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A fantasy draft is all about obtaining the most value with each selection. There is value available throughout a draft, and grabbing it is one of the most important keys to a successful fantasy team. In an attempt to point out this value, we asked our staff to look through the Top 150 and identify players that should outperform their draft position.
Here are the players who received the most votes:
And here are all of the payers mentioned and the reasons why.
Player Receiving 5 Votes
Andrew Davenport: It looks as though Tannehill is just going to be one of those players who, no matter how well he performs, will be under drafted every year. Even with the addition of Julio Jones to the wide receiver corps, his ADP barely budged. But he accounted for 40 total touchdowns last year, including 7 on the ground. What greater friend to a rushing quarterback could there be than having Derrick Henry to keep defenses honest near the goal line? Tannehill has always been a sneaky rushing threat but isn't treated like one. On top of that, according to Pro Football Reference, he ranked fourth in the league last year in average yards per attempt. The only quarterbacks who did better were Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, and Patrick Mahomes II. That's elite company, and Tannehill is a screaming value in drafts.
Victoria Geary: The Titans added star wide receiver Julio Jones this offseason, but Tannehill's ADP barely even flinched. What more has to be done to convince us we should stop underestimating Tannehill for fantasy? He may not have the elite rushing upside as Kyler Murray or Jalen Hurts, but scoring seven touchdowns on the ground last season is nothing to scoff at. A new offensive coordinator and fresh talent around him may open up the Titan's passing game even more, and the best part is that you don't need to pay a premium for Tannehill to find out. He has massive upside at a very reasonable QB12 price.
Jeff Haseley: Ryan Tannehill finished eighth last season. With the departure of run-heavy offensive coordinator Arthur Smith and the addition of Julio Jones, the passing game should take a jump from what we've seen in the past. New offensive coordinator Todd Downing has options between running back Derrick Henry and wide receivers A.J. Brown and Jones. An increase in the passing game that averaged 22nd in total passing yards over the last two years seems imminent. Tannehill is someone who can be drafted after the top 10-12 quarterbacks have been selected. He had eight top-12 weekly finishes last season.
Chad Parsons: Julio Jones is a massive addition for Tannehill (Josh Reynolds is a WR3 upgrade from their 2020 passing game iteration as well), who has been on a new career trajectory since snaring the Titans starting job. Tannehill was QB3 with his ratio of touchdowns to interceptions in 2020, behind only Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes II. Tannehill adds a rushing boost, and if his volume increases at all, which it should with Jones' addition, Tannehill has top-5 within his range of outcomes for a fringe top-12 price point.
Ryan Weisse: Ryan Tannehill was the No. 7 quarterback in fantasy last year. His team got better, and he is now being drafted as the No. 12 quarterback. He is the definition of value. He was 18th in pass attempt last year, so there is no convincing "lack of volume" argument to be made against him. The team added Julio Jones, and that alone could add 300 yards to Tannehill's totals. Tannehill has top-five upside while being drafted in the eighth round of fantasy drafts.
Player Receiving 4 Votes
Phil Alexander: Wilson has finished inside the top-five quarterbacks in five out of the last seven years, including each of the previous two. And during the first half of 2020, he proved overall QB1 is still within his range of possible outcomes. The Seahawks have Tyler Lockett in his prime, DK Metcalf ready to enter his, and upgraded at tight end and No. 3 wide receiver with Gerald Everett and Dwayne Eskridge, respectively. Consider Wilson the ideal consolation prize if you miss out on one of the consensus top-five quarterbacks.
Sigmund Bloom: The Seahawks are excited about Shane Waldron's new offense, so maybe we should be excited about drafting Wilson at ADP. The team has been speeding up the tempo and adding deception by making passing and running plays look the same. Wilson produces like an elite QB1 when given the opportunity, and it looks like he will be given the opportunity this year.
Andrew Davenport: Wilson's finish to 2020 has people a little spooked. That's understandable, but this is still a quarterback who threw 40 touchdowns, eclipsed 500 rushing yards, and added two scores on the ground. Career-wise he's a virtual lock for 300+ rushing yards and a couple rushing touchdowns every year, and he's thrown for less than 31 scores only once since 2014. Enter Shane Waldron as his offensive coordinator for 2021. If Pete Carroll stays out of the way, this has the makings of an exciting offense. There are reports that they will try to increase their pace and become more unpredictable with pre-snap formations and movement. That should combat some of the predictability Seattle showed in their play-calling down the stretch in 2020. Wilson is still going where he is in drafts makes him a value at current ADP.
Jason Wood: Wilson finished 4th and 6th in 2019 and 2020, respectively, yet he's coming off the board a tier lower this year? New OC Shane Waldron was brought in explicitly to increase the passing productivity and bring the Seahawks offense into the modern era. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are both elite, No. 1-caliber receivers, and the supporting cast has improved around Wilson, including -- most importantly -- the offensive line. Wilson has never finished outside the Top 12 and has been a top-10 fantasy quarterback for 8 straight seasons. He should be off the board before Aaron Rodgers and Justin Herbert, for sure, and quite possibly Dak Prescott, depending on how his shoulder looks and how the offensive line shapes up in Dallas.
