A Look Into Fantasy Football 2021: Sleepers, Breakouts and Busts

Story posted September 7, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Sam Kirk

In a standard fantasy football league, there are typically three ways a player’s season can go.

In some instances, a young player could emerge and break out becoming a force to be reckoned with in the league. In others, players who aren’t household names rise to stardom and their sleeper status is what can win fantasy leagues.

The worst part of fantasy football and everything that comes with it is the busts. Typically, a bust happens when players are either injured early in the year or when they just can’t seem to put up the production they did for the previous season.

Here, let’s go through three of each kind to make sure your team doesn’t make that one decision that breaks your season.

Breakout Candidates

Antonio Gibson, RB, WAS - Gibson was phenomenal last season helping Washington get to the playoffs. With even more firepower on offense, there will be more red zone opportunities for the second-year pro. Gibson had only 33 carries in college, but managed to score 11 times last season while averaging 4.7 yards a carry. Get him on your roster.

James Robinson, RB, JAX - It was a shame to see rookie Travis Etienne go down with a season ending injury. But now it opens up the door for James Robinson to take over that backfield and help Trevor Lawerence during his rookie year. Robinson finished as RB7 last year in fantasy. If he does that again, he’s a steal in any draft.

Damien Harris, RB, NE - It would be a surprise to see the Patriots be shaky in back to back seasons. They are now giving the keys to Mac Jones which will benefit another Crimson Tide alumnus in their backfield. Harris is a great mid-round selection, especially since Sony Michel is now a Ram.

Sleeper Candidates

Myles Gaskin, RB, MIA - Gaskin had double-digit carries in seven straight games last season. That should say enough. If this Miami offense is improved in its second season in the Tua Tagovailoa era, Gaskin will be a main contributor. If you are in need of an RB2 in rounds four and five, look at Gaskin.

Elijah Moore, WR, NYJ - Moore is one of the most exciting prospects the Jets have had in years. He is getting recognition already from stars around the league. The former Rebel is going to be a main target for Zach Wilson for years to come. He’s a great target late in drafts, especially in dynasty leagues.

Marquez Callaway, WR, NO - This is the deepest sleeper on this list. Obviously, someone is going to have to catch balls in New Orleans without Michael Thomas, and Jameis Winston has developed chemistry with Calloway throughout the preseason. I’m sure their connection on the second team last year didn't hurt either. If you need a wideout in the late rounds, take a chance on the Tennessee product.

Bust Candidates

Mike Davis, RB, ATL - Davis, now 28, was a fourth-round pick who had not done much in his career besides last year. He now gets a chance in Atlanta with Matt Ryan and Calvin Ridley. Davis in his best year last year wasn’t totally healthy. This is a team that is going to throw the football more, no matter what. Davis is one of the riskier RB2’s out there.

Josh Jacobs, RB, OAK - It’s hard saying this, but I feel as if we have been waiting for production from Jacobs for too long. Las Vegas lost four of its top run blockers from last season. The Raiders also paid Kenyan Drake a heavy contract. All signs point to a down year for Jacobs, as there will be other running backs to take where he is projected on the board.

Brandin Cooks, WR, HOU - Cooks has caught passes from some great quarterbacks in his career, including the likes of Tom Brady and Drew Brees. It doesn’t seem like he’s going to get that elite talent back there this year with Deshaun Watson’s issues. There are many young receivers that deserve to be selected over Cooks to fill a bench spot.


Sam Kirk is a second-year studying broadcast journalism. To contact him email sjk6325@psu.edu.