Ten UDFAs to Remember After the 2020 NFL Draft (Fantasy Football)
We all get a bit hyped after the 2020 NFL Draft especially as the context and depth charts of so many teams begin to take shape. However, there are a few other guys ready to come out of nowhere, make some noise, and shake up our projections and outlooks on certain teams. They are called the undrafted free agents. Never forget All-Pros such as Kurt Warner, Tony Romo, Arian Foster, and Wes Welker were UDFAs coming out of college but somehow carved out a starting role in the NFL and dominated for fantasy football.
I’ve written this article over the last few years highlighted by a couple of UDFA names that had some significant fantasy contributions: Phillip Lindsay, Corey Clement, Keelan Cole, Josh Adams, Robert Foster, Jakobi Meyers, Darrel Williams, Preston Williams, Kyle Allen, Allen Lazard, and Byron Pringle.
Let’s take a deeper dive into ten names who weren’t drafted in the first seven rounds. Who will be this year’s underdog UDFA?
Note: This conversation is for dynasty rosters and depth chart projections and NOT for redraft purposes.
Steven Montez- QB (Colorado)
It’s not often a UDFA QB pops up on our radar but Montez was Laviska Shenault‘s QB at Colorado. He lands with the Redskins who sport a shaky 2nd-year QB in Dwayne Haskins but also the only competition left is the injured Alex Smith and recently acquired Kyle Allen, who was sacked at among the highest rates in NFL history. Montez ran a 4.68 40-time at the combine showcasing his mobility from college running for nearly 1,000 yards. He’s a big dude (6’4″, 230 lbs) with an above-average arm but will need to learn how to read NFL defenses. With a new regime in Washington, Ron Rivera might be open to seeing what the rookie QB can bring to the table competing for a roster spot.
Salvon Ahmed- RB (Washington)
San Francisco 49ers
Ahmed was ranked as high at RB9 on some draft boards so slipping to undrafted free agent status was unforeseen. Regardless, it’s the landing spot that should make dynasty owners with deep benches perk up. San Francisco just traded Matt Breida to the Dolphins and if their RB depth chart has communicated anything in the last couple of years, it’s the simple fact that as long as your breathing Kyle Shanahan can find a place for you. Last year’s darling Raheem Mostert was a UDFA with the Eagles back in 2015 and after fighting his way through six different rosters, he’s established himself as a major part of the 49ers backfield committee. Tevin Coleman, Jeff “My Name is Jeff” Wilson Jr., and somehow Jerick McKinnon is the other RBs on the roster with Ahmed. He has special teams experience so hopefully he makes the team as a gunner and finds his way eventually onto the field for RB snaps.
James Robinson- RB (Illinois State)
Robinson might’ve been overlooked while at Illinois State but he came into college as arguably the most productive back in Illinois state high school history. Nevertheless, his small size (5’9″) and average 40-time (4.64) likely pushed him beyond the 7th round. Leonard Fournette is basically out the door and surprisingly the Jaguars didn’t add anyone else to compete with last year’s draft choice Ryquell Armstead for the backup job. He was unimpressive, to say the least as a rookie. While journeyman Jeremy McNichols is there, Robinson will have a chance to assert himself after toting the rock 364(!) times last year, most in the FBS. He’s a late-round dynasty dart throw especially if you can stick him on your taxi squad roster.
Michael Warren- RB (Cincinnati)/Adrian Killins-RB (UCF)
Ok, I cheated a bit combining two RBs in one. The Eagles are an enigma when it comes to rotating the RB position although Miles Sanders looks like a clear winner in this draft. Over the last couple of years, the Eagles have used UDFAs Corey Clement and Josh Adams at RB as Head Coach Doug Pederson isn’t afraid to use a committee at this position. Warren is much thicker (5’9″, 229 lbs), had 37 total TDs in college, and profiles more as an early-down grinder. Killins is a waterbug (5’7″, 162 lbs!) in the mold of Tarik Cohen with the passing game chops to be a 3rd down specialist or a special teamer with an unofficial 40-time of 4.39 seconds. Regardless, expect one of these RBs to make the roster behind Sanders and Boston Scott.
