Early Undervalued RBs & WRs (Fantasy Football)

Jul 20, 2017
Ty Montgomery

Ty Montgomery proved he has value as a running back last season

As some of you may have noticed, we reached the 50 days and counting mark until football is officially back. Here at FantasyPros, though, we’ve been busy well before that time preparing for the season and thinking about what we can do to help prepare everyone for their upcoming drafts.

With that in mind, there’s nothing like a good list of undervalued players especially when it covers running backs and wide receivers. After all, those positions are hugely impactful on fantasy seasons. To help put this list together, our featured experts below answered who they feel are currently the most undervalued based on our Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR). We’ve set the threshold at players outside the top 36. Here’s who they chose.

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Q1. What RB outside the top 36 is the most undervalued in your opinion?

Ty Montgomery (GB): Overall ECR #48
“Montgomery is the RB outside of the top 36 to target in your drafts. Instant bonus for being on a team that has a powerful offense and can keep the offense on the field. Additional bonus points for when Green Bay is way ahead and Montgomery adds on garbage yards to close out games. Triple bonus points if you are in a PPR league as he will catch a ton being a converted WR to RB. He is a no-brainer pick.”
– James Hatfield (Hatty Waiver Wire Guru)

Marlon Mack (IND): Overall ECR #169
“`One of these days, Frank Gore is going to break down` – Me, 2013. I said it then, and I still believe it now, despite the sorcery that has kept him on the field since the Industrial Revolution. As a result, I’ll be targeting Marlon Mack in all leagues. Mack, being young and fast and wrinkle-free, is the antithesis of Frank Gore and should provide an excellent change of pace in a dynamic Colts offense whose longest carry was 33 yards in 2016. With a current ADP of 179, he isn’t even being drafted in most 10-team leagues.”
– Donald Gibson (Fantasy Fusion)

James Conner (PIT): Overall ECR #232
“As the 78th running back off the board, James Conner, who ranks second in the league in jersey sales, is basically going undrafted. He’s no doubt the number one handcuff in fantasy football. Le’Veon Bell dealt with a foot injury in his rookie campaign, hyperextended his knee in 2014, and his season was cut short in 2015 to repair the MCL & PCL in his right knee. Bell is also recovering from offseason groin surgery and has had numerous off field issues throughout his short career. Let’s not forget DeAngelo Williams finished as RB6 in 2015 when Bell was sidelined. The Steelers can move the ball, score points, and they always find a way to get their backs involved, whether it’s Bell or not. Conner overcame a battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2015 and returned last season to score a total of 20 touchdowns with PITT. He racked up 300 plus yards in the air and more than 1,000 on the ground. Conner won’t cost you a thing on draft day and is worth the stash.”
– Chris Meaney (FNTSY Sports Network)

Paul Perkins (NYG): Overall ECR #70
“There’s not a lot of risk involved with selecting Paul Perkins as the RB30. Rashad Jennings had some success in New York last season and is no longer around. Ben McAdoo expressed confidence in Perkins and the Giants backed that up by not bringing in a veteran to compete for the starting gig. Perkins shined in his Week 17 start last season and has three-down ability for a potentially dangerous Giants offense that also has the eighth-easiest schedule for opposing running backs. I think Perkins has top-15 PPR potential and is a steal in the seventh or eighth round.”
– Jody Smith (Gridiron Experts)

James White (NE): Overall ECR #133
“I’ve been targeting James White quite often this season. He’s already won the receiving back job, as he’s ahead of Dion Lewis on the depth chart and signed a four year deal this offseason, while Lewis is set to become a free agent after this year. Over the last two seasons, the Patriots have targeted their running backs the sixth most in the league and are fourth in yards per receptions with 9.1. The job is lucrative, especially when we have a good idea of who will be getting the bulk of the work.”
– Chet Gresham (WalterFootball)

Kareem Hunt (KC): Overall ECR #113
“From an upside perspective, give me Kansas City rookie Kareem Hunt. The Toledo product is compact and productive and the one to watch in Kansas City’s backfield. Spencer Ware is the likely Week 1 starter, but he struggled over the second half of last season. ”
– Ben Standig (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

Jonathan Williams (BUF): Overall ECR #188
“The running back that I am loving outside the top 36 is Buffalo backup, Jonathan Williams. With the addition of a new coach and a zone blocking scheme, for which Williams is a great fit, we can anticipate the second year runner taking big steps forward and following in the footsteps of the Bills backups before him. Remember, Buffalo backups have been at least top 40 RBs the last two season, and Mike Gilleslee finished last year as RB27. Williams is being drafted after several guys that are 3rd or 4th on their respective depth charts and is the clear handcuff to an aging LeSean McCoy on a team that runs the ball as much as anyone in the NFL.”
– Adam Inman (Fantasy Hot Read)

Terrance West (BAL): Overall ECR #131
“Did the light start to turn on for Terrance West? With Kenneth Dixon out for four games, West will be the likely starter. The Ravens have invested in a decent offensive line and with a top defense, they may try to grind it out more on offense than in previous years. West could be in a prime position to break out and being drafted as RB44, he’s pretty inexpensive. (Incidentally, Samaje Perine is exactly #36 so he just missed the cut and would’ve been my pick.)”
– Dave McKay (The Fantasy Sports Brain)

Q2. Based on our expert consensus, what WR outside top 36 is the most undervalued in your opinion?

