Every season, fantasy football championships are won by taking risks during the draft. They are also won by drafting the players no one else is looking at. We are going to look at five players currently being slept on in July’s ADP rankings which is about a month before leagues start drafting and the hype reports start to come out.
RB Michael Carter
Michael Carter was drafted in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He has the talent to take the lead back role during training camp from the likes of LaMical Perine and Ty Johnson who underperformed last year.
We also cannot forget about new free agent acquisition Tevin Coleman who was expected to be the lead back for the 49ers. However, Coleman was ultimately outshined by Raheem Mostert. Michael Carter has a legitimate path to be fantasy football RB1 for the Jets with an improved offensive line. Carter is being drafted anywhere between Rounds 8-10 and could become a league winner for some who don’t overpay for him.
WR Mike Williams
Mike Williams is in a contract year with the Los Angeles Chargers. His career so far has been riddled with injuries and underwhelming. However, having the fantasy football WR2 for the Justin Herbert led Chargers looks very promising from a fantasy standpoint.
Williams has serious upside for being a late round selection and could finish with WR1 production. He had 10 touchdowns in 2018 and 1,000 yards in 2019. If he could play a full season, we could see those numbers mesh together into one single season stat line.
With Justin Herbert having another offseason to develop and build on an impressive rookie year, Williams could reap those benefits with solid production.
WR Antonio Brown
Antonio Brown. Do I need to say more? He is being drafted as the WR45 and that is just plain silly. There are a lot of mouths to feed in that Tampa Bay offense but with Tom Brady at the helm, anything is possible for Brown.
In the final three games of the Buccaneers regular season he finished with 266 yards and four touchdowns. Godwin has not played a full season since 2018 and Mike Evans has also missed game due to injury in the past.
Brown is definitely worth taking as a weekly flex option in the later rounds. We saw his chemistry build with Tom Brady late in the season and on the way to the Super Bowl. With a full offseason together, this duo could have a lot of success in 2021.
WR Tre’Quan Smith
Jameis Winston unlocks a brand new Saints offense. Yes.. I said it. The Saints can finally throw the ball deeper down the field and that fits Smith’s specialty. We saw flashes of the Winston to Smith connection last year during a 56 yard flea flicker for a touchdown.
Tre’Quan Smith will have more opportunities within this Saints offense opposite Michael Thomas. Jameis Winston has thrown for 33 touchdowns in the past and had brought success to his Buccaneers wide receivers when he played with them.
While nobody will question the greatness of Drew Brees, it was quite obvious that his arm wasn’t what it used to be last season. Winston has his flaws as a quarterback, but he also threw for 5000 yards in his last season as a starter. The Saints quarterback could throw 30 interceptions, but he could also throw 30 touchdowns which could benefit Smith.
Tre’Quan smith is worthy of a chance in the very late rounds to the final round in drafts.
RB Phillip Lindsay
Lindsay came to the NFL spotlight with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent. He rushed for 1,000 yards his rookie season and became an instant star.
This offseason, the Broncos let him walk in free agency after signing Melvin Gordon the year prior. They also ultimately drafted his replacement in Javonte Williams during the draft. Lindsay signed with the Texans that included a backfield of David Johnson, Mark Ingram, and Rex Burkhead.
That seems like a very crowded backfield that should be avoided. However, all I see is mediocrity. David Johnson underperformed last year. Mark Ingram was also virtually a healthy scratch in Baltimore for a majority of the season.
Rex Burkhead never has seen the amount of touches necessary to ever write off any running back starting ahead of him. Lindsay has a chance to take over the backfield and with a ranking of RB54, that is an extreme value especially if taking a “zero RB” approach to fantasy football drafts.