For whatever reason, there are fantasy football players each season that out perform their expectations, yet still aren’t shown the same love as others. It could be because they are consistently good and not great, playing on bad teams, not in a featured role, or simply haven’t won the hearts of fantasy owners.
Regardless, these gems are flying under the radar and fantasy owners are missing out on glorious fantasy points.
The good news is that this means there are still starting caliber guys for you to pick up on the waiver wire or free agency. The following eight players are guys who are owned in LESS than 80% of ESPN Fantasy leagues, and are among the top scoring players at their position (top 10 for QB/TE, top 20 for RB and top 30 for WR).
These are players that you should check on and pick up immediately if they are available.
Jared Goff, L.A. Rams – Owned in 78.1% of leagues
Quietly averaging 18.6 fantasy points per game and quarterbacking one of the league's highest scoring offenses, Goff has mostly gone unnoticed. The biggest factor was struggling in back to back weeks (Weeks 5 and 6) that saw him score 8 points in each contest.
He then followed that up with a mediocre performance against the Cardinals that looked worse in real life than it did in fantasy. This caused some owners to jump ship going into his bye week and never look back.
In the two games since then, Goff has scored 34 and 29 fantasy points. If you take away the two stinkers we spoke of earlier, Goff is averaging 21.5 fantasy points per game on the season. For reference, that would make him the fourth highest scoring QB ahead of Tom Brady.
Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens – Owned in just 67.4% of leagues
“Buck” has seen his ball-carrying role fluctuate as the season has gone on, only eclipsing 10 carries in five of his nine games. However, catching footballs is what makes him valuable. Thus far, he is averaging 4.3 catches and 21 receiving yards a game. That would appear low to some people, but it gives him a very solid floor of at least 6 points per game as a receiver.
Allen has seen Alex Collins take over more of the early down duties recently, but has still averaged 10 carries and 32 rushing yards during those three games.
Javorius Allen is a player who may not be the feature guy on the ground, but is still going to average around 14 touches per game. That kind of work is extremely valuable in fantasy.
Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland Browns – Owned in just 75.5% of leagues
Maybe it's that he plays for Cleveland, or maybe it's that he’s in a running back by committee with Isaiah Crowell, but a running back averaging 12.7 fantasy points per game should not be available in a quarter of leagues.
Similar to Javorius Allen, Duke Johnson Jr. gets his value because of his ability as a receiver. The difference between the two is that while Allen gets more overall touches, Johnson gets more yardage. So far, Johnson is averaging 4.6 receptions and 44.75 receiving yards per game, to go along with 4.8 rushes and 25.5 rushing yards per game.
Even better, he got more rushes and overall touches than Crowell in their first game coming out of their bye week (last week at Detroit), and did well with them.
James White, New England Patriots – Owned in just 71.2% of leagues
Following in the theme of the other running backs on this list, White gets his value from being a receiver. He is the perfect example of a player that won’t win you your fantasy matchup, but will not hurt you either. He has scored between 8 and 17 points in 8 of his 9 games. That is extremely valuable on a week to week basis.
Knowing that you can slot a player in and not worry about them putting up a dud is a wonderful piece of mind to have.
Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles – Owned in just 66.6% of leagues
Even though he has put up back-to-back weeks of 5 fantasy points, Agholor has still put together a brilliant campaign. He is a little boom or bust, and is touchdown dependent when it comes to having big games, but he ironically has a decent point floor.
His lowest point totals this so far have been 7, 4, 8, 5 and 5. Meanwhile, in his other 4 games Agholor has scored 23, 22, 15 and 14 points respectively. He has a good quarterback that trusts him near the end zone and is the #2 receiver on the league’s highest scoring offense.
Paul Richardson, Seattle Seahawks – Owned in just 37.5% of leagues
Second on the Seahawks in both receiving yards and touchdowns, Richardson is having a breakout year. In the four games since Seattle’s bye week, Richardson is averaging three receptions, 65 receiving yards and 0.75 touchdowns per game. He has scored 9 points or more in six of his nine games this year, and is averaging 14.1 points per game in those contests.
In his other three games, he still is averaging 6 fantasy points per game. At worst, he should have a place on your bench, but should definitely be owned in all leagues
Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders – Owned in just 79.7% of leagues
For a guy to be the sixth highest scoring player at a position as shallow as tight end, and still be available in 1/5 of the leagues out there is mind-boggling. He did have a stretch in Weeks 4 through 6 where he averaged only 4.6 points per game.
However, in the three games since then he is averaging a whopping 18.3 points per game. He seems to having a growing chemistry with Derek Carr and has decent matchups going forward.
Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts – Owned in just 75.7% of leagues
Since returning from injury in Week 6, Doyle is averaging 7 receptions, 57.4 receiving yards and 15.2 fantasy points per game. Those numbers are including his dud last week which saw him only score 2 fantasy points.
The Colts are usually losing in most games, which definitely helps keep Doyle involved. He and T.Y. Hilton are the Colts’ only real playmakers on offense and Jacoby Brissett seems to have complete trust in his tight end.
Doyle is the seventh highest scoring tight end in fantasy, and has the potential to be even higher.
For my tips and sleepers for your fantasy football efforts, check out Blake on Twitter @blakegibbs.