All Undrafted Team (2021 Fantasy Football)
Most novice drafters believe if they whiff on a few top draft choices, their season is essentially over. Putting an exorbitant amount of weight on your first few selections is unwise, as those aren’t the most important draft picks in fantasy football. Hitting on your later picks and waiver wire adds is even more crucial, as you can separate yourself from your rivals by drafting a viable stud in the spots where they draft a role player.
Now, it isn’t easy to identify elite producers whose average draft position doesn’t correspond to their potential production. Nonetheless, it is possible. Championship contenders are made out of undrafted players. Look no further than Jacksonville’s James Robinson (RB – JAX), who went undrafted in a majority of leagues in 2020; he went on to finish as the RB7 in 0.5 PPR formats despite playing only 14 games. If you lucked your way into getting Robinson on your roster, you got an elite producer for almost nothing.
I am going to take a look at players whose current ADP suggests they’ll be undrafted in most leagues (outside of the top-180) and I will build a contender out of the least wanted fantasy football players. Now, it’s impossible to hit on 100 percent of your gambles in the later rounds. Nonetheless, if you can grab one or two guys off of waivers who can finish in the top-24 at their position (or top-12 for quarterbacks and tight ends), then you will have a decided advantage against your league and be on your way to winning a championship.
Let’s take a look!
QB: Jameis Winston (QB – NO) (ADP 190, QB26)
It’s amazing how the public forgets so easily. As recently as 2019, Jameis Winston was the starter for a franchise with an offensive-minded head coach, a top-flight, big-bodied wide receiver, and an above-average offensive line. He finished as the fantasy QB4, throwing for 5,100 yards and 33 touchdowns. While it is still unknown whether or not he’ll win the starting job over Tim Tebow’s (TE – JAX) doppelganger, Taysom Hill (QB – NO), it’s fair to assume that he has a top-five ceiling as the starting quarterback in New Orleans.
He once again has one of the brightest offensive coaches in the league at his disposal, two incredible pass-catching weapons (Michael Thomas (WR – NO) and Alvin Kamara (RB – NO), and a terrific offensive line. Why spend high capital on a quarterback when Winston could easily give you 20 fantasy points per game? If he loses the job during the season, then simply drop him for another streaming quarterback like Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB – WFT) or Ben Roethlisberger (QB – PIT).
RB: Salvon Ahmed (RB – MIA) (ADP 202, RB62)
The only notable addition the Miami Dolphins made to the running back room this offseason was adding former Rams’ running back Malcolm Brown (RB – MIA), who carried the ball just 101 times for 419 yards and five touchdowns last season in Los Angeles. While he will steal the upside from the other runners as he assumes the Jordan Howard (RB – PHI) role, there will still be plenty of opportunity for last year’s undrafted free agent to feast in 2021.
Ahmed isn’t going to be an RB1 for your team, but he’ll give you some useful weeks. He ran 75 times for 319 yards and three touchdowns in limited action after leaping Jordan Howard and Matt Breida (RB – PHI) atop the depth chart in Week 9. In his six games of work, he eclipsed double-digit fantasy points four times. Myles Gaskin (RB – MIA) won’t get 100 percent of the backfield touches, so I believe Ahmed can easily outperform his ADP on a fantasy points per game basis.
RB: Wayne Gallman (RB – SF) (ADP 288, RB87)
I always try to draft the cheapest 49ers running back come redraft season, as it seems almost random how San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan utilizes his running back room. Last year, Raheem Mostert (RB – SF), Jeff Wilson (RB – SF), and Jerrick McKinnon all had games where they finished as a top-24 running back. Mostert finished as the RB6 in Week 1, while Wilson finished as the RB5 in Week 16. Regardless of who is at his disposal, Shanahan can make any running back viable for fantasy.
So why not grab Wayne Gallman as a last resort? Gallman is no scrub, given he finished as the RB6 between Weeks 7 and 13 last year, averaging 15.8 points per game. No one can say with any certainty what his role will be, but I would be shocked if Gallman didn’t provide several usable weeks when the inevitable slew of injuries hit the 49ers locker room.
Gabriel Davis has been a fantasy darling on Twitter for dynasty purposes, as he showed flashes of greatness in his rookie season catching passes from MVP-candidate Josh Allen (QB – BUF). Davis only caught 35 balls for 600 yards in his first year, but he also ended the season with seven touchdowns. There is plenty of room for his role to grow in Year 2 as well, as he’ll likely take over as the deep threat for the departed John Brown (WR- LV).
