Finding the undervalued players that fly under the radar and can be drafted for pennies on the dollar are part of the recipe for fantasy success. Even if your first round pick blows out a hammy in week 1, you can still salvage your season if you build depth by accumulating enough fantasy assets throughout the draft. Rather than targeting the over-hyped rookie or paying for a career season, the astute fantasy owner will make a list of potential bounce back players that some might forget about. In this article we list players that are due to provide more value than their current ADP (average draft position) as you are better off drafting players that have an ADP closer to their expected floor as loading on undervalued players with upside is the best way to ensure that you are hoisting the fantasy Lombardi trophy in January.
Matt Ryan completed his 3rd NFL season finishing 14th in fantasy pts/game (16.5). The Atlanta passing game as a whole was slightly above average in 2010, finishing 15th (222 yards/game). This year Ryan should improve in several categories, including completion percentage (62.5% in 2010) and yards (6.5 yards per attempt). Those are two areas that another legitimate weapon can really help. The Falcons traded up to select WR Julio Jones in round 1 and also added a dynamic backfield receiver in Jacquizz Rodgers, giving Ryan two additional playmakers that could have the Boston College alum primed to solidify himself as a QB1. Now entering his 4th season under center, Ryan has proven to be durable (only missed two games in 3 seasons) and has the weapons to improve on his career best TD:INT ratio (28:9) and YPG average (231) from 2010. His current ADP makes him a solid value in rounds 6-7 and his stock rises in dynasty leagues as the 26 year old QB is surrounded by a bevy of young playmakers.
The #1 overall pick in the 2009 draft remains an elite talent despite having his first two seasons cut short by shoulder injuries. Stafford remains a high end QB2 despite the injury risk. He has a mediocre 19:21 TD/INT ratio and has averaged 215 YPG in 13 NFL starts. The 23 year old Georgia product remains a strong target in dynasty leagues considering the talented nucleus of receiving options at his disposal including WR Calvin Johnson, TE Brandon Pettigrew and RB Jahvid Best. With journeyman Shaun Hill under center for the bulk of 2010, the Lions' passing offense finished an impressive 12th in the league (238 YPG). The additions of rookies WR Titus Young and RB Mikel Leshoure should bolster an offense that is bound to surprise in 2011. Stafford's current ADP has him just outside starter status in 12 team leagues, but he makes for a high end QB2 worthy considering in rounds 9-10.
With today's news that rookie Mikel Leshoure will miss his rookie season with an ACL injury, Jahvid Best's fantasy stock gets a considerable boost. Detroit's coaching staff had already anointed Leshoure as the likely red zone option, which led many to drop Best down their cheat sheets. Detroit's run game floundered in 2010 despite a hot start from rookie Jahvid Best (5'10, 199). He burst onto the scene scoring 5 TDs in his first two games, but reached paydirt only once more in the final 14 weeks as turf toe injuries derailed his production. Best is primed to see a much bigger workload which should allow the 2nd year back from Cal to outperform his current ADP (RB21 / 45 Overall) - provided he can avoid stubbing his toes. Detroit recently signed Jerome Harrison and Mike Bell as added depth but neither option is likely to diminish Best's fantasy value.
Ryan Grant posted two straight 1,200 yards seasons in 2008/2009 and rewarded fantasy owners with 11 touchdowns in 2009. Last season was a different story as those that used an early round pick on Grant got exactly one week of production after he suffered a season ending ankle injury in week 1 against Philadelphia. Grant is not much of a receiver (didn't crack 200 yards receiving in his 3 NFL seasons), so his stock takes a hit in PPR leagues but he remains a borderline RB2 in standard scoring leagues (as the likely starter and red zone back for one the league's more prolific offenses). Grant finished 8th among running backs in fantasy points in 2009, but the presence of 2010 playoff hero James Starks and selection of rookie Alex Green (Hawaii) make the Green Bay backfield one to watch as training camp progresses. Provided he's healthy, the 28 year old Grant is likely to be the starter in week 1 for the Packers. He's entering a contract year and the downhill runner could bounce back to a double digit TD season, making him a wise selection in the 4th-5th round of standard scoring leagues.
With veteran Derrick Mason signing with the NY Jets, Boldin is primed to see an uptick in targets during his 2nd year in Baltimore. The addition of rookie speedsters Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss (labeled above average route runner with reliable hands) could stretch defenses, allowing Boldin to wreak havoc on underneath routes. Boldin has topped 1,000 yards in 5 of his 8 NFL seasons, but his first year in Baltimore ended in disappointing fashion (averaged only 34 YPG in his final 9 games). He finished 2010 with 64 catches for 837 yards and seven TDs, which ranked 25th among fantasy WRs. The loss of TE Todd Heap (now in Arizona) could stand to further increase Joe Flacco's reliance on Boldin in the red zone. Based on ADP data, Anquan is in a tier with Steve Johnson, Wes Welker, Kenny Britt and Sidney Rice. With additional firepower added to the passing game, Boldin has the skill set to finish as a top 20 WR, making him a solid WR2 as he enters his 9th NFL season.