Sleepers, Busts and Value Players from Diehards Staff 2021

By Jamie Calandro
Jamie Calandro

It's August, so we're firmly in the thick of NFL redraft season! At Football Diehards, we put out staff expert polls where we examine key areas such as "breakout QBs, fantasy flops, first-round busts, etc" in order to recognize potential trap spots or sleepers to help you maximize your return in your drafts. A lot of our staff have gotten their picks in, so this article will examine some trends that have popped up among several of our experts' picks, and I'll also be highlighting some of my own choices.

Click Here for: The complete list of Diehards' Experts Bold Predictions







It's so hard to find reasons to hate on this guy, especially after his 6-TD phenomenon carried a lot of people through their semi finals and championships in week 15 last year. Kamara is currently RB3 in the FantasyPros expert consensus ranking and has an ADP of 3.8, which means fantasy managers are spending major draft capital on AK. So why do four of our nine staff members (including me) have Kamara as a first round bust?

Speaking for myself, it's a large part to do with the QB situation and the expected offensive efficiency as a whole. Kamara's value resides solely in PPR formats, and last year we saw his value crater with Taysom Hill under center. Kamara only caught 13 balls in the four weeks combined with Drew Brees out (and seven of those came in one game), and suffered in red zone market share as well as Taysom ate into his opportunities there even more since he was on the field every play.

Jameis Winston winning the starting gig would solidify Kamara a little more, especially if the Saints choose to line him up in the slot, but the absence of Michael Thomas and Drew Brees does not instill much confidence in the Saints' offense as a whole. Kamara is absolutely still a round one pick, but exercise caution here if viewing him as a top-3 back.



The Giant fan in me wants more than anything for this to be true, but we first need to address the risks involved with drafting him. Barkley is coming off an ACL tear, which generally comes with an 8-12 month recovery time. This puts Barkley on an optimistic path to be fully ready to rock in week one, but it's no guarantee. In addition, the Giants' OL remains a question mark, even though the shuffling of Nick Gates to center and the insertion of Shane Lemieux at guard rapidly helped them in that regard.

Why is our staff high on Barkley then? The easy answer is his pure talent. It's easy to forget that Saquon has over 2,000 yards from scrimmage in his rookie season with 15 total TDs, being heavily utilized on the ground (261 carries) and through the air (91 catches on 121 targets). The Giants have re-acquainted the playbook with the screen pass, which is smart if the pass blocking doesn't hold up and Daniel Jones is under heavy duress. Saquon's ceiling is the overall RB1, and it feels like an incredible value if you're getting him in the mid- to late first round.



There is no reason to think this can't happen, considering the fact that Hurts finished as a top-12 QB in weeks 14-16 last year while averaging 26.1 fantasy points per game. Fantasy football has become a game where the dual-threat QBs reign supreme, and Hurts rushed for 272 yards in his final four games of the season.

There is definite downside as we're still talking about a guy who only took over as the starter midway through week 13 last year, so he's very raw in terms of experience. However, the offensive line is seemingly healthy to start to year, and the Eagles added Devonta Smith to their WR stable which already includes two talented TEs, Jalen Reagor, and a RB that can really excel in space in Miles Sanders. If Hurts puts it together quickly, he's likely to be a stat machine for fantasy.




Rondale is not getting the love that some of his fellow rookie WRs are, but I think he can top them all in 2021, and quickly. Moore's way is seemingly blocked from the start by AJ Green and Christian Kirk (DeAndre Hopkins is, of course, the WR1), but I feel as though Moore could ascend to the WR2 spot on this team in short order and really wreak havoc out of the slot. AJ Green looked absolutely done last year after averaging a meager 1.02 yards per route run, and it's not like he wasn't already in a fantasy-friendly environment in Cincy. Christian Kirk showed bursts of promise last year, but largely struggled in his vertical role.

Even if Green does find the fountain of youth and/or Kirk takes the next step as a viable WR, Arizona still led the league in 3WR sets last season and could conceivably run 10-personnel sets at a frequent rate which would give all WRs an ample amount of eating in an up-tempo, high-octane offense. Moore is a dynamic talent who scored 17 all-purpose TDs in 20 games at Purdue. He's small, but that's what they said about Tyreek Hill.



This is a hill I will happily die on this year, and I consider Mixon a gift anywhere I can get him in the second round. Mixon missed ten games with a foot issue last season that has led to a false injury-prone narrative surrounding him, when in reality he only missed four combined games the previous three seasons of his career. Before going down last year, Mixon was heavily on pace for RB1 stats, and all early indications are that he won't leave the field with third-down back Gio Bernard now in Tampa Bay. Mixon has two seasons under his belt with just under 1,500 all-purpose yards, and the Bengals were leading the league in plays per game before Joe Burrow went down (they finished ninth). The sky's the limit here - don't let the masses scare you off.



I'm getting bombarded with takes from all angles that are attempting to sway me off my lukewarm Carter feels, and the fact that he's supposedly running with the first team is not helping. Carter brings a lot of fun metrics to the table, including a robust 8.0 YPC in his senior year at UNC and an agility score that falls in the 98th percentile. That said, Carter's 4.59 40-yard dash is very average, and his speed and burst scores fell well below the national average as well (28th and 42nd percentiles, respectively). It's possible I'm too low on his receiving ability (he had a 73rd percentile college target share and was a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award), but he's got to be hyper-efficient in that regard in a relatively crowded backfield to maintain his PPR value.

From a narrative standpoint, I have to point to his draft spot. Carter was selected by the Jets at the 102nd pick in the 2021 draft, and there are reasons that he was passed over by RB-needy teams (the Jets included) in the three rounds prior. It's rare that a day-3 pick will make an immediate impact on an NFL field. I know we can look at Myles Gaskin last year (which I suppose can be Carter's upside), but you really have to go back to 2017 (Aaron Jones in round 5) to find the next guy to come out firing for fantasy football players. The Jets do not have flashy names in their backfield, but Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson, and Lamical Perine are capable backs who are not just going to go away because fantasy managers want them to. I find it absurd that Carter is currently going ahead of Damien Harris, Travis Etienne (also a rookie but with a clearly DEFINED role out of the gate), James Conner, Ronald Jones, and Zack Moss.