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5 Undervalued Wide Receivers Based on ADP (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Vaughn Dalzell | @VaughnDalzell | Featured Writer
Jul 14, 2020

Brown is currently a mid-fifth to sixth-round selection in 12-team fantasy leagues and a breakout candidate as the WR1 in the Ravens offense

We all know great fantasy football teams start with the running back position, but we can’t forget how important the wide receiver position is in today’s game. Finding that receiver that’s a solid WR1 or WR2 week-in and week-out isn’t too difficult anymore, but finding a WR3 with consistent volume after the fifth-round becomes more difficult.

There is a mix of young and veteran talent you can find in the mid-t0-late rounds of 2020 fantasy drafts, and it wasn’t easy to pick only five. Players such as Tyler Boyd, Michael Gallup, and Jarvis Landry missed the cut, despite most owners knowing what to expect from them, but the following five are all going to finish above their current ADP in 2020 and fill your WR3 spot weekly.

All ranks are courtesy of FantasyPros ECR and ADP data is courtesy of BestBall10s

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Marquise Brown (BAL)
ECR: WR31, ADP 66.9 (5.07)

Brown’s currently a mid-fifth to sixth-round selection in 12-team fantasy leagues and a breakout candidate as the WR1 in the Ravens offense. Brown finished a steady 45th in standard leagues last season (100.4) and 46th in PPR (146.4) in 2019, despite missing two games and playing hurt the back-half of his rookie season.

The Ravens broke an NFL record with 3,296 rushing yards as a team in 2019, and much of that success came from quarterback Lamar Jackson‘s 1,206 yards on the ground. Baltimore already admitted plans of dialing back the rushing attack from Jackson in 2020 and beyond, and that is great news for Brown. He saw 71 targets as a rookie, and in his first eight games of the season, he received 51 alone.

Brown posted five straight games of five targets or more to start his career, but by the end of the season, he looked like a completely different player recording 15 yards or less in four of his final five games. His foot and thigh injuries seemed to nag him most of the season, but Jackson just targeted his tight end group more often led by Mark Andrews.

Brown doesn’t have much target competition in 2020 outside of Andrews, and neither Nick Boyle nor Willie Snead should severely impact Brown’s opportunities in that offense. Rookies J.K. Dobbins and Devin Duvernay are projected to combine for 41 receptions in 2020, and based on Jackson’s 300 predicted completions, that would be 13.7% of his completed passes.

If the Ravens do increase their 29.4 pass attempts per game (29th), Brown should be the first option reaping the benefits, despite the new additions. Brown caught 77.5% of his catchable targets (51) as a rookie, and he averaged 12.7 yards per reception as the team’s top intermediate to deep threat.

Brown is projected by FantasyPros to record 62 receptions, 815 yards, and six touchdowns in his second season with Baltimore. Brown has the speed to break it open, and in Baltimore’s highly-dangerous offense, he should be next in line for a breakout season.

Diontae Johnson (PIT)
ECR: WR42, ADP: 79.9 (6.08)

Johnson takes the role of the Steelers No. 2, and he could see a healthy dosage of targets with Ben Roethlisberger under center. The two only played one full game together, but Johnson was the Steelers’ primary receiver at most points throughout the season. With Devlin Hodges and Mason Rudolph under center, not much went right for Pittsburgh’s offense, but with Big Ben back, this is a much different team.

The Steelers offensive fantasy relevance is back and Johnson is arguably the most intriguing piece to the offense. JuJu Smith-Schuster is still figuring out being the WR1 for Pittsburgh, James Washington lacks experience with Roethlisberger, and they drafted rookie Chase Claypool out of Notre Dame. Johnson should be viewed as the receiver with the most upside of the group and in redrafts and dynasty, he should be viewed as a WR3 with a WR2 ceiling.

Johnson saw six or more targets in 10-16 games and posted 50 or more receiving yards in 50% of his rookie season. He scored all five of his touchdowns in different games and caught 50% or more of his targets, too. In his lone game with Roethlisberger, he caught three passes for 25 yards on five targets in a 33-3 loss to New England and didn’t do much better with Hodges or Rudolph.

As a rookie, Johnson totaled 59 receptions on 92 targets for 680 yards and five touchdowns, and he is projected to record 64 receptions, 799 receiving yards, and four touchdowns in his second season. He only saw a 66.9% snap share in 2019 per PlayerProfiler, and if that increases in 2020, so should his targets and production.

Johnson averaged 3.6 receptions on 5.7 targets for 42.5 yards in the Steelers 31st ranked passing offense in 2019, and those weekly numbers should be a thing of the past for him. He’s a borderline WR2 and will be a top-30 receiver by the end of the season, which is a steal if you can get him in the sixth-to-seventh round right now. The 24-year-old wide receiver could be the next Pittsburgh Steelers’ receiver to break out and if Smith-Schuster goes down at any point, Johnson’s value and volume would likely skyrocket.

