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The start of the NFL season is just under seven months away. The 2021 NFL Draft hasn’t even taken place. However, sharp fantasy football owners never stop doing their homework in preparation for their upcoming fantasy football draft. 

This type of mentality will give you an edge over your competition. You know the guy who buys an outdated magazine on his way to the draft, and you will enter your draft day with a researched and detailed 2021 fantasy football draft board.

Here are five bold predictions for the upcoming 2021 fantasy football season that you might feel are absurd, but I can see happening once the season is all said and done. 

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1. Ezekiel Elliott continues his steep decline

Elliott has been a perennial Round 1 fantasy football draft board selection in all scoring formats. However, those days are over, in my opinion. He averaged a career-low of 4 yards per carry (ypc) in 2020 and fumbled a career-high 5 times. If you look at Zeke’s career stats, you will notice a steep decline starting after the 2018 season. Year over year, Elliott’s averaged fewer carries per game, yards per game, yards per carry, receptions per game, and receiving yards per game during that span, and I don’t see anything changing. Part of that can be attributed to RB Tony Pollard’s emergence, but the most significant factor is that when healthy, this is QB Dak Prescott‘s team. With so many receiving weapons on the outside, I expect the Cowboys to be a pass-first offense. 

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2. Tee Higgins will emerge into a top-15 wide receiver in PPR formats

Higgins put together an impressive rookie season. The Cincinnati Bengals wideout finished with 67 receptions on 108 targets, 908 receiving yards, and six touchdown receptions. He quickly surpassed AJ Green as the WR2 in Cincy and was in discussion with Tyler Boyd as the team’s primary receiver. At 6-4, 215-pounds, Higgins is a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive backs, and his ability to make the big play makes him the threat that fantasy football owners should get excited about. Before Joe Burrow tore his ACL, it was evident that he was developing a connection with Higgins, and this duo should produce big numbers in 2021. Call me crazy, but I expect Higgins to offset Boyd as the WR1 in Cincy and wouldn’t rule out a 90 reception, 1,250 receiving yards, 10 touchdown sophomore season.

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3. Travis Kelce should be a top-5 fantasy football pick

Kelce continues to post monster seasons in the Chief’s high-powered offense, and it’s about damn time the tight end gets some respect. I am not talking about the drafted as a TE1 type of respect. I’m talking about being drafted within the top-5 picks regardless of your fantasy football scoring format. Kelce has five straight 1,000 receiving yard seasons, has at least 80 receptions in each of those years, including 100-plus receptions in two of the last three and 26 touchdown receptions over his last three seasons. Consistency is critical in weekly fantasy football success, and Kelce is the gold standard among any pass catcher, wide receivers included. The Chiefs offense will continue to score points in bunches, and Kelce is nowhere near being on the decline. Enough of the tight ends shouldn’t be drafted until later stigma, and be bold, draft Kelce with a top-5 selection. You won’t be disappointed.

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4. Zach Wilson will lead all rookie quarterbacks in fantasy points

Fellow rookie Trevor Lawrence might get the majority of the hype, and he’s likely to land in Jacksonville with Urban Meyer, but it is the dual-threat Wilson that has the best chance of scoring fantasy football points. Many rumors are circulating that the New York Jets will take Wilson at No. 2 overall, and whether it’s New York or elsewhere, Wilson should surprise opposing defenses. If you are looking for a player comp, let’s start with Jalen Hurts in terms of fantasy value as a rookie. Hurts made big plays throughout the season once named the starter, and Wilson has better intangibles, better makeup, a better arm, and is just an overall better talent than Hurts. The former BYU Cougar threw for an impressive 33 touchdowns against 3 interceptions last season and completed a remarkable 73.4-percent of passes. Wilson is going to produce in his rookie campaign. Book it!

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