With August underway and summer beginning to wind down, It’s time to look forward to fantasy football season. Fantasy drafts are getting underway, and finding a player late at a discounted price tag is essential to becoming the champion of your league. With every roster in the NFL providing depth and good fantasy value, in this article, I will examine one diamond in the rough on each team based on their average current draft position (ADP). The average draft value determined the ADP across the most popular fantasy league hosts, and now we kick things off with the AFC.
Baltimore Ravens: Marquise Brown, WR (ADP 65)
The Raven’s speed burner battled a foot injury last season that forced him to miss time. However, Brown still finished the season with 71 receptions for 584 yards and seven touchdowns in 11 games. Paired in a run-heavy offense in Baltimore that is not built to feature wide receivers, Brown still finished as a top 50 fantasy pass-catcher last season, averaging eight fantasy points per game. Locked in as the number one receiver for the team next season, Brown offers boom or bust potential as one of the best young deep threats in the league. If his injury woes are behind him, he provides excellent value for a WR3 and a late pick in your draft.
Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Landry, WR (ADP 70)
One of the most consistent fantasy receivers in the league, Landry has finished with over 80 receptions in each of his six seasons. Finishing as the best receiver on the team in 2019, he recorded career highs in yards per reception and receiving yards per game. While the Browns currently surround Baker Mayfield with some of the best weapons in football, featuring Odell Beckham Jr, Austin Hooper, and Nick Chubb, Landry’s production will remain the same. Currently projected as WR32 in fantasy leagues with an ADP of 70, he remains criminally underrated in drafts. After hip surgery in early February, the team remains confident that he will be available for week one, making him a high end starting receiver in any fantasy league.
Pittsburgh Steelers: James Conner, RB (ADP 45)
The lead back for the Steelers looks to bounce back off an injury-riddled 2019 season that saw him rush for just 464 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games for the team. Currently projected as RB22 in most fantasy leagues and with the return of Ben Roethlisberger, look for the Steelers offense to get back on track and for Connor to regain his form from his Pro Bowl season in 2018. As the only every-down back on the Steelers roster, look for him to handle the majority of the workload in the rushing game with an expanded role in the receiving game. Overall, he provides tremendous upside as an RB2 in half or full PPR leagues.
Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Boyd, WR (ADP 78)
With back to back seasons of over 1,000 receiving yards and five touchdowns, many have forgotten about Boyd. Paired with uneasy quarterback play in Cincinnati, he has finished the last two seasons as WR25 and WR17. After the first selection of Joe Burrow this past draft, look for him to excel as a primary slot receiver for the Bengals next season. Currently projected as WR33 in most fantasy leagues, Boyd’s 78 ADP lands him in the seventh round of fantasy drafts. With question marks still surrounding star receiver A.J. Green after he appeared in just nine games last season, look for Tyler to be the go-to guy in Cincinnati and a reliable WR2/WR3 option for your team.
Buffalo Bills: Stefon Diggs, WR (ADP 54)
After becoming disgruntled for his role in the Vikings offense, Diggs landed in Buffalo after a trade this offseason. After seeing just 94 targets last offseason, expect him to see an expanded role as they lead guy in the Bills passing game. A high upside with his current WR21 projection, despite averaging just 6.2 targets per game last season, he finished as WR21 leading into the same ranking heading into next season. However, as he joins a receiving core in Buffalo already featuring John Brown and Cole Beasley, who both had more than 100 targets last season, Diggs will compete for targets. Along with this, the unsteady play of quarterback Josh Allen to produce week in and week out makes him a middle-tier WR2.
New England Patriots: N’Keal Harry, WR (ADP 139)
After a disastrous rookie season that saw him appear in just the final seven games of the season in a limited role, Harry will look to bounce back next season. Finishing the season with only 12 receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns, he had no more than three receptions or 29 receiving yards in any game in 2019. Heading into 2020 in a Patriots offense desperate for playmakers, look for him to have an expanded role as he competes for a starting spot behind veterans Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu. Currently projected as WR55 in most fantasy leagues, if the Patriots elect to start Cam Newton next season, Harry provides a late-round WR3 option worthy of a pick in your draft.
Miami Dolphins: Mike Gesicki, TE (ADP 127)
The third-year Dolphins tight end had a strong 2019 season that saw him record 51 receptions for 570 yards and five touchdowns in 16 games. Finishing as the number 11 tight end, expect Gesicki to receive a lot of snaps as a slot wide receiver for offensive coordinator Chain Gailey next season, something he did on 66 percent of his snaps in 2019. In his six past seasons as either an offensive coordinator or head coach, primary slot receivers have all had productive seasons in Gailey’s offense, making Gesicki an intriguing option for fantasy owners. With many leagues currently having him at TE14, he offers tight end number one potential and a great middle-round value pick for those who choose to wait on the position.
New York Jets: Breshad Perriman, WR (ADP 145)
An up and down receiver over his four seasons in the league, Perriman once again has a primary opportunity to contribute next season with the Jets following the departure of Robbie Anderson. In an expanded role late in the season after the Buccaneers were eliminated from the playoffs, Perriman shined recording 20 catches for 419 yards and five touchdowns. Last season the offensive line for the Jets was among the worst in the NFL, as they ranked among the lowest in the NFL in every major category. However, the team underwent significant changes at the position this offseason with the additions of rookie Mekhi Becton and former Broncos tackle Connor McGovern. With Darnold expected to have cleaner pockets and more time to throw next season, a pass-catcher like Perriman provides the best value for the team.
