2021 Fantasy Football Underrated Players

by Nick Spencer
2021 Fantasy Football Underrated Players

Welcome fantasy football fanatics to the 2021 Fantasy Football Underrated Players article!

This article details players who I believe are currently being undervalued according to their Fantasypros’ Average Draft Position.

Every year there are a handful of players who slip through the cracks for a variety of different reasons. This provides a great opportunity for savvy fantasy football managers to take advantage and capture value. 

Without further ado, here are five undervalued players you need to grab in your drafts.

2021 Fantasy Football Underrated Players

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Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs 

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Clyde Edwards-Helaire put up 1,100 yards, and five touchdowns in 13 games in his rookie season. A respectable stat line, but his expectations didn’t align with his performance as he was taken in fantasy drafts as a first-round pick. But I believe the narrative has swung too far in the opposite direction.

First of all, Clyde is extremely likely to see some positive touchdown regression. He scored only five touchdowns on 217 total touches, this is abnormally low. Especially in this explosive offense which once again is expected to be top five in the league.

Second, people are overlooking the departure of Le’Veon Bell.  Le'Veon Bell’s first game with the Chiefs was Week 7. In the six games prior to this Clyde averaged 114 total yards on 21 touches per game. In the seven games after Bell joined Clyde averaged 60 yards on 13 touches per game.

His workload was essentially cut in half by Bell. But neither Darrel Willaims nor Darwin Thompson pose a significant threat to Clyde’s workload this year.

He has the talent, the opportunity, and an elite offense surrounding him, yet people are still drafting guys like D’Andre Swift and J.K. Dobbins over him, players which have far more question marks surrounding their situations. Don’t make that mistake, take Clyde this fantasy draft season.

Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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The G.O.A.T. Tom Brady seemingly gets better every year while his peers continue to decline and retire.

Brady and the Buccaneers started the season off a little bit slow, but they pulled it together and ultimately won the Super Bowl in dominant fashion.

Bruce Arians’ system is notoriously hard for quarterbacks to master, and they tend to take until their second season to really thrive. Brady learns quicker than most QBs, we already saw him start to catch fire towards the end of last season when he was the QB4 in points per game from Week 10 onwards.

During that stretch, he was on a 16-game pace of 5,131 yards and 48 total touchdowns.

In addition, the Bucs are the first team since 1977 to win the Super Bowl and then return all 22 starters to the lineup. They have one of the best receiver groups in the NFL with Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and Antonio Brown. And now they have a full offseason uninterrupted by COVID to get on the same page. This team is going to be scary good.

If you want to avoid Brady out of fear that age has finally caught up with him I don’t blame you, but I’m betting Brady still has a lot more in the tank.

Antonio Brown, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Speaking of the Bucs, Antonio Brown is an absolute steal in drafts right now. 

Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are going as the 13th and 15th wide receivers off the board, yet Brown is being left for dead at WR42.

We all know what Brown is capable of when he’s on the field. He was a top-five fantasy receiver for six straight years from 2013 to 2018. Nobody is expecting that kind of production from him at 32 years old. But as the third option on a stacked Buccaneers offense, Brown should dominate any cornerback lines up across from him. 

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that it is a guarantee that he plays all 17 games, but during the final three games of the season, he averaged over 20 fantasy points per game.

While his off-the-field issues could resurface at any point, this level of upside is almost unheard of in the double digits rounds of fantasy drafts.

Michael Carter, RB, New York Jets

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The New York Jets selected Michael Carter out of North Carolina in the fourth round of this year's draft. While this may look like a poor landing spot at first, there is opportunity to be had here. 

With a new head coach, offensive coordinator, rookie quarterback, and rebuilt offensive line, this Jets team has the potential to make a huge leap in 2021, and that means there is fantasy value to be had.

Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur in particular could be very good for Michael Carter. LaFleur comes from Kyle Shanahan’s system which features a lot of outside zone runs, this plays directly into Michael Carter's strengths.

In fact, NFL.com’s pre-draft profile of Carter describes him as “a very good fit for an outside-zone scheme where he can one-cut downhill and get into space".

Furthermore, Carter’s competition is among the worst in the league. Carter just has to beat out La’Mical Perine, who averaged a lackluster 3.6 yards per carry last year, and Tevin Coleman, who has never seen more than 167 carries in a season.

Carter has great burst and is a solid route runner out of the backfield, while I don’t expect him to be a workhorse he should easily lead this group in touches.

Running back is all about opportunity. You aren’t going to find a running back late with a better opportunity than Michael Carter.

Robert Tonyan, TE, Green Bay Packers

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Robert Tonyan was the TE3 last season, he is currently being drafted as the TE16... need I say more?

In Tonyan’s breakout season he put up only 586 yards, 13th best among ends. His production was largely due to the 11 touchdowns he scored, tied for most at the position with Kelce. 

Touchdowns are not a sticky stat, they vary a lot from year to year even for the best players. But Aaron Rodgers clearly trusts him around the goalline. According to FantasyData, he was targeted 11 times in the red zone and caught 10 of those passes for seven touchdowns.

While this efficiency is unlikely to continue, I believe that Tonyan has earned himself a bigger role moving forward. And that an increase in volume can help offset some of the natural TD regression.

In a previous article, I discussed the importance of not reaching for a tight end, waiting until the end of your draft, and then targeting someone with high upside and little competition in front of them. Tonyan fits that mold perfectly.

Do I expect him to repeat as the TE3? Of course not, but I believe he will easily outperform his current draft cost and provide weekly fantasy upside.

If you enjoyed my list of 2021 Fantasy Football Underrated Players check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers!

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1 comment

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