John Brown (ARI): Overall ECR #108
“Even though Michael Floyd flamed out and Larry Fitzgerald pondered retirement, the Cardinals didn’t truly address the wide receiver position during the offseason. That’s good news for John Brown. After a breakout 65-1,003-7 campaign in 2015, Brown’s numbers were cut in half and then some as he finished with two touchdowns. Yet the 5-foot-11 target has game-breaking attributes. Oh, he’s also entering a contract year. The starting job is there. So is the upside.”
– Ben Standig (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

Tyrell Williams (LAC): Overall ECR #110
“With Mike Williams potentially out for the season and Keenan Allen being a major injury risk, it’s absolutely criminal that Tyrell Williams is ranked as WR46. Williams has a fairly similar route to being the number one receiver on the Chargers following a 1,059 yard, seven touchdown campaign in 2016. He finished 2016 as the WR19, and he’s currently being drafted 90 (yes, NINETY) spots behind Tyreek Hill and after seven D/STs? Sign me up.”
– Donald Gibson (Fantasy Fusion)

Jeremy Maclin (BAL): Overall ECR #99
“Maclin as the 40th receiver off the board is good value. He’s joining a team who just lost Dennis Pitta and Steve Smith. They saw a whopping 222 targets last season and Smith missed three games! Maclin will man the slot, which is where Smith lined up most of the time last season. The Ravens have little rushing game, so Flacco will once again throw the ball a ton and he feels most comfortable peppering players underneath and over the middle. I could see 150 targets for Maclin this season, which should make him a PPR beast.”
– Chet Gresham (WalterFootball)

Jordan Matthews (PHI): Overall ECR #115
“Matthews as WR49 feels borderline disrespectful. He had essentially a nightmare season and finished at about that spot last year. But, we are only a season removed from him being drafted as a top-24 WR and the addition of Alshon Jeffery and the progression of Carson Wentz are only going to help Matthews get back on track. He was incredibly effective as the second option out of the slot and the signing of Jeffery returns him back to the role he thrived in just two years ago. J-Matt had averaged a 75-950-8 line his first two years in the league but only managed to find the end zone 3 times last season. The additional five scores that he had averaged would have made him a top-26 WR last year. The reality is 2016 saw that entire Eagles offense struggle and I expect Matthews to rebound with a season that builds off the first two.”
– Adam Inman (Fantasy Hot Read)

Pierre Garcon (SF): Overall ECR #85
“Garcon was the WR22 last season and moves to a situation in San Francisco where he will be the de facto No. 1 wideout in a Kyle Shanahan offense. Garcon has experience in Shanahan’s offense dating back to Washington and regularly exceeds 115 targets annually. Brian Hoyer has been a more-than-capable quarterback over the last two seasons and I expect the rebuilding 49ers to be trailing plenty, which will lead to a ton of targets for Garcon. He’s got an excellent shot at finishing with a third-straight WR2/3 season and that makes him a strong value pick late in fantasy drafts.”
– Jody Smith (Gridiron Experts)

Terrelle Pryor (WAS): Overall ECR #40
“Kirk Cousins to Terrelle Pryor for the touchdown will be consistent in the Washington offense. If Pryor can find the end zone for the Browns, you know he can find the end zone for the Skins. He is a wonderful pickup for all league formats and should be hunted down in your drafts as a solid target.”
– James Hatfield (Hatty Waiver Wire Guru)

Kenny Britt (CLE): Overall ECR #106 | Corey Coleman (CLE): Overall ECR #109
“Pick your poison; Kenny Britt at WR42 or Corey Coleman at WR44. People tend to shy away from players on bad teams and that’s what we have here with the Cleveland Browns. It’s all about volume/opportunity in fantasy football and Britt will have that with the Browns. He had over 100 targets and 1,000 yards last season on his way to finishing as WR29 in PPR and 27 in standard formats. He could very well be the No. 1 option for Cleveland in 2017. Coleman was dinged up last season and is already hurt to start camp. Terrelle Pryor finished top 12 in targets last season and I wouldn’t be surprised if Britt replaced those looks that are now gone as the Browns lost just under 300 targets from Pryor, Gary Barnidge, and Andrew Hawkins from a year ago. The touchdowns may not be there for him, but he gets a big time boost in PPR formats as the Browns will be playing catch up in most games. 70 plus grabs and 120 targets is a fair projection.”
– Chris Meaney (FNTSY Sports Network)

Robert Woods (LAR): Overall ECR #156
“My belief is that you need a good supply of solid ‘floor’ players, a few upside guys, and a couple of boom-or-bust’s. Robert Woods is being drafted as WR56 and as his team’s top receiver, he should get plenty of targets. He’s not going to win you a league, but he can provide a reliable number in a flex spot or bye week fill-in. And in reality, sometimes those hold-the-line ‘floor’ players do win matchups for you.”
– Dave McKay (The Fantasy Sports Brain)

Thank you to the experts for naming their undervalued players. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter for more great advice and check out our latest podcast below.

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