Given Emmanuel Sanders (WR – BUF), Cole Beasley (WR – BUF), and Isaiah McKenzie (WR – BUF) serve similar roles among the Bills’ pass-catching core, Davis should have plenty of opportunities to see the field. He can be a huge sophomore breakout candidate and end up as this team’s WR2 alongside Stefon Diggs. After all, Beasley and Sanders are both on the wrong side of 30, so youth can win out here.
WR: Nico Collins (WR – HOU) (ADP: 206, WR68)
The casual fantasy football player probably has no clue about Nico Collins. The Michigan wide receiver was drafted in the third round by the Houston Texans and joins one of the most talentless rosters in the league. Still, even horrible teams can provide fantasy relevance. Collins has all of the necessary talent and traits to be an incredible receiver in this league, drawing comparisons to the likes of Pittsburgh’s Chase Claypool (WR – PIT); however, he never had a chance to showcase the full extent of his talents given the poor quarterback play at Michigan.
Tyrod Taylor (QB – HOU) may not be anyone’s favorite quarterback, but he’s been a capable passer in this league for a long time; we also know from experience that he favors wide receivers to tight ends and running backs in terms of targets. Brandin Cooks (WR – HOU) is the only legitimate threat above Collins on the depth chart, as the rest of the Texans’ wideouts consist of NFL castoffs and fourth-stringers. Collins can easily garner a noticeable target share in his first year and become a waiver wire priority in Week 1.
WR: Rondale Moore (WR – ARI) (ADP: 219, WR70)
The Cardinals were already tough to defend last season as Kyler Murray (QB – ARI) and DeAndre Hopkins (WR – ARI) started off the season as top-five fantasy players at their respective positions. Even though Murray’s play suffered after succumbing to a shoulder injury during the season, we’ve seen what this passing offense is capable of. After adding A.J. Green (WR – ARI) to play opposite of Hopkins on the outside, the Cardinals drafted shifty slot receiver Rondale Moore in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft.
Moore is going to feast over the middle of the field, as he only has to compete with the aged legend Larry Fitzgerald (WR – FA) for slot targets. The Cardinals’ system does not utilize the tight end (and they don’t even have a capable one on their roster), so Moore will become the default safety blanket for Kyler Murray. The rookie could be a solid floor play in his first year as he works on underneath routes and quick screens.
TE: Cole Kmet (TE – NO) (ADP: 295, TE37)
Cole Kmet didn’t do much as a rookie, only posting 28 receptions for 243 yards and two touchdowns over the course of the season. However, much of his lack of opportunity derived from Jimmy Graham (TE – CHI) being Chicago’s incumbent starter. Over the back half of the season, we saw Kmet start to take over as the team’s primary tight end and siphon opportunity away from Graham; from Weeks 12-17, Kmet out-touched Graham 21:15.
The Bears, unfortunately, decided to retain Graham this offseason instead of saving $7 million by cutting him, but I don’t believe he is this team’s TE1 anymore. Kmet was a second-round pick just one year ago and should have a more prominent role for Justin Fields’ (QB – CHI) Bears. The tight end position is a crapshoot after the first six players are off the board anyway, but I think Kmet presents the most talent and upside of those going undrafted.
FLEX: Tre’Quan Smith (WR – NO) (ADP: 305, WR99)
This may be a shot in the dark, as Tre’Quan Smith has never lived up to the hype. However, his upside all relies on Jameis Winston being named New Orleans’ starting quarterback. If Winston becomes the Saints’ QB1, the ceiling of every pass-catcher gets a nice boost. Winston has shown a history of being a gunslinger, launching the ball deep without regard to the coverage. Even if Sean Payton coaches him out of that a little bit, he’s still likely to throw deep first and ask questions later.
Smith is currently the best deep threat on the New Orleans roster, as the other bevy of pass-catchers (Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, and Adam Trautman (TE – NO) all operate as possession receivers. Smith looks to be the clear WR2 on the depth chart, so he will have the opportunity for downfield targets. If Drew Brees was still under center, I wouldn’t be as bullish on Smith. However, I think Winston could unlock Tre’Quan’s game-breaking ability should he find his way into the starting lineup.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team, and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.
Dan Ambrosino is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Dan, check out his archive and follow him @AmbrosinoNFL.