2017 Fantasy Football: Underrated Fantasy Players

by Michael Trivisonno
Underrated Fantasy Players

Each and every year there are a plethora of players that don't get the love they get from the fantasy football community. Mock drafts are a perfect way to get a feel for where certain players are being drafted before the 2017 season starts. Sure, we all want the big time stars like Odell Beckham Jr, David Johnson and Greg Olsen on our fantasy teams, but you can easily draft heavily overlooked and viable starters in the middle to late rounds.

It's time to start looking at some players that may not be the hottest names out there, but they sure can become a big part this upcoming season for your fantasy team. Identifying breakout and underrated players can be a challenge, as well as an interesting time for you. Let's look at a few different players severely overlooked for the 2017 fantasy football season.

Underrated Fantasy Players

Some people just fall in love with the big named players that they don't even realize the type of talent that can fall in the later rounds of fantasy football drafts. It's never too early to be preparing for the upcoming fantasy football season.

Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets

Although there were very few positives to take away from the Jets disaster season last year, Bilal Powell was a key guy for the team. Injuries are starting to stock pile on 31 year old Matt Forte. He saw his role diminish due to the outbreak Powell had late in the season. Bilal Powell's workload increased towards the end of the season and showed what the Jets were missing  out on early in the year.

He wasn't just an asset in the running game as Powell also contributed in the passing game. Catching 58 passes for 384 yards put him inside the top 10 for running backs in both categories. During the past two years, Powell has hauled in 105 receptions. This is the sixth most receptions by a running back during that span. There's no shortage of Powell contributing in the passing game, its the running game where he's got to get things going more for him in 2017.

Having the second easiest strength of schedule for a running back this upcoming season is a big positive for Powell and the Jets. Running for 100+ yards in two of the final four weeks of the season was a nice finish for Powell. He was one of the more productive backs in the league with his carries this past year. Approximately 18% of his carries went for 10+ yards. This was indeed the highest rate in the league for all backs with 100+ carries.

The loss of Brandon Marshall and the uncertainty at the quarterback position makes the running game a top option for the team. The Jets might not have much to look forward to this season, but Powell surely makes a case to be a feasible option in 2017 for fantasy owners.

Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Frank Gore seems slept on every year in fantasy football. This past season Gore ran for over 1,000 yards... again. This marks the ninth time he has accomplished that in his 13 year career. Every year people expect Gore to finally fall off, but that never seems to happen. It's time to accept the fact that Frank Gore is just a really good running back in the NFL. His relative draft position puts him as an RB4 in both standard and PPR leagues. The numbers always seem to be against him as Gore has produced RB2 numbers respectably for years now.

Frank Gore has not missed a game since 2010, a very rare sight to see in the NFL today. He's a guy the Colts trust leading the backfield year in and year out. The Colts failed to draft a running back that'll truly put a dent in Gore's fantasy production. This upcoming season will be Gore's last year in his contract, and yet the team failed to draft a replacement for Gore for the future in one of the deepest draft classes at that position in recent years. The Colts firmly believe the veteran hasn't lost a touch as he will be the main guy in Indianapolis for another year.

In 2016, he was a top 20 running back. I expect Gore to finish around that same mark again in 2017, barring any injuries. The veteran has seen it all and he has shown no signs of slowing down. Doing what he has done behind one of the most injury prone and worst offensive lines in the NFL today is something to not overlook.

Here is a guy severely under-drafted in fantasy football leagues. When you see Frank Gore in the middle to late rounds in your fantasy draft, don't be the person to pass up on him. You don't want to end up regretting that mistake.

Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington Redskins

This may be a surprise to some people, but Jamison Crowder is not getting the love he deserves to be getting. The 'Skins lost Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson due to free agency. The loss of these two leaves behind 216 targets respectively from a year ago. It's time for Crowder to climb atop the depth chart and to lead the Redskins in 2017.

This past season Crowder ranked second on the team in receptions and finishing third with yards. He did some more damage playing in the slot in 2016. Totaling a team-best eight touchdowns while also leading the team in yards after the catch. Although he is only 5'9" he surely makes the most out of his time on the field. He shapes up to be one of the smaller receivers in the NFL today but that doesn't stop him from getting in front of his defenders.

He is a difference maker in a crowded backfield, so imagine what he can do being at the top now. Crowder proved himself to be one of the most efficient wide receivers the Redskins have had in recent years.

Crowder is now going to enter 2017 as his third year in the NFL. It'll also be his third season catching passes from Kirk Cousins. The growing connection between the two will be a key part for success in the near future. The addition of Terrell Pryor surely does make an impact, but the targets will be there for Crowder.

Jamison Crowder is coming off of draft boards at pick number 31. Crowder has a nice shot to finish close to if not better than a top 20 receiver. I expect mid range WR2 numbers from the former Blue Devil in the 2017 season.

Danny Woodhead, RB, Baltimore Ravens

Save the oldest player for last. Danny Woodhead is a riveting player heading into the 2017 fantasy football season. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Danny Woodhead is currently being the 29th running back taken off of drafts boards. That's an early seventh round pick right there. Woodhead has played a full 16 games in two out of the past four seasons. In those two full seasons, he has been a top 16 running back in ppr leagues.

Yes, he's missed some time recently due to injury, but only 10 out of the top 25 running backs played a full 16 games last season. Injuries happen, its a part of the game. Danny Woodhead thrives in the passing game. He's no workhorse running back, but given the suspension to Kenneth Dixon, Danny Woodhead might be in line to take over some carries with Terrance West early in the season.

Only one team targeted the running back position more in the passing game than the Ravens did in 2016. With a healthy Danny Woodhead returning this season, look for the 32-year-old to haul in most of the targets coming from the running back position.

Joe Flacco is no stranger to throwing to his running backs. Flacco and Ray Rice found great success in the passing game from 2009-2013. During that four year span, Rice averaged 67 catches for 552 yards. I expect Woodhead to see similar numbers this season with the Ravens.

It didn't take long into free agency for the Ravens to sign Woodhead. He's a versatile running back that can help fill in the missing targets from a year ago. The opportunity is there for Woodhead to be a top 15 running back again in ppr leagues. Don't be surprised to see him out-produce his current ADP this season.

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