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Calvin Ridley Fantasy Outlook Include WR1 Breakout Potential With Julio Jones Gone in 2021

Jason Schandl
Calvin Ridley's fantasy outlook gives him the potential to be the top wide receiver in fantasy football in 2021.
Calvin Ridley's fantasy outlook gives him the potential to be the top wide receiver in fantasy football in 2021. / Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Remember in 2015 when Roddy White finally caught fewer than 50 passes for the first time since Julio Jones was drafted, and Jones exploded with a league-leading 1,871 yards on 136 receptions?

Well, now it's Jones that has stepped out of the way for the next Atlanta Falcons star receiver — Calvin Ridley.

With nothing in the way to hold him back, Ridley's fantasy football outlook includes some seriously massive upside in 2021.

Calvin Ridley Fantasy Football Value

If you wanted to argue that 2020 was a breakout season for Ridley I wouldn't fault you. He was the WR5 in fantasy football with 281.5 PPR points after all.

But with that in mind, he has the potential to be the WR1 in fantasy football this year.

Ridley has not only seen his role expand with each NFL season, but he's also improved his efficiency. He jumped from 8.9 yards per target as a rookie to 9.3 in 2019 and 9.6 in 2020. He also saw his receiving grade on ProFootballFocus increase each year (70.5 to 74.8 to 84.7). Still just 26 years old, there's a good chance we still haven't seen Ridley play the best football of his career yet.

And how about volume? After all, talent in spades doesn't mean much without the opportunity to turn that into fantasy production.

Well Ridley should have no trouble checking that box either.

His 143 targets ranked No. 9 in the NFL (No. 7 among wide receivers) even though he only played 15 games. He also spent eight of those games playing alongside Jones, compared to seven with Jones on the shelf.

With Jones playing, Ridley saw a solid 8.0 targets per game, which he turned into an average of 17.5 fantasy points. With Jones out? Those numbers jumped to 11.3 targets and 20.6 PPR fantasy points per game. Those Jones-less averages would be good for a 16-game pace of 181 targets and 329 fantasy points — numbers that would have ranked No. 1 and No. 2 among all wideouts, respectively.

He had the benefit of the Falcons attempting the NFL's fourth most passes, but it also doesn't exactly look like they plan on changing that approach this year. Having Mike Davis and Cordarrelle Patterson leading the backfield doesn't exactly scream "ground and pound."

Ridley checks in at WR6 in The Duel's 2021 PPR fantasy football rankings, but don't be shocked if he's the top scorer at the position.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.