The AFC North teams are all pretty set at their skill positions on offense as far as the starters go. But, if you like to play in deep leagues as I do, then you are on the hunt for deep values. None of the players that will be covered should be thought of as being dynasty starters. However, if your league roster limit is twenty-five or more players, then skill positions tend to thin out rather quickly.
One player that we will take a look at is roster worthy in a deep league, somewhere near the end of your roster. The other players are more scout team/taxi squad type. The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Najee Harris in round one of the 2021 NFL Draft. But should he suffer an injury, who are you running to the waiver wire to add? Benny Snell? Kalen Ballage? Anthony McFarland Jr.? Benny Snell is not more than a low ceiling short-yardage back. Kalen Ballage is on his fourth NFL team in three years and is not guaranteed to even make the final roster. That is kind of an ugly scene right? But, the new offensive coordinator Matt Canada does have a connection to the running back I have pegged as next up behind Najee Harris. And that is……
Anthony McFarland Jr., Running Back
Anthony MacFarland Jr. is probably not capable of handling a full workload, but in the event of a brief injury to Harris. He would provide the best PPR value in the Pittsburgh backfield, as he is the only one with a direct connection to Matt Canada, and he would be the quickest to get up to speed. Anthony McFarland Jr. is also much more of a threat in space than Ballage or Snell, with a timed 4.34 40 yard dash. Pittsburgh has historically liked to get their backs in space at times on screenplays, he has the homerun ability to break 1 or two of those open. And maybe even hand you a nice effort in a flex spot if you find yourself in an injury pinch.
Steelers RB Depth Chart
- Najee Harris (R)
- Anthony McFarland (RB78 ADP 346.4)
- Benny Snell vs Kalen Ballage (RB96 going undrafted)
Moving on to the Jungle in Cincinnati, Joe Mixon should absolutely feast in 2021. But in case of an injury, there’s a new pass-catching back in town. In deep leagues, though value is the name of the game, and the Bengals have just such a value.
Chris Evans, Running Back
Joe Mixon returns in 2021 and he should be healthy and ready to roll. Behind him is Samaje Perine who is a serviceable backup if not somewhat limited athletically. Now watching Chris Evans on film, he looks to be more of a receiver than a running back. And that will likely limit him to being a committee back. Should Joe Mixon miss time in 2021, Evans could find a role as a satellite back in a committee with Samaje Perine. I personally think Joe Mixon will be fine, but if I was a Mixon owner I would not take any chances in a deep league and stash Chris Evans just in case.
Cincinnati Bengals RB Depth Chart
- Joe Mixon
- Samaje Perine
- Chris Evans (R) (RB67 ADP 381.6)
On to the Ravens Flock, for Baltimore, they have the NFL’s best dual-threat quarterback going in Lamar Jackson. They have had some up and down production from their receiving core. Which has limited them at times when Jackson drops back to throw. First Round pick Marquise Brown has not quite panned out yet, and to this point, they have gotten by with a more quantity over quality approach at wide receiver. Obviously, they have one of the NFL’s top players in that second-tier tight end group in Mark Andrews. But that hasn’t been enough, and while they have been at the top of the NFL in rushing, you can’t run over everyone. In comes heralded 2021 rookie Rashod Bateman, if you play dynasty though you already know about him, or you should. However, the Ravens have another receiver who could make some fantasy noise in 2021 enter….
Devin Duvernay, Wide Receiver
Yes, the Baltimore Ravens signed the “Lizard King” Sammy Watkins (credit The FF Ballers). And he will likely work out of the slot for the Ravens, with Rashod Bateman being one of the outside receivers. To this point in his career, Marquise Brown has been a one-trick broken coverage receiver. There could be a crack in the lineup and someone with underneath reception skills like Devin Duvernay could exploit it. You don’t need to add him to your dynasty roster at this point, but keep your eye on him. John Harbaugh has no qualms about using a player more than a player with a higher draft pedigree.
Baltimore Ravens WR Depth Chart
- Rashod Bateman (R) (WR36 ADP of 115.3)
- Marquise Brown (WR46 ADP of 155)
- Sammy Watkins (WR85 ADP of 337.6)
- Devin Duvernay (WR125 going undrafted)
Apparently, someone forgot to close the gate on the dog pound. Because these are not the same Cleveland Browns. (I sill love you Juju just a dumb thing to say) But Kevin Stefanski has got them turned around and is using the talented Browns appropriately. The Cleveland Browns have a very good skill position group just about everywhere on the field, but there could be room for a tight end aside from Austin Hooper. And no this is not some there is still hope for David Njoku, that ship sailed and sank. I am talking about….
Harrison Bryant, Tight End
The tight end position in fantasy football falls off a cliff in value rather quickly. Trust me I do not enjoy digging in the garbage every year looking for depth either. But with the position being so top-heavy, that means trade prices are also on the rise even for marginal players. I am pretty cheap myself, and I would rather bet that I can find someone in the waiver garbage than overpay in a trade.
And there we have it, folks there isn’t much in the AFC North in the waiver garbage. But there are some values to be found if you know where to look for them. For more interesting articles be sure and join the nerd herd. And as always follow all of us on Twitter, you can find me at @DoomzoneFF.
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