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We have reached the point of the summer where hundreds of thousands of teams have been drafted on Underdog Fantasy. Average Draft Position (ADP) has largely settled apart from free agent signings and major training camp news, so now is a good time to reflect on where we have players ranked compared to where they are being drafted.

Players who we have ranked meaningfully ahead of ADP should be targets, whereas players who are ranked behind ADP may be ones to avoid unless they fall past ADP.

For this article, I referenced the Fantasy Life Rankings, which is an aggregate of our expert rankings from Dwain McFarland, Matthew Freedman, Ian Hartitz, and Rob Waziak (Waz). I looked both at their individual rankings as well as the consensus rankings to determine which players they are unanimously higher or lower than the market on.

The last time we did a comparison like this at Fantasy Life, our guy Chris Allen also broke down some positional trends. While the numbers have shifted a bit since then, the macro takeaways from Chris’s work remain true today. RBs are going later than ever and are still the position that most often represents a value throughout drafts.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that we just want to draft more RBs, though, as we can’t forget about roster construction in best ball. Rather, we want to structure our teams to be in a position to take advantage of undervalued players.

For example, if you believe a number of the RBs in the Round 9-10 range are undervalued, you will want to keep that in mind while drafting and look to structure your teams in a way that it makes sense to take an RB or two when you’re on the clock in that range.

In practice, this may mean leaning into the WR avalanche in the early rounds or grabbing both an elite TE and QB to open up extra roster spots if you decide to go with a true zero-RB approach.

Whatever you think about the current ADP landscape, draft like you mean it and try to exploit the players you believe are mispriced. You don’t have to have a strong opinion on every single player, but aggressively targeting the players you do think are undervalued is one edge that can help you try to take down the $3,000,000 top prize for Best Ball Mania IV.

Higher than ADP

Tyler Lockett

Perennially one of the most underrated WRs in the NFL and in fantasy football, Tyler Lockett has consistently turned in high-end fantasy finishes. In fact, the last time he finished outside of the top-20 WRs in half-PPR scoring was way back in 2017!

YearReceptionsRec YardsTDsHalf-PPR WR Finish

Despite his elite track record, Lockett is being drafted as just the 30th WR off the board. Although he does have plenty of target competition with D.K. Metcalf and Jaxon Smith-Njigba in town, the passing game should concentrate around those three. If Seattle's offense can live up to its potential, there should be plenty of fantasy points to go around. 

For those concerned about Lockett’s ability to play outside now that JSN has joined the offense, it is worth noting that Lockett has been lined up outside on more than 50% of his routes in each of the last two seasons without any drop-off in production.

It’s no surprise that Lockett is undervalued in drafts yet again, but don’t let it benefit one of your opponents. Draft Lockett, profit, and repeat.

Dameon Pierce

One of last season’s surprise stars, Dameon Pierce stands to benefit from an improved situation heading into 2023, as the Houston Texans have upgraded numerous positions on their offense this offseason, including QB and OL.

Unfortunately, Pierce does have to compete for touches with Devin Singletary, but this is a team that wants to rely on their run game, so there should be enough touches to go around. Our Fantasy Life projections have Pierce getting over 275 touches this coming season, which should be more than enough volume to outperform his current ADP.

Dameon Pierce Stats

There is always some risk that an RB drafted on Day 3 of the NFL Draft lacks job security, and that certainly is a threat to Pierce in dynasty leagues. But for 2023, Pierce is locked and loaded as the top option in Houston's backfield.

After a really strong rookie season that included seven consecutive games as a top-20 fantasy RB from Weeks 3 to 10, Pierce is poised for big things in Year 2 and is a screaming value in the late sixth round of drafts.

Javonte Williams

It’s been an eventful offseason for the Denver Broncos, headlined by some unprecedented smack talk from new head coach Sean Payton. In other news, all reports have been positive on Javonte Williams’s recovery from the knee injury he suffered in Week 4 of last season.

