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Offseason Lowdown

10 Players To Target Outside of the Top 100

by Josh Norris
Updated On: August 18, 2020, 11:20 am ET

At some point every player becomes a good value during fantasy football drafts (except for Leonard Fournette - don’t do it). I’ve completed dozens of drafts this summer and have seen ADPs significantly change over the last few months. Many of you might be searching for “late round steals” who pay off in a big way. Consider this list worthy of that moniker.

The 10 Players I’m Targeting Outside of the Top 100

For fairness, I’m using ADP data from leagues with money attached - Classic, FBG and Main Events - from August 1 to August 17. Names like Hayden Hurst (76), Diontae Johnson (84) and Antonio Gibson (96) are going earlier in those leagues compared to others, but each would absolutely qualify for this list.

RB Latavius Murray, Saints - ADP of 107, RB44

My typical roster construction in summer drafts has been to lock down two feature backs in Rounds 1 and 2, then maximize on ridiculous pass catcher values in Rounds 3-7. The RB values then start to be appealing again, like this one. Murray isn’t solely RB insurance for Alvin Kamara, he does offer some standalone value after seeing 11 touches per game last season (9 carries, 2 targets). Both backs should see a meaningful uptick in rushing attempts inside of the five-yard line - as the Saints had just 13 carries inside the five last season, compared to 20 and 33 in the previous two years. And if Kamara does miss time? Murray is an immediate top 10 RB. Below are Murray’s stats in two games when Kamara was out of the lineup:

33 opps (27 carries + 6 targets), 151 Yards, 2 TDs, 32 FPs, RB2 overall

33 opps (21 carries + 12 targets), 157 Yards, 2 TDs, 36.7 FPs, RB3 overall

Again, Murray will see *some* volume each week, and he’s dynamite if taking on lead back duties due to a Kamara injury. Latavius is my RB39.

TE Jonnu Smith, Titans - ADP of 109, TE17

There are multiple enticing options after the TE12 mark, and Jonnu Smith could be the name that emerges from the pack. During his time in Tennessee, Delanie Walker posted seasons of 102, 106, 111 and 133 targets. I know Arthur Smith was not the lead playcaller during those years, but imagine what Jonnu could do as the possible No. 2 pass catcher on the Titans after averaging the 2nd highest YAC numbers at his position last season. Of tight ends who played at least eight games last season, Smith ranked 7th in yards per route run, only behind certified studs like George Kittle, Mark Andrews, Tyler Higbee, Darren Waller, Travis Kelce and Jared Cook.

Combining Smith’s and Walker’s targets last year nets you 75. That is the most conservative of estimates for Jonnu in 2020. Obviously the Titans’ net passing volume was extremely low last season - 30th in total offensive plays and 30th in pass attempts + sacks. A.J. Brown led the team with just 84 targets. That is wildly low in today’s NFL. I simply do not believe that script will work two years in a row, and Smith absolutely benefits when the team is forced to pass more often. Jonnu is my TE14.

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WR Jalen Reagor, Eagles - ADP of 115, WR45

Nearly 70 percent of my drafts this summer include Reagor. Over the last 60 days his ADP has jumped up 20 spots. He was a value at pick 135 and still remains one at 115.

The Eagles have 128 targets available from last season. Add another 73 if Alshon Jeffery misses extended action - which looks likely. The team does not have the luxury of taking their time with Reagor, a player they highly coveted, and he has the talent to maximize on those expectations. TCU did an awful job manufacturing easy touches for Reagor. Nine screens and nine slot receptions on 113 slot snaps. Only 14 rushing attempts. Pathetic coaching and quarterback play. Doug Pederson will remedy that. At worst you are drafting a high variance explosive receiver who will put up spiked weeks. At best? You are drafting the Eagles No. 1 WR at a WR45 value. Reach for him, Reagor is my WR36

WR Henry Ruggs, Raiders - ADP of 117, WR46

Henry Ruggs is the name I immediately look for after selecting Reagor. I want both in every draft. In fact, I try to game each draft platform by seeing if one is listed significantly higher on the default rankings. In the end I do prioritize Reagor because I believe in the Eagles Offense more, but Ruggs likely has the better chance to lead his team in targets.

