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14 Undervalued Players to Target in Fantasy Drafts

By Matt Schauf and Jared Smola 10:48am EDT 8/16/22

Jalen Hurts, QB, Eagles

DS Rank: QB6

ADP Rank: QB7

Trey Lance, QB, 49ers

DS Rank: QB10

ADP Rank: QB13

Surprised to see these guys listed? It might be a matter of where you’re drafting.

On Underdog, this duo sits 6-7 in QB ADP, with Hurts battling Kyler Murray for the #5 spot. Lance has climbed meteorically there since the brief period in which drafters worried that Lance actually stinks and Jimmy Garoppolo would be there forever.

At that level, it’s hard to argue for either guy being undervalued. Similarly, FFPC Main Event drafting finds them 6th and 8th (respectively) so far.

If your league drafts closer to the numbers of our non-tournament ADP, however, Hurts and Lance look more like draft values. Hurts checks in 7th there, nearly a round behind Murray and 2 full rounds behind Joe Burrow. Lance sits all the way down at 13th, right behind Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford.

The upside case for each is obvious and primarily driven by rushing ability. Hurts showed it last year with the 7th-highest rate of QB1 weeks, in his 1st full year as a starter. Now he has more experience and A.J. Brown.

Lance might trail only Lamar Jackson in rushing upside. His 2 starts as a rookie found him tallying 120 ground yards on 24 attempts. We wouldn’t bet on quite that many carries per game over a full season, but only Jackson reached 10 per outing last year. He, Murray, Josh Allen and – of course – Hurts have all showed in recent seasons just how much rushing production can propel you.

Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints

DS Rank: RB9

ADP Rank: RB12

We’re assuming it’s the uncertainty over Kamara’s legal issues that have him still going in the mid- or late-2nd-round of fantasy drafts. But, as has been the case for a while now, it’s looking like any potential suspension is unlikely to come before the 2023 season.

We’re still hedging Kamara’s suspension risk and injury risk a little, projecting him for 14 games. But he still checks in 9th among RBs in our PPR rankings.

That’s actually a couple of spots lower than Kamara finished in PPR points per game last year. And only 2 RBs – Derrick Henry and Najee Harris – averaged more expected PPR points per game.

Kamara’s pass-catching production was down, but he still averaged a solid 5.2 targets, 3.6 catches, 34 yards and .4 TDs per game. And he set career highs with 18.5 carries and 69.1 yards per game.

Expect Kamara to play a similar role in 2022 considering there’s only 32-year-old Mark Ingram and nobodies Dwayne Washington, Tony Jones, Devine Ozigbo and Abram Smith behind him on the depth chart.

Pairing Kamara in Round 2 with an elite 1st-round RB or WR is an excellent start to drafts.

James Conner, RB, Cardinals

DS Rank: RB12

ADP Rank: RB16

What’s Conner’s ultimate ceiling this season? Top 5 RB production.

That’s what he gave us in 6 games without RB Chase Edmonds last season. Conner’s averages in those games:

  • 81.5% snap rate
  • 16.7 carries
  • 59.2 rushing yards
  • 1.2 rushing TDs
  • 5.3 targets
  • 5.0 catches
  • 51.7 receiving yards
  • .5 receiving TDs

Conner ranked 2nd in PPR points per game across those 6 outings.

Will he get the rock that much this season? Probably not. But Arizona’s actions this offseason say they want Conner in a feature role. He got a 3-year, $21 million deal with $13.5 million guaranteed that makes him 1 of the 10 highest-paid RBs in the league. The Cardinals did not re-sign Edmonds and only added Round 6 rookie RB Keaontay Ingram and free-agent RB Darrel Williams on a cheap 1-year deal in May.

There’s been some Eno Benjamin buzz this summer. But he’s a former 7th-round pick with 40 career touches. It’s also worth noting that Benjamin played in Arizona’s preseason opener, while Williams got the night off. So Benjamin might not even be #2 on the depth chart.

