10 Undervalued Players (2019 Fantasy Football)
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Which players are currently most overvalued by on our consensus ADP?
Kenyan Drake (RB – MIA): ADP RB26, 54 Overall
Coming in at RB26 according to ADP, it’s hard to reason why consensus has Kenyan Drake taking a big step back from last year’s RB17 finish. All signs actually point to an increase in production. Frank Gore and his 168 touches have left town, leaving Drake and Kalen Ballage to soak them up. Drake is now the most experienced and productive running back left in Miami’s backfield, yet he is still only 25 years old. Not only that, but he has increased his fantasy production in each consecutive year. Underperforming HC Adam Gase and company have also left town, being replaced with HC Brian Flores and OC Chad O’Shea fresh from the New England Patriot’s Super Bowl-caliber team. The Patriots’ method that they are coming from has had a way of getting the most out of their running backs, especially ones that can catch the ball out of the backfield — see James White and Dion Lewis from recent years. Drake led this category by a landslide on the Dolphins last year and has seen his receiving usage increase each year as well. Let’s review: he has produced better every year that he’s been in the league, is still young, has less RB competition, has a strong likelihood of an increase in touches, has new coaches that utilize their receiving RBs more often, and has been injury-resistant for his professional career. Tell me again how he’s supposed to regress? I have him as a top-15 RB this year.
– David Zach (@DavidZach16)
Curtis Samuel (WR – CAR): ADP WR48, 129 Overall
WR48? Really? I will go on record and state that, barring injury, there is a 0% chance Curtis Samuel doesn’t at least outperform his WR48 ADP. Now, obviously that ADP is certain to rise over the coming weeks, but likely not enough. Samuel has blazing 4.31 speed and a 91st percentile speed score. Despite draft capital being a big factor in people’s persistent belief in garbage players like DeVante Parker and Kevin White over the years, no one seems to care about Samuel’s second-round draft status. He is the unquestioned WR2 in Carolina. Samuel’s efficiency metrics were not great last year, but a lot of that was not his fault. He was 16th in the league in fantasy points per target and 14th in fantasy points per route run. For the first half of the season, Samuel was really just a role player. He emerged in the second half, averaging 6.7 targets over his final seven games. Samuel saw 65 targets last season. That number could easily jump to around 110 this season. I would be stunned if he finished outside the top 36 and not stunned if he finished inside the top 24.
– Jason Katz (@jasonkatz13)
Christian Kirk (WR – ARI): ADP WR34, 85 Overall
Even though he was trapped in a Mike McCoy-schemed offense with Sam Bradford and a rookie Josh Rosen under center, Cardinals wideout Christian Kirk still managed to put up a productive freshman season. Lining up on the outside despite being more of a threat from the slot in college, Kirk was often matched up against opposing teams’ top corners. He more than held his own and according to PlayerProfiler.com, as Kirk was by far the best option for the Cardinals — even above future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald and standout RB David Johnson. His target premium — which measures how much better off the receiver’s quarterback performs fantasy-wise when targeting him compared to anyone else on the team — of 39.9 was good for fifth-best in the league. Beyond his production last year, Kirk seems to be perfectly suited for new head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense and already has a connection with new quarterback Kyler Murray. Due to his versatility of being able to excel both on the inside and outside, Kirk should be able to move all over the field in Kingsbury’s air-it-out scheme that will feature three, four, and sometimes even five-wide receiver sets. After playing for one season with Murray at Texas A&M, Kirk may even have a leg up out of the gate in making this season a success. Finishing last year at the 57th ranked receiver in PPR leagues, Kirk was better statistically than the two players — Will Fuller (32nd WR) and Dante Pettis (35) — that surround him in the rankings this year. Considering the new offense and his new quarterback, Kirk may be primed for a breakout second season.
