far at QB (though Jameis could be a sleeper this year), but we do have Trey Lance waiting to become a fantasy nightmare, and with Juju and Curtis Samuel, and Hollywood Brown on your bench, I think you are well on your way.
  1. @PaulDawg - Mr. Wildcard
  • Oh Paul, sweet Paul. Our own wildcard, always sniping hidden gems off the waiver wire, and always remaining competitive. This team itself truly is a bit of a wildcard for me. I’m assuming RoJo will be lead back all season in Tampa and Damien Harris has locked down New England’s RB1 spot, Darren Waller broke out last season as expected, and Lockett has produced year over year. But we have some high potential players that just need to prove themselves a little bit - Cory Davis, Henry Ruggs. Something is keeping me from ranking this team higher. Deshaun Watson’s situation hurts a lot here, and I’m not entirely convinced Big Ben can continue to hold up, but in a year or two we should see Zach Wilson mature and that is huge for this team
  • Do I already regret putting this team last? Yes, I absolutely do. Just started getting dicey towards the end here and anything can happen amongst these last few teams.
  • Haterz gon’ hate, Paul. Prove me wrong!

Here to play. So here’s the Preseason Rankings, just another version of “Read 'Em and Weep.” You can’t make them all happy, but hopefully everyone will want to still be your friend after you talk about how nice of a person they are to cover the fact that you thought their team wouldn’t make playoffs. If 10 teams could make it and everyone could feel good about it, I would vote to make it so.

But I can’t, so here you go.

2021 Pre-Season Rankings

  1. IanA – @ianamunrud Really isn’t anything to say here. This team has no holes in the starting lineup that just got even better with the addition of Diggs. The 2020 champs found a winning strategy completely through trading. Fun fact: there isn’t a single player in the starting lineup that was on this team before the 2020 season. That is the highest level of wheelin’ and dealin’.

  2. MikeS – @mikeastock This team’s got what it needs to make a quality run in 2021. Helmed by Wilson, RB points by Kamara, and a strong starting WR group with Adams, Hopkins, and Evans. Kelce will get you free Kelce points, and the FLEX/backup WR options of Scary Terry, Claypool and maybe an AB who still has one dominant year left in him make for a quality competitive team. The 2nd RB spot will be the X factor here as this team looks to make another bid in the finals.

  3. IanC – @IanC I was leaning towards putting myself 4th, but got all insecure when the squad below put me at fifth, so I had to counterbalance that ; ) I’m just looking to stay competitive here. We’ve got QBs, we’ve got RBs, we got TE(s?), and everyone is hating on Julio, but I’m still a believer. Two areas of focus: for the RB’s can two make their way into the positional top 10? And for the WR’s , there is a a lot of “good” but who is going to make the jump to “great?” With the investment in young WR talent, this team is hoping for an OBJ-esque emergence from some of these young pass-catchers.

  4. ChasenR – @chasenrogers Patty M is guaranteed points. There are also a lot of guys I was eyeballing for my redraft leagues. James Robinson really has no reason to regress too much in this year’s Jags team. CD Lamb, Disc-Jockey Moore, and Donkey Kong all make for good, young receiving options. Because of this, I expect this team to be in the hunt this year, but I think an explosion of opportunity is coming in about a year’s time. You know who else I think has a good chance to repeat success? Robert Tonyan. He was TE3 last year, and I project him in the top-6 at the position again. As for Montgomery, unlike J.Rob I think some regression is due, but this dude is startable which means Chasen has a very quality starting group heading into this year.

  5. JonC – @jonathan Is Josh Allen a superstar? I love seeing him succeed with all the hate he received early in his carrer. Calvin Ridley? Dude is gonna feast this year. There’s a lot of “good” on this roster, but a fair number of question marks. Can Darrell Henderson take on the lead RB role? Does Miles Sanders have what it takes to go past his career-high RB16 this year? Can OBJ get bac to form (WR30 as his best finish since going to Cleveland)? Player to watch on this team: Austin Ekeler. If he’s healthy, I think there’s enough pieces to make this team playoff bound. Player to watch V2 – Kyle Pitts. Dude is a monster. Dude is also a rookie TE. Which of those will be the dominant storyline in his first NFL season?

  6. AlexJ – @Alex No one is burying the headlines here. CMC + Chubb are this team. No additional analysis required, but you’ll get it anyway. At QB, Brady has all the weapons needed for a QB1 finish… again. The story here is the WR’s though. They’re an interesting mix that will be the X Factor to where this team ends up (assuming both RBs stay healthy). Can Aiyuk become “the guy” in SF? Does Waddle make an impact in year 1? Can Jerry Jeudy live up to the hype in year 2? Because of the questions at WR, it feels like this team has the widest potential outcomes in the league this year.

  7. AndrewV – @ventura Championship game last year was a crazy surprise for this team. Kyler + Zeke are two guys I think are going to have great seasons. Woods is forever underrated and I’ve got a good feeling about Kenan Allen. Not as big on Parker this year however. With all these quality players, why would I have this team outta playoffs? Chalking it up to the occasional “oh yeah, I was gonna set my lineup last week” that might occur this year.