Ultimately, we’re expecting Conner to easily lead this backfield in carries and targets – and return nice value as a 3rd-round pick.

Cordarrelle Patterson, RB, Falcons

DS Rank: RB27

ADP Rank: RB34

HC Arthur Smith intimated this offseason that he would prefer to not run Patterson from the backfield as much this season. One problem. This was the order of non-Patterson backfield workers in the preseason opener:

Qadree Ollison
Damien Williams
Caleb Huntley
Avery Williams
Tyler Allgeier

Patterson will need to handle the ball plenty once again for an offense that sure looks poised to remain among the league’s worst. And frankly, it would be good for him and his fantasy outlook if more of those touches come through the air than on the ground.

Let’s remove TDs from Patterson’s weekly PPR scoring last season and then plot that on a graph with his weekly carries and targets.

Check out the trend lines, and you’ll see declining targets and fantasy production, alongside carries nudging upward.

Smith undoubtedly realized that Patterson wore down as last season wore on. And we’d bet on an altered plan for 2022. Should a still-weak backfield force more carries into Patterson’s hands as the weeks go, we’ll reap the benefits of the increased touches even as we await the next Patterson injury.

Most importantly, last year’s RB9 in total PPR points and RB11 in targets per game is now going at the bottom of RB3 territory across formats. Compare that RB34-35 ADP with Patterson’s RB27 position in our PPR rankings, and he’s clearly at least worth a shot in the middle of drafts.

Jamaal Williams, RB, Lions

DS Rank: RB47

ADP Rank: RB52

D’Andre Swift checks in 17th among RBs in our injury-probability ratings for 2022. Williams is among the 16 RBs ahead of him. But it matters a whole lot more for Swift.

What’s the hope for Swift if you draft him early in Round 2? Probably that he improves on last year’s #16 ranking in opportunity share, right? Doing that, though, also increases injury risk. And that’s worth noting for a guy who has missed 7 games through his first 2 seasons.

Williams had a decent-sized role even when Swift was healthy last year. He garnered 43.2% of Lions carries in those games, compared with the 50.5% Swift got in his 12 full outings. Williams added a 6% target share, though the 15.8% he got in Week 1 inflated that number.

So if the split runs similar to last year, then Williams will start out getting more work than most #2 RBs. That’s good for his chances of best-ball spike weeks from a reserve spot. And if things shift more toward Swift, then there’s an injury-risk increase for the starter. That’s good for Williams’ handcuff upside.

Williams might not be an exciting player, but he’s attractive among the pool of RB5-6 options.

Tee Higgins, WR, Bengals

DS Rank: WR8

ADP Rank: WR12

Ja’Marr Chase is awesome. So is Higgins.

After ranking 28th among WRs in PPR points as a rookie and without QB Joe Burrow for the final 6 games, Higgins turned in a WR14 finish in PPR points per game last year. Among 89 WRs with 50+ targets in 2021, Higgins ranked 11th in Pro Football Focus receiving grade and 10th in yards per route run.

And get this: Higgins saw more targets, tallied more air yards and scored more PPR points than Chase on the 469 routes they were on the field together for last year.

Here are the numbers on those shared routes, per CBS Sports’ Jacob Gibbs:

Oh – Higgins did all that playing through a left shoulder injury he suffered in Week 2 that required surgery after the Super Bowl.

Higgins is on track to be a full-go come Week 1 and should still be on the ascent at 23 years old. We’re also expecting the Bengals to throw it more this season after finally opening up the offense late last season and through the playoffs.

D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers

DS Rank: WR9

ADP Rank: WR14

Moore sits 9th in our PPR rankings but just 14th across the ADPs we display. And that could be the difference between getting him and avoiding him in Round 3 of drafts.

