Criminally Underrated Players That Could Win Your League

Thursday, Jul 7, 2022 at 9:18 pm ET

Here are the players that I think are criminally underrated and could help you win your leagues this season.


Jalen Hurts

Jalen HurtsOne of my favorite QB's in drafts this year is Jalen Hurts. If you are looking for the next breakout QB to come in the later rounds, then these two guys I have listed are the guys for you. When we are looking for the breakout QB of a draft class, legs and the offense are two of the most important parts. Jalen Hurts has got the legs by far. He is looking ripped after this past offseason, and oh by the way, he has this new #1 Wide Receiver in A.J Brown who remains a threat to take any play to the house with the ball in his hands. This is going to be a potent offense where the QB is the biggest rushing threat on the team in the RZ and has some great weapons in Brown, Smith, and Goedert. I think this could be the Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, (insert name of late round breakout QB in the last decade) that finishes as the number one QB in all of fantasy. There is a chance he finishes with 10+ rushing TDs again, and even if he does not, he should have positive regression in the passing TD department with only 16 last year. He fits the mold of our recent breakout QBs and if it doesn't happen to be this guy's #1 year, we could see that from the next guy on my list. I think the next guy on the list has some of the highest potential at his position in the league.

Trey Lance

Trey LanceNow this is a guy that could be a massive reward and I do not think he has too much risk in redraft leagues. You can get this guy near the backend of drafts right now; he can probably be your bench QB in a lot of drafts. He has all the arm talent to sling it around the field, his legs are a plus attribute, and he is on a great offense w/Shanahan at HC. He also has some game busters on offense that are threats to take any pass to the house with Deebo, Kittle, and even Aiyuk who could very easily have a bounce back season. I don't think there is a shot Jimmy G is there on the roster when we get to the first week of the NFL season. This is going to be Lance's job and where you can get him in drafts right now, he might not even be the first QB you take. Now we could be looking at a Lamar or Mahomes sophomore-like season from this guy. He played a little bit in his rookie year like those guys and flashed the potential. Now, he is going to get the keys to a high-powered offense that is built around him, and like Mahomes and Lamar, he will have weapons and an amazing HC at the helm. If I posed the question "could Lance have a 10+ rushing TD season", you would all agree that is doable. Now Mahomes had 50 passing TD's his sophomore year and Lamar had 36 respectively. Would it be crazy to say Lance could fall somewhere between 35-50 passing TDs on an offense with two of the biggest game-breakers at their position? Neither of those statements are crazy, so it really isn't far fetched to say he can do both and finish with 40+ total TDs. If he can do that then he'll 100% be in the running for top fantasy QB next season, and I'm going to take that risk everytime. I didn't get into fantasy to finish top 3 - I'm here to win my leagues, so I'm going to take the big swings in the draft. Especially when winning the draft almost never translates to winning your league.

Running Backs

Saquon Barkley

Saquon BarkleyHow far the great have fallen, and the fantasy community has over-corrected like they do every year. Did I say this guy was going to be a bust last year when people were still drafting him in the first couple of rounds? Yes. I said that and stand by it. He was going too high and people made mistakes last year...but he had glimpses of the old Saquan in those games and that was with a horrific O-Line. The Giants added two big OL in the first three rounds of the draft. Saquan said that he didn't feel comfortable out there for most of last year. Another year removed from a massive injury is always huge for an athlete's psyche. In drafts you can now get Saquan at the end of the 2nd/start of the 3rd round. He still has that RB1 upside and could easily win your league for you. This guy is still a physical specimen at the RB position, and stop trying to predict injuries. They are impossible to predict. Now should a long injury history give you pause? Yes, but no player should be ruled out because of them. No player is undraftable in fantasy - it is just about finding the right value for him. When you're drafting in those 3-7 round range, you might as well take a swing on a player who has been an RB1 before and has won leagues for people before. Plus, this guy is going to get a good amount of PPR plays as well. Saquan has always been a threat when catching the ball.

David Montgomery

David MontgomeryI think this guy keeps being underrated going into each of the last couple seasons and he has done nothing but impress since a sub-par rookie season. He was hurt for 5 games last year and Herbert played well while he was gone, but the Bears wanted to use one back more than the other. In every game Montgomery was healthy, they used him like a workhorse back. I know Fields could change some of it, but I think having a run first offense can only help him in fantasy. Sure, he could potentially lose some rushing TD opportunities with Fields there, but I think where he is being drafted, he is a very safe RB with the potential to be a top 5 back this year. You can get him in the same range as Saquan who is around some RBs who had serious injuries last year and they come back to what could be a time share. Both the RBs on this list were once Top 5 running backs in fantasy football and are being drafted around what I believe their floor is if they don't get hurt. It doesn't hurt that this Chicago team added no real weapons this offseason to replace Allen Robinson so that means that there are around 100+ targets for Mooney, Kmet, and Montgomery to add in 2022. He also had 0 receiving TDs last year which is bound to be better with just positive regression. Plus, running backs tends to have better stats in a contract year. Contract years mean a lot to these players, but more than any other position they are huge for running backs being that their lifespan in the NFL is so small. Montgomery needs a year that will either have the Bears throwing money at him or getting a RB-needy team say they need a player like him more than a cheap RB in the draft.

