Every year I find myself writing articles about undervalued fantasy football players. These are players going way later in drafts compared to where they will finish at end of the season. I love the underdog. What can I say? There’s always value to be had in drafts. Owners that pay attention to underestimated players capitalize on ADP discrepancies every year. This year, let’s make you one of them. Here are some of my undervalued fantasy football players for the 2019 season.
Anthony Miller, WR Chicago Bears
Yup. I’m planting my flag on this guy. I have all summer and I’m all in at his current ADP. Currently drafted in the mid to late 11th round in PPR (according to Fantasy Football Calculator), Miller is cheap. His ADP shifted up a round (from 12th to 11th) over the summer, but his injury history and recent sprained ankle should still keep it low. Though Miller’s ankle is starting to make me a little weary, Coach Nagy seemed unconcerned about this impacting his Week 1 availability. He should have time to get back into sync with Trubisky before season start.
Miller caught 33 of his 54 targets for 423 yards and seven TDs during his rookie campaign last season. We didn’t know the extent until post-season, but he battled with a shoulder injury that often popped out of place and hampered his ability to run routes and catch as effectively. Even with that, Miller turned on the gas mid-season, receiving 34 targets over Weeks 7-12, accumulating 304 yards and 3 TDs on 20 catches. This included a monster 122 yard game vs Detroit where he also scored a TD. By the way, his seven TDs on the year led the team.
In 2018, Miller ran most of his routes out of the slot position (around 70%) and looks like he will maintain that role in his second year in Nagy’s offense. Trubisky historically loves to throw to his slot receiver. According to NFL’s Michael Florio, Trubisky threw 9.7 passes per game to the slot position in 2018. This should increase fantasy players’ confidence in Miller’s path to fantasy success–opportunity will be there. Will he rise to the occasion?
One non-stat component that solidified my confidence in him is, in fact, his grit. Even with a bum shoulder (happened initially Week 3), Miller pushed through to be productive for his team in any way that he could. Just ask his WR coach from Memphis about his determination. When asked for a comparison, Coach David Johnson gave the name Tryann Mathieu, a defensive back. He stated that both players “won’t be denied” and that neither are “worried about anything else when they get on that football field. It’s about whatever play they’re doing, every play is full speed, every play is like their last play.”
This is the same guy that went from a college walk-on to having a 238 catch, 3590 yard, and 37 TD college football career. Chicago drafted Miller as 51st overall for a reason and he’ll show that in 2019. Anthony Miller will work through a sprained ankle to give us 16 games this season.
Jared Goff and Cooper Kupp LA Rams
If I go QB earlier than I typically would, Jared Goff is the quarterback I’d want. He’s the starting QB in Sean McVay’s offense with these weapons: Todd Gurley, Robert Woods, and Brandin Cooks. Oh, wait. You thought that was it? No no. He also gets fellow undervalued asset Cooper Kupp back this year.
Before his ACL injury, Kupp accrued 566 yards and 6 TDs on 56 targets in eight games. Those numbers even include the one game in which Kupp tweaked his knee and left the game after only one catch. He looks set to return at full speed in Week 1, with Jay Glazer of The Athletic recently reporting that Kupp timed better on all his test scores (agility, quickness, route running) than before his ACL injury. Pretty nuts huh?
I expect him to lead the team in targets and put his 73% completion rate (highest on the team) to good use. He’s the cheapest of all the Rams receiving weapons, going in the late 4th round in PPR leagues. A safe late-round QB target would be pairing Kupp with Jared Goff, whose completion rate, first down percentage, and yards per attempt were heavily impacted by Kupp’s absence despite the other weapons at his disposal. His 1st down percentage went from 47 to 38 percent, his completion rate from 71 to 61 percent, and his yards per attempt from 9.3 to 7.2.
Goff finished last season as the #6 overall fantasy QB. He’s currently being drafted in the early 9th round, though I think he has top 5 QB upside in 2019. If you’re confused about which offensive weapon to draft in this potent offense, Goff is the one throwing to all of them. He’s worth the investment.
Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
Update: As this article went to press, Jordan Reed left Thursday’s preseason game with a possible concussion. This would be Reed’s 7th concussion and so owners must consider the possibility of this impacting his Week 1 availability. Reed is already pretty cheap, but this will guarantee his ADP to stay low or drop even more. It’s a shame, but a good reminder of his risk level and why you’re getting him so late in drafts. This is something to monitor over the next week or so.