It’s understandable to be wary of Moore. He hasn’t finished higher than 15th at the position through 4 years in the league. Over that span, though, he ranks 7th among WRs in targets and 8th in receiving yards. He has scored the 13th most total PPR points. And now he’s coming off a #4 ranking league wide in target share.

Moore has clearly had QB issues. After getting a decent version of Cam Newton in 2018, Moore has had Kyle Allen, Teddy Bridgewater and then last year’s combo of Sam Darnold, Newton and P.J. Walker as his primary passers. (And the Bridgewater season found Robbie Anderson getting more target share.)

Baker Mayfield has the potential to be the best QB Moore has played with. He has beaten Sam Darnold in adjusted completion rate, average depth of target and passer rating through their 4 shared NFL seasons.

Moore heads into his 5th NFL season with the 5th most receiving yards ever before the age of 25. The 4 players ahead of him: Randy Moos, Mike Evans, Larry Fitzgerald and DeAndre Hopkins.

Brandin Cooks, WR, Texans

DS Rank: WR14

ADP Rank: WR20

This might be the easiest write-up of the article.

Here are Cooks’ annual PPR finishes:

WR21 (points per game: he missed the final 6 weeks)
WR61 (missed 2 games and parts of others)

His ADP: WR25 on Underdog, WR22 in current FFPC drafting, WR20 in “home league” drafting.

It’s gotten better since early in draft season. But Cooks continues to get drafted around his PPR floor. The veteran ranked 11th among WRs in target share last season.

Jerry Jeudy, WR, Broncos

DS Rank: WR20

ADP Rank: WR27

You’ve probably noticed that our projections have Jeudy ahead of teammate Courtland Sutton. That runs counter to any set of ADP numbers that you’ll see.

Why? Jeudy’s return from the Week 1 high-ankle sprain last year pushed Sutton aside in the quest for targets. In fact, Sutton also trailed Tim Patrick over Denver’s final 9 games, with all 3 healthy. Jeudy also led that trio in yards per route run.

His increased slot time last season might make Jeudy seem like a short-range target. But his 14.6-yard ADOT as a 2020 rookie tied for 16th among 115 WRs with at least 30 targets, according to Pro Football Focus. Jeudy also averaged 17.2 yards per catch across 3 college seasons in the SEC.

Might he finish behind Sutton in fantasy points this season? Sure, that’s possible. But he’s going a round behind Sutton in Underdog drafts right now and 9 positional-ADP spots behind his teammate in FFPC Main Event drafts. That’s too large a gap.

Drake London, WR, Falcons

DS Rank: WR35

ADP Rank: WR40

The minor knee injury London suffered in the preseason opener might be a blessing for us. A couple more big plays in August could spike his ADP. London sure looked big and powerful on his 24-yard catch on Atlanta’s 5th snap of the preseason.

That ability was on display throughout London’s 3 seasons at USC. After posting a 39-567-5 line as a true freshman, London averaged 5.5 catches, 84 yards and .5 TDs across 6 games in 2020, notably beating then-junior Amon-Ra St. Brown in receiving yards.

Then came a massive 2021: 11.0 catches, 136 yards and .9 TDs per game across 8 outings. London led the nation in catches per game and ranked 2nd in receiving yards per game. He finished 1st among draft-eligible WRs in Pro Football Focus’ receiving grades.

The Falcons made London the 1st WR off the board in this spring’s draft, selecting him 8th overall. He became 1 of just 5 WRs over the last 5 drafts to get top-10 capital, joining Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith and Garrett Wilson. Chase, Waddle and Smith, of course, all finished as top-30 PPR WRs as rookies last year.

London should step right into a massive role in this Falcons passing game considering the rest of the WR depth chart (Bryan Edwards, Olamide Zaccheaus, Auden Tate, Frank Darby, KhaDarel Hodge, Damiere Byrd, Geronimo Allison). Game scripts should lead to plenty of passing for a team sporting an over/under win total of 5. And while QB play is still a concern, Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder both played well in the preseason opener.

