Sunday, August 27, 2017

Fantasy Football 2017: 10 Overvalued Players in Fantasy Football Drafts

On Friday, we posted a list of 20 players that we believe are undervalued compared to their average draft positions in fantasy football drafts.

If some players are undervalued, that means others, in turn, must be overvalued. So, today we turn our attention to some players that are priced a little too rich for our blood.

Even if a player appears on this list, it's not that we dislike them in terms of ability — it's just that we dislike them in terms of their current costs.

For purposes of this exercise, we used consensus ADP data from FantasyPros (as of Sunday morning).

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With that said, here are 10 players that are currently overvalued compared to their average draft position (ADP):

QB - Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons (ADP: 40, QB4)

To be clear, the majority of quarterbacks could appear on this list. In fact, it's not that I think Ryan is overvalued as the QB4; I have only Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees ranked ahead of him in my rankings as well.

But all three of those quarterbacks are overvalued as well in terms of their overall ADPs. The reason I listed Ryan here instead of one of the top-three QBs is that there is a greater likelihood that he has some regression from last year's career season.

Essentially, I'd consider Rodgers and Brady in drafts where they fell and feel comfortable that they will finish as top-two fantasy quarterbacks. Meanwhile, Brees has finished as a top-six fantasy QB for 11 consecutive seasons. After those three guys, however, I feel like the next tier of quarterbacks are fairly similar and I'd prefer to wait as opposed to draft the first one of that group.

Before last season, Ryan had never finished as a top-six fantasy quarterback over his previous eight seasons. If Ryan fell back into that QB7-QB10 range, it wouldn't be much of a surprise with Kyle Shanahan no longer calling the plays.

Granted, I may be overly bullish on Marcus Mariota compared to others, but I have him as my QB5 and there is an ADP difference of three rounds (36 picks) between Mariota (76) and Ryan (40). For me, the difference isn't that big.

RB - Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers (ADP: 29, RB14)

A dynamic player that broke the collegiate single-season all-purpose record previously held by Barry Sanders, I like McCaffrey much more in PPR formats. Using an early third-round pick on him in a non-PPR format, however, seems a little too costly.

McCaffrey's landing spot has a lot to do with him appearing on this list. Ultimately, I think he could turn out to be better for the Panthers as a real football player than he will be for your fantasy team (since he's unlikely to be on any of mine given his cost).

As versatile as any running back, McCaffrey may find touchdowns hard to come by as Cam Newton may be the best goal-line "back" in the league. And Jonathan Stewart is still going to be plenty involved in the running game, especially more so than McCaffrey near the goal line.

When push comes to shove, I'm not sure than we can count on Cam dumping the ball off to McCaffrey as opposed to running the ball himself. After all, do you "expect a lion not to roar?" I like McCaffrey; just not at his current ADP.

RB - LeGarrette Blount, Philadelphia Eagles (ADP: 70, RB28)

Featured back? Or cut?

After some speculation that Blount's roster spot may not be safe, coach Doug Pederson responded by saying that Blount is "a beast of a runner" and going to "a big part of our offense."

Coming off a massive workload last season and not much of a receiver, it's not out of the question that Blount becomes expendable if they decide Wendell Smallwood is a better option. Blount turns 31 in December and it wouldn't cost the Eagles much to part ways.

RB - Eddie Lacy, Seattle Seahawks (ADP: 83, RB32)

Battling weight issues the past couple of years, Lacy has weight-based bonuses in the one-year contract he has signed with the Seahawks and has met the targets so far. At this point though, it's difficult to trust that Lacy will have a large enough role to warrant his current ADP once all of the backs are healthy.

Thomas Rawls, who has five 100-yard rushing games over the past two years, is listed atop the depth chart, C.J. Prosise will have a sizable role as a third-down back (when healthy) and seventh-round rookie Chris Carson has been mixing in with the first-team offense at times.

Even though I have both ranked fairly close together, I'd rather draft Rawls (ADP: 110) than Lacy (ADP: 83) given their respective costs.

