Skip to main content

7 High Upside RB & WR Steals (Fantasy Football)

Jul 20, 2021

The NFL preseason is just about two weeks away! However, there are plenty of steals to be had in drafts at this stage as most fantasy managers still haven’t fully shifted their attention to our beloved game yet. Usually most of these discounts correct themselves late in the preseason, so getting ahead of the curve is paramount to your success, especially if you’re drafting early. Fortunately, our featured pundits are here to give you the lowdown on which heavily discounted players have more upside than the public largely believes at the moment.

Join our Discord to Chat with Experts and FantasyPros Subscribers >>

Q1. Which running back do you believe is currently a steal that has the most upside and why?

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC): ADP – RB15 
“What if I told you there was a starting running back available in the third round of your fantasy draft tied to the most explosive offense in the NFL? Edwards-Helaire is that guy. After failing to meet sky-high expectations finishing as ‘just’ the RB22 during his rookie year last season, CEH comes at a massive discount heading into 2021. Don’t forget, Patrick Mahomes hand-picked the former LSU product in the 2020 NFL Draft, and Andy Reid publicly stated that Edwards-Helaire was better than his former Pro Bowl running back, Brian Westbrook. Operating under a ‘normal’ offseason schedule, Edwards-Helaire should benefit from working with the best quarterback in the league while being coached by one of the most brilliant offensive minds in football. Heading into his second year in the Andy Reid system, expect the 22-year-old to turn 300-plus touches into 1,600 total yards and AT LEAST 10 touchdowns.”
– Jacob W. Dunne (New Life Fantasy)

“There’s no doubt that Clyde Edwards-Helaire was a first-round bust in 2020 redraft leagues. He didn’t live up to his draft-day value, instead proving to be more consistent rather than dominant over the first half of the year. The midseason signing of Le’Veon Bell obviously changed things as CEH’s opportunities noticeably decreased following the acquisition. The rookie was also dealing with a shaky offensive line following an offseason without a proper training camp. Now destined for positive touchdown regression, and with Bell gone plus an improved offensive line, Edwards-Helaire is the rare player who offers RB1 upside outside of the first two rounds. Draft accordingly.”
– Brendan Tuma (FantasyPros)

Damien Harris (NE): ADP –  RB32
“Harris is falling way too far in drafts. I accept that there’s downside with a healthy Sony Michel and Rhamondre Stevenson behind him (plus Cam Newton is a goal-line vulture), but Harris is firmly the RB1 in an offense that ran the third-most run plays per game last season. He also averaged 4.8 true yards per carry (sixth in the NFL) while facing the highest average defenders in the box of any RB in the NFL. He’s not involved in the passing game, but at his ADP, it matters a lot less. In essence, he’s J.K. Dobbins three or four rounds later.”
– Jamie Calandro (Fantasy Team Advice)

Travis Etienne (JAC): ADP – RB30 
“Etienne at ADP RB30 is a steal in my opinion. James Robinson may get work in September, but it would not shock me to see Etienne be the focal point of the Jags’ offense by mid-October. Not only did the Jags use serious draft capital to select him, but his rapport with Trevor Lawrence also gives him a leg up over most rookies. He’s a steal as a borderline RB2/3, especially in PPR.”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Q2. Which wide receiver do you believe is currently a steal that has the most upside and why?

D.J. Chark (JAC): ADP – WR30 
“It’s time for fantasy managers to forgive D.J. Chark. The 24-year-old enjoyed a breakout sophomore season in 2019 where he finished with 73 catches for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns, but failed to regain his stellar 2019 form thanks to a myriad of injuries and a never-ending carousel of mediocre quarterbacks. The former LSU product comes into this year fully healthy and has even added seven pounds in the weight room after Urban Meyer challenged him to get stronger. Chark has the size (6’4″) and speed (4.34 40-yard dash) to win jump balls and blow the top off any defense, which should come in handy with newcomer quarterback Trevor Lawrence at the helm. Expect the fourth-year receiver to be the top target on an offense that should be playing from behind in most games this season, giving him a high-end WR3 floor with WR2 upside.”
– Jacob W. Dunne (New Life Fantasy)

Odell Beckham (CLE): ADP – WR25 
“Currently the cheapest he’s been since his rookie year, it appears as if Beckham is being priced at his fantasy floor this offseason. This is no doubt due to the sour taste he has left managers with over the past two seasons. Still, it’s worth remembering that OBJ had a 23% target share before getting hurt in 2020. Additionally, the Browns had a positive pass rate over expectation in each of their final six regular-season games (after having just one such game in their first 10 contests). Basically, Cleveland began throwing the ball more as Baker Mayfield became more comfortable in the offense. Combining Beckham’s early-season target share with the Browns’ late-season passing volume should equate to fantasy goodness.”
– Brendan Tuma (FantasyPros)

Chase Claypool (PIT): ADP – WR27
“I will happily die on the Chase Claypool hill this year. The ‘Ben Roethlisberger is bad’ narrative is pushing the Steelers WRs’ ADPs down, but don’t forget that Big Ben finished QB14 last season while all three of his WRs were top 25 in PPR formats. As a rookie, Claypool was ninth in the NFL in air yards, third in deep targets, 11th in TDs, and 14th in fantasy points per routes run. Pittsburgh promoted QB coach Matt Canada to offensive coordinator; he’s credited with all the gadget plays that got Claypool in space. I think he’s this year’s D.K. Metcalf.”
– Jamie Calandro (Fantasy Team Advice)

Tee Higgins (CIN): ADP – WR28
“Higgins as the WR28 in ADP is just silly. Sure, Ja’Marr Chase is a stud, but the Bengals’ offense will create plenty of opportunities for Higgins as well (and the Bengals’ defense will create plenty of need for an aggressive offense). From Week 3 (when Higgins became a starter) through Week 11, he averaged 8.1 targets, 74.3 receiving yards, and 15.53 fantasy PPG. I will gladly take Higgins, who has the potential to finish as a high-end WR1.”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Thank you to the experts for giving us their biggest high-upside draft steals. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and subscribe to our podcast below for advice all year round.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | SoundCloud | iHeartRadio

Featured, Featured Link, Featured Pros, NFL, Undervalued