One of the biggest keys to winning your fantasy football league is finding ‘undervalued’ players who should be ranked higher than their current average draft position (ADP).
Each player in this list is currently ADP RB25 or higher. To show each player’s current ADP, the data utilized is from Football Football Calculator which takes the average of 1,988 fantasy football mock drafts between (September 7-8th). The data used to show where each player finished last season ranked in fantasy points was used from Fantasy Data.
In current ADP order, here are some of the top fantasy football “sleepers” for the 2021 NFL season.
Javonte Williams (Broncos) ADP – RB25: The No. 2 ranked rookie RB behind Najee Harris has an excellent chance at outperforming his current ADP of RB25. Rookie RBs a lot of the times can be undervalued, but not always — as Clyde Edwards-Helaire was a late-1st round fantasy pick, but finished RB22 last year.
On the bright side, if you pick the right rookie RB it could end up really paying off and could potentially end up being the reason you win a league. Last year, despite getting off to a slow start, Jonathan Taylor finished his rookie season as RB4. James Robinson as undrafted FA finished RB7 and Antonio Gibson finished RB14. Although, Williams is competing with Melvin Gordon for snaps, there’s many reasons to believe Williams can have a ton of success as a rookie.
Chase Edmonds (Cardinals): ADP – RB29: Edmonds finished as RB25 last year splitting time behind Kenyan Drake. Even with Drake now in Las Vegas, Edmonds projected ADP is still lower than what he finished last year in a limited role. He does have competition with former Steelers RB James Conner, but expect Edmonds to be their No. 1 and outperform his current ADP.
A.J. Dillon (Packers): ADP – RB34: The Packers just re-signed starting RB Aaron Jones in free agency, breaking the hearts of dynasty fantasy owners of Dillon. Aaron Jones finished as the RB5, but the biggest difference in this year is the departure of Jamaal Williams. Dillon will not only have opportunities as a backup to Jones, but if Jones were to miss any games, Dillon has the potential of being a weekly Top 10 RB in this highly scoring offense.
Jamaal Williams (Lions): ADP – RB37: Speaking of Jamaal Williams, he found a new home in Detroit where he’ll initially split carries with 2nd-year back D’Andre Swift. Swift has demonstrated he has a lot of talent, but the issue concerning him is his durability. Swift has been routinely sidelined with lingering soft tissue injuries that seems to not be going away, and the coaching staff reportedly even has been concerned with the shape he’s currently in. Swift’s unreliability may ultimately open the door for Williams to emerge as a highly productive fantasy player, especially that he’s proven to be a reliable pass catcher.
Leonard Fournette (Bucs): ADP – RB39: “Playoff Lenny” was born and a Super Bowl was won in his first year in TB. Last year despite playing 13 games, he finished RB35 above his current ADP, and based off his playoff performance he may end up taking the job from Ronald Jones – who finished last season as RB20.
Kenyan Drake (Raiders): ADP – RB41: Drake is now the No. 2 behind Josh Jacobs, but don’t be surprised if Drake stars splitting carries throughout the course of he year. Drake finished as the 16th ranked RB last year in Arizona, so an ADP drop all the way to 40 seems a bit drastic. Jacobs is listed as questionable for Week 1, and they have been bringing in other RBs to tryout for the team which hints for concerns for Jacobs. Drake is a better receiver than Jacobs, he could potentially take a lot of snaps from him even if Jacobs is healthy.
Tony Pollard (Cowboys): ADP – RB43: Pollard is the No. 2 back behind Zeke, but his ability as a pass-catching is very favorable in PPR-scoring. There’s a lot of optimism that Zeke could have a career-high season, but Pollard at his ADP could be a great value because it would be insurance incase Elliot got hurt, and that he could still contribute in the offense even with Zeke healthy.
Alexander Mattison (Vikings): ADP – RB45: Dalvin Cook is currently being picked at No. 2 overall in fantasy drafts, and for good reason as he’s one of the top RBs in the NFL. Unfortunately, there is a very high concern about Cook’s injury history, which would open the door for Mattison to be their clear No. 1 RB. Mattison could be the top ‘handcuff RB’ in the entire draft, because if you draft Cook and he gets hurt, Mattison has proved he can step in and produce.
Rhammondre Stevenson (Patriots): ADP RB47: The Patriots just traded former 2018 first-round pick Sony Michel, opening the door for the rookie Stevenson. In the first two preseason games, Stevenson has looked terrific, demonstrating his agility and elusiveness for a back his size. While Damien Harris is the starter, Stevenson could be a tremendous late-round value pick.
Ty Johnson (Jets): ADP – RB54: Ty Johnson is in the mix of a crowded room of RBs, but he could be the one who emerges as their primary starter. He is competing with rookie Michael Carter, veteran Tevin Coleman for a starting job, but if he were to take the job he would be a major steal in the late-rounds.
Kenneth Gainwell (Eagles): ADP – RB55: Rookie 5th-round pick Kenneth Gainwell has a lot of talent and proved in college at Memphis that he’s a more than reliable pass-catcher. Gainwell could provide a spark to this offense, and could take the No. 2 job from receiving-back Boston Scott. Another great draft and stash rookie who can easily outperform his current ADP.
Tony Jones (Saints): ADP – RB56:: Tony Jones emerged onto the scene with an outstanding training camp & preseason, and now he appears to have solidified the No. 2 spot behind Kamara with the release of Latavius Murray. Murray had a regular role in this offense, so even if Kamara is healthy Jones can still potentially have fantasy value.
Darrel Williams (Chiefs): ADP – RB57: Should Clyde Edwards-Helaire miss any games (which is very possible), Williams would be the starter in one of the most highest-scoring offenses in the NFL. He has already has earned the trust of Andy Reid and can potentially take red zone carries away from CEH.
Late-round/Undrafted Rookies to Keep an Eye on:
Chris Evans (Bengals), Jaret Patterson (WFT), Kylin Hill (Packers), Elijah Mitchell (49ers) & Larry Rountree (Chargers), Khalil Herbert (Bears), Garry Brightwell (Giants),