Players Receiving 3 Votes
Andy Hicks: There are rules for other quarterbacks. Then there is a seeming lack of rules for Tom Brady. Recording 40 passing touchdowns and 4500 passing yards when he didn't know the offense, was getting to know his new environment, and had a significant knee injury portends to an excellent 2021. He did not lose any of his teammates from 2020 and O.J. Howard returns from injury. Maybe this is his final year. Maybe not. It should be a fun journey this season anyway.
Matt Waldman: Last I checked, Brady's offensive line and skill positions are intact from 2020's championship run. He also had the third-highest passing yardage totals after Week 10 and was second only to Deshaun Watson in yards per attempt (8.47) during this span. Peyton Manning smashed NFL records during his second year with the Broncos. Consider 2020 Brady's acclimation season and 2021 the year where he and his supporting cast are in top gear -- a cast arguably better than anything Denver provided Manning. This could be a record-shattering season.
Jason Wood: He's older than many head coaches. He's immobile in an era of rushing quarterbacks. He's been around so long there's no sex appeal to targeting him. But none of those are valid reasons for pushing Tom Brady down draft boards. He was the seventh-ranked fantasy quarterback last year despite changing teams, learning an entirely new system, having to rebuild rapport with a new cast of skill players, and playing with a torn MCL! The Buccaneers return their entire nucleus from last year's Super Bowl unit; cohesiveness is one of the main factors for improving fantasy output. With a full year of Antonio Brown and the third-down electricity Giovanni Bernard adds to the backfield, Brady should be considered among the top-tier quarterbacks.
James Brimacombe: The more and more whispers I hear about how good Lawrence has looked so far in camp, the more I believe he is being undervalued at his current ADP. The likes of Joe Burrow, Trey Lance, and Justin Fields are all going in favor of Lawrence. The Jaguars have a strong offense balanced with playmakers in James Robinson, Travis Etienne, D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, and Marvin Jones. Lawrence will have plenty of opportunities to put up big numbers with that offensive crew, and the fact that he might be the most polished rookie since Andrew Luck makes me want to look at him as a value option in 2021.
Dan Hindery: This rookie quarterback class has the chance to be special both on the field and in our fantasy lineups. Knowing that there will be multiple high-upside rookie quarterbacks available late allows you to wait and see if any of the top quarterbacks slide. If none drop below ADP, you are still in good shape waiting for Lawrence. His size and athleticism are underrated. Plus, Urban Meyer loves to involve his quarterbacks in the run game, especially down around the goal line, giving Lawrence major rushing upside. The top passing game weapons (Laviska Shenault, D.J. Chark, and Marvin Jones) also give Lawrence plenty to work with as a passer.
Matt Waldman: There are concerns Urban Meyer is showing the NFL that he's on his way to becoming the next Steve Spurrier or Lou Holtz--excellent college coaches who were not prepared for the realities of pro football. Even so, Lawrence is an excellent prospect who wins in and outside the pocket. Think Andrew Luck with better wheels. Luck was not the early master of coverages that many made him out to be, which is why I'm comfortable with the comparison. Expect the Jaguars defense to generate a lot of garbage-time scenarios. With this young and talented cast, Lawrence should deliver top-12 fantasy production unless Meyer gets too Tebow-happy.
James Brimacombe: My reasons for Mayfield as a value are simple this season. He plays on an up-and-coming team that is coming off a nice playoff run, is surrounded by offensive talent, is entering year four, and has yet to really break out and take the next step. Mayfield's current stigma is that he is not very good at putting up the fantasy football stats. He has started his career as QB17, QB18, and QB17 the following three seasons, and in Year 4, I can see him taking a leap into that top 12 range.
Ben Cummins: In his first year on the job, Kevin Stefanski won AP Coach of the Year last season after leading the Browns of all franchises to an 11-5 record. Stefanski impressed me so much; I see a year two explosion in the range of outcomes similar to what Kyle Shanahan did with the Falcons’ offense in 2016. That would greatly benefit Baker Mayfield, who has shown tons of promise in his early NFL career outside of the disaster that was the Freddie Kitchens-led 2019 team. In Weeks 1-16, out of 52 quarterbacks with at least 40 pass attempts, here are some of Mayfield’s 2020 ranks despite playing in multiple bad weather games: Pass TDs per game 16th, Adjusted net yards per passing attempt 13th, and Touchdown percentage 13th. And his alpha wide receiver, Odell Beckham, returns to headline a solid group of skill position players. I’m buying.
