4 Downs: Undervalued Players

Will Pendleton

Four Downs: Undervalue Players

Four Downs: Undervalued Players

The easiest way to succeed in fantasy football is to hit on some productive players at a cheaper price, a true diamond in the rough. Identifying players with a discounted rate but with a high upside is how to get on top and stay on top of your league. This edition of the Four Downs highlights four players who are currently undervalued and pose as perfect targets for your draft.

1st Down – Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers

Hyde is poised for a superstar season and there isn’t too much in the way to prevent it. Even with the presence of rookie RB Joe Williams, the lion’s share of the volume will belong to Hyde.

The ex-Ohio State Buckeye has been recently paired up with new Niners head coach and offensive guru, Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan had tremendous success with Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman, a player whose running style is almost identical to Hyde’s. The zone run scheme integrated into Shanahan’s offense is a perfect fit for Hyde and with uncertainty under center and with the passing game this season, it is safe to say that the feature of the offense will most definitely be Hyde.

For a player with top 10 RB potential, an ADP of the late 3rd/early 4th round is a bargain. Players like unproven rookie Christian McCaffrey and Todd Gurley, whose struggles of late have been well documented, are being drafted considerably higher than Hyde and neither of those have the same volume or potential for success as Hyde.

2nd Down – Paul Perkins, New York Giants

While many may fairly question his ability to consistently perform at a high level, the Giants front office clearly believe in Paul Perkins. Even though he is still a raw unproven player who only rushed for 456 yards in 12 games (32.6 yards per game), the Giants did not draft or pick-up a fellow running-back in the 2017 offseason and seem determined to role with Perkins as their lead back.

Volume is king in fantasy football and the lack of notable depth in the Giants backfield suggests that all of the running-back volume in New York this season will belong to Perkins. When you consider the volume that Perkins will receive compared to other running-backs with the same 6th round draft price his value begins to become apparent. Dalvin Cook, while talented, will be forced to share a backfield with two other legitimate contenders to steal snaps from him this season in Minnesota. Eddie Lacy and Mike Gillislee will also both find themselves in vicious battles for starting opportunities and Tevin Coleman is a bit-part player used mainly in the receiving game.

Perkins may not be proven, but his opportunity for production far outweighs any of those around him.

3rd Down – Corey Davis and Eric Decker, Tennessee Titans

Both Davis and Decker may be on the same team, however, both are still considerably undervalued. Decker’s time in New York with Brandon Marshall showed us that two wide receivers on the same team can both have outstanding fantasy seasons, both finishing as top 20 wide receivers. With Marcus Mariota at the helm, the Titans have a much better offense than those New York Jets teams and both Davis and Decker have the potential to repeat this feat.

The 9th round price tags on both of these players are completely incredulous. Both Davis and Decker have the potential and are quite likely, to both finish as WR2s, a caliber of player that you can rarely find outside of the first 6 rounds of a draft. When you consider the fact that Donte Moncrief is being drafted three rounds ahead of either of these players the mind boggles. When you consider the fact that Brandon Marshall, who is considerably older and is the No. 3 WR on a team with an aging QB is being drafted 4 rounds ahead of both of these players the mind simply melts down and explodes.

*Insert sighing meme here*

4th Down – Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns

Yes, the Browns are a struggling team offensively and yes they have a huge question mark at the quarterback position but do we really need to leave Duke Johnson on the board until the 13th round?

The Browns may have trouble at QB but they have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and this makes for a perfect season to draft Cleveland running-backs. Isaiah Crowell may be the bell-cow back in this offense but head coach Hue Jackson has created fantasy value for multiple running-backs with different styles before and is a big fan of Johnson’s receiving skill set. A receiving RB also is a naïve QB’s best friend and Duke is likely to be peppered with targets all season.

Johnson may be on the Browns but his ADP makes him the bargain of the offseason. Johnson has the potential to become an upper echelon No. 2 RB such as Tevin Coleman or Darren Sproles and could potentially be the highest targeted running-back in the league next season. Johnson is a fascinatingly talented player and considering Ameer Abdullah, a less proven and more consistently injured player, is being drafted in the 5th round, Johnson’s value becomes even more apparent, especially when there is little if any reason to believe in Abdullah over Johnson in the first place.

Thank you for reading. Please follow Will on Twitter @willpendosports.

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