Christian Kirk, WR, Jaguars

DS Rank: WR37

ADP Rank: WR42

This is more a bet on the situation than the player.

Kirk is a fine WR. He’s coming off career highs in Arizona last year with 77 catches and 982 yards, finishing 26th among WRs in PPR points. He also recorded personal bests in yards per route run and Pro Football Focus receiving grade. Still just 25, Kirk’s best might still be coming.

That’s certainly what the Jaguars are banking on. They handed Kirk a big 4-year, $72 million deal on the 1st day of free agency, making him the league’s 18th-highest-paid WR in average annual salary. That makes Kirk the favorite to lead the way for a Jaguars pass-catching corps with a lot of names but no target hogs.

And we’re expecting more passing and more efficient passing in Jacksonville this season with HC Doug Pederson replacing HC Urban Meyer. All 5 of Pederson’s Eagles teams ranked top 8 in plays, averaging 67.0 per game. By comparison, the 2021 Jaguars finished 29th with just 60.5 plays per game. Pederson’s Eagles squads were also pass-leaning, all finishing top 14 in situation-neutral pass rate. The 2021 Jags ranked 21st in situation-neutral pass rate.

Kirk should be a big part of a turnaround in Jacksonville in QB Trevor Lawrence’s 2nd season.

Robbie Anderson, WR, Panthers

DS Rank: WR56

ADP Rank: WR69

If you don’t select D.J. Moore, then Carolina’s likely #2 wideout is worth a look for your bench.

It’s impossible to trust Anderson after how poorly his 2021 went. The QB play contributed, and it turned out that familiarity with Sam Darnold might not have been a good thing. His targets per route fell from a career-high 24.3% in his first Panthers season to 16.9% last year.

HC Matt Rhule said back in spring that he expects a “ton of production” from Anderson in new OC Ben McAdoo’s scheme. More recently, he praised Anderson’s improving comfort within the scheme.

The biggest factor working in Anderson’s favor, though, is the depressed ADP after he burned fantasy players so badly last season. He’s going WR69+ across formats. Anderson’s worst half-PPR finish through 6 seasons has been a WR69 ranking in his 2016 rookie campaign. Last year’s debacle found him 51st in half-PPR scoring; 49th in full PPR. That followed finishes of 16th, 35th, 39th and 23rd.

Dallas Goedert, TE, Eagles

DS Rank: TE5

ADP Rank: TE8

Goedert was finally freed of Zach Ertz last year – and he delivered strong fantasy production. In 10 healthy games after Ertz was traded to Arizona, Goedert scored as the #5 TE in fantasy football.

And that was despite the Eagles being the run-heaviest offense in the league over that stretch. Goedert averaged 6.1 targets across those 10 games but saw a massive 24.7% target share. Among TEs, only Mark Andrews registered a bigger share last year.

Now, Goedert is unlikely to reach 24.7% again in 2022 with the arrival of WR A.J. Brown. But a loss in share should be offset by a gain in overall pass volume in Philly. The Eagles ranked dead last in pass attempts last year. We’re expecting them to finish closer to middle of the pack in 2022 with the addition of Brown and with QB Jalen Hurts now in year 3.

Goedert deserves a healthy dose of targets, anyway, because he’s 1 of the best pass-catching TEs in the league. He’s ranked top 10 at the position in yards per route run in each of the last 3 seasons. That includes a 2nd-place finish last year, behind only George Kittle.

Goedert actually checks in right ahead of Kittle in our PPR TE Rankings. Those guys are close enough that we’d have no issue taking Kittle instead – if he weren’t going more than 3 rounds earlier in drafts. TEs Dalton Schultz and T.J Hockenson also sit 1.5 to 2 rounds higher than Goedert in ADP.

Pass on those guys for a RB, WR or elite QB – and then scoop up Goedert at a discount in Round 7 or 8.

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