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Buying into NFL 2020 Rookie Breakouts Heading into the 2021-22 NFL Season

Justin Herbert
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 04: Justin Herbert (10) of the Chargers looks to throw a pass to his left side during the regular season game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 04, 2020 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

Quarterback

Justin Herbert – Was an absolute stud in 2020 for the Chargers. The outcomes weren’t always there, but Herbert was consistently a player to watch. He set the rookie record for touchdown passes and threw for over 300 yards in eight of his 15 starts, he threw for three or more touchdowns in six of those starts and scored a rushing touchdown in five different starts. Herbert should continue to be a top quarterback option in 2021.

Tua Tagovailoa – There will be no doubt heading into 2021 that Tua is going to be the Dolphins starter. They won six of his nine starts. Looking closer at his play, however, it was pretty uneven, which is to be expected from a rookie quarterback. Tua had some nice passing games, he showed that he is going to run the ball, so his outlook is bright, and one to track moving into 2021.

Joe Burrow – Burrow’s season was cut short due to suffering a torn ACL. This is significant to Burrow’s value. We saw Burrow run the ball at times 6-8 times per game, and the torn ACL will reduce his mobility to some extent. Fortunately for Burrow, he still has a great arm, as shown by his five 300-yard passing games. If Burrow can play he will start in 2021, and will benefit from a solid receiving core around him. We should expect big things from Burrow in the future, but temper our expectations for the immediate future, as he heals from his injury.

Jalen Hurts – In the game that Hurts started in 2020, he was dynamic. He gave his DFS owners everything they could want, big passing yards, big rushing yards, and touchdowns. In some respects, I would be surprised if Eagles fans had a bit of deja vu and wondering if they were watching Randell Cunningham play again. Hurts will be a valuable commodity in all fantasy formats next year, and you should enjoy him while you can because quarterbacks of his size that play the way he does don’t always have long careers.

Running Back

J.K. Dobbins – Based on his 2020 performance, you should be wary of Dobbins moving into 2020. He certainly has talent, but with how the Ravens’ offence is structured, knowing which running back to use is likely to be difficult to predict. We saw some big games from Dobbins, and we will see more, we just don’t know when we will see them, which makes him an asset that is tough to buy in any sort of fantasy game.

Jonathan Taylor – Taylor finished the year out strong, and his value in 2021 will be tied to whomever the incoming quarterback is for the Colts now that Phillip Rivers has announced his retirement. It would be hard to imagine the Colts not continuing to give Taylor 20 touches or more a game with how their team is structured today, which should leave room for big games and a big 2021 season for Taylor.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire – The hype on CEH was out of control late in the preseason, and it certainly didn’t pan out. We saw just two 100-yard rushing games, and he passed 100-total yards just two other times. Don’t be surprised if folks back off of CEH in 2021, and you should use that to your advantage. The Cheifs offence will still be potent, and with a full year getting acclimated to the offence should really help lead Edwards-Helaire’s growth.

Wide Reciever

Chase Claypool – In 2020, Claypool put together some big games, and he was consistently part of the Steelers offence. The biggest issue that Claypool has today, is that there are lots of mouths to feed in that offence so he won’t be a big part of that week in and week out unless other moves are made. Predictability is key and having players put up 100+ yard receiving games and multiple touchdowns are fantastic, but if you can’t see it coming you’re going to have some rough weeks.

Tee Higgins – Higgin’s first season in the NFL came somewhat out of nowhere. There were concerns that he would be buried behind other Bengals receivers, but that didn’t prove to be the case, and he was an effective receiver most of the season. He was also a receiver who came at a low cost for much of that time as well. We should expect to see lots of Higgins moving forward, as A.J. Greencontinues to age and Higgins roles increases.

Justin Jefferson – It would be hard to argue that Jefferson wasn’t the best rookie wide receiver this year. He had 1400 receiving yards and went over 100 yards on seven different occasions this year while scoring seven touchdowns. There will be room for more touchdowns, but getting more than 1400 yards will be tough to top in 2021. Jefferson is a star today, and that star may only be getting brighter.

Brandon Aiyuk  – On an anemic passing offence like the 49ers had this year, what Aiyuk did as a rookie shouldn’t be overlooked. In twelve games, he had two 100 yard receiving games and scored five touchdowns. That being said, the 49ers aren’t going to be a team that puts up big passing games week in and week out, so while Aiyuk could get to 1000 yards without too much trouble, his ceiling is going to be somewhat limited due to ot the style of play the 49ers use. That won’t reduce his value to you in DFS games, however, as he could still have plenty of big games as he showed us he is capable this year.

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