Wide Receivers

Allen Lazard

Allen LazardA player that is going too late in drafts is Allen Lazard, and I don't understand why. When we talk about how wide receivers can jump up into the WR1 category it is about targets, opportunity and the QB. Well, there are a ton of targets available in GB after the Adams departure. Rodgers himself has talked about how much he loves Lazard and the work he puts in. Lazard will have the targets and opportunity just because of that and it helps a ton that he is one of the best blocking receivers in the league because he is always on the field. Talent at QB is there as well with a top-rated QB in the NFL and the 2021 NFL MVP on the squad. He could easily be the best wide receiver on the Packers this year and I think he will be a WR1 pretty easily. Have any of you that are hating on Lazard seen Green Bay's history with wide receivers? Guys like Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, and Davante were relative unknowns coming into their breakout seasons with the Packers and that is because they sat behind the star receiver (at the time) and then broke out when they got the opportunity. Rodgers has even stated how excited he is for Lazard to take over the WR1 role this year. His fullest potential upside is a top 12 WR in fantasy this season. I think he will easily be a WR2/Flex option on a weekly basis in this offense. I just do not see this offense to now be super spread out in its targets. I know it is easy to just say they lost Davante so of course they will just spread the ball around to everyone and there won't be a WR1. They have a HOF QB with a ton of targets available: Cobb is old; Watkins has a lot of injury concerns; and then the three rookie wideouts who have not historically been amazing with Rodgers their rookie year. Lazard puts in the work every day, has been locker neighbors with Rodgers the last couple of years, and other than Cobb, he has the best rapport with Rodgers of any of the receivers.

JuJu Smith-Schuster

JuJu Smith-SchusterThis is the one thing I do not understand - everyone is so low on JuJu. He is joining one of the leagues most high-powered offenses and has been a top ten fantasy receiver in the league before. The Chiefs also are freeing up over 150 targets on the offense. JuJu will thrive in this offense and should easily come in as the steadiest wide receiver on this team. Even if Kelce remains the number one target, that number two target is up for grabs and it could be JuJu, MVS, CEH or even Hardman. Out of those names, MVS and Hardman are basically in the same position as the deep threat, and MVS has already been a #2 target with a HOF level QB which didn't amount to anything tangible. CEH will probably scoop up the left-over RB targets that were left over from D. Williams and McKinnon. JuJu has played with a HOF QB before and thrived in that offense. He is playing in an even better offense now with a more explosive QB, and you are getting him in the later rounds where you're probably drafting backups or flex options at that point. JuJu could easily be a WR2 this year and has the potential to be a WR1. If JuJu is in that slot role he could really eat in between the numbers. I could see him being the main red zone target out of the wide receiver room even if Kelce will easily have the most RZ targets on the team. I would not be shocked to see JuJu hit 90+ receptions and 8+ TDs in this offense, going back to a season like he had in 2018 or 2020.

Tight Ends

Dawson Knox

Dawson KnoxYou might be noticing a trend with the pass catchers that I have chosen here. They are on explosive offenses with a bunch of targets opening up. Dawson is an animal on the field, and he runs through players. Tight Ends that can make a difference in fantasy are hard to find if their names aren't Kelce, Waller, Kittle, or Pitts. Knox easily could put up a 10+ TD season. He is another late round option as well; you can get him in that TE8-TE12 range, and I would be drafting him higher than that. I think in this offense his baseline could be around that TE6-8 range, with the ability to have a top 3 week on any given Sunday depending on how the TDs fall. I love Knox this year as a fantasy prospect and just a player to watch during the game. He is a true game that runs through contact and makes some sick contested catches. It is really not a stretch to say that he looks over at KC and see's how Mahomes has been doing it with Kelce and thinks I could do that with my guy Knox here. The Bills have one of the best offenses in the NFL, with one of the highest pass volumes, and any way you can get a slice of that at a very top loaded position in fantasy would be smart. An exact copy of this would be two years ago being the year on Tonyan in Green Bay having 11 TDs and only 50 receptions being a top 3 TE in fantasy.

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