Fantasy Football: Post-hype draft values ​​are worth another try after disappointing seasons

Trevor Lawrence could prove valuable in fantasy football considering how late he is being selected in the draft this season. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Fantasy football managers can have very short memories, especially when it comes to players who are underperforming compared to their draft expectations. Taking advantage of value that arises due to negative public perception is a useful part of fantasy draft season.

This article highlights some of the players whose perceived value has dropped, partly due to the recency effect of their 2023 season.

While his QB13 finish was disappointing compared to expectations, Trevor Lawrence showed what we all hoped he would do for fantasy purposes starting in Week 11, when he went from 22nd in fantasy points per game among guys with at least four starts in Weeks 1-10 to 6th in the same category for the final seven games of 2023. And that's without Christian Kirk in five of those games.

The fourth-year signal-caller has the makings of an elite fantasy asset, including a strong arm and some wheels, and this year he gets fresh weapons in rookies Brian Thomas Jr. and Gabe Davis, as well as a healthy Christian Kirk. Lawrence is drafted as QB22, but has top-5-8 potential if he stays consistent in 2024.

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It was a rough ending for Rhamondre Stevenson as the RB30 in half PPR points per game last year, as he averaged just 51.6 yards on the ground and 19.8 yards receiving in the 12 games he played. Ezekiel Elliott was replaced by Antonio Gibson in an offense without any major playmakers, so there's a chance Stevenson can come back and be the RB-less hero in 2023 that we all wanted.

The good news is that he currently costs drafters a fifth or sixth round pick instead of a third round pick and has the potential to surpass his current low-end RB2 status in a contract year.

Seattle was a run-first and run-of-the-game team under Pete Carroll, but last year Zach Charbonnet was used in more of a complementary role than expected during fantasy draft season. Charbonnet finished as RB56 in half-PPR scoring per game, but in games where he was involved in at least 61% of the snaps (Weeks 11-13), the rookie had 19.7 touches per game, which was 6th among RBs, for 9.7 half-PPR points per game, which was RB24th during that time period.

With the new coaching staff, it remains to be seen how strong the Seahawks will be in running, but we have to assume that Charbonnet will get more work in 2024 and will put up better numbers than his current draft stock suggests.

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Calvin Ridley's first season as a Jaguar wasn't a complete disappointment. Ridley boasted a 22.5% target share and was fourth in the NFL in red zone targets, but that didn't quite match his expected performance. Ridley's WR26 finish with half PPR points per game (11.3) made him a fantasy WR2 instead of the expected WR1.

As a member of the Tennessee Titans, he's part of a potentially more pass-focused offense under new HC Brian Callahan, who also stated that Ridley's role will be “very similar” to Ja'Marr Chase's with the Bengals. That could be huge for his fantasy prospects, as Ridley would run more slot and intermediate routes rather than the mostly longer, low-yield routes he's seen Trevor Lawrence run.

JSN had a slow start to his rookie season due to a wrist injury, but after Seattle's Week 5 bye, he averaged 8.2 half-PPR points per game as the WR40 during that span. He's poised for a bounce-back in his second year in an offense that should be more pass-oriented under new Seahawks OC Ryan Grubb, and the aging Tyler Lockett isn't hurting his situation.

Williams only played in six games during his rookie season after suffering a knee injury in the 2022 NCAA title game, but the hype was there and he was drafted as the WR6 on most platforms anyway, but finished as the WR135 in that category with just 2.4 half-PPR points per game. Last year, the Detroit WR initially served a gambling suspension that was originally six games, then was reduced and he was able to return to the team in Week 5. Williams was slowly introduced and inconsistency prevented him from becoming a reliable fantasy asset.

This year, Lions coach Dan Campbell has called Williams a “man on a mission” and the player with the most progress. He'll also have less competition for long balls now that Josh Reynolds is no longer on Detroit's roster. And as a bonus, the Lions will play 14 of their 17 games in covered stadiums in 2024, which could reduce the wind on those deep balls.

After a promising rookie season as the WR39 with half PPR points per game, Jahan Dotson was primed for a breakout year in 2023 with Eric Bienemy as the playmaker, but unfortunately he fell short of expectations, only posting 518 yards on 49 pass catches with a disappointing 10.6 yards per pass catch. Curtis Samuel is now in Buffalo, which gives Dotson plenty of room to play behind Terry McLaurin. There's also a new coaching regime, as well as a fresh, very talented quarterback in Jayden Daniels.

With his likely improved play as a quarterback, Dotson should get more opportunities for volume and scoring, and with his current draft capital, he could prove to be a bargain.

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Jennifer Eakins is a proud graduate of the UGA Grady College of Journalism and has worked in the sports industry for over a decade. She has worked at CNN Sports, the Atlanta Hawks, and the Colorado Rockies. Her first fantasy football draft was in 1996, where she selected Ricky Watters first, and she's been a fantasy degenerate ever since.