During the past week, I've taken part in four personal drafts that involve key bragging rights and/or money. The formats were a 10-team, two-quarterback, non-PPR league; a 12-team, non-PPR, keeper league; a 12-team, PPR auction draft; and a 12-team, PPR league.
Through these different formats and league sizes, I've seen several players routinely slip further than I think they should. As such, these players provide intriguing value at various stages of the drafts.
As it turns, these players appear to be falling in most leagues, as their average draft position (ADP) has dipped during the past week across all ESPN fantasy drafts.
With that in mind, let's examine six players whose metrics, roles and coaching provide them with a good chance to far exceed their current ADP.
Luck currently is the 10th quarterback being taken in drafts, down an average of 5.9 spots (ADP: 84 overall) from a week ago, yet he was a top-four quarterback in the four seasons in which he didn't miss significant time. Yes, he missed all of last season, but his shoulder has shown zero setbacks this preseason. Is he more risky than Deshaun Watson (ACL), Carson Wentz (ACL) or Ben Roethlisberger (age, injury history)? Is his ceiling lower than Drew Brees (leaning on RB Alvin Kamara) or Kirk Cousins (leaning on RB Dalvin Cook)? Not in my mind. If you wait to draft your quarterback, Luck provides top-three upside at a ridiculously discounted price.
Penny is a rookie who has had a rough preseason (broken finger) and has seemingly lost out to Chris Carson as the Seattle starter for Week 1. But let's focus on the "season-long" part of season-long leagues and look at his long-term potential. The Seahawks used a first-round pick on the rookie, his body is built to be a three-down back, and the team is aiming to lean on the run again. As good as Carson seemed in his brief pre-injury stint in 2017 (as well as this preseason), he was a seventh-rounder who has played just four games as a pro. If Penny gets comfortable and healthy, he could well be a top-10 fantasy running back. In fact, Mike Clay thinks Penny compares well with one of last season's top rookie running backs.
Just like Penny, Jones is a rookie who has struggled throughout the preseason, has fallen behind Peyton Barber on the Tampa Bay depth chart and appears destined for a backup role in Week 1. Fine, don't use him in DFS games that week. Again, let's examine the long-term potential. Barber was the No. 38 overall pick in this year's NFL draft and sports impressive playmaking skills for a Buccaneers offense that is in dire need of a rushing presence -- and one that likely will struggle without Jameis Winston during the first few weeks. It's not difficult to imagine Jones finding his stride mid-season and making an impact down the stretch. That makes him worth a late-round flier.
You don't normally find a value pick in the first two rounds of drafts, because everyone knows the identity of all the elite players. The masses haven't lost their collective mind in the case of Jones -- he's still the fourth wideout off the board, which I'm fine with -- but his overall ADP has dropped over the past week from 9.4 to 14.1. Yes, we're talking about the same Julio Jones who is only 29, and who has surpassed 1,400 yards while missing only three games over the past four seasons. I understand he's never been a touchdown maven and mustered just three scores last season, but he has a high floor, along with the skill and offense to reach double-digits in the touchdown department. This means he is the rare value pick at the first-/second-round turn.
Here's a simple checklist to assess Fuller's upside:
Is he talented? Well, he was 21st overall pick in 2016 -- Check.
Does he have a good quarterback who can throw the deep ball? He's got Deshaun Watson -- Check.
Does he have another wideout who can draw defenses away from him? Hello, DeAndre Hopkins -- Check.
Does he have a track record of fantasy success? See his seven touchdowns on 13 catches in four games with Watson in 2017 -- Check.
Is his overall ADP declining? It fell from 85.7 to 92.8 over the past week -- Check.
Does he present way more upside than this draft spot suggests? I think you know the answer -- CHECK!
Like Jones above, Engram's ADP isn't out of line with his position, though I personally have him as the No. 4 tight end this season. Rather, it's his overall ADP -- which has slipped during the past seven days from 61.5 to 69.3 -- that provides value opportunity in your drafts. The No. 23 overall pick in 2017 caught 64 passes for 722 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie and is oozing with talent. While there may be concerns of playing alongside a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. and the addition of rookie running back Saquon Barkley sucking targets away from Engram, you can turn them around by considering how much more open his looks should be this season with defenses keying on those other two offensive options.