Jamison Crowder (NYJ)
ECR: WR45, ADP: 92.3 (7.08)

Crowder was the Jets’ main offensive weapon after an underwhelming all-around season from Le’Veon Bell and the rest of the supporting cast. Sam Darnold was injured for part of the season, and the offensive line finished rank 28th per ProFootballFocus’ 2019 rankings. The Jets added rookie Denzel Mims and Breshad Perriman to the receiving core, and tight end Chris Herndon is back in the mix, but combined, all still have less experience on the field than Crowder.

Crowder will more than likely be the WR1 for the Jets all season, and with a healthy Sam Darnold, Crowder could have his best season yet. Crowder caught a career-high 78 receptions on 122 targets and an impressive 833 yards and six touchdowns in 2019. FantasyPros projects Crowder for 69 receptions, 774 yards, and five touchdowns in his second season with the Jets.

Crowder is more than a weekly WR3 in fantasy, as he recorded eight or more targets in 50% of his games, 50 or more yards in 50% of his games, and caught 60% or more of his targets in 10-16 contests. He saw 70% of his snaps come from the slot in 2019, and if Mims is expected to start out wide, Crowder should still receive a steady volume.

In the red zone, he saw a 29.6% target share and earned Darnold and Luke Falk‘s trust, which should carry over into 2020 with a ton of new faces. Coming off his best season yet, don’t write off the 27-year-old Crowder, especially with Darnold projected to have a career-year in 2020.

Mecole Hardman (KC)
ECR: WR52, ADP: 95.04 (7.11)

As a rookie in 2019, Hardman finished as the WR49 in standard leagues (93.5) and the WR61 in PPR leagues (119.5). Hardman posted 37% of his 43% snap share in the slot and caught 63.4% of his targets. He recorded a 75.6% catchable target rate on 31 of the 41 passes thrown his way on the season.

Hardman recorded 52.4% of his 538 receiving yards after the catch (282) and ranked first in league with 20.7 yards per reception and 13.1 yards per target. Hardman only had two drops on the season, and his 83.9% true catch rate is crying out to get him more involved in this already explosive offense.

The Chiefs finished fifth in passing yards per game (281.1) despite missing Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes for three games. In those three games without Mahomes, Matt Moore threw for 117, 267, and 275 passing yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Hardman caught two of those Moore-tossed touchdowns, posting four receptions for 83 yards and two touchdowns on five targets in three games. With such a small volume, he’s produced on his rare touches because of his scoring and big-play ability.

FantasyPros predicts Hardman for 39 receptions, 611 receiving yards, and five touchdowns in 2020. Kansas City’s staff has already stated they want Hardman more involved in the offense and less involved on special teams entering 2020, a positive sign for potential fantasy owners. Hardman is also one of the fastest players in the league. He hit 21.6 mph on his 63-yard touchdown in Week 10, per NFL’s NextGen Stats.

He’s a sneaky WR3 option and should battle Sammy Watkins for more targets in the slot, and with Watkins’ injury history, Hardman could become the Chiefs’ WR2 at any time. There’s absolutely no way he finishes worse than his 52nd ranked ADP this season.

Sterling Shepard (NYG)
ECR: WR46, ADP: 117.7 (10.10)

For the second time in four years, Shepard missed six games in a season, this time dealing with two separate concussions. The Giants’ fifth-year receiver finished a mediocre 54th in standard leagues (84.8) and 48th in PPR leagues (141.8) among wide receivers based on a 10-game sample. Shepard was on pace to set a career highs in receptions (91.2), targets (132.8), and yards (921.6) in 2019, averaging 5.7 receptions on 8.3 targets for 57.6 yards per game.

Shepard recorded WR2 or better numbers in 40 percent of his games, which ranked 33rd among wide receivers, per Mike Tagliere. Shepard has two 100-plus-target campaigns in his two healthy seasons with the Giants and should receive his third with Daniel Jones under center. His 8.3 targets per game were tied for 17th-most in the NFL last season – a number his potential fantasy owners should be excited about.

FantasyPros projects Shepard to record 67 receptions for 764 yards and five touchdowns, breaking down to 4.0 receptions, 48 yards, and 0.3 touchdowns per game. The Giants have two quality wide receivers (Golden Tate, Darius Slayton) in addition to Shepard, but he’s the most experienced of the bunch.

Shepard saw a 90.1% snap share last season, with 40% of plays lined up in the slot. He’s in a quality position to see a WR2 amount of targets from the Giants’ slot weekly. His quarterback, Jones, is another young signal-caller projected to have his best season yet, and if both he and Shepard are 100% healthy, expect a finish higher than his WR46 ADP. Getting Shepard in the 10th round is a steal, and the 27-year-old receiver could end up being a reliable flex option or WR3 for that price.

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Vaughn Dalzell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Vaughn, check out his archive or follow him @VaughnDalzell.

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