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NFL Draft

Fantasy Football Franchise Tag Deadline Winners and Losers

  • The Draft Network
  • March 9, 2021
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The 2021 franchise tag deadline has come and gone, and there were a handful of big-name players who will return to their previous teams next season and even more who will hit the open market on March 17. The Draft Network will cover the fantasy football impact of all the key free agent signings next week, but let’s start with the fantasy implications of Tuesday’s events.

Who are the winners and losers of the franchise tag deadline? Let’s dive into the half-dozen names below and find out.

Winner: Kenny Golladay

Golladay has escaped Detroit’s rebuild after not being franchise-tagged on Tuesday. But the even better news for him is that he’s now the top wide receiver on the market with other options like Allen Robinson and Chris Godwin still tied to their respective teams for at least one more season. Golladay is now the belle of the ball for the handful of wide receiver-needy teams out there—Green Bay, Baltimore, Indianapolis, both New York teams, etc.

Given the departure of Matthew Stafford, staying in Detroit was an unideal situation for the 27-year-old. While his 2020 campaign was injury-filled, he was as productive as ever in his brief on-field opportunities. Golladay averaged 16.45 fantasy points per game in his four full games last season. The year prior, Golladay ranked as the WR9 in total points and WR12 in average points per game.

Golladay is currently ranked as my WR19 (Round 4) in PPR leagues, with the ability to jump into the top 15 depending on his landing spot. 

Loser: Jared Goff

The other side of the Golladay coin is this: Goff’s weapon downgrade continues. The trade from Los Angeles sees the soon-to-be sixth-year quarterback leave the likes of Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp behind in favor of T.J. Hockenson, Tyrell Williams, and Quintez Cephus. While Hockenson is a top pass-catching option at his tight end position, the wide receiving corps for the Lions sans Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. leaves a lot to be desired. It remains to be seen if Detroit elects to use its top pick on a rookie wide receiver like Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, or DeVonta Smith. If they don’t, they’ll have one of the weakest units in the league.

Goff ranked as the QB20 in average fantasy points per game last season (QB15 in total points). It’s hard to have him ranked any higher than QB19 or QB20 at best going into the 2021 campaign now that he’s away from Sean McVay calling the shots and has a depleted group of weapons to throw to—arguably the worst group he’s had since his rookie season in 2016.

Winner: Donald Parham

In what was a somewhat surprising move, the Chargers elected to not franchise-tag Hunter Henry again, clearing the way for a new TE1 in Los Angeles. Parham was a favorite sleeper of mine going into 2021 and he now has a tremendous opportunity to have fantasy success.

Parham is 6-foot-8 with 4.6 speed. Yeah, that’s not a typo. The man’s a physical freak and he showed flashes of what he can do last year for the Chargers and in the XFL. His size coupled with a 36-inch vertical makes him an instant red-zone threat and a possible new favorite for Justin Herbert in that area. It would be premature to put Parham in TE1 territory, but make sure he’s on your shortlist of high-upside options if you choose to wait on tight ends on draft day.

Loser: Allen Robinson/Darnell Mooney

Robinson simply cannot escape bad quarterback play, and the second the Chicago Bears slapped the franchise tag on him on Tuesday, that’s what he was guaranteed. It’s a massive longshot that the Bears will be able to acquire Russell Wilson for 2021, so as of now they’ll enter the season with Nick Foles and either a rookie or C-level free agent signing vying for the starting quarterback role. 

Robinson will be fine, he always finds a way, but the true upside many fantasy managers hoped to see is now delayed another year. However, fantasy managers can take solace in the fact that Robinson was the WR9 in average fantasy points per game last season (17.2 FPPG) with Foles and Mitchell Trubisky under center, and is the WR12 over the last two seasons combined (16.2 FPPG). He’s still a WR1, although he’s not a surefire top-10 option. 

As for Mooney, he’s a small loser in this as well, as a Robinson departure would’ve set him up for a top wide receiver role in Chicago. Even if the Bears brought in a top rookie or mid-level free agent, neither of those players would’ve gobbled up as many targets in 2021 as Robinson will. Mooney is still an intriguing player entering his sophomore season, but the upside is capped a bit more than fantasy managers hoped.

Winner: Antonio Gibson

Gibson’s inclusion on this list is a byproduct of the Washington Football Team electing to franchise guard Brandon Scherff for the second year in a row. Scherff graded out as the fourth-best guard out of 80 qualified players last season, per PFF. He’s an all-around stud in both the pass and run game and is one of the best guards in football—and the best iOL in this year’s free-agent class. Him sticking around for another season is great news for a rising young running back.

Before getting injured toward the latter part of the season, Gibson ranked as the RB5 in total points and RB10 in average fantasy points per game. Just wait until he starts playing more snaps and getting more targets.

Gibson currently ranks as my RB11 (Round 2) for PPR leagues in 2021.

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