10 Undervalued Players You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Draft (2022 Fantasy Football)

The NFL preseason is set to kick off Thursday, marking the true start of the fantasy football draft season! Over the next five weeks, fake football GMs can expect to be inundated with tons of takes on who the next breakouts, busts and sleepers are. We’re going to do something a little different today, though, and focus on the players who are being overlooked too much. A lot of these guys are coming off a bad year (or two), rebounding from an injury, have changed teams or find themselves in an ambiguous situation. Some may even just have their value suppressed due to hype for their teammates (a la Ezekiel Elliott, Robert Woods and Elijah Mitchell).

The heightened risk prevents these players from reaching “sexy sleeper status” — ya know, the guys most of your leaguemates are champing at the bit to draft. However, the lowered excitement for these athletes gives savvy fantasy managers opportunities to find great value. Our featured analysts offer up 10 players who are primed to outproduce their draft cost in 2022. Read on to see which guys are being undervalued.

Q1. Which consistently overlooked RB are you targeting as a value play in your drafts and why?

Devin Singletary (BUF)
“Devin Singletary finished as the RB3 in PPR scoring over the final six weeks of the season with 17 fantasy points per game, despite the Bills maintaining a pass-first approach. And yet, drafters are overly concerned about the addition of pass-catching savant James Cook. But with a proven track record and two years of bell cow usage in spurts, don’t be surprised when Singletary — PFF’s fourth-ranked running back in rushes of 15-plus yards and seventh-ranked player in forced missed tackles in 2021 — is the highly sought-after RB breakout who emerges from a high-octane ambiguous backfield. “
Andrew Erickson (FantasyPros)

Elijah Mitchell (SF)
“Elijah Mitchell just missed recording a 1,000-yard rushing season by a mere 37 yards despite playing in just 12 games. Mitchell did add 137 yards in the passing game to round off his regular season scrimmage yards total at 1,100. Mitchell was also a top-10 running back in both fantasy points per game and yards after contact. However, some out there believe that Jeffery Wilson and Tyrion Davis-Price are threats to his workload. Stop. San Francisco will continue to be a run-first team — last year, the 49ers ranked fifth in runs per game with 30.4.”
Matt Donnelly (Dynasty Vipers)

Kenneth Gainwell (PHI)
“One of the more curious stats from the 2021 season is the fact that Miles Sanders failed to score a single touchdown after finding the end zone six times in each of his first two seasons. While I do think it is fair to expect some positive scoring regression for Sanders, this does not change my opinion that Kenneth Gainwell is the running back to target and one of the great values ​​in early drafts as the RB44 in FantasyPro’s ADP. Gainwell showed to be proficient both at the goal line and in the passing game last season, with five of his 68 carries resulting in scores, adding an additional touchdown through the air. With growing speculation that Gainwell could potentially push Sanders for the starting role, the ceiling for the high-floor receiving back may be higher than anyone thought prior to the opening of camps. Gainwell is even more valuable in best ball leagues, as even if the expected committee does materialize, Gainwell’s receiving role and red zone ability should lead to several starting BB weeks.”
Matthew Hill (Fantasy Life)

Rachaad White (TB)
“When I’m looking for an RB in the later rounds, I’m usually looking for a guy with the ability to catch passes. This way he might already have a weekly role depending on the offensive scheme or game script. I also look for a guy with the ability to be a three-down back in case the guy in front of him goes down. It also helps if that guy is young. The guy I’m targeting is Rachaad White, mainly because of the things I just mentioned. He was third among FBS running backs in this draft class in targets and second in receptions. It’s easy to see a role for him in a Buccaneers offense that should throw the ball early and often, but he can also fill in for Leonard Fournette if he were to be injured or ineffective. Going off the board #126 overall according to FantasyPro’s ADP, that makes White available to you in the 11th round. He’s definitely the kind of running back I target in that range.”
Jon Young (Fantasy Football Diagnostics)

Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)
“Zeke has been a disappointing first-round draft pick the past two years. In 2020, he lost Dak Prescott for the year and almost his entire offensive line for long stretches of the season. Despite all that, he finished the season as a high-end RB2 in points per game. In 2021, Zeke tore his PCL in Week 4 and finished the season splitting work with Tony Pollard. Despite this, he finished as a high-end RB2 in points per game. Zeke is now healthy and has his starting quarterback under center. A third-round pick on Zeke is a no brainer for a back with top-5 RB upside with a high-end RB2 floor.”
Robby Jeffries (The Fantasy Authority)

Q2. Which consistently overlooked WR are you targeting as a value play in your drafts and why?