  8. GarrettH – @gbhart Not sure what I can about this team. We all love the owner, we all wish him success in his endeavors, but when you’ve got AJ Green as a starter (a player that has double-digit fantasy points only twice since he’s team’s bye week in 2018), it’s gonna be tough sledding. Bright lights here with Jonathan Taylor, Saquon, and Mixon, but this is a team that traded Kamara, Hopkins, Derrick Henry, AJ Brown, and Kittle in the last year. Suffice to say, playoffs aren’t super likely : (

  9. Paul - @PaulDawg I ain’t putting this team 10th. Nuh uh, no way. I also want to see this team demolish this ranking. Maybe the Waller Baller balls so hard through the wall that he puts the team on his back and drags ‘em into playoffs. Maybe Zach Wilson lights the NFL on fire with his rookie skills (as an investor in recent NYJ WR’s, I very much wouldn’t mind). This team has an uphill battle from Central Time, USA but you KNOW they are up for the challenge. Every year, they roll out to prove the haters wrong. Looking ahead, I have a feeling this team is going to look real different in a year’s time. As for 2021, Paul I absolutel love the energy and will bring the party to BBW when you prove us wrong (except when you play me, plz go easy on me).

  10. AndrewM – @awmelman an this is both a roster thing and a “team direction” thing. With the trades made last year and this year, it would appear this team is on the rebuild trajectory and as such, I feel most comfortable putting them at this spot. This team actually isn’t that bad all things considered. I think Gibson is the definition of a sleeper, and Jefferson, Hockenson, and Godwin are all quality plays. I also think Jameis is in store for some good fantasy production. This team is playing the long game, so hopefully this is right where they’re looking to be.

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Well well well. How the turn tables. Time for my scathing team rankings!!!

  1. @ianamunrud Resident Trade Instigator
    Can’t really get around this team. I see Dalvin Cook and Derrick Henry sitting next to each other in the starting line up, and I start to get a cold sweat. And no, it’s not from the 12 inch steak hoagie and fries I may or may not have just consumed. How dare you assume that. You think I’ve just given up on life after being ranked only at 9 and 10 in the other rankings?! CMON SON.

  1. @IanC Commish
    This is the team I’m probably most curious about. I want to rank this team lower because I may or may not have traded for Devonta freeman right before he tanked :eyes::eyes:…but alas, I cannot. RB situation is undoubtedly good and has depth. The receiver situation is where any doubts lay, and I think this team has a low floor. He has proven studs, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Julio struggles with injury and the others put up average numbers. Once Michael Thomas is back, he’ll be coasting. And if Dak the Yak Prescott can bounce back, he’s set.

I’m walking away before I get more annoyed I traded 2 second rounders for Devonta-tank-my-team-Freeman.

  1. @mikeastock Mike Traveling the World Stock
    This team has the second widest range of possible outcomes in my opinion. Injury to the wrong person could result in this team falling, but if his roster stays healthy then he could easily take the top spot. Never count out Hopkins… I personally think some of his players’ performances are fading in the light of younger dudes, but we’ll see if he can squeeze out another monster season before he looks to rebuild.

  1. @Alex
    The boys are back in town. A healthy CMC and Chubb + Thielen is a force to reckon with. The GOAT is in good form with solid receivers and the Gronk, so I expect this team to do well. It’s about time this team makes a strong finish. Stick it to everyone who hates the Pats!!!

  1. @chasenrogers The People’s Champion
    Compact Disk Lamb (credit to the commish) has a year under his belt. DJ Moore. DK Metcalf. I wouldn’t be surprised if this team is sitting on the best receiver trio of the year… CD, DJ, DK. It’s a sleeper pick, but we’re all rooting for the people’s champ. Go team!

  1. @jonathan
    This team has the widest range of possible outcomes imo. I would love to see an in-form OBJ come back, and I like most of this team. My only concern is with Ridley. Will he step up to fill Julio’s shoes? Or will he fade a bit like JuJu after AB left Pitty? If the stars align, then this team could quietly coast up 5 spots imo. If one of his key players suffers an injury, or if Stafford struggles to connect with Kupp, or Ridley fails to step up, then a drop to 8 wouldn’t surprise me.

  1. @PaulDawg
    Because I always finish higher than expected and have more frothy stoke than anyone!!! My team is often under projected. AJ Dillon has the BIGGEST quads in the game. Double TE strategy will pay off!!! Waller Gronkite baby!! A few questionable trades and this team moves +/- 3!

Here’s to drafting based off of the coolness of player names and hype. When I see AJ Dillon flex them quads on his 5 touches per game, this is how I feel:

  1. @ventura
    A healthy Zeke is back. This team will inevitably forget to set its line up and lose a few games as a result, but he could easily jump to 5th or 6th if everyone stays healthy and plays to form.

  1. @awmelman Sir Trey Lancelot
    Good guy Melton. No one root against this team. Tbh I hate ranking anyone in 9th or 10th because there’s usually a very small gap between who makes playoffs and who does not. Anything can happen. And on that note, his yung receivers could fail to show up and Gibson could have an average year. Here’s to hoping this team excels!

If his team falls, here’s why:

  1. @gbhart Garrett
    Positives: The legend Justin Tucker is on this team. Jonathan Taylor is a workhorse.

Doubts: As much as I love Saquon, I don’t seem him returning to his rookie form after two season ending injuries in a row. I question if Mixon will bounce back. Mac-Agholor connection. Minimal depth.

Prove me wrong baby!