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10 Undervalued Rookies (Fantasy Football)

May 11, 2017
Marlon Mack

The rookie out of USF, Marlon Mack, has a great chance to make an impact in year one with the Colts

Forget that it’s only May and remember that NFL teams have new rosters to shuffle around including prized rookies that were taken in the 2017 NFL Draft. In fact, teams are already beginning their rookie minicamps and in some cases, players have already been cut. Of course, when it comes to fantasy, we mainly care about rookies who have a path to playing time and future impact.

This doesn’t always coincide with when a guy was taken in the draft and it would be no surprise if a lower-ranked rookie outperformed his fantasy ranking. To find these diamonds in the rough, we’re asking our featured experts below to name which running backs and wide receivers they feel are being underlooked in the current consensus dynasty rankings.

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Q1. What Rookie RB do you feel is undervalued according to the Dynasty Rankings and why?

Marlon Mack (IND)
“Mack has a pretty clear path to not only being a contributor this season but a potential role as a starter could be much closer than many think. We haven’t heard anything from Frank Gore, who is likely to return in a 2-down capacity, but Mack’s elite athleticism, showcased at the combine and with his high SPARQ scores, are going to get him on the field as a change-of-pace runner and passing down back right away. It’s quite possible Mack’s speed and outside ability can make him a fantasy factor right away.”
Jody Smith (Gridiron Experts)

“The most undervalued rookie running back right now is Marlon Mack, hands down. Opportunity is king when it comes to running backs (just ask Jeremy Hill), and Mack is going to get plenty of it playing behind a 33-year-old Frank Gore and plodder Robert Turbin. As the season went on, Gore saw fewer and fewer touches, while Turbin stole the goal-line work. Mack is everything that the Colts offense needs, while Gore and Turbin fit a team that has a good defense (the Colts don’t).”
Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Joe Williams (SF)
“Williams’ much discussed ‘retirement’ from the Utah football program may cause some to hesitate, but if you dig into the full story you understand this is not a troubled or flaky young man. He was a leader in the locker room, left for family reasons, and returned to help out his team. He is a dynamic back who carried his team and absolutely crushed the competition when he returned to football. He finds himself on a 49ers team which seems to be ambivalent at best about Carlos Hyde. He has a decent chance at winning a large share of the carries, which for the RB13 means he is still being undervalued… but probably will not be for much longer.”
Ken Moody (Dynasty League Football)

“The Rookie RB that is undervalued is Joe Williams. Coach Shanahan “banged the table” to take this player. He is the new coach in town and has no loyalty to Carlos Hyde. Hyde has a myriad of injury issues and Tim Hightower is another year older. Williams’ snap count could be limited in year one, but if given a chance he will show his three-down ability.”
Bill Latin (Dynasty League Football)

Kareem Hunt (KC)
“Spencer Ware played in 14 games for the Kansas City Chiefs last season and had trouble finding yards during the second half. Over the last seven games he played in, he averaged he only averaged 3.7 yards per carry on 16 carries per game. That was down from 5.0 yards per carry on 14.6 carries per games during his first seven games of the season. Football Outsiders breaks out yards earned by runnings backs at the 2nd level (5-10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage) and the Chiefs ranked 27th in the league in this category last season. Fortunately for them, the running back they just drafted, Kareem Hunt, forced more missed tackles than any other running back in college last season, a key ability in helping runners earn those downfield yards.”
Eric Iannaccone (Dynasty Football Factory)

Jamaal Williams (GB)
“Williams is poised to take over a large percentage of Green Bay’s rushing attempts. Ty Montgomery was a band aid last year and the most carries he had in a game was 16 and even that was extraordinary for him. His second highest carry amount was 11 carries which he hit twice. He’s mainly a complimentary back. With Lacy and Starks out of the picture, Williams is set to benefit the most from their departure.”
The FFGhost (Dynasty League Football)

Q2. What Rookie WR do you feel is undervalued according to the Dynasty Rankings and why?

ArDarius Stewart (NYJ)
“Drafted in the third round by the Jets, ArDarius Stewart may end up being one of the steals of the NFL draft. An extremely talented, hard nosed and hard working player, Stewart joins a Jets team suddenly lacking any clear starters at the position, providing an excellent opportunity to slide into a featured role early in his career. His near-term upside is understandably limited by the Jet’s woeful QB situation, but that position has nowhere to go but up in the next few years. Stewart’s talent and opportunity alone make him my best bet to outperform his current standing as the WR11.”
Ken Moody (Dynasty League Football)

Kenny Golladay (DET)
“The Detroit Lions lined up in “11” personnel on 66.43 percent of their plays last season (according to Pro Football Focus), which was good for the 6th most in the league. Kenny Golladay, just drafted by the Lions, is in a position to compete for a starting job right away – lining up with Golden Tate and Marvin Jones in their 11 personnel package. He’s the largest wide receiver on the team at 6’4″ and is still learning how to best use his height as an advantage. Lions GM Rob Quinn said of Golladay, “He’s a versatile player that we think can play outside and inside” (per MLive’s Kyle Meinke). If that’s the case, Golladay would be in line to see most, if not all, of Anquan Boldin’s 95 targets from 2016.”
Eric Iannaccone (Dynasty Football Factory)

John Ross (CIN)
“Before the NFL Combine, I was a big fan of John Ross. He was definitely my No. 3 wide receiver even though I wanted to put him higher. I’ve said that he can be a better version of DeSean Jackson, but I should’ve said a better version of T.Y. Hilton. He has the speed they both do, is just as good of a route runner, but is even better after the catch than they are. You may like Mike Williams better, but Ross’ ranking at 38 is way too low. Now that we know where they both landed, I’d take Ross over Williams. Health is really the only thing that can hold this kid back.”
Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Josh Reynolds (LAR)
“Anytime a new coach rolls into town and oversees a draft you know the team is taking “his guys”. Josh Reynolds enters a situation where the depth chart is wide open. He has the ability to succeed in all facets of the passing game. He has a good combination of size, speed, agility, and burst to be a solid NFL WR. It would not surprise me at all if Reynolds competes to lead all rookie WR’s in stats in year one.”
Bill Latin (Dynasty Football Warehouse)

Chad Williams (ARI)
“The Arizona Cardinals’ receiving corps is a bit of a mess, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see third-round rookie Chad Williams earn a significant role this season. Arizona parted ways with Michael Floyd, who had the third-most red zone targets for the Cardinals last season. They also have converted running back Andre Ellington to receiver and hope that John Brown can stay healthy. In short, there’s an opportunity for a wideout that possesses Williams’s size and speed to carve out a role as soon as this year and he’s a bargain for somebody currently going well into the fourth-round of rookie drafts.”
Jody Smith (Gridiron Experts)

Ishmael Zamora (OAK)
“Zamora stands out by not being ranked at all. He has a really nice skill set and has a much better shot at playing time than several ranked wide receivers who are either retired or free agents. I’m not saying he needs to be highly ranked, just ranked at all.”
The FFGhost (Dynasty League Football)

Thank you to the experts for naming their undervalued rookies. Please give them a follow on Twitter for more great advice and subscribe/listen to our latest podcast below for more fantasy info.

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