Ok, don’t roll your eyes at me. You might be a player that is completely against rostering Reed. Burnt in the past? I get it. I’m not going to lie to you. Jordan Reed hasn’t played a full season…ever (played 13 last season, which was most since 2015). So, there’s risk. But, this is the first off-season in three years that he hasn’t required a surgery or needed to rehab an injury. News out of camp is very positive, with Reed describing himself as stronger and more explosive and most important of all–100% healthy.
Forgotten at the bottom of drafts with the likes of fellow injury-prone TEs Tyler Eifert and Kyle Rudolph, Reed’s current ADP is in the 13th round. He’s not even drafted in some 10-12 team leagues. This is a guy that finished as the 14th overall fantasy TE last season (in 13 games) and 9th in 2016 (in just 12 games) So, he’s currently being drafted at his floor, with a TE1 ceiling.
If you look at the weapons in Washington, it isn’t unrealistic to predict a healthy Jordan Reed as leading the team in targets and gaining hefty looks in the red zone. He led the team in 2018, receiving 18% of the overall target share and trailed only Doctson in red-zone targets, seeing 15% of those. Also, Jamison Crowder and Maurice Harris are no longer in Washington. You can pair Reed up with Chris Herndon (you can snag him from waivers, also not being drafted) to decrease your risk. I wait on TE, so Reed is a perfect late-round target for me, on the cheap.
Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers
Though teammate D.J. Moore captures the attention of fantasy owners, they are overlooking the jump Curtis Samuel could make in 2019. Devin Funchess left his 79 targets behind when he joined the Colts this off-season. That leaves plenty of room for Samuel to improve from his 65 targets in 2018 (13 games).
Samuel started slowly last season, not receiving a target until Week 5. But, from Week 11 on, he really turned up the heat and finished the season strong. In that span of time, Samuel saw 49 targets and caught 27 for 370 yards and three TDs. Coach Rivera recently stated he is “light years ahead” of where he was in past years and has been the star of training camp.
Currently drafted in the middle of the seventh round (PPR), he’s going about 1.5 rounds after D.J. Moore. Samuel has just as much potential to be the #1 target on this offense and you get him on the cheap.
Donte Moncrief, Pittsburgh Steelers
Yes, I know James Washington did well in preseason and the WR2 role is not decided yet. However, Moncrief shined at camp and represents the favorite to start the season across from Juju. Both Washington and Moncrief are currently going in the 10th round, with James going just before Donte. The Steelers signed Moncrief to a two-year, $9 million dollar contract this off-season. His teammates and coaches spoke highly of him this summer and he never slipped from the WR2 spot at training camp. Though he never really “flashed” in the NFL over his five seasons, Moncrief possesses a clear path to targets in a solid offense.
Plus, Big Ben throws a lot. He’s been top five in pass attempts (last year he was #1) the last two seasons. Also, the Steelers lost their playmaker and target monster (168 targets in 2018 to be exact) Antonio Brown. I like Moncrief’s talent more than Washington’s and predict him to reach career-highs in receptions (64) and yards (733) in 2019. He’s worth a flier towards the end of your drafts.
Malcolm Brown, LA Rams
So, am I really trying to sell you on three Rams for undervalued? Well, yea. I guess I am. You don’t have to draft all of them. But, fantasy owners need to consider Malcolm Brown. Drafters willingly spend an early eighth-round pick on rookie Darrell Henderson, who looks to be the change-of-pace back. Some project Henderson will get 9-12 touches per game, so I get that owners see a great talent, a possible handcuff, and stand-alone value. Rock on.
But, what if I told you that eight rounds later (or for free in some leagues), you can score the guy that most likely would be in line for early-down work should Todd Gurley actually go down or miss time? Maybe it would be an RBBC. Probably would. But, the Rams valued Brown as part of the backfield to such an extent that they matched Detroit’s’ $3.3 million dollar offer sheet to keep him this season. If you can’t score Henderson and want to save that draft capital, Brown could still represent great value should an opportunity present itself. Oh, one more thing. Malcolm Brown played ZERO preseason snaps, likely indicating he’s too valuable to risk. Just sayin’.
Jalen Richard, RB Oakland Raiders
Geronimo Allison, WR Green Bay Packers
Matthew Stafford, QB Detroit Lions
Alexander Mattison, RB Minnesota Vikings
RIP Former Undervalued RB Chris Carson, whose ADP jumped from the fifth round to the third in a month. Hope you already had shares.
And that does it. There they are. My picks for most undervalued fantasy football players for the 2019 season. I hope this article helps you take advantage during your drafts this month! Please hit me up on Twitter at @TheOnlyJenSmith with any draft questions. Also, we have a ton of great redraft and DFS content coming out at The Fantasy Authority, so don’t miss out!