Why so low? Fantasy players that are undervalued

by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

It’s baffling to me. All it takes is one negative narrative or one anomalous season for certain players to be completely disregarded by the fantasy community. Sometimes it’s right to do so, I mean we all remember Trent Richardson and more recently Corey Davis not living up to expectations for fantasy owners.

But, in some cases, I don’t see what all the negativity about, and there are a few players this year who’s ADP is lower than what I believe it should be which begs the question, why are you guys so low?

Jordan Howard – Running Back, Philadelphia EaglesADP: RB35 non-PPR

RB35! That’s a late 7th round pick in 12 man standard scoring leagues. What has Jordan Howard done to deserve an RB3/borderline RB4 tag? Ok, I understand on a week to week basis last year he wasn’t anything special and we didn’t see any magical 60-yard breakaway runs, I know, I owned him in multiple leagues.

Yeah, it stung a little, especially having been on the Howard hype train during the off season this time last year. But statistically, he still delivered. He finished the season with 935 rush yards with 9 rushing TD’s. That was good enough to see him finish up the 2018 season as the RB20 in all league formats, averaging 10.6 fantasy points per game.

His yards per carry went down to 3.7ypc from 4.1 in 2017 and 5.2 in 2016, and Tarik Cohen’s breakout continuation certainly earned him more reps as he consistently flashed brighter than Howard throughout the bulk of the campaign.

But I don’t see how those stats warrant the current price tag. He’s an absolute steal down in the 7th round where he’s going around players such as Kareem Hunt (banned for 8 games), Latavius Murray (a backup RB in New Orleans), and Ronald Jones (2018’s RB stink leader).

Now, I could understand this whole travesty slightly more if he had been traded to a mid-level, mediocre team in the off-season – but he moved to the Eagles! That’s certainly not a downgrade from Chicago, some might argue its a lateral move, but if anything, i think the situation on offense in Philadelphia is better.

Photo Credit: Tim Hawk/NJ Advance Media

He now gets to run behind a better o-line, with a better QB, in a Superbowl calibre squad. The only danger comes in the way of College Football’s one-season wonder, Miles Sanders. Yeah, that’s what he is folks, sorry to break it to you.

Sanders has struggled so far this season with a lingering hamstring injury which kept him out of the pivotal OTA’s and minicamp portion of the off-season. He might be back reporting for training camp duties soon, but i’d be surprised if he’s 100% healthy when week 1 rolls around.

The worst case scenario for Howard this season is that he finds himself in a committee situation. Even still, behind that o-line, in a team that should be in the Superbowl hunt come January, he’s still going to be fantasy relevant with his 935 yard, 6 touchdown floor. He’s still an RB2 in fantasy.

Alshon Jeffrey – Wide Receiver, Philadelphia Eagles ADP: WR28 PPR

Without trying to sound like a Eagles band-wagoner, here we have another prime example of an elite level player being over-looked. Again i’ll say it – the Philly offense is good, real good, as in top 5 good.

Carson Wentz was a shadow of his former self last year after his nasty ACL tear in 2017, tied in with a fractured back which saw him miss the end of last season. Now he’s back to full health and by all reports is looking sharp at training camp.

DeSean Jackson also re-joined his old team this off-season and brings in a dynamic to the offense that hasn’t been there since, well, DeSean Jackson. Defenses won’t be able to ignore Jackson across the field from Alshon, which means less coverage for the 6ft 3 beast to deal with meaning he can capitalize on winning single coverage contested jump balls, something Jeffrey specialises in.

With a career average of 14.5 yards per reception and a solid 800 receiving yard floor, Jeffrey could be in for his best season as an Eagle to date. Only once when having played 13 or more games (4 out of 7 seasons) has he finished outside of the top 20 in PPR scoring for wide receivers. That was last season (26th) with Wentz at half-throttle and career backup Nick Foles slinging the rock.

Alshon is a great target in the mid-sixth round and will definitely return his WR3 ADP value, draft him with confidence.

Jameis Winston – Quarterback, Tampa Bay BuccaneersADP: QB13

Stop rolling your eyes, Jameis is a thing. Sure, he’s had his flaws.. and yes, they’ve been pretty big flaws when throwing interceptions and fumbling the ball are the main two problems. I’m over it though. Why? Bruce Arians is why.

Arians is the best coach that Winston has ever worked with and I am confident that BA wouldn’t have come out for retirement if he didn’t see the potential the Tampa Bay offense has with Jameis at the helm.

Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

Last season between Ryan Fitzmagic and Winston, the Bucs finished the regular season with 5,125 passing yards, 2nd most in the league. With Fitzpatrick leaving for Miami, all of those yards now fall to Jameis.

