At each position we all have several picks that we want to draft in the early rounds and they go off the board before we get the chance to take them. In this article I am taking a look at those early round picks that offer great value.
I will take a look at a player at each position. Let’s start off at the Quarterback position (one which our fellow 5 Yard colleague, Paul Picken will like)
Kyler Murray – Arizona Cardinals – QB
In the off-season Kyler Murray is a player who isn’t getting the love he deserves, and has dropped down a lot of analysts rankings. If Murray could put together a season where he is fully fit then he would be ranked much higher. If he has a fully fit season, then he’s the only Quarterback capable of throwing for 5000 yards and rushing for 1000. This would easily move Murray into the Josh Allen stratosphere. For instance, Allen can throw for 5000 yards but he’s not going to run for 1000 yards, Lamar Jackson will run for 1000 yards but he’s not going to be throwing for 5000 yards.
This year is an interesting one for the Cardinals as their defense will be somewhat vulnerable against the pass and this will be a contribution factor to accelerating Murray’s numbers, especially as the Cards defense will force them into a lot of shootouts.
Another factor why Murray isn’t getting the respect he deserves is that his superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is facing a six week ban. However, consider that last year D-Hop was knocked up from Week Two. He then had a hamstring injury when he returned, which pretty much shut him down. This year though, this will help Murray get more out of Hopkins. He will return week seven fully fit and raring to go.
In the off-season the Cardinals got an instant upgrade at wide receiver as they shifted Christian Kirk to the Jaguars and traded for Hollywood Brown on the first night of the NFL Draft. Hollywood brings versatility as he can play inside or outside which will free up Rondale Moore in the slot and provide scheme versatility in Hopkins absence.
The scheme versatility has afforded the Cardinals great depth. From week one until Hopkins returns week seven I predict that the Cards will play Hollywood on the outside, Moore in the slot and A.J. Green will play the ‘D Hop’ role. Let’s not forget that they have Zach Ertz at tight end, and even though he won’t see much action they also have Trey McBride which adds further depth at tight end. Ultimately there is no excuse for Kyler Murray, even with Hopkins out.
Last season, Murray’s running did fall off in the first half of the season but it didn’t stop him making an impact. He will typically have a 6 to 10 week stretch in the season where he’ll be a consistent QB1. At least, until he picks up an injury as his body isn’t big enough and won’t hold up. If unscathed though, he will definitely be up there with Josh Allen this year and he’ll outperform those in the same tier as him.
Breece Hall – New York Jets – RB
It’s crazy that, since Breece Hall was drafted by the Jets, Michael Carter’s ADP has dropped like a lead balloon. But Hall’s ADP hasn’t sharpened up in the same trajectory. Breece Hall boasts a rare profile as he is an elite runner of the ball and equally as good at receiving out of the backfield. If he hits his potential, he’ll be dynamite.
I still get the ick when drafting New York Jets players. Nowadays I have to remind myself that the Jets are a team who have impressive talents such as Michael Carter and Elijah Moore. Now, they have added Garrett Wilson and Hall to spearhead their offense. Also they have a fit again Tyler Conklin, this all leads to one place though – Zach Wilson. A lot will depend on how well Zach Wilson gets this offense working.
The Jets have a good offensive coordinator that will help Breece Hall. Mike LaFleur will unleash Hall and allow him to come inside and wide zone which is where he performed exceptionally throughout his college career.
Take the Strain
Another factor for Hall’s current 5th round ADP is the Jets rather unique start to the season. The first four weeks the Jets will face all of the AFC North teams followed by Miami, Denver, New England and Buffalo. Now that’s a tough start to proceedings and Hall will need to own that RB spot. Otherwise, it could see Carter have the chance to win back the role.
On the subject of Carter, this leads me to the potential trap door floor for Breece Hall. In the first few weeks for the Jets, if Carter is getting all the 2 minute offense and the long down distance work (it’s highly likely we’ll see the Jets 3 and 20 quite often) it could be worrying. You only have to look down the road to Washington. Antonio Gibson is a great receiving back but it just so happens to be that he landed on a Commanders team who have J.D. McKissic, Ultimately this has impacted Gibson’s fantasy production. Let’s not forget that Carter is also great pass catching option out of the backfield.
Having said all this. Pre-season hype will likely see Hall’s stock increase. Right now is the best time to get Hall at his undervalued ADP. All it will take is training camp buzz or in a pre-season game for Hall to go on one long run and his value will skyrocket in a flash. We have seen it all before, last year it was Najee Harris who moved from round three ADP to late round one capital. The year before, it was Jonathan Taylor, who starting in round five and worked himself into round 3 ADP.
Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints – WR
Yes, he has the looming question mark over his head with the recovery from injury. However, the talk out of camp is signalling that he’s on schedule. The moment we get word that Thomas is at training camp, you can be sure that he’ll be going several rounds higher than his current ADP.
It’s easy to forget that Thomas still isn’t even 30. We haven’t seen him for two years but let’s not forget that he was a target monster when last on the field. It’s a rare entity to see a receiver with over a 30% target share. But this is exactly what Thomas was doing prior to the injury concerns.
Don’t get me wrong, Thomas’ ADP could still go either way especially if he has a setback. Take advantage of those in your league who don’t think he’ll do what he’s done before because he’s no longer got Drew Brees. Last year we saw a brief come back from Thomas with Taysom Hill at Quarterback and he still put up good numbers. And Jameis is a significantly better QB than Hill, so those theories are utter nonsense.