Best ball drafts are a great opportunity to get exposure to a variety of players. For $5 on Underdog Fantasy you can draft a team and forget about it as the best lineup will be populated for you weekly. This format is a great way to find value as well. Today we are going to sift through some of the 2021 best ball risers that you should keep your eye on in upcoming drafts.
Underdog ADP: 41.8 (RB18)
When looking at Montgomery’s 2020 season, it is hard to not focus on the last six weeks. After missing Week 11 with injury, Montgomery went on to see RB1 volume in his last six games averaging 19.3 carries and 4.5 targets in this span. He was a Top 12 back for each of these weeks and the RB1 overall twice.
We must remember that the Bears traded up in the third round of the 2019 draft to get their guy. After a solid rookie year, while overcoming first-year Head Coach Matt Nagy’s own growing pains, Montgomery found himself being the only viable option at running back for Chicago. Now, Montgomery has truly earned the workhorse role in year three.
Coming off 301 touches in 2020, Montgomery is the obvious lead running back with veteran Damien Williams as the backup. Tarik Cohen has received nothing but negative news out of camp as he recovers from a torn ACL. We may see the workload increase for Montgomery, who is capable of being a three-down back. His 68 targets last season were good enough for seventh in the NFL at the running back position.
Volume and talent are what we want from a fantasy running back, so it makes sense that David Montgomery is one of the 2021 best ball risers for this piece. The reason you can grab him in the fourth round and not the third is simply the question marks surrounding the Bears’ offense. Andy Dalton seems like the starting quarterback for Week 1, but rookie Justin Fields would give David Montgomery presumably a higher ceiling if he takes over sooner than later.
Montgomery is a known commodity and one that is a value right now. You’re getting a 300-touch running back in the fourth round and that is a deal I would take any day. It is clear why David Montgomery is rising up draft boards and is one of the 2021 best ball risers. Running backs going ahead of Montgomery like Najee Harris, J.K. Dobbins, and D’Andre Swift have more question marks regarding their volume than the Bears’ third-year running back.
Underdog ADP: 68.8 (WR33)
Jerry Jeudy had quite an impressive rookie season. He had 856 yards on only 52 receptions. He was 11th in the league in yards per reception (16.5) and sixth in total air yards (1,536 yards). In other words, Jeudy was the obvious deep threat on the Broncos, and he looks to have that role solidified for 2021.
Jeudy’s 113 targets last year were surprising. Courtland Sutton, the Broncos presumed WR1, went down with an ACL injury in Week 1 and Jeudy stepped in as the de facto target-hog for Denver. Even more surprising than Jeudy’s volume-dense year-one was his efficiency.
Spoiler: It was bad. Jeudy caught a dreadful 46 percent of passes in 2020. How could the 15th overall pick be THAT inefficient with such a high target total?
The answer, simply put, is Drew Lock.
Only 71 of Jeudy’s 113 targets (62 percent) were deemed catchable in 2020. The QB rating when targeting Jeudy was 58.7, good enough for 106th in the league. Lock struggled to get the ball to his best playmaker all year.
The Broncos traded for Teddy Bridgewater who is competing to be the Week 1 starter in Denver. Bridgewater was able to provide D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson 1,000 yard seasons while keeping Curtis Samuel and Mike Davis happy in the passing game as well. If Bridgewater is the quarterback for the Broncos for the majority of the season (I think he will be) Jeudy should be on his way to a 1,000-yard season even with Courtland Sutton being back.
It should be noted that D.J. Moore, Bridgewater’s deep threat of last season, had 73 percent of his targets deemed catchable and a QB rating of 70 when he was targeted. Teddy B winning the job could mean big things for Jerry Jeudy in Fantasy Football.
In the seventh round, Jeudy possesses upside and the “boom” type of production you want in best ball. Along with a lack of efficiency based on volume last season, Jeudy also only scored three times. If that number can improve to a more reasonable output, he will be one of the 2021 best ball risers that helps you win leagues.
Underdog ADP: 94.2 (RB31)
Michael Carter was drafted by the Jets in the fourth round and projects as a steal at that point. His back-to-back 1,000-yard-plus seasons while splitting ball-carrying duties with Javonte Williams proves that Carter made the most of his opportunities.
Opportunity is what Carter looks to have immediately in this Jets offense. According to The Athletic’s Connor Hughes, Michael Carter opened up Jets camp as the starting running back. This is saying a lot as veteran Tevin Coleman was signed in the off-season and Ty Johnson and La’Mical Perine are still on the Jets roster.
With second overall pick Zach Wilson at the helm, and Head Coach Adam Gase out of town, this looks to be a team that is headed in the right direction. Michael Carter SHOULD get first reps to maximize the potential of the offense. Carter is by far the most explosive running back on the roster, grading out in the 98th percentile in agility score. His 99 forced missed tackles were fourth in the ACC according to PFF.
Carter possesses upside as a rookie in an offense that can be better than what most are projecting in 2021. If he is indeed the starter, he could be in store for volume that can sustain Fantasy success and he is being taken in the 10th round. As more news comes out on Carter at camp, his ADP will only go up, making him one of the sneakier 2021 best ball risers.
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