At this point on the NFL calendar everyone looks good in shorts, some players are in the best shape of their career, and the bulk of the money is on each team’s “over” in the Vegas win-loss pool. Most fantasy drafts are three summer months (and hopefully a bunch of training camp snaps) away. But that doesn’t mean we don’t already have our eye on select players who are being overlooked and undervalued in the early going.
Of course this list is subject to change—maybe significantly—once camps open, but for now here’s a rundown of our early pre-camp sleepers and undervalued fantasy players.
Eli Manning (NYG) - If it feels like Manning is an annual fixture on this list… well, he is. That’s what happens when you grow up in the shadow of one of the greatest quarterbacks in history. Tough to justify Eli as a below-average fantasy quarterback when he’s throwing to a top-two wideout. Mix in a quietly productive tight end rotation, an upgrade at WR2 via the draft, an improved offensive line, another year of understanding Ben McAdoo’s offense, a top-three easiest strength of schedule for the passing game, and a backfield whose top two players are both better known for their pass-catching than their running and Manning is looking at another year of delivering fantasy starter numbers at a fantasy backup price.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (NYJ) - You know Fitzmagic is re-signing with the Jets. I know Fitzmagic is re-signing with the Jets. Apparently the only people on the planet who don’t accept this are the Jets front office, Fitz’s agent… and fantasy owners, who have Fitzpatrick slotted as the 30th quarterback off the draft board. Considering he tossed his way to the seventh-best fantasy season last year and returns to an offense that still has Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, gets back tight end Jace Amaro from injury, and replaced Chris Ivory with elite pass-catching back Matt Forte, things can only get better. Eventually the two sides will come to their senses, Fitzpatrick will be back in green, and your fantasy roster will get top-10 quarterback production from a late-round acquisition.
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