Last night, the sports world was captivated by home run after home run that was blasted into the Cleveland sky off the bats of Vladimir Guerrero, Joc Pederson and Pete Alonso, among others. Even after the record-setting performances at baseball’s All-Star festivities, fantasy football diehards are steadfastly preparing for upcoming drafts.
As I recently perused the PPR redraft ADP data from Fantasy Football Calculator, I noticed several players who could be home run values in 2019. These are players with big-time upside but are being selected much later in drafts, usually due to some perceived risk.
Lamar Jackson, QB BAL
Josh Allen, QB BUF
This pair of second-year quarterbacks are often compared to one another after a partial season of serious fantasy football success was fueled by their respective rushing ability. After he took the Ravens starting gig from veteran QB Joe Flacco, Jackson was the QB9 over the final seven weeks of the season despite a season-high of 204 passing yards. Allen was even more impressive, finishing as the QB1 from Week Twelve through the end of the regular season after returning from an injury. Both players fantasy points came largely from their rushing ability. The duo were the only quarterbacks last season to average more than six fantasy points per game on the ground and Allen’s 9.26 rushing fantasy points per game were the third-highest of all-time from QBs scoring at least 200 points in a season.
All of that success on the ground, paired with the continued passing concerns for both players have their ADP held in check. Allen is currently the QB19 with Jackson close behind at QB20. These players have already shown they can put up fantasy points over a reasonable sample size and both the Bills and Ravens made strides in adding weapons for their young quarterbacks. Now the only question is can this pair show improvement in the passing game.
Damien Harris, RB NE
Fantasy players are often reluctant to rely on any rookies to help their fantasy team, and rightfully so. While these young players enter the league with hype and excitement, they usually fail to deliver, at least early in their career. The one exception might be at the running back position. The Patriots used a day two pick on former Alabama RB Damien Harris one year after spending a first-rounder on RB Sony Michel. While Michel carried the team into the playoffs and ultimately to a Super Bowl title, there are serious concerns about his durability amidst rumors of a degenerative knee issue. Enter Harris, who was the top running back recruit in his class and was able to earn an early role for the powerhouse Crimson Tide. Through his underrated career, Harris kept Raiders first-round RB Josh Jacobs on the sideline, along with many other talented recruits as he stacked up three straight 1,000 yard seasons. At the very least, Harris should be a key part of a Patriots backfield that should carry this offense as veteran QB Tom Brady starts to show signs of slowing down. At best, the concerns for Michel as warranted and Harris earns the starting role for one of the best teams in the league. Either way, at his current RB47 ADP, he is an easy choice and a massive steal.
DaeSean Hamilton, WR DEN
There are many relevant questions being asked about the Denver Broncos Offense heading into 2019. GM John Elway brought in a pair of new quarterbacks, the veteran Flacco and rookie Drew Lock. After years of relying on the receiver duo of Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, the Broncos are in a state of transition. Thomas was dealt away last season while Sanders is recovering from a late-season Achilles injury, leaving his status to begin the season in doubt. That leaves a pair of second-year WRs, Courtland Sutton and Hamilton, to serve as the focal point of the pass offense. While Sutton was the more-coveted fantasy asset and was drafted much earlier by the team, it was Hamilton who produced once Sanders went down. In the season’s final month, without Sanders, Hamilton was the WR22 overall. Sutton was just the WR48 during that same span, yet he is still being drafted as the WR45 this season, compared to the value of Hamilton at WR57. With Flacco under center, it is understandable if this is simply an offense to avoid, but Hamilton can turn into a solid WR3 or flex option in 2019.
Mark Andrews, TE BAL
Back to the Ravens Offense…when Jackson took over as the starting quarterback last season, nearly every pass-catcher in the offense took a hit. WR John Brown, who was on his way to an impressive bounce-back season, caught just seven passes in Jackson’s seven starts. The one player who clearly improved with Jackson in the field was Andrews, the rookie tight end from Oklahoma. While the theory that young quarterbacks rely heavily on their tight ends has been debunked, it was true in this case. During Jackson’s time as the starter, Andrews was the TE16 and with Brown and veteran WR Michael Crabtree gone, Andrews and WR Willie Snead are the team’s top returning receivers. Andrews is currently the TE23, the last tight end listed on Fantasy Football Calculator’s ADP data.