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2021 OFFSEASON TOURNEY: AFC Final Four…

Date:
July 14, 2021 12:43 PM
July 14, 2021 12:41 PM

2021 OFFSEASON TOURNEY: AFC Final Four…

 

(Same intro everyday) We’re going to have a daily series (11 days) taking a look at the offseason moves for all the NFL teams – looking at the key adds and losses in personnel this offseason 2021 (whether free agent, draft, or trade).

I like to list out the key adds next to the key losses and just look at the lists for each team and see what their thinking was and if all the maneuvering made them better…or worse…or A LOT better…or A LOT worse – to help me digest the offseason impact to Fantasy performance and to over/under win total handicapping. So, we’re doing that with this series and having some fun with our research…pitting the teams in a tournament style format and evaluating who had the better offseason moves…with the winner advancing on until we have just one winning team of ‘best offseason’.

This season, we're looking at free agency and trades PLUS key draft picks (according to CFM/us)…and it’s not just me (RC) making the call on ‘who wins’ – a three person committee will vote (and provide commentary to their vote) and the majority vote winner moves on. RC + FFM analyst Ross Jacobs + The Computer (an RC program designed to try to evaluate the moves by talent and positional importance, etc.) – I (RC) pick my winner before I see what The Computer thinks, for fairness. RC and Ross make their choices without knowing what the other picked as well.

We’ll look at a division a day and declare a divisional winner, then the AFC and NFC finals and then a Final 2/Super Bowl to declare an overall offseason 2021 winner.

Here we go…

 

Jets v. Bengals…

 

AFC EAST Champ: NEW YORK JETS

Key Personnel Adds: DL Carl Lawson (FA), QB Zach Wilson (draft), WR Corey Davis (FA), WR Keelan Cole (FA), DT Sheldon Rankins (FA), RB Tevin Coleman (FA), OG Elijah Vera-Tucker (draft), WR Elijah Moore (Draft), RB Michael Carter (draft), CB Jason Pinnock (draft)

Key Personnel Losses: QB Sam Darnold (trade…I wouldn’t call this ‘key’, but…), OG Pat Elflein (FA), DL Henry Anderson (FA)

 

AFC North Champ: CINCINNATI BENGALS

Key Personnel Adds: DE Trey Hendrickson (FA), CB Mike Hilton (FA), CB Chidobe Awuzie (FA), OT Riley Reiff (FA), DT Larry Ogunjobi (FA), PK Evan McPherson (Draft), OT Jackson Carman (Draft), OLB Joseph Ossai (Draft), WR Ja’Marr Chase (Draft), CB Eli Apple (FA)

Key Personnel Losses: DE Carl Lawson (FA), CB William Jackson (FA), WR A.J. Green (FA), PK Randy Bullock (FA), RB Gio Bernard (FA)

 

RC: This is tough to call because the Bengals upgraded so much across the board, but the Jets have massively upgraded at the most key position by dumping Sam Darnold and adding Zach Wilson – that single move may mean the Jets will have the single best offseason of any team regardless of all the other moves.

The Bengals already have Burrow/a QB in place, but they hit on their key needs around that this offseason – CB and O-Line, plus added firepower at Kicker, WR, OLB. Taking any QB moves/boosts off the table, the Bengals may have arguably had the best offseason of any team this year.

Because the Jets have several upgrade-moves outside of QB as well and considering they didn’t lose what the Bengals lost in the +/- flow, but mostly considering the epic QB boost…I got with NYJ. Winner = Jets.

 

ROSS: This matchup is interesting because we have the Bengals who had arguably the best free agency period vs the Jets who had possibly the best draft and massively upgraded the most important position on the field.

I love the Bengals additions because they were all sneaky good, under the radar types except for maybe Trey Hendrickson, but the media secretly expects him to regress as well. Hilton and Awuzie are such solid corners and available at reasonable prices. Ogunjobi is a nice add at DT. Reiff is a respectable veteran presence at tackle. He's not a long-term solution, but he's a big upgrade over the nonsense Cincy had protecting Burrow last year. The draft brought more offensive line help in Carman and possibly even D'Ante Smith, a useful pass rusher in Ossai, and another good, if overrated, receiver in Chase.

The Jets claim to fame is finally dumping Sam Darnold and having Zach Wilson fall in their laps. Alijah Vera-Tucker is a great addition to help protect their young QB. Elijah Moore and Michael Carter are ok at the skill positions but not very special. And the free agent group is underwhelming at best.

I really want to go Cincy here because to me they showed much more savvy in their additions as opposed to the Jets who seemingly just got lucky with Wilson falling into their laps. Also, Cincy added many more impactful players than the Jets. And yet it is the Jets that potentially turned around the franchise with the selection of Wilson no matter if it was a fluke or not. QB is the most important position, and the Jets are probably more improved just from that one pick than all of CIncy's additions together. I'm going to reluctantly take the Jets here, but again I would not fault RC at all if he went Cincy. WINNER = Jets.

 

THE COMPUTER: Winner = NYJ 57%/43%.

