Which young stars do you think will see a second-half surge in production?
The easiest way to identify untapped production is to find players who have underperformed fantasy point expectations. The young players atop that list across several positions include John Hightower, Myles Gaskin, Jerry Jeudy, Joshua Kelley, Josh Jacobs, Zack Moss, Marquise Brown, Joe Burrow, Antonio Gibson, Darrell Henderson, Jonathan Taylor, Chase Edmonds, Mike Gesicki and Darnell Mooney.
Hightower’s name is interesting. His role within the Eagles’ offense has been filled with high-value targets — and that role should be taken over by first-round rookie Jalen Reagor.
Reagor is making his return to the lineup in Week 8 and I fully expect him to capitalize on the surplus of end-zone targets and air yards Hightower has seen over the past three weeks.
Gaskin has been a three-down back since the Miami Dolphins made the wise decision to bench Jordan Howard, and his stock is probably up with rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in at quarterback. Tagovailoa will be more likely to check down to his running back than gunslinger Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the Dolphins could put more emphasis on the ground game to protect their rookie quarterback.
Jeudy has underperformed the most among rookie wide receivers based on his opportunities, but his fortunes could quickly change with an extremely favorable schedule starting Week 9 against the Atlanta Falcons.
Traditionally, rookie wide receivers take time to get acclimated to the NFL, so there’s still ample time for Jeudy to be productive down the stretch.
Brown ranks second in terms of individual team air yards share (44%) among wide receivers and gets the juiciest of matchups this week versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. They have faced the fifth-most air yards per game and have allowed a league-high 10.4 depth of throw this season.
This should be the spot that launches a Brown to the moon in the second half of the season.
Joe Burrow was my start of the week at quarterback for Week 8 — no quarterback has underperformed more versus expectation than 2020’s No. 1 overall pick. Even so, Burrow has still averaged 19.6 fantasy points per game.
Historically speaking, the only comparison that comes close to Burrow’s first seven games that match his expected fantasy points and real fantasy points is 2018 Deshaun Watson.
Watson was averaging 20 fantasy points per game and performing massively under expectation during his first seven weeks. He finished as the QB3 from that point forward, averaging 23 fantasy points per game along the way.
Are we trading Ezekiel Elliott or riding it out with him?