Do I think Winston is a 5,000+ yards passer, no. Especially with the loss of DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries this off-season which accounted for over 1,500 of those yards. But, with Chris Godwin expected to take a step up, Cameron Brate back from injury and dare I say Breshad Perriman finally making good on his talent – I can see Jameis throwing for 4,300 yards and 30 TD’s this year.

In one of the toughest divisions in football and a tough schedule, the Bucs are likely going to see themselves behind in the majority of games, something which almost always relies on the passing game to bring a team back.

If Winston can continue to improve on his mistake making, with the fact he’s an under-rated runner (25.5 rush yards per game in 2018), he could be a reliable quarterback for fantasy owners and has the potential to be in the top 10 come the end of the season.

Devonta Freeman – Running Back, Atlanta FalconsADP: RB18 PPR

Stop with the “Devonta Freeman is made of glass” narrative, please. I’m asking nicely. Yes, three grade 1 concussions aren’t great to have on your injury resume, but a grade 1 concussion is anything from a headache after a collision to slight dizziness. These concussions are not Jordan Reed levels of career threatening problems, so stop overreacting.

Also, the knee sprains he suffered in the 2017 playoffs have not returned. Last seasons’ knee injury was ‘a bruise’. The foot injury was also a bruise. You want to know why Freeman missed all of last season? It was a sports hernia which is a one-off injury and needed surgery.

This narrative that surrounds Freeman is blown way out of proportion if you ask me. He’s back now to full health and is a full participant in training camp with one major plus point, no Tevin Coleman to compete with.

The backfield is all Freemans’. “But Ito Smith is there don’t forget”… Really? Smith’s 3.5 yard per carry average last year proved what a lack-luster running back he was and now Freeman is back, Smith be the backup, and only that.

Let’s erase Freeman’s 2018 1 1/2 game season and let’s go back to his full rookie contract (where, by the way, he played in 61 out of 64 games… yet he’s injury prone? Welp). Freeman had two seasons with over 1,000 rushing yards and 450 receiving yards with 27 touchdowns in those seasons and 37 total touchdowns in his rookie contract.

He finished as the RB1, RB6 and RB13 (PPR scoring) during those years too, with his rookie season spent as a backup to Steven Jackson.

So why is Devonta Freeman now being valued as mid RB2 option when he’s never finished lower than 13th when considered the starter? We know he’s on one of the best offenses in the league, with an improved o-line and a backfield all to himself. Pick him up in the 3rd round and be excited to have an elite RB fall that late.

Jarvis Landry – Wide Receiver, Cleveland BrownsADP: WR24 PPR

One of the most polarizing receivers in the game. Us Brits would call him ‘Marmite’. You either love him, or you hate him. Judging by his ADP, people are well and truly on the fence.

On the one hand, the off-season monster acquisition of Landry’s former College teammate and best pal Odell Beckham from the sinking Giants along with the emergence of tight end David Njoku last season, it would at first appear that Cleveland now has a lot of mouths to feed.

Photo Credit: John Kuntz/cleveland.com

Maybe so, but I am looking at it from a more positive angle.

Let’s start with the talent. No one can argue Landry doesnt possess elite talent. He has some of the most impressive hands in the business, that’s a well known fact. Yet there is a narrative out there that despite his elite hands, he’s not that good of a receiver.

I’m not buying that. Last season he underwhelmed, i’ll give you that. But that’s what happens when you are the only real threat from the position and you find a lot of double coverage and defenses not allowing you time to stretch the field. A player with Landry’s skill-set needs a distraction.

Enter OBJ. Behind the net-kicking, cry-baby and attitude, there’s a potential hall of fame receiver. He’s a superstar that has any defense worried. OBJ will draw the top coverage which in turn will allow Landry the time and space he needs to be the leagues best possession receiver.

A target monster for the majority of his career to date – if you’re in a PPR league, players like Landry really jump of the page statistically.

YearTmGTgtRecYdsY/RTD
2014MIA161128475895
2015*MIA16166110115710.54
2016*MIA1613194113612.14
2017*MIA161611129878.89
2018*CLE1614981976124

Not only has Landry never missed a game, he’s never seen less than 112 targets come his way, 131 if you take away his rookie year. Around the 1,000 yard mark over the last 4 seasons and this year he has year two of last years’ rookie sensation Baker Mayfield.

NFL teams can produce two top wide receivers for fantasy too, so don’t worry about OBJ solely stealing the limelight. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb did it in 2014 (WR2 and WR6 in non-PPR scoring), and more recently Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen have entered the fray together (both top 20 WRs in 2017 and 2018).

Two elite wide receivers with a young, accurate superstar throwing them the ball – it’s a whole load of fantasy delight being whipped up from the Browns for 2019, and a hell of a lot of ‘blessing’ is going to happen this season in Cleveland.

all ADPs taken from fantasyfootballcalculator.com

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