Last week I looked at current ADP/AAV and observed some overrated players, this week I’m doing the opposite. These players are all being underrated right now. This doesn’t mean you need to take them at twice the price or 20 spots early, but know what points in the draft they’ll likely be available and grab them for value.
Matt Ryan – “You need an elite QB!” screams roughly half of the fantasy world this year. I understand that Rodgers et al are “safer” than Matty Ice but bear with me. As fantasy players, we are in the business of trying to find value where others aren’t looking. If we just go along with mainstream ideas we will put together a team similar to everyone else’s. Matt Ryan has two WRs and a TE ranked inside the top 10 at their position, a ranking which will be unjustified unless Matt puts up numbers similar (or better) to last year. He finished as the 8th QB last year and is now going 10th. His OC wants to throw a lot and Michael Turner isn’t getting any younger. Draft him already and thank me later when he cracks the top 5 for the first time in his career.
Carson Palmer – I already explained in another list what I love about Palmer. Here’s another thing. KC Joyner of ESPN notes (insider access required) that the Raiders O-line was one of the best in the league last year at shielding their QB. Additionally, they face one of the easiest schedules in the league by the metric of total sacks + total QB hits from last season across opponents. What does this mean? Chances are good that last year’s Carson Palmer from the second half of the season is still around but could cut his INTs in half. I’m thinking 4,200 yards 28 TDs and 10 INTs give or take.
Percy Harvin – Again, I’ve mentioned Harvin already. Matthew Berry points out in his recent Love/Hate column that after Ponder took over Percy Harvin had 30% more touches than the next closest WR (100 to Welker’s 74). He will get the rock because he is good, end of story. Currently the 15th WR off the board, he’s a huge value.
Issac Redman – Ok, with Mendenhall on the PUP list (almost definitely) Pittsburgh has to put someone out there for 6 weeks right? And when activated is Mendy coming back at 100%? No. He’s not sexy and probably won’t win you any weeks by himself, but he’s for sure a decent RB2 with RB1 upside being taken outside of the top 25 running backs. Don’t waste your money on Washington and Carolina backs – go get Redman.
**UPDATE** Redman has stunk and played himself into a timeshare with Dwyer, which Dwyer may win outright. I don’t think Mendenhall will be effective any time soon but he’s not on the PUP list so just play it safe and avoid Pittsburgh RB’s unless it’s super late in your draft.
Rashaad Jennings – Players who don’t come to camp start slow. Running backs who don’t come to camp often get injured. Running backs who have tons of usage for several years in a row often get injured. Maurice Jones-Drew didn’t come to camp and has tons of usage over the last few years. Rashaad Jennings is his clear cut backup and isn’t even being drafted in most leagues. I get it: Jax is terrible blah blah blah. That didn’t stop MJD from leading the league in rushing last year, did it? Jennings is not the same player but as a $1 bench guy he will certainly put up flex-worthy numbers if MJD falters (which is more likely now than ever).