Depth Chart Diving for Hidden Fantasy Value: NFC Edition
After analyzing every team’s post-NFL draft depth chart, many teams have at least one player slated for major playing time, that can be had on the cheap in fantasy drafts. I’m highlighting those players in the NFC today and as you’ll see, there are many intriguing position battles worth monitoring moving forward. These players may not be game-changers, but they still have a chance to make a difference. No matter your league type, keep these players in mind when looking for hidden value.
Editor’s Note: Make sure you check out the AFC depth chart values discussed last month.
Chicago Bears – WR Anthony Miller and TE Trey Burton
With John Fox out and Matt Nagy/Mark Helfrich in, the Bears shockingly are an offense to get excited about in 2018. The new coaching staff should implement more of a spread philosophy and with it should come some fantasy football value.
Anthony Miller is an exciting prospect who projects to contribute from day one after the Bears traded up to select him in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft. He’ll outproduce Taylor Gabriel, who is only 5’8″/167 pounds and profiles as more a role player in the NFL. Similar to Cooper Kupp last season, Miller could produce strong numbers out of the slot in the Bears’ new system.
Then we have my fantasy football man crush, Trey Burton. I’ve been a truther for quite some time and at a current ADP of 7.12 according to Fantasy Football Calculator, Burton is one of my favorite TE targets once Gronk, Kelce, and Ertz are off the board. Burton was signed to be the pass-catching TE in the Bears’ new offense and he will see plenty of opportunities.
Detroit Lions – WR Kenny Golladay
The Lions have been a good passing offense under Matthew Stafford for quite some time now. Last season, Stafford supported two top 15 WRs in Marvin Jones and Golden Tate as the Lions finished top 10 in pass attempts and passing yards. Cheap assets in good passing offenses are always intriguing and that’s what we have in Kenny Golladay. Golladay flashed at times as a rookie, posting 28 catches for 477 yards and 3 TDs in just 11 games. He’s an intriguing late round flyer because he projects to take a step forward in year two and could come up huge if anything were to happen to either Jones or Tate.
Green Bay Packers – WR Geronimo Allison and WR J’Mon Moore
With Jordy Nelson gone, the Packers’ WR3 role is up for grabs. Normally, WR3 roles don’t move the needle in fantasy football. But they do when Aaron Rodgers is the QB. The battle projects to be Geronimo Allison vs. J’Mon Moore. Between the two, give me Moore. Yes, Allison has been in the offense for two years and just caught 23 passes for 253 yards last season. However, Moore is the better athlete and the Packers just invested a fourth-round pick on him. Moore has the potential to hit in a bigger way.
See where Andy, Mike, and Jason have Geronimo Allison and other values ranked in the Ultimate Draft Kit.
Dallas Cowboys – WR Allen Hurns, WR Terrance Williams, and WR Michael Gallup
The departure of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten leave 219 targets up for grabs in the Cowboys’ offense. Thus, the WR battle between Hurns, Williams, and Gallup is going to be a fun one to monitor in training camp, preseason, and even during the regular season. Hurns has a 1,000+ receiving yard, 10-TD season on his resume and can currently be had in the tenth-round. Williams is entering his sixth season with the Cowboys and finished third in targets last season behind Dez and Witten yet no one is drafting him. Gallup is the enticing rookie third-round pick that currently has a 13th round ADP. Plant your flag. For me, Hurns is a very solid buy at a tenth-round price tag.
Philadelphia Eagles – WR Mack Hollins
Mack Hollins is an intriguing name that no one is talking about. With Torrey Smith gone, Hollins is now the WR3 in one of the best offenses in football. Hollins caught 16 passes for 226 yards and 1 TD last season as a rookie, posting the highest yards per reception (14.1) mark on the team. He’s a name to keep in mind this season. It’s worth checking your dynasty waiver wires. If he’s available, I’d scoop him up.