 

The Jets advance (3-0) to the AFC Finals.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Jags v. Chargers…

 

AFC SOUTH Champ: JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Key Personnel Adds: CB Shaquill Griffin (FA), SAF Rayshawn Jenkins (FA), DT Roy Robertson-Harris (FA), WR/CB Jamal Agnew (FA), WR Marvin Jones (FA), QB C.J. Beathard (FA), RB Carlos Hyde (FA), TE Tim Tebow (FA), CB Tyson Campbell (Draft), SAF Andre Cisco (Draft), RB Travis Etienne (Draft), QB Trevor Lawrence (Draft), OT Walker Little (Draft)

Key Personnel Losses: WR Keelan Cole (FA)

 

AFC WEST Champ: LOS ANGELES CHARGERS:

Key Personnel Adds: OC Corey Linsley (FA), OL Matt Feiler (FA), TE Jared Cook (FA), OLB Kyler Fackrell (FA), OLB Nick Niemann (draft), CB Asante Samuel (draft), TE Tre McKitty (draft), WR Josh Palmer (draft), OT Rashawn Slater (draft)

Key Personnel Losses: TE Hunter Henry (FA), SAF Rashawn Jenkins (FA), LB Denzel Perryman (FA), QB Tyrod Taylor (FA), CB Casey Hayward (FA)

 

RC: A similar question here as when comparing the Jets v. Bengals (above) – how much does the QB being changed, change the franchise’s fortunes? The wrinkle here is, however, that the Jets did a 180 from Darnold-to-Zach Wilson. The Jags, for 2021, aren’t boosted at all by Trevor Lawrence – I think Gardner Minshew gives them a better chance in 2021. The mainstream would vehemently disagree, but this is MY vote…and they’re also off telling you how great Daniel Jones and Jameis Winston are gonna be in 2021 – their QB radar is worthless.

When you consider the QB boost for Jacksonville is nothing but an extra asset/depth, then all their other ‘adds’ are smart, sound but nowhere near as life changing as the Chargers O-Line makeover. I’m with the Chargers all the way here. WINNER = L.A. Chargers.

 

ROSS: Looking over these two teams I see that Jacksonville added many more useful players, but they are mostly filler types, the kind of guys that round out a solid, respectable roster. They aren't the caliber of players that help a team turn the corner. I made the argument with Cincy and the Jets that the franchise QB trumped all, but with Jacksonville I don't consider Lawrence a franchise guy. He's good. I just don't think he can carry this team alone though, and I don't see that he's a massive upgrade over the QB they already had in Gardner Minshew.

The Chargers added some filler as well, but they also nabbed two building block offensive linemen in Linsley and Slater. I've said it a million times and I'll say it again, the offensive line is by far the most important group after QB. Jacksonville definitely got better. They are on the path to rebuilding this team properly, but this was just the first step. Look for them to make their big move in 2022. For now, I'm taking the Chargers to advance. WINNER = L.A. Chargers.

 

THE COMPUTER: Winner = L.A. Chargers 71%/29%.

 

The Chargers advance (3-0) to the AFC Finals.

 

**************************

 

***The 2021 FFM Draft Guide Package is now available – see the FFM homepage for more information, including Combo deals with the In-Season Package and Dynasty Stash reporting.

2021 College Football Metrics subscriptions are still available – all the NFL Draft/rookie prospect scouting reports, Dynasty Rookie Draft (weekly top 350) coverage and analysis PLUS our annual Devy scouting report/rankings summer series begins in July.***

 

*************************

 

--AFC OFFSEASON FINALS--

 

AFC WEST Champ: LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

Key Personnel Adds: OC Corey Linsley (FA), OL Matt Feiler (FA), TE Jared Cook (FA), OLB Kyler Fackrell (FA), OLB Nick Niemann (draft), CB Asante Samuel (draft), TE Tre McKitty (draft), WR Josh Palmer (draft), OT Rashawn Slater (draft)

Key Personnel Losses: TE Hunter Henry (FA), SAF Rashawn Jenkins (FA), LB Denzel Perryman (FA), QB Tyrod Taylor (FA), CB Casey Hayward (FA)

 

AFC EAST Champ: NEW YORK JETS

Key Personnel Adds: DL Carl Lawson (FA), QB Zach Wilson (draft), WR Corey Davis (FA), WR Keelan Cole (FA), DT Sheldon Rankins (FA), RB Tevin Coleman (FA), OG Elijah Vera-Tucker (draft), WR Elijah Moore (Draft), RB Michael Carter (draft), CB Jason Pinnock (draft)

Key Personnel Losses: QB Sam Darnold (trade…I wouldn’t call this ‘key’, but…), OG Pat Elflein (FA), DL Henry Anderson (FA)

 

RC: I am really impressed with the Chargers offseason, mainly their total rebuild of the O-Line in one offseason. I see what Brandon Staley is trying to get to – and I think he will in short order and might shock everyone with a strong 10+ win season and playoff run in 2021 -- and then be the ‘it’ team for the future outside of the Chiefs orbit.

However, I can’t pick them here. What the Jets did is just too important – getting a franchise QB. If we did this tourney last year, the Chargers might have won it…and they made it to the AFC Finals this year – this team is heading in the right direction, fast. The Jets are having an offseason like the Chargers did last year – get the surprising best QB in the draft without him being picked #1.

The Jets completely turned their QB situation around, and then added more O-Line firepower and added other decent items…without really losing any impact players. I have to call it for the Jets. WINNER = Jets.

 

ROSS: I'm not sure how you decide between these two teams. They both worked to build the team exactly how they should. If you don't have an elite QB, go get one. If you do have one, then go get him a great offensive line. The Chargers grabbed Justin Herbert last year and this year they are protecting him. The Jets drafted their QB and gave him another linemen after drafting a great one last year. I think I have to go Jets here. QB is the most important thing and not only did the Jets get Zach Wilson they smartly are trying to protect/build around him immediately, unlike say the Bengals last year who nearly got their brand-new franchise QB killed. WINNER = Jets.

 

THE COMPUTER: Winner = Jets 54%/46%

 

The Jets advance (3-0) to the offseason finals/Super Bowl.




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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>