Below are a few guys who I believe are being undervalued at their current draft price, and are near guarantees to outperform or at least perform to the level of their current ADP.
James Conner (RB - Arizona Cardinals):
Going off the board in the 4th round, Conner is arguably the biggest value in all of fantasy at this point. How is a guy who finished as RB7 overall last year and has had his situation upgraded (Edmonds leaving) being taken as the 40th player off the board? Conner was great all year, but specifically when Edmonds was out he averaged 26.2 fantasy points per game (!), while garnering 5.5 targets per game and running routes on 61% of dropbacks. His finishes in those games were as follows: RB1, RB16, RB8, RB11, RB2, and RB3. That is incredible. His efficiency metrics were very solid across the board, including +21 expected points added (EPA), which was 3rd in the NFL, and a dominator rating of 29.6%, which was 6th in the NFL.
His 16 touches inside the 5-yard line led to a hyper-efficient 10 touchdowns, which were both good for 2nd in the league only behind Jonathan Taylor. This very coveted goal line role will remain fruitful, yet will likely come with some negative touchdown regression as he scored a whopping 18 last year. Conner is a very talented back who proved in 2021 that he still has tons of juice left. When you combine his 3-down role with his massive goal-line opportunity share in a very solid offense, it is very easy to see how Conner is being massively undervalued.
AJ Dillon (RB - Green Bay Packers):
Dillon is another RB who is being taken at his floor price, and he’s sure to be a productive fantasy asset. Yet, he’s being selected as the 60th player off the board. Dillon was an absolute monster last year and ended up being PFF’s fifth-highest-graded RB with a score of 90.1. His very efficient 18.5 EPA was good for 5th in the league and is an attribute to just how valuable he is.
Dillon specifically exploded from Week 9 on where he out-carried, as well as outperformed (in terms of fantasy points) his running mate Aaron Jones. From Week 9 on, in the games they both played, Dillon had 94 carries and 99.7 half PPR fantasy points, while Jones had just 67 carries and (weirdly enough) exactly 67 fantasy points. This isn’t a knock on Jones, who is a very talented player and will be extremely valuable in the receiving game in 2022. I just want to emphasize that Dillon seems to have taken control of the 1A rushing role in Green Bay. I personally believe Jones’ likely increased receiving role will also allow Dillon to further stranglehold the carry totals in this backfield, but that is just speculation. And speaking of receiving roles, Dillon could see his own role expand with 169 vacated targets from Adams up for grabs. Last year he had 37 targets and brought in 34 of them, en route to a healthy 9.2 yards per reception and 2.07 yards per route run. He is a very capable receiver.
With Dillon having a solid goal-line role, taking about 60% of carries in a Rodgers-led offense, and even grabbing a decent receiving role, it seems like there is no way he doesn’t crack the top 24 RBs in 2022.
Christian Kirk (WR - Jacksonville Jaguars):
Kirk had a breakout year in 2021, garnering over 100 targets and almost 1,000 yards. He finished as the WR24. Now, he is in Jacksonville, which is likely the reason he is ranked where he is heading into 2022, with an ECR of WR43 and being taken at pick 116 (10th round). For me, this feels like a major value. In 2021, Kirk was finally put in a position that highlighted his skillset: the slot. He was only behind Cooper Kupp in receiving yards out of the slot. He was efficient from there as well, garnering 1.8 yards per route run, which was 13th in the league. He simply proved to be an overall efficient receiver, finishing with a 74.8% catch rate (7th) and a 60% contested catch rate (8th). The high-value targets were also there for Kirk, finishing with 23 deep targets which was good for top 15 in the NFL. Without D-Hop in the lineup, he was the WR1 on his squad, commanding a 21% target share and 13.8 PPR points per game.
Now, he heads across the country to be a team’s #1 receiver for a whole season. His hefty $21 million per year contract is a nod to the major role he will play in Jacksonville. Whether you agree with it or not, that is WR1 money. The only concern is if Trevor Lawrence and the Jags can take a step forward; the verdict is still out on that. However, with Urban Meyer out of town and Lawrence primed to make a year 2 leap, I’m willing to bet that the offense will be competent enough to support fantasy production. And considering where Kirk is being drafted, it is essentially risk-free to find out. He’s a locked and loaded WR3 with some serious WR2 upside if the Jags take a leap, which is a screaming value for the current WR43 who is being taken in the 10th round.