Brandon Aiyuk (SF)
“Brandon Aiyuk turned his 2021 season around during the second half. His yards per route run increased substantially (2.16, 13th), and he averaged 13.1 PPR fantasy points per game as the WR24 after ghosting managers during the first half of the year. The former first-round pick also ranked sixth in yards after the catch per reception (6.9). If Aiyuk can roll over his second-half production into 2022, he could be a smashing fantasy value in a similar way that his teammate Deebo Samuel was in 2021. Aiyuk’s overall disappointing sophomore campaign should not overshadow his electric rookie season. He’s by far the best value among the 49ers offensive weapons at WR39 ADP. “
Andrew Erickson (FantasyPros)

Christian Kirk (JAC)
“Christian Kirk was brought over from Arizona and paid as though he is a number one receiver, so expect him to be featured in this offense despite never posting a 1,000-yard season. Last season, Kirk stepped up when DeAndre Hopkins was out of the lineup, averaging 12.8 yards per reception and drawing 103 targets. Look, Laviska Shenault saw 100 targets and a 16.4% target share, while Marvin Jones managed 120 targets with a 19.9% ​​target share. Yyou can expect a good portion of that to be heading Kirk’s way. If you are into numbers, Kirk’s DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) was 23.9% in the slot on 81 targets and 27.7% when lining up outside.”
Matt Donnelly (Dynasty Vipers)

Courtland Sutton (DEN)
“Courtland Sutton is being massively undervalued, and I just can’t understand why. He is going from Teddy Bridgewater (3.6% career TD rate & 7.3 career yards/attempt) and Drew Lock (3.5% career TD rate & 6.7 career yards/attempt) to Russell Wilson (6.2% career TD rate & 7.8 career yards/attempt ). I can’t think of many better quarterbacks to pair with Sutton’s size in the red zone or his speed in getting vertical against opposing secondaries. Sutton was a WR2 in 2019, racking up 1,112 yards and six scores on 72 receptions from Joe Flacco and Drew Lock. Those numbers should be a baseline, and a 2019 DK Metcalf stat line of 83/1,303/10 is not remotely hard to project. Sutton is a top-20 wide receiver talent who just received a top-tier quarterback. Let’s draft him that way. “
Robby Jeffries (The Fantasy Authority)

Mecole Hardman (KC)
“A wide receiver I find myself drafting a lot because he is overlooked is fourth-year player Mecole Hardman. He plays in a great offense, he’s attached to a generational quarterback, and plays on a team with 340 vacant targets (second most in the NFL). Most are assuming that JuJu Smith-Schuster, Skyy Moore and Marquez Valdez-Scantling will absorb those targets, but none of those players have the experience of playing with Patrick Mahomes like Hardman does. Hardman is coming off a career high in targets, receptions and yards. He’s actually bested those categories each of the last three seasons. I’m betting on Hardman to take a large step in 2022 at his price of WR59 according to FantasyPro’s ADP. “
Jon Young (Fantasy Football Diagnostics)

Joshua Palmer (LAC)
“Everyone knows the value of the top running back handcuffs. Talented backups in top offenses who can be expected to jump in and offer immediate top-tier production when the starter misses time have long been considered some of the most valuable bench stashes in fantasy. My favorite late-round wide receiver target gets his value from his massive potential if one of the two receivers ahead of him on the depth chart were unable to take the field. Justin Herbert is the favorite to lead the league in touchdowns, and Joshua Palmer seems to have the Chargers’ WR3 role locked up going into his second season. Palmer should already have no trouble outperforming his WR65 FantasyPros ADP, but if either Keenan Allen or Mike Williams were out multiple games, Palmer could offer league-winning upside at a late-round cost.”
Matthew Hill (Fantasy Life)


CTAs

Thanks to the experts for sharing their advice! For more of their insight, be sure to follow each pundit on Twitter (click their names above) and visit their respective sites.


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