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Fantasy Football Rankings 2021: Breakouts from computer model that nailed Gibson's standout NFL season

CBS Sports logo CBS Sports 9/8/2021 CBS Sports Staff
a baseball player holding a bat: DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 19: Buffalo Bills running back Zack Moss (20) carries the ball against the Denver Broncos during a game between the Denver Broncos and the Buffalo Bills at Empower Field at Mile High on December 19, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. © Provided by CBS Sports

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 19: Buffalo Bills running back Zack Moss (20) carries the ball against the Denver Broncos during a game between the Denver Broncos and the Buffalo Bills at Empower Field at Mile High on December 19, 2020 in Denver, Colorado.

Titans running back Derrick Henry has been a powerhouse at every level he's ever played, setting national records in high school, rushing for 2,219 yards on his way to a Heisman at Alabama and becoming the eighth player in NFL history to reach the 2,000-yard rushing mark last season. Henry sat behind DeMarco Murray in Tennessee his first two seasons and even shared work with Dion Lewis before breaking out late in 2018. Now, he's a first-round staple in many 2021 Fantasy football rankings.

Owners are on the hunt for the next Derrick Henry, and landing multiple 2021 Fantasy football breakouts could change your fortunes. A reliable set of NFL Fantasy football rankings 2021 can help guide you toward players who are about to take on a bigger role and excel just like Henry did in 2018. Before making any 2021 Fantasy football picks, be sure to check out the 2021 Fantasy football cheat sheets from the proven computer model at SportsLine.

Last year, the model predicted Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson would be a breakout. He had an eighth-round ADP, but SportsLine's model had him listed ahead of players such as Leonard Fournette, Tarik Cohen and D'Andre Swift, all of whom were being drafted earlier. The result: Gibson piled up over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and scored 11 touchdowns, making him a top-20 Fantasy back.

The model is powered by the same people who generated projections for all three major Fantasy sites, and it beat human experts last season when there was a big difference in ranking. The projections update multiple times daily, so you're always getting the best Fantasy football advice. 

Now, SportsLine has simulated the entire NFL season 10,000 times and released its latest Fantasy football rankings 2021, identifying several potential Fantasy football breakouts. Head to SportsLine now to see them

Top 2021 Fantasy football breakouts

One of the 2021 Fantasy football breakouts the model is predicting: Ravens running back Ty'Son Williams. The 24-year-old undrafted free agent in the Class of 2020 played collegiately at North Carolina, South Carolina and BYU, playing a reserve role at every stop along the way and rushing for 1,120 yards and eight touchdowns in four total collegiate seasons.

But he earned his way onto the Ravens' practice squad in 2020 and even earned active roster status for a game, though he didn't take a snap. Now, he's made the 53-man roster and currently listed second on the depth chart behind Gus Edwards in a run-heavy Ravens offense. That virtually guarantees Williams regular touches, and if anything happens to Edwards, he'd be thrust into a starting role on a team that has run the ball 1,151 times the last two years. That's why the model likes Williams (16th-round ADP) ahead of 12th-round options like A.J. Dillon and Sony Michel.

Another breakout that SportsLine's Fantasy football rankings 2021 have identified: 49ers quarterback Trey Lance. Kyle Shanahan stated at the beginning of training camp that Jimmy Garoppolo would begin the season as the starter after Lance was selected No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. While that's still technically true, Shanahan has already opened the door for Lance to get involved sooner than later.

The 49ers appear likely to utilize a quarterback rotation to take advantage of Lance's arm strength and athleticism. Lance will miss one week after suffering a finger injury in the final preseason game, but his upside makes him worth stashing until he can win the job. That's why the model ranks Lance (14th-round ADP) ahead of quarterbacks like Jalen Hurts and Joe Burrow, who are being selected at least 25 picks earlier on average.

How to find proven 2021 Fantasy football rankings

SportsLine is also extremely high on a second-year running back who will significantly outperform his 2021 Fantasy football ADP. He's going in the third round on average, but the model says he'll outperform second-round options like Ezekiel Elliott, Joe Mixon and Nick ChubbYou can only see who it is, and the 2021 Fantasy football rankings for every player, at SportsLine.

So which 2021 Fantasy Football breakouts should you target? And which running back shocks the NFL with a top-10 performance? Visit SportsLine now to get 2021 Fantasy Football cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Antonio Gibson's huge season, and find out.

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