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Fantasy Football 2018: Hidden gems

Fantasy Football Hidden Gems

One way to dominate a fantasy football league is by finding “hidden gems” late in the draft. These players have major fantasy upside compared to their average draft position, or ADP, and will give you a major leg up on your competition.

In 2017, players like Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt and Alex Collins all ranked outside the top-150 in Matthew Berry’s 2017 fantasy football top-200 PPR rankings, or point per reception. In this article, I intend to inform you about three players whose ADP’s warrant “hidden gem” status in PPR fantasy football leagues in 2018.

James White

Fantasy Football Hidden Gems
New England Patriots’ James White (28) carries the ball against the Arizona Cardinals. (Photo by Zimbio.com)

Despite the additions of Sony Michel and Jeremy Hill, James White remains the New England Patriots running back to own in PPR leagues in 2018. On average, he is currently being selected as the RB46 on ESPN.com, placing him behind fellow backs Kerryon Johnson (RB37), Nick Chubb (RB41) and Latavius Murray (RB44).

Since 2016, James White has seen 158 targets, making him the third most targeted running back over that span behind just Le’Veon Bell (200 targets) and Duke Johnson Jr. (167 targets). In just 12 games last season, White finished as the RB38, less than 10 fantasy points behind Joe Mixon, Derrick Henry and Jay Ajayi, whose ADP’s are RB16, RB20 and RB21 respectively. Due to his incredibly low ADP, drafting White is a low risk, high reward option and will easily outperform his ADP, making him a “hidden gem”.

Chris Godwin

Godwin is being seriously overlooked in 2018. The second-year wide receiver out of Penn State weighs in at 6-foot-1, 210-pounds, and measures in the 89th percentile in both 40-yard dash and weight-adjusted speed score, showing his freak athleticism. The 22-year-old is expected to battle with veteran Desean Jackson for a starting job, although Godwin should run away with the opportunity.

From week 10 on last season, Godwin turned 44 targets into 26 receptions, 442 yards and one touchdown, whereas Jackson only saw 35 targets during that span. With Jackson poised to make $11 million in 2018, it seems now is the time for Tampa Bay to make the transition to Godwin, who will make a total of just under $2 million over the course of the next three seasons.

Best case scenario for Godwin, he becomes the secondary option behind Mike Evans, sees close to 100 targets and becomes a top-30 fantasy receiver. Worst case, he is designated to a third receiver role, sees upwards of 70 targets, and still outperforms his ADP which currently sits at WR63, making him the epitome of a “hidden gem”.

Luke Willson

Fantasy Football Hidden Gems
Luke Willson (82) suits up for the Lions during training camp. (Photo by CLS Sport)

After cutting former first-round pick Eric Ebron, the Detroit Lions decided to acquire Luke Willson, the former Seattle Seahawks tight-end. The 28-year-old Canadian will see a heavy uptick in targets, as he caught just 89 balls in his five seasons in Seattle, compared to Ebron, who saw upwards of 85 targets in each of his last two seasons in Detroit. With Willson assuming Ebron’s role, one can expect Willson to have upwards of 80 targets, about 60 receptions and a handful of touchdowns.

With an ADP of TE32, Willson is clearly being undervalued, as only 11 tight ends saw over 80 targets in 2017. If you play in deep or two tight-end leagues, Willson will be a perfect late target for your tight-end position.

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