Kansas City Chiefs: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB (ADP 26)
The Chiefs 2020 first-round draft pick became a must draft at his RB14 spot on fantasy boards after Damien Williams chose to opt-out of next season due to COVID-19 concerns. Viewed as a franchise back by the front office and coaching staff in Kansas City, Edwards Helaire shined last season for the national champion LSU Tigers, rushing for over 1400 yards and 16 touchdowns for the team in 15 games while adding another 400 yards through the air. Expected to be the workhorse back for one of the best offenses in the league, he is in the perfect situation in head coach Andy Reid’s offense as in 10 of his 19 seasons in the league; his best running back has put up top ten fantasy numbers in standard-scoring leagues.
Denver Broncos: Phillip Lindsay, RB (ADP 100)
The leading rusher for the Broncos over the past two seasons, Lindsay, will receive a reduced workload next season. However, the University of Colorado alumni should still see a steady number of carriers in 2020, paired in the Broncos backfield with free-agent addition Melvin Gordon. Finishing a top 20 running back in fantasy last season, he had an outstanding year for the team, rushing for 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns on 224 carries. In an offense that again looks to be run-heavy next season following the addition of new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, expect Phillip to outperform his current projection of RB37.
Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs III, WR (ADP 116)
The first pass-catcher off the board in this year’s NFL draft, Ruggs should see plenty of opportunity in his first season with the Raiders. Stepping into a group of receivers that underperformed mightily in 2019, with the top fantasy finish being Tyrell Williams at WR47, expect Henry to be the number one option for the Las Vegas passing game. A home run threat with his game-breaking speed, Ruggs is also a steady route runner with strong hands. In John Gruden’s offense, expect him to line up primarily on the outside as a deep/vertical threat along within the slot on specific packages. An upside of a low end WR3 with a floor of a high-end WR4, he has all the tools to make an impact as a rookie.
Los Angeles Chargers: Tyrod Taylor, QB (ADP 202)
Expected to be the week one starter for the Chargers in 2020, Taylor is in a prime situation to have a surprise fantasy season, making him worth a late-round pick in two-quarterback leagues. A consistent fantasy signal-caller during his last time as a full-time starter in Buffalo, Taylor finished as a top 20 passer in each of his three seasons with the Bills. Known for his rushing abilities, he has rushed for over 400 yards three times during his NFL career, along with this, he is also a consistent passer, completing more than 60% of his throws in four seasons. Paired with longtime Bills assistant coach Anthony Lynn and surrounded by one of the best receiving corps in the entire league led by longtime Charger Keenan Allen, look for Tyrod to have his best season as a pro in 2020.
Indianapolis Colts: Michael Pittman Jr., WR (ADP 154)
A perfect receiver for new Colts quarterback Philip Rivers, Pittman is set up for success during his rookie season. At 6’4 and weighing in at over 220 pounds, he excels as a deep vertical threat with exceptional run after the catch abilities. A perfect situation in Indianapolis, Rivers ranked fourth in the league in pass attempts and eighth in the league in passing yards on throws 20 yards or more down the field in 2019. Currently listed as the second receiver on the team’s depth chart, expect him to play with star Colts receiver TY Hilton in two pass-catcher sets. This means that Pittman is well worth the value with his current projection as WR57, as he has high-end WR5 potential.
Tennessee Titans: Jonnu Smith, TE (ADP 148)
In an expanded role with the Titans last season, following the departure of longtime tight end Delanie Walker, Smith was solid, recording 35 receptions for 439 yards and three touchdowns. Known for his run after the catch skills, he finished top ten last season in receiving yards after the catch, receiving yards after contact, and broken tackles among tight ends. Paired in the perfect offense in Tennessee under offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, the team targeted tight ends on 25% of their passing plays last season, meaning Jonnu should see plenty of targets as the leader of the position group. Current fantasy leagues have Smith ranked as tight end number 17 in their positional rankings, however, look for him to finish higher, near the TE12 mark.
Houston Texans: David Johnson, RB (ADP 43)
A player who has not been able to stay on the field the past few seasons, Johnson heads into 2020 as the lead guy for the Texans offense. Once again projected to finish as a top ten fantasy running back last season, he had his campaign cut short by multiple injuries and was ultimately traded to Houston in the offseason. Known for his receiving skills and ability to put the ball in the end zone, Johnson should have a significant role in Bill O’Brien‘s scheme following the departure of superstar receiver Deandre Hopkins. According to Fantasy Pros, he is currently the 20th back expected to be drafted, and the 43rd player overall. With players like Le’Veon Bell, James Conner, and D’Andre Swift right around him, David is in the second tier of running backs and worth a selection for anyone unable to land one of the top guys.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Gardner Minshew, QB (ADP 169)
With the Jaguars lacking diamonds in the rough, Minshew provides the best fantasy value for the team. In 12 games for the Jaguars last season, he surprised mightily, throwing for over 3200 yards and 20 touchdowns, finishing as the best rookie passer in the league. With a solid supporting cast around him in Jacksonville, led by Leonard Fournette, DJ Chark, and Dede Westbrook and with the team once again expected to struggle mightily in 2020, the opportunity will arise for Minshew to throw the ball all over the field. Along with this, new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has led Kirk Cousins and Andy Dalton to top ten fantasy seasons. This means that at his current QB29 projection, Gardner is worth a pick in two-quarterback leagues.
Questions and comments?
Hit us up on the Socials:
Check out our Facebook Group where you can read and post articles at The Scorecrow
Reddit Group where everyone can post without fear of being banned at The Scorecrow
Follow Chris Gallagher on Twitter @ChrisGally06
Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images