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Early Undervalued Rookies Based on ADP (2022 Fantasy Football)

by Justin Dunbar
Jun 28, 2022
Treylon Burks

At his current ADP, Treylon Burks is likely being drafted more toward his floor than his ceiling.

“We don’t fear the unknown. We fear what we think of the unknown.”

In fantasy football, it can be very easy to play it safe, catering to what we know rather than tap into the allure of the mysterious box that is the unknown. That is understandable; the unknown can be scary, especially when safer alternatives are available. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, assuming they are calculated, risks are not something to run away from.

Plus, when it comes to rookies, as the unknown commodities of football, how much risk truly is there? After all, the situations aren’t usually much more difficult to project than that of a standard player, as we have a relatively strong understanding of a player’s talent level based on their draft capital and college data. That is the beauty of having so much information available; we can use it to turn evaluations from educated guesses to concrete opinions.

Regardless, as with all players, there will always be rookies where the consensus opinion may be over/under-valuing their ability to perform right away, whether it’s a misjudgment of their NFL readiness or lack of clarity of their situation. Today, we’ll focus on rookies who perhaps aren’t getting the love they should. Should you draft these players, it’s unlikely you will end up regretting it. So, who should you be smashing that draft button for? Let’s dive right into it!

Average Draft Position (ADP) using FantasyPros Consensus ADP

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

Treylon Burks (WR- TEN): ADP WR42
He may not have been the first receiver drafted, but it’s hard to argue with the notion that Treylon Burks may very well end up as the best wide receiver from this class. Remember, in a class with six receivers drafted in the first round, that’s strong praise, but well-deserved praise at that.

The production over the past two years simply speaks for itself:

  • 2020 (Sophomore): 88.9 PFF receiving grade, 3.07 yards/route run, 16.2 yards/reception
  • 2021 (Junior): 91 PFF receiving grade, 3.52 yards/route run, 16.9 yards/reception

Whether it was making plays after the catch (7.6 yards after catch/reception) or working down the field, Burks was not only a dominant player; he was THE Arkansas offense. His 3.2 yards per team pass attempt over the past two years led all drafted wide receivers. In the SEC, that is remarkably impressive. In Burks, the Titans are getting a 6-foot-2, 225-pound physical menace with a very high range of outcomes, the type of upside that even rivals the man he is replacing—AJ Brown.

In fact, in discussing the top landing spots from the 2022 draft, Burks’ name has come up before:

“Well, who would’ve guessed that Burks would end up as the one-for-one replacement for Brown in Tennessee? Really, it is a great fit. Brown wasn’t manufacturing touches behind the line of scrimmage the way Burks was in college, but they made certain to give him a lot of schemed targets in the short passing game, allowing him to thrive after the catch. Meanwhile, with a 30-year-old Robert Woods coming off of an ACL tear, as his only competition for targets, he is easily in line to command a very strong target share in his rookie season.

Would I have liked to see Burks on the Packers or Chiefs? Absolutely. Tennessee was already in the bottom 10 in first-down pass rate last year, and that will only go down without Brown in the fold. Yet, Burks thrived in the exact same areas of the field (short center) that Brown did, has a more than competent quarterback in Ryan Tannehill for this year and will almost certainly be the alpha receiver immediately. In redraft leagues, he looks to be the best rookie receiver set up for success, and in dynasty leagues, it’s hard not to bet on his talent, especially since we anticipate him being used to his ultimate abilities. His NFL contract will prevent him from hunting boars anymore, but he’ll be more than busy evolving into a true No. 1 receiver for the foreseeable future.”

Everything that applied then still applies now. This is still an offense that wants to run the football at all costs, but game scripts may not be in their favor like in the past, which could increase the team’s passing volume. Regardless, the target share Burks’ could realistically command makes his current WR40 price on Underdog Fantasy seem extremely close to his floor. The talent and situation are both there, leading to the upside here being well worth chasing. Simply put, you do not want to miss out on this type of player.

Jahan Dotson (WR-WAS): ADP WR65
As “arm-chair general managers,” it’s easy to have preconceived notions about a player’s skillset. After all, plenty of information is accessible to us, and, if used properly, it can certainly lead us on the ideal trajectory. That being said, when new information comes in, we also need to be able to adjust. Such is the case with Jahan Dotson.

From a prospect standpoint, certain red flags stand out with Dotson. First off, the hit rate of senior wide receivers isn’t strong, and, in Dotson’s case, he doesn’t have the production of an underclassman to compensate for it. Add in his limited size (5’11” and 178 pounds) without stellar athletic testing, and it’s easy to build a case against him.

That being said, just as easy as it is to build a case against Dotson, we can build a case for him. Perhaps his production over the past two years hasn’t been on Burks’ level, but it still has been notably strong:

  • 2020 (Junior): 79.7 PFF receiving grade, 2.63 yards/route run
  • 2021 (Senior): 87.2 PFF receiving grade, 2.56 yards/route run

Dealing with lackluster quarterback play at Penn State, Dotson made the most of his circumstances. He’s demonstrated the ability to produce with a vertical route tree but also took advantage of Penn State making it a focal point to manufacture touches for him this past season, considering the uptick in production. NFL Network draft analyst Lance Zuerlein had some very glowing marks for Dotson in his pre-draft report:

“Finesse wideout with good speed and great athleticism who is fully operational on all three levels of the field. Dotson’s passing scheme was well-designed and allowed for clear access to space for most of the season. His route-running is smooth but features speed changes and his in-air athleticism and ball skills look effortless.”

