One of the common themes at the beginning of every fantasy season is trying to find sleepers or breakout candidates. This article is a mix of the two. Fellow Fantasy Football Hot Read writer, Adam, will be focusing on the NFC West Hidden Values as I find the AFC West Hidden Values. The difference between this article and a sleeper or breakout article is that we are trying to find you the best player who will give you the best bang for your buck.
Take for example, D.K Metcalf last season. Seattle selected him the 2nd round of last year’s draft because they knew how productive he could be. He proved it, too. Due to his superior size and athleticism, he was second in almost every receiving category behind Tyler Lockett. In the playoffs, he put on a clinic as he caught 15 of 11 passes for 219 and one score. Heading into 2020, some people see him as a legitimate WR1.
That is where Adam and I come in. We want to help all of you find these hidden values in a player such as D.K Metcalf. The teams we will be discussing are the Cardinals, Seahawks, Rams, 49ers, Chiefs, Chargers, Raiders, and Broncos.
What if I told you that one of the best wide receivers in NFL history, playing in the slot where he has seen his production continue to be elite, was now going to be the 3rd or 4th player planned for by opposing defenses. Fitzgerald’s bad years always need context. He still had phenomenal catch rates, and his lack of usage over the past two years can pretty easily be attributed to the garbage at Quarterback in 2018 and a rookie behind a porous offensive line in 2019.
Enter Deandre Hopkins, who will now demand spotlight coverage, and in conjunction with Kenyan Drake and Kyler Murray working in the offense for a second year, and you have an offense with the potential to be one of the most explosive in the league. It also cannot be overlooked that in an offseason that has been mostly remote, a reliable pair of veteran hands will be a premium for all signal-callers this year, and you are getting that at WR72 currently. I’ll just say it; Larry Fitzgerald will be a top 36 wide receiver this year, period.
Higbee was one of the only positive surprises on a Rams offense that wildly underachieved last season. He moves like a cross between Gronk and Kelce and his massive production over the last two months of the season has earned him a starting nod. This offseason saw the Rams scuttle Brandin Cooks and Todd Gurley, meaning almost 120 targets are now up for grabs. Higbee reeled in 69 of 89 targets and averaged over 10.5 yards per catch (a phenomenal rate for a tight end). Heading into 2020, Higbee has the skill set to become on the truly elite players at a bare position, roll the dice, and you may just land yourself a top-three tight end at a discount price.
Deebo Samuel turned it on the last quarter of the season (and into the playoffs) and became a focal point of the juggernaut that was the 49ers offense. Samuel is an absolute nightmare for defenses after the catch, and he happens to play of a coach in Kyle Shanahan that is among the best in the NFL at designing plays to get his players open in space. Currently being drafted outside the top 20 at the position Samuel has the potential and opportunity to absolutely smash his ADP and finish the year as a top 15 WR, especially when you consider his ability to carry the ball as well (he had 14 rushes for 159 yards and three scores last season).
Carson, and it truly makes me pull my hair out, continues to be disrespected as an elite fantasy option. He is one of the most violent and effective runners in the league when healthy, and when he has missed time, his natural handcuff has been effective too. The addition of Carlos Hyde provides a cost-effective handcuff to carry that will readily step in should Carson miss time this year. And when he plays, he offers an RB1 floor on a weekly basis, and that upside comes at the cost of a cheap RB2. Seattle’s running game may not be sexy, but you will notice that teams that go WR early tend to target Carson and roll into the playoffs.
One of the keys to a rookie having a successful season is reliant upon two things, draft capital and landing spot. Luckily for the LSU rookie, he checks off both boxes. Kansas City took Clyde with their first-round pick and given history; he can be a successful RB1 in Fantasy. Last season needs to have an asterisk next to it when talking about Kansas City’s running back group. That was the first time that Andy Reid had used a Running Back by Committee.
In the previous years, he focused on pure three-down backs such as Duce Staley, Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy, Jamal Charles, and Kareem Hunt. Don’t expect to see CEH splitting carries with Damien Williams, Darwin Thompson, and the rest of the group. Patrick Mahomes personally the rookie, and there is a strong possibility that Reid goes back to his old ways and makes Edwards-Helaire a three-down back. At the end of the season, he can finish with over 1,300 total yards, double-digit scores, and a top-eight back.
A key advantage of having Tyrod as a quarterback over the rest of the crowd is running ability. Players such as Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, and Carson can finish ahead of non-running quarterbacks like Matt Ryan, Jared Goff, and Tom Brady because of their ability to score through the air and ground. Tyrod Taylor himself is an underrated runner who can breakout for the Chargers this season. During his three-year tenure in Buffalo, he totaled 1,575 rushing yards along with 14 touchdowns. In those three years with a stagnant Bills offense, he was the QB16, QB8, and QB16. Now in LA, Tyrod has his best weapons ever, superior defense, and strong likelihood to finish in the top 10.
Don’t be shaken by all the offseason receiver help Las Vegas has brought in. The sophomore Clemson receiver had a clear rapport with Derek Carr in 2019. Now with Nelson Agholor, Henry Ruggs III, and Bryan Edwards in the mix, people might hesitate to draft Hunter Renfrow, but let me shed some light as to why he still has value. While just playing in 13 games and starting in four of them, Renfrow was second on the team in targets (71), second in receptions (49), third in receiving yards (605), and third in receiving touchdowns (4).
It was a strong campaign by the rookie. From Week 7 to 13, he had only two games with fewer than 54 yards. Also, during that time span, there was just a single game in which he saw less than five targets. Renfrow has hidden value, especially in deeper leagues, due to his consistency and the trust Carr has with him.
Phillip Lindsay might be better than Melvin Gordon. It’s tough to hear, but it’s true. Gordon hasn’t been able to stay on the field. Playing only one 16 game season in his NFL career. To add insult to injury, there has been just a single season in which he averaged more than four yards per carry. To compare, Lindsay has missed only one game in his two seasons and averaged 5.4 and 4.5 yards per carry. As of right now, both are low-end RB2 or high-end RB3.
There is a lot of uncertainty about how the workload will be distributed, but Lindsay has the edge. Not only is he able to stay on the field more, but he is familiar with the offense, too. Phillip Lindsay should see a minimum of 12 weekly touches, but that might increase if he outplays Melvin Gordon or if the former Charger is unable to stay on the field.