March is nearly here, and that’ll bring the start of the 2021 free agency period, start making some moves early with these 5 pre-free agency targets. With just three weeks until the bizarrely titled “legal tampering” period of free agency kicks off we are fast entering one of the more interesting offseason slots where owners can take advantage of market inefficiencies and boost their teams ahead of the new season.
The month before free agency is one of the most uncertain times of the year for dynasty owners and in uncertainty comes opportunity. Aside from the top free agents, now is a prime occasion to dig deep into depth charts, contracts, and the pool of available players and find gems who could be set for a significant fantasy stock upgrade over the next few weeks.
With a falling salary cap and several teams likely to face significant upheaval, this year may present an even more attractive opportunity than years gone by. Here are 5 under the radar free agents who, with the right move in the weeks ahead could be real fantasy assets next year.
There are few players can match the sheer level of disappointment Watkins can being to fantasy owners. Drafted number 4 overall by the Bills in 2014, the former Clemson man was a “can’t miss” prospect. Injuries and inconsistent play have seen him move around the league often. Meaning that he has struggled to consistently deliver on that potential. So, why waste any capital on him? Despite seemingly being around forever, he’ll only be 28 this season. With so many teams in need of receiver help there is a decent chance that he’ll become a leading receiving option. His talent has continued to flash on occasions. He’s unlikely to be hugely expensive at this point. A mid 3rd rounder might get it done and if the landing spot is favourable you may find some surprisingly value.
Best landing spot(s): Ravens
One of the most underrated receivers in the league, 31-year-old Jones will get his second bit at free agency after signing with the Lions in 2016. He’s been a consistent producer throughout his career despite never being seen as his teams’ number one target. His 5 years in Detroit have produced nearly 300 catches and 4296 yards. Most notably he’s averaged 7 touchdowns a year. The ideal scenario for Jones would seem to be a cut price move to the Rams. Adding his deep threat and a reunion with Matt Stafford would be great.
Best landing spots: Rams, Eagles
It’s a little remembered fact that, in the 2017 draft the Packers drafted their number two running back one round before their number one back. Williams, out of BYU, cost the Pack the 134th pick before Aaron Jones turned up at pick 182. Since then they’ve formed an effective 1-2 punch. Jones taking most of the plaudits but Williams showing himself adept at doing the dirtier, tougher running. In his four years as the backup he’s consistently produced about 500 yards rushing and 250 receiving. With Jones most likely on his way to pastures new, a return to Green Bay for Williams could lay a path to a significant increase in snaps. AJ Dillon will enter his second year with a lot to prove. But, if he were brought back, Williams could very easily steal the job.
Best landing spot(s): Packers
A 4th round pick in 2017 Mack looked set for a breakout at the end of the 2019 season. 1091 yards rushing in 12 starts, 17 touchdowns in two seasons. The signs were good for the former South Florida Bull. Then the draft happened. The Colts spent an early 2nd round pick on Wisconsin runner Jonathan Taylor and suddenly Mack’s future looked far less certain. With significant competition in the backfield, the last thing Mack needed was an injury. But disaster struck in week one when he went down with a torn achilles, ending his season before it really even began. Mack has already shown he can produce at a high level in the NFL. His injury history will likely deflate his market but there are a number of spots he could land in that would offer significant upside.
Best landing spot(s): Texans, Jets
Famously Everett was the first draft pick of the Sean McVey era in LA. A move that made many analysts pencil the South Alabama alum in as the “next Jordan Reed”. The skill set certainly seemed enticing. But it never really worked out in LA as McVey never really made the tight end position a key part of his offence. The arrival of Brycen Hopkins in last years draft made it fairly clear that Everett was reaching the end of the road with the Rams. With their cap situation, Everett is likely to be testing test free agency next month. With the right landing spot the 26 year old may finally see his potential unleashed. Meaning he could push past his career best 2020 of 41 catches for 417 yards.
Best landing spot(s): Jaguars, Colts, Cowboys
But what do you think about these 2021 free agency pre March targets! Let us know, you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We are going to be providing you with dynasty content all offseason.
Image Credit: Denny Medley – USA TODAY Sports