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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.
Players Receiving 5 Votes
Andrew Davenport: Carson just isn't exciting to people for some reason. He missed some time last year, but when he played, he was as solid as ever. In the full games he played, he averaged 16.6 PPR points per game, which would've made him the RB11. The different Shane Waldron offense, and lack of any new competition to push Carson, are both factors in his favor, and yet again, he finds himself pushed down the board in drafts. Carson only has to stay upright to deliver on his current ADP.
Victoria Geary: With each fantasy season that passes, Chris Carson is severely underrated and underpriced. He is one of the most consistent running backs in the league, averaging 15.2 PPR points per game and nine total touchdowns over the last three seasons. A pass-catching running back on an efficient offense with a coaching staff that loves to run the ball should not be going this late in drafts. Carson is a set-and-forget, high-end RB2 with RB1 upside every single week.
Jordan McNamara: Chris Carson ranked 10th in expected yards-per-carry and 20th in rushing yards over expectation out of 55 qualifiers in 2020. Add in Carson's 1.39 yards per route run, which ranked 10th among the qualifiers, and you have an efficient two-way option at the running back position. At his cost, Carson is more of a dual-threat than Joe Mixon and J.K. Dobbins and is a discount.
Ryan Weisse: Chris Carson is why fantasy managers can feel comfortable taking Travis Kelce in Round 1. Carson was the 19th best fantasy running back last year, and that was missing four games. He was the 14th best in fantasy points per game. He finished with over 200 carries in 2018 and 2019, and he was getting more involved in the passing game last year. He'll see first-round volume for a third-round pick.
Jason Wood: Chris Carson had a strange 2020. His rushing productivity fell from prior norms, but his receiving numbers improved commensurately. In 10 healthy games last year, he was on pace for 1,400+ yards and 12 touchdowns. While the missed time is a concern, Seattle's decision to re-sign him to a significant multi-year contract belies those fears. The organization values him as a centerpiece of their balance offense, as evidenced by the new contract and lack of competition in the offseason. Fantasy production comes from a combination of ability and opportunity, and Carson is overflowing with both.
Sigmund Bloom: Only a seemingly inevitable Raheem Mostert injury stands in the way of Sermon becoming the lead back in a great running game that could get even better when Trey Lance takes over. The 49ers moved up for Sermon even though they mortgaged their future to get Lance, which shows how strong their conviction is about his fit in their offense. The 49ers defense should also be improved this year, which will lead to greater opportunity for the running game.
Ben Cummins: Outside of a few small sample sizes of games, Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers have proven they view Raheem Mostert as a committee running back. Enter Trey Sermon, who was drafted in the third round this year. Sermon projects to be a part of a committee all season, yet we know Shanahan running backs can get home even with limited touches thanks to genius schematic play calling. My money is on Trey Lance winning the quarterback job early this season. Once his dynamic rushing skillset is incorporated within the offense, the 49ers’ run game will dominate. Sermon is my bet to lead the committee in production and has a chance to be a league winner thanks to the 49ers’ extremely favorable schedule during the fantasy playoffs (vs. ATL, at TEN, vs. HOU).
Pat Fitzmaurice: The Shanahan zone running scheme has worked year after year after year. Mike and Kyle Shanahan's scheme has turned jobbers such as Mike Anderson, Reuben Droughns, and Alfred Morris into precious fantasy assets, if only for a year or two. And when true studs (Terrell Davis, Clinton Portis) were plugged into the scheme? Pure magic. Yes, the 49ers' backfield is messy. But Sermon's talents made him Matt Waldman's No. 1 running back in this rookie class, and the 49ers traded up to get him. If you draft Sermon at his current ADP and the 49ers use a multi-pronged approach at running back, fine. You've paid a committee-back price for a committee back. But if Sermon seizes control of the backfield and turns out to be another Terrell Davis, you've just rolled Yahtzee with a seventh-round pick.
Chad Parsons: Sermon is cheaper than Raheem Mostert, and Mostert has yet to take full advantage of a starting job in the NFL. The 49ers run a system with enough backfield production for two running backs to be flex-or-better viable. Sermon running with the job, being the 1A, or Mostert missing time makes Sermon a league-winning type profile.
Matt Waldman: If you're seeking a mid-round candidate to deliver a league-winning stretch run from this position, Sermon is one of the best. His draft capital was low, so much of the fantasy analyst community remains cautious about him despite playing behind one of the three best run units in football. Sermon was the 2021 Rookie Scouting Portfolio's top back this year. He's a versatile back with dynamic movement and quickness while also understanding how to be efficient. Sermon has been a quick study of the 49ers' offense, and he has impressed Kyle Shanahan with his passing-down skills. Raheem Mostert is an excellent gap runner with great speed. Still, he's in the final year of his deal and is one injury away from Sermon taking this job and being the every-down option the rest of the past injury-prone backs (Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, Mostert, etc.) couldn't hang onto.
Andrew Davenport: Despite the consistent comments from the Detroit coaching staff, Williams is still being drafted like a handcuff instead of a stand-alone producer. The Lions believe they have a back who can do what they need him to protect the passer, catch the ball, or even perform in short yardage. Second-year back, D'Andre Swift is already banged up, and even so, he is a different back than Williams. But both guys will play plenty, and Detroit now sports one of the better offensive lines in the league. Williams should be able to take advantage of this with his power and running style, and if the Lions offense can move the ball at all, he will return solid value where he's being drafted.
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