Let’s take that a step further, rookie Henry Ruggs will lead the Raiders in targets this season. Hunter Renfrow led all Raiders WRs last season with 71. That is absurdly low. Due to his 4.27 speed, Ruggs is viewed as a vertical playmaker and possibly a poor fit for Derek Carr due to the QB’s tentativeness on deep shots despite being successful when taking the risk. That is a mischaracterization of the receiver’s game. Yes, Ruggs can win downfield, but just 4 of his 40 catches last season traveled 20-plus yards. You know where he is great? After the catch, averaging 10.5 YAC which tied for the 8th best mark in college football. Expect Jon Gruden to scheme Ruggs the football at every level of the defense and from every alignment, even behind the line of scrimmage. He’s my WR37.

TE Chris Herndon, Jets - ADP of 135, TE21

The Jets desperately need Chris Herndon to stay healthy in 2020. We’ve seen what happens to offenses that build their passing game around Jamison Crowder - a 5-foot-9 ceiling. Herndon was 11th among TEs in yards per route run as a rookie behind the biggest names at the position. Nearly 13 yards per reception on 56 targets in his first season in the NFL. If you are waiting until the final rounds to take your homerun swing on a tight end, make it one who has the potential to end the season among the top 7. Herndon is my TE18.

RB Damien Harris, Patriots - ADP of 139, RB52

As mentioned in the Latavius Murray blurb, this is an area I love to attack the RB position after locking down two feature backs early. Sony Michel is unfortunately on the decline, somehow ending as the RB38 in fantasy points per game (PPR) despite handling 247 carries last season. You read that correctly. Harris has zero NFL production to his name, just four career carries, yet his efficiency couldn’t be worse if given similar volume. The Patriots clearly think Harris is talented after spending the No. 87 overall selection on the Alabama back. The start of Cam Newton’s 2018 season saw him recognize the importance of the layup, namely outlets to running backs. Harris has that tool in his arsenal. His ADP has climbed 36 spots, and I list Harris as the RB47. At worst you cut him after two weeks.

RB AJ Dillon, Packers - ADP of 140, RB53

Aaron Jones was dominant last season. On the field for roughly 60 percent of the Packers’ snaps, Jones recorded 23 carries inside of the 5-yard line and scored 16 rushing touchdowns, 19 total. That is insane, and a figure that certainly will regress. Even if the Packers are able to sustain their unreal efficiency, second-round pick A.J. Dillon will be involved somewhere. I’m highly skeptical of the Packers going through an entire season without utilizing either of their top two round picks (QB Jordan Love and Dillon). He’s a worthy flier as my RB50.

WR Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers - ADP of 146, WR54

The 49ers have a type. George Kittle was 3rd among TEs in YAC last season. Deebo Samuel 3rd among WRs. Tevin Coleman 3rd among RBs. And Brandon Aiyuk was ninth in college football. I watched a receiver who maximized his after-catch capabilities while seeing the eighth-most screen yards in the country. But it doesn’t matter what I saw, because Kyle Shanahan is in charge. We’ve seen Deebo Samuel and D.K. Metcalf develop in-season, on the fly. Maturity is discovered through reps. The 49ers will count on Aiyuk to do the same. I rank him as the WR44.

WR DeSean Jackson, Eagles - ADP of 147, WR55

Draft DeSean Jackson (WR55), Jalen Reagor (WR45) and Carson Wentz (QB9). It’s an affordable stack on a good team with a quarterback who has already played at an MVP-caliber level. The Eagles put all of their explosive eggs in DeSean Jackson’s basket last summer. It paid off in a big way for one game. Howie Roseman doubled down this summer, adding Reagor, John Hightower and Marquise Goodwin, who has since opted out. But the original is still involved and could end up as the best receiver value this summer. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert led the team in targets last season - when was the last time two TEs did that? Decades. A wide receiver will disrupt that in 2020. Jackson is my WR46.

QB Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers - ADP of 174, QB18

I totally understand if you do not want to invest in a quarterback coming off elbow ligament(s) surgery. I’m embracing risk in order to maximize reward. In 2018, Roethlisberger was the QB2 in fantasy points per game. Antonio Brown certainly made a massive impact, but a healthy Roethlisberger can hit top 7 QB status with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Eric Ebron, a good offensive line, James Conner and a fantastic defense. And if not… just stream the position based on matchups. QB has never been deeper, so aim for the ceiling. Roethlisberger is my QB14.

Josh Norris

Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for NBC Sports Edge and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .