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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 8 Votes
Ben Cummins: New offensive coordinator, Shane Waldron, was the passing game coordinator for Sean McVay from 2018-2020. There’s a chance he could elevate this offense, which is an extremely scary thought for the rest of the NFL. Russell Wilson is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, there once again projects to be narrow target distribution within this offense, and Lockett is an extremely talented player. Despite routinely being drafted after DK Metcalf, Lockett finished the 2020 season with more targets per game, more receptions per game, and the same amount of touchdowns per game compared to his teammate.
Andrew Davenport: In PPR leagues the last two years, Lockett has finished WR8 (2020) and WR13 (2019). Yet, he languishes in 2021 drafts at the bottom of WR2 territory. DK Metcalf will always be the top option in Seattle, but Lockett's finish last year has fantasy drafters overreacting to his inconsistency. The competition for targets is still weak as the Seahawks lack a strong third option at wide receiver and don't have a tight end who commands targets. Lockett should far outperform his ADP yet again this year.
Pat Fitzmaurice: He's averaged 1,025 yards and 9.3 touchdowns over the last three years, and his target count has increased year over year during that span. Yes, DK Metcalf is a freakish talent whose star is still ascending, but Lockett has proven to be a high-quality pass catcher, and the Seahawks still don't appear to have a credible third receiver. I love the idea of getting Lockett as a second, third, or even fourth receiver late in Round 5.
Dave Kluge: Lockett has a reputation as a boom-or-bust wide receiver and certainly lived up to that bill in 2020. Although he finished as the WR8, 34% of his points came in two outings where he totaled 300 yards and six touchdowns. A high-variance player like Lockett isn't for the faint of heart, but his team-high 132 targets and offseason contract extension point to him remaining an integral part of the team's offense. While he may lack the season-long ceiling of his teammate, DK Metcalf, he's almost assuredly set up to outperform his fifth-round draft stock. He’s finished as the WR8, WR13, and WR16 over the last three seasons and is getting drafted as the 22nd receiver off the board.
Jordan McNamara: Is DK Metcalf better than Tyler Lockett? Maybe. Is he three rounds plus rounds better than Lockett? No. Lockett is typecast as a small boom-bust wide receiver because he does not look like Metcalf, which gives you plenty of value. Some will point to the weekly consistency of Lockett's scoring, but this is the ultimate red herring for fantasy owners distracting from what is more important: year-to-year consistency. What matters to winning is scoring points, not the group nor order of which they are scored. Lockett is really good at scoring points, with WR17, WR13, and WR8 finishes the past three years. Add in the fact Seattle extended him this offseason, and you have an excellent picture of who Lockett is: a value in fantasy drafts.
Chad Parsons: Lockett is priced at his floor based on his past two seasons of work. What has changed? WR3 is still a question mark for Seattle, and the tight end (while Gerald Everett was added) remains similar. This passing game will funnel through Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. Lockett is an ideal WR3 target for fantasy team builds with a WR1/2 seasonal outcome.
Matt Waldman: It should be inevitable to expect opposing defenses to pay more attention to DK Metcalf after his explosive 2020 campaign. This should tip the scales more in Lockett's favor, especially if DWayne Eskridge or Penny Hart continues his minicamp play into the season and allows Seattle to mix and match Eskridge and/or Hart and Lockett inside and outside to create mismatches. Just as Lockett's 2019 play opened up things for Metcalf in 2020, we'll see another shift. Both receivers are strong options with no worse than WR2 floors when healthy. I just like Lockett a little more this year. Lockett has been a fantasy WR1 for two of the past three years with little change in his production even without the shift.
Jason Wood: Where is the disconnect? Lockett's ADP doesn't align with either his established baseline or trend analysis. He's being drafted as though he's on the downward trajectory of his career. Yet, he's not 29 years old. He has an elite quarterback in Russell Wilson with an undeniable rapport. Lockett has finished 11th, 16th, and 11th in the last three seasons, and there's been no discernible change to his role or his supporting cast. If anything, there's upside from the 2018-2020 seasons because of new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, who comes over from Los Angeles with a modern, aggressive passing system.
Player Receiving 6 Votes
Phil Alexander: Brown finished as a weekly WR3 (Top 36), or better, in exactly half his games with the Buccaneers. Considering he was playing for the first time in a year-and-a-half and joining a new team mid-season, we should take 2020 as proof Brown still has plenty in the tank. You'll be able to confidently start him as your third wide receiver despite Tampa Bay's crowded offense. And if Chris Godwin or Mike Evans miss a game, Brown can safely be projected for weekly top-15 numbers.
Anthony Amico: The Buccaneers passed the ball 61% of the time during the first half of the year and then climbed to 66.6% after signing Brown. The mercurial wideout took on 19.2% of the targets and averaged 14.6 PPR points per game -- which would have made him a WR2. Now he's being drafted outside of the top-35 of the position. Brown stands to beat out his ADP in a neutral situation, and should anything happen to either Chris Godwin or Mike Evans, a top-16 finish is in play.
Jeff Haseley: We get a full season of Antonio Brown this year, and it seems like people forget how good of a player he can be, especially in an offense that features Tom Brady and his demand for precision. Brown could easily carve out a consistent role in the Buccaneers offense. One worthy of being an every-week fantasy starter that you can select as your WR4 or WR5.
Chad Parsons: Brown became one of my guys this offseason due to his half-season flourish in Tampa a year ago, far removed from his previous significant playing time. Brown, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin were in a close heat for the team target lead over that span of time, and Brown, not Evans or Godwin, profiles most like Brady's previous security blankets in Wes Welker and Julian Edelman. Brown has SIX top-6 aPPG seasons in his career and is a critical element to exploiting the wide receiver market in 2021.
Matt Waldman: Brown emerged down the stretch, and I don't think that production is going away in 2021. In fact, I think Brown, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin are all capable of no worse than fantasy WR2 value with Tom Brady under center. Peyton Manning did it with Eric Decker, Wes Welker, and Demaryius Thomas during his second season in Denver. In fact, two of the three were fantasy WR1s in 2013. Brown still has elite skills and the surrounding talent to earn highly efficient mismatches. There are always enough targets to go around for 3-5 top receiving talents when the corps has an elite quarterback supporting them.
Ryan Weisse: While I love Chris Godwin and like Mike Evans, it's hard not to see Antonio Brown as the biggest value of this group. Mainly because you can draft him four rounds after the other two, and he is likely to put up similar numbers. Brown might be a league-winner in that he is being drafted as a fantasy WR3 and has legitimate WR1 upside weekly. He may not be the Antonio Brown of years past, but at this price, he doesn't need to be close to that to be a value.
Player Receiving 4 Votes
Sigmund Bloom: Boyd was well on his way to a 100 catch season before Joe Burrow went down last year. He's the high percentage target Burrow can lean on as he gets his legs under him. Burrow threw to wide receivers 28.4 times a game last year, so there's plenty to go around for Boyd, Ja'Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins. All three can hit if Burrow is good, but Boyd is the cheapest by far.
Ben Cummins: The Bengals have leaned pass-heavy in head coach Zac Taylor’s early tenure, and I expect that to continue thanks to a questionable defense and after the selection of Ja'Marr Chase fifth overall. Chase and Tee Higgins are receiving a lot of love in drafts, and rightfully so. But Tyler Boyd is my favorite value of the trio. Boyd is a solid player and proved he has plenty of chemistry with Burrow last season. Burrow will be plenty motivated to keep that connection humming since the Bengals still don’t have a viable tight end on the roster, and Boyd dominates the middle of the field.
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