Andy Hicks: When looking at the season-ending numbers, it is easy to surmise that Baker Mayfield is just a game manager that lets the run game dominate. It is well established that once Mayfield played within Cleveland's scheme, he looked great. It was a true season of two halves. Once he played within himself and allowed others to do the work, his numbers were astonishing. In the five-game stretch between weeks 12 and 16, he averaged 303 yards passing with two touchdowns a game. There was only one interception. He was the master of his domain. Now should you take him as your starter? Absolutely not, but his floor is very high, and should you want to dominate at other positions, he is a great safety option to match with a riskier high upside quarterback.
Player Receiving 2 Votes
Victoria Geary: Hurts will be this year's Josh Allen/Kyler Murray, as he possesses tremendous rushing upside and his ADP remains value in drafts, hovering anywhere between QB10 to QB12. His point total of 37.8 in Week 15 was 2020's sixth-highest single-game score from a quarterback, and that is exactly the type of ceiling you want in your lineup each week. When Hurts took over Weeks 14-16, the Eagles jumped to first overall in total yards per game and fourth in rushing yards per game. If we dive further into Hurts' 52% completion percentage from 2020, the context shows he was not afraid to chuck the ball downfield. 46% of his passing attempts were thrown 10 or more yards, which was the highest rate in the NFL. With a healthy offensive line, the addition of Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, a growing rapport with tight end Dallas Goedert, and a sub-par defense, the formula for a top-5 fantasy finish is set for Hurts.
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Ryan Weisse: At this point, we all know the various cliches about running quarterbacks in fantasy football. It seems that nobody is choosing to apply this logic to Hurts. Yes, there are Deshaun Watson trade rumors. Even if the trade does happen, does any believe Watson will not miss time this year? In the equivalent of four full games to end last season, Hurts rushed the ball 51 times for 301 yards and three touchdowns. That was just four games. Even if he only doubles those numbers, he will be a top-10 fantasy quarterback even if he ends up being a below-average passer. He's being drafted at his floor.
Players Receiving 1 Vote
Anthony Amico: Burrow has been dealing with a little bit of the yips at the start of camp while coming off of ACL surgery, but don't let that dissuade you from the obvious value he presents. The Bengals are one of the pass-heaviest teams in the league -- even accounting for situation -- under Zac Taylor, and Cincy now employs three excellent wide receiver talents. He is a candidate to throw 700 times in 2021 and offered some sneaky rush value in his rookie season.
Jeff Haseley: If Justin Herbert is on the board after Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson have been selected, you should consider that a win and know that you received good value on that pick. Herbert's 31 touchdown passes last year were the most of any rookie quarterback in NFL history. His 4,336 yards passing was 38 yards shy of being the most passing yards by a rookie. It's possible that Herbert has a Sophomore slump, just like any second-year player, but what if he doesn't? The Chargers have multiple offensive weapons, which makes Herbert's job much easier. He is an ideal target if your strategy is to wait until 9-10 quarterbacks are off the board. He had nine top-12 weekly finishes last season.
Sigmund Bloom: Jackson got back to his elite fantasy scoring ways in the second half of 2020, and the team made great improvements to his wide receiver group this offseason to keep that trend going. They'll also get back stud left tackle Ronnie Stanley and tight end Nick Boyle, a key to the running game. As long as the playcalling isn't too predictable, we'll look back at the first half of 2020 as the aberration in Jackson's fantasy scoring profile. He promises similar production to the quarterbacks going ahead of him at a discount.
Chad Parsons: He was the QB1 overall when healthy in 2020. Dallas is loaded with weapons, plus, even if their defense improves from its floundering state a year ago, will lead to shootouts. Prescott has the perfect combination of passing acumen, weapons, situation, and rushing floor. The quarterback position is stacked at the top, but Prescott has as much, or more, upside than anyone.
Jordan McNamara: I'm a firm believer in new Atlanta head coach Arthur Smith. He was very efficient as the Offensive Coordinator in Tennessee before landing the Atlanta job. The loss of Julio Jones certainly doesn't help, but Arthur Smith's heavy play-action scheme should hide the loss of Jones in the Matt Ryan stat line. I also think Atlanta will be trailing and be throwing the ball frequently. The supporting cast of Calvin Ridley, Kyle Pitts, Mike Davis, and Co. is not worse than what Tennessee's passing game offered, and I think Matt Ryan is a better quarterback than Ryan Tannehill. Also said, Ryan should be able to beat his cost from a deeper spot in the draft.
Ben Cummins: At the end of the year, Matthew Stafford joining the Rams will be one of, if not the most important, storylines of the 2021 season. Stafford suffered through the majority of 2020 throwing to Marvin Jones, T.J. Hockenson, and Danny Amendola. Let’s not forget before his season-ending injury the year before in 2019, Stafford was lighting the league on fire, throwing for 2,499 yards and 19 touchdowns in only eight games. Still only 33 years old, Stafford has plenty of great football left and is now paired with one of the league’s best play-callers in Sean McVay. He’s receiving a huge offensive environment upgrade thanks to the Rams having actual passing weapons. He’ll be putting the offense on his shoulders since Cam Akers is out for the year, and there’s even more upside since he’ll be playing in possibly one of the most competitive divisions in NFL history.