– Brian Rzeppa (@brianrzeppa)
Damien Harris (RB – NE): ADP RB48, 142 Overall
I’m not so much a fan of his talent but would be looking to roll the dice with his current ADP and ranking due to his potential situation. Sony Michel played very well last year but came into the league with creaky knees and has already had one surgery in the offseason. James White should continue to be a key contributor, but the Patriots seem to be slowly shifting toward a more balanced offense as Tom Brady battles Father Time. I do see Harris as a solid RB who looks to be a potential goal line stud and a perfect complement to White if Michel does miss time. His upside alone is worth drafting him much higher than where he’s currently going.
– Sheldon Curtis (@sheldon_curtis)
Todd Gurley (RB – LAR): ADP RB10, 16 Overall
Ok, I’m going to go down with the ship. When is the last time that you could find the overall top player in fantasy going at the end of the second round? Do people forget how special this dude was? Not only did he lead the league in total fantasy points last season, he regularly lapped the field week after week. While the injury is obviously worrisome, it’s amazing that such a talented player is falling this far. Sure, this guy could cost you, but the ability to land the potential number-one player in the second round is a risk I’m willing to take. I also believe that A.J. Green’s injuries are lowering his price tag too much as the WR13. You can’t tell me that there are 12 receivers better than Green, and that’s evident by the fact that he’s top-five in FPG per game since entering the league.
– Joel Bartilotta (@Bartilottajoel)
Jimmy Garoppolo (QB – SF): ADP QB24, 177 Overall
With an ADP of 158, Garoppolo is currently being drafted as the 24th QB off the board behind the likes of Mitchell Trubisky, Derek Carr, Josh Allen, and Matthew Stafford. While it’s true that all of those signal-callers have started more games than “Jimmy G,” very few can match his feats of efficiency. According to Football Outsiders, the 49ers in 2017 under Jimmy Garoppolo were better than the Patriots, Saints, Rams, and Steelers in points per drive and yards per drive, while Garoppolo’s QB DVOA (39.2%) topped Tom Brady (27.9%), Drew Brees (26.7%), and Carson Wentz (24.3%). His yards per attempt was better than Deshaun Watson, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees. PFF’s Efficiency and Accuracy Under Pressure Rating placed Garoppolo (71.4%) above Brady and Brees with a higher YPA. Additionally, 35% of Jimmy’s throws graded out as positive attempts (better than Wentz and Brady). His passer rating actually got better each quarter, with his highest rating being in the fourth quarter (an insane 133.7). In fact, his highest rating was when the team was tied or behind, rather than ahead. He was also number one in football in pressured completion percentage. People forget that in 2017, Jimmy Garoppolo passed Kurt Warner and set an NFL record for most passing yards (1,250) by a quarterback in his first four starts for a team while throwing to a bunch of rookies and Marquise Goodwin as his number one receiver, a group of pass-catchers that ranked 31st in average yards of separation that season. This year, he gets to throw to a revamped WR core and an All-Pro TE who set NFL records last year. You’re looking at a quarterbak with top-10 skills who could challenge for a top-five finish if he stays healthy, and he’s available for a bottom-barrel QB2 price and will likely go undrafted in leagues that don’t roster two quarterbacks. That’s the definition of undervalued.