The smoothness and savviness Dotson plays with should serve him well at the NFL level, while his college success as a punt returner also speaks to his effectiveness in space. The Washington Commanders clearly agree, making him the 16th overall pick of the draft, even higher than Burks. As a result, he’ll almost certainly start as the #2 option behind Terry McLaurin in Washington’s passing game, a role that suits him quite well.

Despite the opportunity and intrigue as a first-round pick, Dotson is only being drafted as the WR63 on Underdog Fantasy right now. Regardless of your evaluation of him as a prospect, this is still a talented player who immediately is his team’s #2 receiver, an opportunity that several players being drafted ahead of him do not possess. Given the price, taking him is absolutely no risk, making it worth taking a chance on the potential reward. The NFL told us what they thought about this player, and it’s time for us to begin recognizing that.

Andrew Erickson Mock Draft

Tyler Allgeier (RB – ATL): ADP RB53
Historically, the hit rate of late-round draft picks is about as slim as it gets, regardless of the position. However, draft capital plays an even larger role for a position like running back, which is mainly opportunity-driven; the opportunity is often shaped by the team’s previous investment in you. That being said, sometimes the situation a player is in can make us look beyond that, which we need to do with Tyler Allgeier.

To be fair, what the 22-year-old Allgeier accomplished at BYU is about as impressive as it gets. First off, he had back-to-back seasons with a PFF rushing grade above 90, which by itself can’t be ignored. Then, there is the fact that he ranked in the top-six in the nation in yards after contact/carry (4.16) and missed tackles forced (77), and was even better in terms of those numbers the season before. Don’t worry; he’s also been more than a capable receiver with PFF receiving grades of 73.1 and 75.1 over the past two years, respectively, along with an extremely strong 8.09 yards/target figure. When it comes to three-down back potential, he certainly has it.

Allgeier’s athletic testing wasn’t strong, but that doesn’t mean he can’t break a few big runs at the NFL level. In fact, his breakaway numbers (43.9% breakaway, 17.7% explosive rush rate) support his ability to be an explosive runner at the next level, and it’s unclear how much that will affect him anyway, considering his overall elusiveness. He is a very talented player, and even with his fifth-round draft capital, he can easily thrive if given a chance to do so.

Fortunately for him, Allgeier enters the perfect situation in Atlanta, where he immediately is the #2 running back to Cordarelle Patterson, a player who still could easily spend time out wide given the team’s lack of depth at the receiver position. Recently-released Mike Davis leaves behind 138 vacated rush attempts and 58 targets, and who stands to receive that workload? That would be Allgeier, who also could stand for more touches should the Falcons utilize Patterson differently or want to monitor his workload.

Just by stand-alone value, Allgeier as the RB47 right now on Underdog Fantasy would pay that price off. However, there’s also added upside of an increased role here, which is particularly notable given his overall skill level. It’s rare for the perfect landing spot to come for a player, but that’s what happened here. In what could amount to a very rough season for the Falcons, drafting Allgeier can certainly help you tune in!

Hassan Haskins (RB – TEN): ADP RB64
Last season was terrific for the Michigan Wolverines, who not only finally overcame Ohio State to win the Big-10 conference but also qualified for the college football playoffs, paving the way for a successful road ahead for Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbor. While defensive players such as edge rushers Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo will garner a lot of the praise from that season, let us not forget what Hassan Haskins accomplished in the Michigan backfield.

With 270 carries in 14 games, Haskins carried quite a load, rushing for 1327 yards and 20 touchdowns. That didn’t stop him from being efficient, though, as he earned an 89 PFF rushing grade; considering this is the statistic that carries over the best to the NFL level, that is significant. As someone with limited production before his senior year and lacks standout explosive rushing peripheral metrics, it can be easy for him to get lost in the shuffle. Yet, there is certainly a role for a very savvy runner like him, as Kyle Crabbs of Draft Network talks about:

“Haskins is definitely one of those backs who you know you can rely on to stay true to the design of the run. That isn’t to say he doesn’t anticipate second-level flow well, but it’s more so meant to be a nod to his patience and discipline when pressing the point of attack. You do see him stringing out second-level defenders and trying to plant and drive to make them pay for over-pursuit. His open-field anticipation is largely effective when attacking north as compared to feeling horizontal pursuit.”

This is certainly not a player who would fit a team like the 49ers, who need dynamic, explosive runners in their specific rushing scheme. Fortunately for Haskins, though, he’s going to the Titans, where he can thrive as a pure downhill runner. Now, there may not be a role for him immediately, but should Derrick Henry miss any time, Haskins can step in as a similar prototype. As with D’Onta Foreman last season, the efficiency may not be that dissimilar.

Getting the handcuff running back for one of the most run-heavy offenses in the NFL seems ideal, especially when his draft cost (RB64 on Underdog Fantasy) is quite cheap compared to other players in similar or worse situations. Hopefully, Haskins doesn’t see an extended workload simply because his path to opportunity negatively correlates with Henry’s health. Still, in the unfortunate chance he is forced to, the upside of that is worth taking a shot on. Drafting him is a zero-risk, high-reward proposition; there isn’t much reason not to.

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