By avoiding the PUP list to start camp, Williams has a real chance to play in Week 1. The steady drumbeat of positive news has begun to push his ADP higher in drafts, but our rankers still think that he's currently underpriced.

It’s still early in the offseason, so we need to monitor for potential setbacks and more clues about how Williams will split work with new teammate Samaje Perine. We should still expect the Broncos to work Williams up to his full workload slowly, but he has true league-winning potential as a mid-round RB who could absolutely crush down the stretch if he's 100% healthy.

If you want to win one of top prizes in Week 17, Williams is a great candidate to help you do so thanks to his reasonable cost in drafts, better offensive situation (in Sean Payton we trust), and recovery that's currently ahead of schedule.

Lower than ADP

Brandon Aiyuk

The San Francisco 49ers went on a miracle run with Brock Purdy that carried them all the way to the NFC Championship game last year. Expectations are still high in 2023, but there are plenty of questions about this offense as well.

The most important question: Will Purdy be fully healthy by Week 1? And even if so, can he recapture the form that won him the starting job in the first place?

Even if Purdy can pick up where he left off last season, it’s difficult to know whether the tendencies we saw in his rookie season will carry forward or not.

If Brandon Aiyuk remains the clear third option in the receiving game as he was in 2022, it would be difficult for him to pay off the early fifth-round ADP that he currently has. 

Even worse, if the 49ers' tendency to capture lightning in a bottle at the QB position fails this year, it could be tough sledding for all of their skill position players in fantasy.

Although Aiyuk has plenty of weekly upside, there are numerous risk factors that make him a tough sell where he's currently being drafted.

Joe Mixon

The Bengals should be one of the best offenses in the NFL once again in 2023, and Mixon’s primary competition for touches over the last few seasons, Samaje Perine, is now in Denver. So on the surface, everything appears to be lining up for Mixon to crush this season. So why do we have him ranked a handful of spots behind ADP?

In addition to some looming legal troubles that could impact him this season, Mixon performed pretty poorly as a rusher last season. Despite never having been a particularly efficient runner, Mixon still posted numbers that were meaningfully below his career averages in the following areas in 2022:

  • Yards per attempt: 3.9 in 2022 vs. 4.1 career
  • Yards after contact per attempt: 2.61 in 2022 vs. 2.82 career
  • Breakaway rush %: 17.6% in 2022 vs. 25.9% career
  • Elusive rating: 31.3 in 2022 vs. 40.4 career
Joe Mixon

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) runs the ball as he s pursued by Buffalo Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (49) in the first quarter of the NFL divisional playoff football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Bengals led 17-7 at halftime. Cincinnati Bengals At Buffalo Bills Afc Divisional Jan 22 460 Photo Credit: Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

For a RB entering his seventh season in the NFL at age 27 and with more than 1,600 career touches, we should be wary of any signs of Mixon slowing down.

He still has plenty of upside due to his potential to consolidate work in the rushing and passing game on one of the most explosive offenses in the league, but the idea that Mixon will deliver a legendary RB season at this point seems unlikely.

His ADP has been rising in recent weeks, but we aren’t chasing Mixon up draft boards at this point. He is certainly still worth drafting at this point for his role in the Bengals' offense, but if his cost continues to rise, Mixon could be a very difficult selection if going in the same range as more efficient RBs who project for similar volume.

You can choose whether to take a shot on these players on Underdog Fantasy, where you can also get a 100% deposit match of up to $100 when you sign up for a new account!

Rankings vs. Underdog ADP
Jonathan Fuller
Jonathan Fuller
Jonathan Fuller is an editor for Fantasy Life as well as a contributing writer for Spike Week. He is the type of person who drafts best ball teams in March and competes in a 96 team dynasty/devy league. He spends more time than he would care to admit listening to fantasy football podcasts and discussing strategy on Discord and Twitter. Outside of fantasy football Jonathan works in the wealth management industry and enjoys following the other football ⚽️ as well as spending quality time with his wife and their puppy.