Kalija Lipscomb- WR (Vanderbilt)
Kansas City Chiefs
Follow the money. Currently, Lipscomb has the most amount of guaranteed money ($110,000) for a UDFA among the WRs. While his production dipped dramatically his senior year, Lipscomb went 83/916/9 the year before in the SEC and is noted as a proficient route runner. The Chiefs have a stable of wideouts headlined by Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, and the resigned Demarcus Robinson. However, there were spurts where UDFA Byron Pringle had some meaningful snaps including a Sunday night loss where he stepped in for the injured Hill and went 6-103-1 against the Colts. Lipscomb ran a 4.57 40-time and was projected by many to be a Day 3 pick. Given the early investment for a UDFA, he looks like a player Andy Reid thinks can fit and likely start off making his mark on special teams.
Quartney Davis- WR (Texas A&M)
Davis finds himself on a Minnesota team desperate for some WR help. While 1st round WR Justin Jefferson is going to be starting opposite Adam Thielen from Day 1, Davis can compete for a roster spot against 6th round pick K.J. Osborn and last year’s late-round pick Olabisi Johnson, who was a pleasant surprise towards the end of the year. Davis’ best games in his career actually came against Alabama’s NFL-bound cornerbacks where he bodied corners and showed solid body control on 50/50 balls. However, he is another “big” slot receiver, something apparently the Vikings are into.
Chris Rowland- WR (Tennessee State)
You might’ve never heard of Rowland but he was a production machine in 2019 leading the nation in receiving yards with 1,437. He also broke Jerry Rice‘s record of receptions in a season at a historically black college and university (HBCU) with 104(!) last year. Oh yeah, he also was the only Division I player to score in four different ways: rushing, receiving, kick return, and punt return. Ok, now for the limitations. Rowland looks like he’s still in high school at just (5’6″, 185 lbs.) and faced much worse competition than your average prospect. Regardless, the Falcons need a special teams boost and Rowland could be in line for the WR4 job behind Russell Gage.
Darrell Stewart Jr.- WR (Michigan State)
Green Bay Packers
Next time someone poo-poos on the Packers’ draft for not taking a WR in arguably the deepest WR class in recent history, bring up Darrell Stewart Jr. I know UDFAs don’t make the team a majority of the time but Stewart ends his time in East Lansing as the school’s 3rd all-time leading receiver. He’s a shifty slot option who could find his way in the rotation alongside Davante Adams and Allen Lazard, who also was a UDFA in 2018. Note the name and when training camp arrives, if he makes the squad, he’s a great speculative add in a dynasty league with deep benches.
Hunter Bryant- TE (Washington)
This one has to be a shocker as Bryant was ranked as high as the No. 1 TE on some people’s boards including Fantasy Pros. The Huskie TE had a breakout junior year posting a line of 52/825/3 as a second-team All-American. The eye-popping number is 15.9 yards per catch, which is usually always an indicator of a player with enough juice to play at the next level. The landing spot ain’t too pretty as the team spent a top-10 pick on T.J. Hockenson last year. Bryant carries receiving upside as essentially a “big slot TE/WR” but he also dealt with injuries over the course of his first two years which apparently scared off some NFL GMs. Rookie tight-ends are a crapshoot the first year as they learn how to mostly adjust to blocking NFL defensive ends and EDGE rushers, something Bryant struggled with majorly in college.
Thaddeus Moss- TE (LSU)
You know the name and the fact he was front-and-center with the LSU Tigers catching two TDs in the National Title game. “Straight Cash Homey’s” son, unfortunately, had to sit out the combine and has had multiple foot surgeries in his career. As discussed in Ben Cummins’ recent article identifying weak position groups, the Skins are depleted at TE after finally moving on from Jordan Reed and only Jeremy Sprinkle, UDFA Hale Hentges, and recently acquired Logan Thomas on the roster. Moss was actually praised as one of the top run blockers in this weak TE class. On a team bent on running the ball with former LSU Tiger Derrius Guice and the ancient one Adrian Peterson, Moss could stick. He looks to be a product of being in the right place at the right time once again.
- Anthony Gordon- Seattle Seahawks
- Reid Sinnett- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- J’Mar Smith- New England Patriots
- Darius Anderson- Dallas Cowboys
- JaMychal Hasty- San Francisco 49ers
- Patrick Taylor- Green Bay Packers
- Chris Finke- San Francisco 49ers
- Marquez Callaway- New Orleans Saints
- Juwan Johnson- New Orleans Saints
- Omar Bayless- Carolina Panthers
- Noah Togiai- Philadelphia Eagles
- Jake Burt- New England Patriots
- Rodrigo Blankenship- K (Indianapolis Colts): Because have you seen this guy? The NFL needs him!