RB - Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings (ADP: 129, RB45)

As productive as Dalvin Cook has been so far, the rookie should begin and end the season as the lead back barring injury. Coming off an injury and learning a new offense, Murray is less appealing than a number of other late-round running backs currently being selected after him. Running backs like James White, Jacquizz Rodgers, Jeremy Hill, Darren Sproles and Jonathan Williams are all being drafted after Murray yet I'd prefer all of them over Murray.

WR - Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs (ADP: 45, WR20)

There's a good chance that I could be really wrong on Hill. After all, he finished as fantasy's WR11 last year and Jeremy Maclin is now in Baltimore.

That said, the explosive wideout scored a total of 12 touchdowns -- six receiving, three rushing and three returns -- despite getting only 85 touches. Especially considering that Alex Smith is more of a game manager, Hill is unlikely to score as many touchdowns even though his opportunities will increase.

Based on ADP, Hill is going at the end of the fourth round, but there are some receivers going in Round 5-plus that I'd prefer over him: Larry Fitzgerald, Golden Tate, Emmanuel Sanders, etc. to name a few.

WR - Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins (ADP: 52, WR22)

In standard-scoring formats, Landry has finished as the WR15 and WR18 over the past two seasons, respectively, as he posted a total of 205 receptions for 2,295 yards and eight touchdowns. In addition, he has added 22 rush attempts for 128 yards and a touchdown.

So, why is he on this list?

Starting on Oct. 9th, the Dolphins began a stretch where they gave Jay Ajayi double-digit carries every week. Before Oct. 9th, Landry posted a 7.75/93.75/0.25 line on 11.25 targets per game. From Oct. 9th through the end of hte season, that dropped to 5.25/63.42/0.25 on 7.17 targets per game.

With the Dolphins becoming a run-first team last year and signing Jay Cutler to start recently, I'd expect Landry's per-game targets to be closer to 7.17 going forward than 11.25/G. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if DeVante Parker scored more fantasy points than Landry in standard (non-PPR) formats.

WR - Sammy Watkins, Los Angeles Rams (ADP: 54, WR23)

There is no denying that his best is about as good as any receiver's best, but there are a number of concerns with Watkins going into the 2017 season. While he's healthy at the moment, foot injuries are tricky, especially for wide receivers, and Watkins has missed a combined 11 games over the past two seasons.

In addition, Watkins gets a quarterback downgrade going from Tyrod Taylor to Jared Goff. If the Bills had traded Watkins earlier in the offseason, there would have been an opportunity to establish more of a rapport with Goff and learn a new offense.

Not to put too much stock into the preseason, but one target and no catches in the dress rehearsal yesterday doesn't inspire confidence in the Goff-Watkins duo lighting up the league, at least early in the season.

WR - Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (ADP: 89, WR34)

Now behind Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams in the targets pecking order, Cobb posted a career-low 10.2 Y/R in 2016 and averaged only 46.9 receiving yards per game, the lowest since his rookie season.

From Week 5 to 11 when Aaron Rodgers averaged 45 pass attempts per game (out of necessity), Cobb finished as a top-36 fantasy wide receiver in five of six games. Outside of that six-game stretch when the Packers went 1-5, however, Cobb failed to finish as a top-30 fantasy wide receiver in any week.

In general, I prefer many of the receivers going after Cobb, such as Pierre Garcon, DeVante Parker, Cameron Meredith, etc.

TE - Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans (ADP: 82, TE8)

Among the four major fantasy positions, my tight end rankings most closely align to ADP at the position as well so there aren't any really pronounced overvalued options. That said, I like Zach Ertz slightly more than Walker this season and you can get him more than a round later, on average, in fantasy drafts.

Walker has been highly productive with 100-plus targets, 60-plus catches and 800-plus yards in each of his past three seasons. Going into his age-33 season, Walker has more competition for targets than ever as the Titans drafted Corey Davis fifth overall and signed Eric Decker in free agency.

Even though Marcus Mariota appeared on my list of undervalued players, the increased competition for targets in a run-based offense limits the upside for all of the receiving options.

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