– Paul Ghiglieri (@FantasyGhigs)
Tarik Cohen (RB – CHI): ADP RB27, 63 Overall
I can understand why some people do not value Chicago Bears RB Tarik Cohen as an RB1 or even an RB2. Cohen has a boom/bust element to his game that can be infuriating to fantasy owners. When a player has only 99 carries on the year, there are games where that player sees too few touches to have a significant impact. However, Cohen is barely registering as an RB3 in many fantasy leagues. His ADP and ECR is an RB27 in half-PPR scoring leagues, which I think is way too low for a player of his versatility. If we look at what he did last year, he had 99 rushing attempts, 444 rushing yards, 71 receptions, 725 receiving yards, and eight total touchdowns. That is a significant role in the offense, and he was the 13th-ranked back in half-PPR scoring leagues in 2018. It is definitely possible that running backs David Montgomery and Mike Davis could take away some of Cohen’s carries, but Jordan Howard had 250 rushing attempts last year left vacated. There are a lot of carries to go around for those two without eliminating Cohen’s role, and I think the additions of Montgomery and Davis are causing people to discount Cohen too much. Head Coach Matt Nagy wants to run the ball, but he also values the speed and explosiveness of Cohen, and their offense will still try to give him the ball in space and allow him to make big plays. They could also take his carries down to 75 for the season but throw him the ball more than they did last year. The 27th ranked running back in half PPR scoring leagues last year had only 140.3 fantasy points, which would be a 58.1-point drop for Cohen from his 2018 point total. He is only 24 years old this year, and he is entering his third year. I doubt the Bears limit his role that much. He is too good of a playmaker in space to not utilize his talents. I will love taking him in the sixth or seventh round and having one of the most explosive players in fantasy football at that much of a discount. He is arguably the most underrated player at any position in 2019 in terms of ADP.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)
Jerick McKinnon (RB – SF): ADP RB39, 101 Overall
From Steve Slaton to Alfred Morris to Devonta Freeman to Matt Breida, it sure seems like Kyle Shanahan has a knack for getting the most out of his backs. The 49ers currently have a 27-year-old running back who is the seventh-highest paid player at his position, was being drafted as a top-12 running back prior to his injury last year, and is essentially getting ignored until the 10th round of drafts. The 49ers gave Jerick McKinnon 30 million dollars for a reason. At first glance this backfield looks like a mess with Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida also in the mix — though it is certainly plausible that Shanahan is, to an extent, simply trying to recreate the backfield he had in Atlanta with Coleman and Devonta Freeman. Even if there is a small chance that McKinnon will end up with a Freeman-esque role, he should be going a lot higher than RB39 and 101st overall. It’s beyond me how anyone can justify taking Kareem Hunt, LeSean McCoy, and Jordan Howard ahead of McKinnon.
– Elisha Twerski (@ElishaTwerski)
Jameis Winston (QB – TB): ADP QB15, 114 Overall
With an ADP of 115, Winston is being drafted as QB15 and could easily finish in the top-10. He is being drafted behind Tom Brady, Big Ben, and Jared Goff. Winston, in five of his final seven games last season, completed 64.3 percent of his passes with 7.9 YPA, 13 touchdowns, four interceptions, and three 300-yard games. He will have to learn a new offense under Bruce Arians but will have plenty of opportunities to make big plays. Winston also has a great supporting cast of playmakers in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, and Cameron Brate. If he can limit the turnovers, everything is set up for Winston to finish as a top-10 QB in 2019.
– Brad Camara (@beerad30)
Larry Fitzgerald (WR – ARI): ADP WR41, 105 Overall
I get it. Larry Fitzgerald will be turning 36 years old when Week 1 rolls around on September 8th when the Arizona Cardinals ring in the Kliff Kingsbury era by hosting the Detroit Lions. However, it’s embarrassing that the fantasy community has already thrown in the towel on this Mount Rushmore wide receiver before embarking on this season with undoubtedly the best scheme that Larry Legend has ever played in. Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense with Kyler Murray at the helm is tailor-made for receivers who dominate the slot as much as Fitzgerald has since reinventing himself under Bruce Arians. Let’s not forget, Fitzgerald accumulated three straight seasons of over 100 receptions before the Cardinals decided to part ways with Arians last season. Despite playing in arguably the worst offense with an even worse quarterback in 2018, Fitzgerald still amassed 69 receptions while playing in a system that ran the fewest amount of plays in the NFL. Now that the Cardinals have brought in the NFL’s next offensive guru, do you really expect me to believe that a rookie quarterback and his rookie head coach are simply going to disregard a top-three wide receiver of all-time? Do we remember just how bad the Kansas City Chiefs’ defense was last season? The Cardinals’ defensive unit is going to be even worse in 2019. That means Kingsbury and Murray will be forced to play catch up for 60 minutes over 16 NFL Sundays this season. With an ADP of 105 and WR41, Larry Legend is my must-have player in fantasy football for 2019. Fitzgerald will be knocking on the doorstep of his fourth 100-plus receptions season out of the past five years while falling all the way into the ninth round. No one across the fantasy landscape has greater league-winning value. Don’t fall victim to playing the age game. After all, it’s just a number, right?
– Rob Searles (@robbob17)