5 Early Undervalued Rookies (2020 Fantasy Football)
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Here’s a look at early undervalued rookies in redraft leagues based on FantasyPros consensus ADP.
Jonathan Taylor (RB – IND)
ADP: 48 RB22
First up is the former Wisconsin Badger and now Indianapolis Colt, Jonathan Taylor. There are two rookies being drafted in the top-50 of FantasyPros current ADP, and they are Clyde Edwards-Helaire of the Chiefs and Taylor. Edwards-Helaire is the 27th player off the board and RB14, while Taylor is RB22. I won’t get into Edwards-Helaire too much, but he offers so much upside in the Chiefs explosive offense without much competition for touches besides Damien Williams. Taylor on the other hand, while he does have great upside, does have Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines who will also see their share of touches.
Taylor is a very talented and productive running back who gets arguably one of the best offensive lines to run behind in the Colts. Mack has been fairly underwhelming in his first three seasons and isn’t known for being very versatile. If anything, I think Mack has been more of a product of simple volume behind a great offensive line, with Hines being the change of pace guy catching passes out of the backfield.
Taylor is more than capable of being the every-down back and he improved in the passing game in 2019. The upside that Taylor brings with his talent and being behind such a good offensive line, he could easily end up being an RB1 for fantasy purposes in the future and I wouldn’t be surprised at all.
As the 22nd running back off the board, he’s going after a few notable running backs like Devin Singletary, David Johnson, and Chris Carson. If he gets the three-down role like I think he will, a low-end RB2 is his absolute floor, with a stud RB1 being his upside.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn (RB – TB)
ADP: 78 RB30
The next rookie that is being undervalued is Ke’Shawn Vaughn of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Coming out of Vanderbilt, Vaughn played on a terrible offense with a terrible offensive line in the SEC. Vaughn is a very solid all-around player with the prototypical size that you want out of your NFL running back at 5’10 and 214 pounds.
He runs with a chip on his shoulder and has shown some serious strength through contact, flat out running over defenders at times. He’s very capable in the passing game, but not elite. The one area that I believe he’ll have a chance to see more work early on is thanks to his blocking.
Ronald Jones II had a decent year last year, but he’s nothing special and honestly, Vaughn was a better prospect between the two after watching both of their college tape. Jones’ rookie season also can’t be forgotten after he put up a whopping 44 yards on 23 attempts for 1.91 YPC and one touchdown, with no competition at the running back position. Jones was drafted under Dirk Koetter and Jason Licht, but Vaughn is a guy that the Buccaneers went after, and Bruce Arians has talked about wanting another running back since he came into Tampa.
Multiple times last year we saw Arians come out and say that they want a versatile back who can do it all. Investing a third-round pick in Vaughn speaks a lot to how the Buccaneers feel about him, not to mention grabbing another running back in the seventh round in Raymond Calais.
Arians also came out and said that Vaughn was a guy that could play on all three downs, which is not the case with Jones. With an ADP of 78 and the RB30, Vaughn could easily end up out-producing this ADP if he gets the lead running back role and the Bucs use Jones as a compliment, which is what he profiles much more towards.
Jalen Reagor (WR – PHI)
ADP: 140 WR54
Next up is Jalen Reagor of the Philadelphia Eagles, wit a current ADP of 140. Reagor is going as the 54th wide receiver off the board and is the first wide receiver for the Eagles being drafted. Out of TCU, Reagor has ridiculous speed, high points the ball very well, is great in open space, and is very good out of the slot.
Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson are being drafted after Reagor, and honestly, I couldn’t agree more with that. Marquise Goodwin was also acquired from the 49ers over the off-season, but he’s currently the WR338 according to FantasyPros and isn’t ranked at all. Jeffery is entering his ninth season in the NFL and is over 30 years old while Jackson is 33 and played in just three games last year. Needless to say, Reagor is in the perfect spot to immediately become fantasy-relevant after being drafted in the first round in a rookie class loaded with talented wide receivers.
Carson Wentz threw 607 passes last year and completed 388 of them for a completion percentage of roughly 64%. The Eagles averaged 37.7 pass attempts per game in 2019, which is good for ninth in the NFL, despite having an abysmal receiving corps. Tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert could very well be the top passing options for the Eagles in 2020, but Reagor is set up to potentially lead this rookie class of wide receivers in targets. As the 54th wide receiver being drafted, Reagor has some great upside and could easily outperform his current ADP this year if he gets the targets that are available in Philadelphia.
Brandon Aiyuk (WR – SF)
ADP: 170 WR63
The next rookie that is being undervalued right now is Brandon Aiyuk of the San Francisco 49ers. Coming out of Arizona State, Aiyuk is a fairly raw prospect who used to be a defensive back. He’s got solid speed and athleticism, but his route tree definitely needs work and doesn’t profile as someone who might produce immediately at the NFL level. However, with the recent news of Deebo Samuel and his broken foot, along with the lack of wide receivers for the team, the 49ers need more pass catchers.
George Kittle may be in for a massive season, but they’ll still need some wide receivers to step up. As someone who isn’t even getting drafted in some redraft leagues, Aiyuk currently is a potential massive value as the 63rd wide receiver off the board. As the news gets around and more casual fans get familiar with Aiyuk, I’d expect his price goes up, but for now, he’s a massive value even if he is one of your last guys on your bench.
Anthony McFarland Jr. (RB – PIT)
ADP: 183 RB56
The last rookie that is currently being undervalued is Anthony McFarland Jr. out of Maryland. Right now, James Conner is one of the more under-valued fantasy players, and the concern is real with his health as he’s played in just 10 and 13 games in the last two seasons. Conner is also coming off a career-low in YPC with 4.0 and just four rushing touchdowns. Obviously we know that when Conner is on the field in this offense with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger, he’s a very solid fantasy option and could easily be a top-fifteen running back this year if he’s healthy.
McFarland is a solid pass-catching running back with some crazy speed. He wasn’t utilized a ton, but he has the ability and skill set to fit a Tarik Cohen type of role on this offense which could compliment Conner well. Not to mention, if/when Conner misses time again this year, McFarland could immediately step into a nice role with plenty of volume.
As RB56 overall, I could easily see him stepping into a Cohen type of role and out-producing his ADP while offering great upside as a handcuff. Even if he ends up getting dropped and picked back up later, he’s someone worth considering grabbing with one of your last picks this year.