It’s that highly anticipated, glorious time of year where friends of all shapes and sizes come together, smash their laptops onto one dining room table, spread the chips, salsa and guac aimlessly around, and begin trash-talking and scheming to no end about one singular thing: season 23 of Big Brother. This is a time where fans of MTV’s The Challenge can begin scouting the next rookies that will soon join the Big Brother alliance, while simultaneously putting together their draft boards for their ensuing The Challenge draft pools. Oh, what a special time of year, and while it’s all going on, there are also a select few souls prepping for their upcoming football drafts, which I suppose is something we should mention at one point or another here on the fantasy football side of Razzball. And while I have plenty of tips on how to spot talent on the reality TV show front, I also came equipped today with five mid-to-late fantasy football draft steals for 2021. These are five players whose current ADPs I find particularly perplexing, but am happy about nonetheless, as it means I’ll have a surplus of shares of (most of) these players this upcoming season. So, who are they, and why should you be foaming at the mouth to snag them as a value at their current ADP? Let’s get to it.
Josh Jacobs – I rode my support of Jacobs until the very end last season and in many ways, my opinions were proven correct by JJ’s body of work when it was all said and done. Jacobs finished as RB8 in half-PPR formats, although his 14.3 FPPG ranked just 13th among running backs. He ended up with 273 carries and 33 receptions on 45 targets — good for 306 total touches. As a runner with a similar skillset, Kenyan Drake has arrived in Las Vegas and figures to eat into Jacobs’ workload some — but not to the degree that many think. Jacobs is the more talented back, the one drafted just two years ago by the current Jon Gruden regime, and Drake showed signs of losing the Cardinals backfield outright to Chase Edmonds on multiple occasions the past two years. Jacobs’ current ADP of RB21 is an absolute steal, as he’s more or less being valued as the least attractive clear-cut starting running back in fantasy football — while his talent and relative opportunity indicate he’s deserving of being a lot closer to the middle of that pack than the tail-end. Drafting Jacobs in the late-third-to-early-fifth round is one of my favorite values, but as a Raiders fan, I won’t have any shares as it’s against my fantasy policy. The same goes for not drinking on the job.
Mike Davis – Two spots behind Jacobs at RB23, you’ll find a starting NFL running back with virtually no competition for touches in 2021 and coming off an RB15 finish in 2020 despite totaling double-digit touches just 10 times. So is the story of newly-minted Falcons back Mike Davis, who now steps into a role in which he should push for 250 touches barring a late free agent addition in Atlanta. Davis showed signs of fantasy excellence last year, averaging 21.4 FPPG in his first three weeks as the Panthers’ starter following the catastrophic injury of Christian McCaffrey. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance Atlanta is airing the ball out while playing behind for much of the upcoming season, but with a price tag of RB23, Davis is an excellent RB2 to grab late if you missed out early and figures to make a nice Flex on a championship-caliber fantasy squad. If you’re struggling with your RB group and feeling sick to your stomach after your first few picks, call the MD.
Travis Etienne – James Robinson claimed the starting job for the Jaguars last season as an undrafted free agent out of Illinois State and immediately received 87% of RB touches out of the Jacksonville backfield. That opportunity allowed J Rob to finish as RB7 in half-PPR formats while ranking eighth at the position with 16.1 FPPG. That would typically set up a player for a big sophomore campaign, but then 2021 came along. Enter Urban Meyer and Travis Etienne, the latter of which the new regime selected with the 25th overall pick in the first round of the NFL Draft. Not only did Meyer and company invest heavily in Etienne alongside fellow Clemson Tiger Trevor Lawrence, but the new coaching staff didn’t sign Robinson in the first place — and were not the ones handing him a plethora of snaps in 2020. On top of that, we know Lawrence is going to want his go-to guy with him as he adjusts to the NFL game, and Etienne’s usage should increase as the season unfolds. Although Meyer’s remarks regarding Etienne as a third-down back coupled with J Rob’s excellent 2020 production should be reason for some concern, drafting Etienne at or around his current ADP of RB25 has league-winning potential. If you’re able to get him in the sixth round of a draft, Etienne could very well end up being your most valuable draft pick by season’s end.
Antonio Brown – For starters, AB averaged 11.8 FPPG in half-PPR last year, which was good for WR26 — right at fringe, back-end WR2 status and high-end WR3/Flex status. Right now, he’s going off the board as WR43, so the value here doesn’t take a ton of digging to uncover. But we don’t have to stop there. Brown only joined Tampa in Week 9, so he wasn’t fully acclimated to the system from the onset, and per the grapevine, I’ve heard a lot of extra household chores come along with being adopted by the great Tom Brady. The final three weeks of the regular season, Brown saw 27 targets and averaged 20.2 FPPG, which ranked THIRD among all wide receivers. Who finished ahead of him? Only Stefon Diggs and Brandin Cooks. We already know Brady loves going to AB and that the Tampa offense is going to be elite. Even with Godwin and Evans ahead of him in the pecking order, AB should have no issue being a top-30 WR — and if either Godwin or Evans were to go down, AB’s value would skyrocket. The good part is, he doesn’t need an injury ahead of him on the depth chart to be a potential league winner. AB just needs to B.
Mecole Hardman – To be brutally honest, Hardman undoubtedly comes with his fair share of concerns in 2021. But with the departure of Sammy Watkins and the Chiefs not bringing in a true replacement to fill those targets, the obvious beneficiary is Hardman, who has been limited to part-time duty for the bulk of his two-year career. As a result, Hardman underwhelmed last year with a WR62 finish despite playing in all 16 games. He saw more than six targets just twice and fewer than five on 11 occasions. That isn’t the type of opportunity that bodes well for fantasy purposes, but I think there’s a substantial chance that Hardman works his way into something more closely resembling the Watkins-esque role in the Chiefs offense from years past — and at this stage in his young career, that should be accompanied with more upside than we experienced with Watkins. That makes Hardman a top-tier candidate to be a starting WR on Donkey Teeth’s All-Upside Whore Team for 2021. And at a current ADP of WR54, just eight spots ahead of where he finished in 2020 despite the significantly increased opportunity than he should see in 2021, the price is more than right — it’s Barkerlicious.
That came out weird, but you know the drill: that’s all for this week, but I’m happy to take this conversation into the comments section or on Twitter, where you can find me @WorldOfHobbs.