Washington Redskins – WR Paul Richardson
Alex Smith shattered all narratives about his play last year playing the best football of his career and actually throwing the ball deep. Yet, no one seems to care. If Smith can even remotely keep it up, Paul Richardson should absolutely be relevant. Richardson is a starting WR that averaged an exciting 16 yards per reception a year ago, posting the best season of his career by going over 700 receiving yards and grabbing 6 TDs.
Atlanta Falcons – WR Mohamed Sanu and TE Austin Hooper
The selection of Calvin Ridley means Mohamed Sanu projects to man the slot almost exclusively in 2018. That’s intriguing because that’s where Sanu excels. And after posting 703 yards and 5 TDs last season, he doesn’t even have an ADP that registers on FFC right now. But due to the position he plays, Austin Hooper is the flyer you want to take in this offense because he’s free as well. IF Steve Sarkisian can improve as a play caller in year two, Hooper stands to benefit after finishing third on the team in targets a season ago. For those waiting on TE, take a shot on the untapped upside of a talented player like Hooper.
New Orleans Saints – WR Cameron Meredith
The Saints top two TEs are a 37-year-old Ben Watson and Josh Hill, who has never caught more than 16 passes in a season. Thus, don’t expect the TE position to be extremely relevant for New Orleans in 2018. Instead, I’ll invest an 11th round pick in Cameron Meredith. Meredith projects as the Saints’ WR3 in a Drew Brees-led offense. He’s proven he can produce, posting 66 receptions for 888 yards and 4 TDs in 2016 before a lost 2017 year due to injury.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – WR Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard
Jamis Winston surpassed 4,000 passing yards in each of his first two seasons in the league before suffering through an injury-plagued season in 2017. A Winston bounce-back is likely, making his pass-catchers very relevant. The only thing standing in the way of a second-year breakout for Chris Godwin is a 31-year-old DeSean Jackson. Godwin already posted over 500 receiving yards as a rookie and is receiving praise from the coaching staff this offseason.
More praise for second-year WR Chris Godwin — Todd Monken just said he’s earned the right to be a starter. That’s probably in context of three-receiver sets, but promising.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) May 17, 2018
Meanwhile, O.J. Howard had only 290 fewer receiving yards and caught the exact same amount of TDs (6) as Evan Engram last season…on 76 fewer targets. Howard is going to be an absolute star in this league and can currently be drafted in the 13th round according to ADP.
Arizona Cardinals – TE Ricky Seals-Jones and WR Christian Kirk
Although Ricky Seals-Jones only caught 12 passes last season, they all came in November and December as he picked up steam towards the end of the season. Now, with Jermaine Gresham recovering from a Week 17 torn Achilles, Seals-Jones’ role looks to be expanding this season.
Spoke to Ricky Seals-Jones today at #AZCardinals golf event benefiting Cardinals charities. He said likes the new offense really impressed with OC Mike McCoy knowledge and intelligence. Seals-Jones will go into offseason workouts the starter with an expanded role this season.
— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) May 3, 2018
As for Christian Kirk, he instantly projects as the WR2 in this offense after being selected in the second-round of the NFL Draft. Kirk broke out as an 18-year-old freshman at Texas A&M and his best comparable player according to Player Profiler is Stefon Diggs. Kirk currently has a 14th-round ADP.
San Francisco 49ers – TE George Kittle and WR Dante Pettis
George Kittle went over 500 receiving yards as a rookie and now gets to play a full season with Jimmy Garoppolo. For those waiting on TE, Kittle makes sense at his current 10th-round ADP. Kittle’s top-10 upside was discussed at length in an earlier article this offseason. After the 49ers traded up in the second-round to select Dante Pettis, he’s a name that needs to be monitored moving forward. Pettis could be huge in the second half of the season a la Marquise Goodwin last year if Garcon or Goodwin go down with an injury. There’s also more than a zero percent chance Pettis wins a starting job outright at some point this season.