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8 Overvalued Fantasy Players for 2017 (Early Edition)

Derek Carr
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Overvalued Fantasy Options for 2017

Sure, July seems a tad early to be drafting, but fantasy football has become a year-round hobby and many drafts kick off as early as May. Analysts and hobby insiders have been busy drafting for months, so by the time the Scott Fish Bowl arrives in the summer, there is a well-established ADP around the industry.

Recently, I have the privilege to appear on the FantasyPro’s podcast where we discussed overvalued players and why we didn’t like them. It’s also been a popular topic on my very own Old School Fantasy Football Podcast.

Now that a reliable ADP as generally been set around fantasy football, and using our staff fantasy football rankings, here are some 2017 fantasy football players that I feel are being over drafted in the early stretches of this year’s fantasy football season.

ADP data courtesy Fantasy Football Calculator 

Quarterbacks

Derek Carr ADP 7.01 – Carr is certainly an outstanding NFL quarterback- the fact that he is currently the league’s highest-paid player dictates that. But value in real football doesn’t matter in fantasy football, and Carr is currently one of the most over-drafted players in 2017.

Carr’s solid numbers have been very consistent over the past two season, establishing the type of quarterback he is likely to remain.

Season G Cmp Att Cmp% Yard TD INT FPts PPG Rank
2014 16 348 599 58.1 3,270 21 12 256.2 16 QB20
2015 16 350 573 61.1 3,987 32 13 341.2 21.3 QB14
2016 15 356 559 63.7 3,933 28 6 315.6 21 QB16

As good as those numbers have been, Carr has yet to finish as a QB1 in fantasy, yet he’s somehow being drafted as the QB6. Inside the red zone, Carr completed only 37.2% of his passes last season- 40th among all NFL throwers. With red zone beast Marshawn Lynch now running behind Oakland’s superb offensive line, it’s hard to envision Carr’s touchdown numbers taking a big enough leap to justify taking him a top-10 quarterback this year.

It’s not that Carr isn’t a starting-caliber fantasy signal-caller, it’s just that he shouldn’t be drafted ahead of players with a higher ceiling, like Kirk Cousins, Jameis Winston, Russell Wilson and Marcus Mariota.

Carson Wentz ADP 12.12 – Wentz exceeded rookie expectations and the Eagles added some intriguing options around their second-year signal-caller, so it’s understandable that many people see a lot of potential for fantasy production.

But Wentz also struggled with bouts of ineffectiveness, posting five games with zero touchdown passes as a rookie. While he’s likely to improve as a sophomore, early training camp reports indicated Wentz was still struggling with pass accuracy and establishing a rhythm with his new receivers.

The next four quarterbacks in ADP, Carson Palmer, Blake Bortles, Ryan Tannehill and Joe Flacco were all more effective fantasy option than Wentz last season and look like much better values in 2017.

Running Backs

LeGarrette Blount ADP 6.02 – Since signing with the Eagles, Blount’s ADP has shot up now to the point where I don’t see a positive return on investment. Blount is about to be a 31-year-old, one-dimensional grinder who’s yards-per-carry had declined (5.0, 4.4, 4.3, 3.9) for four straight seasons.

Although the Eagles do have an excellent offensive line, they won’t have anywhere near as many goal-line opportunities as Blount had during his sting with New England. Without all those short gimmies, Blount has little value as a between-the-tackles runner.

As for that hype of Blount being more involved in the passing game, don’t buy it. Philadelphia has Darren Sproles and other solid pass catching backs in the fold- they’re not going to waste many targets on a player who has averaged a mere six receptions per season during his career.

Upon signing the first number of touches thrown around for Blount was 170, which is a 45% decline in the number of total touches he got for the Patriots. If that plays out, Blount is likely to put up only 600-700 rushing yards and maybe 6-7 rushing scores.

Derrick Henry ADP 7.01 – Overall, I actually like Henry, who could develop into a red zone monster as early as this season for an up-and-coming Titans team. But as long as DeMarco Murray remains the Titans starter and clear-cut lead dog, Henry isn’t going to receive enough volume to justify a sixth or seventh round investment.

Henry flashed glimpses last season but ended up as the RB45 in PPR scoring. Henry was only targeted 15 times all season, and with Murray still in the fold, isn’t likely to see an increase in looks that justifies him creeping up a dozen spots- ahead of a starting running back like Frank Gore.

For Murray owners, the sixth or seventh round is way too early to double up on a handcuff. The earliest I’d want to consider that tactic in a PPR redraft is at least two or three rounds later, and it can happen. I just nabbed Henry in the tenth round of an expert’s draft, so hold out hope.

Wide Receivers

Keenan Allen ADP 4.09 – Similar to chasing Josh Gordon, fantasy owners often end up having a difficult time accepting reality when a young player hits early. The fact is, Allen is an oft-injured receiver who is less than a year removed from a torn ACL and joins a team loaded with other weapons.

Allen was great as a rookie and was off to another tremendous start in Year 3 before his first major injury. He’s now missed 23 games since the beginning of 2015 but also declined from 14.7 yards-per-grab as a rookie to under 11 in each season since.

Even if he’s fully healthy, Allen also offers very limited touchdown upside. Since the beginning of 2014, Allen has only caught one pass inside an opponent’s 10-yard line. With bigger targets like Antonio GatesHunter HenryMike Williams and Tyrell Williams available, Allen seems like he won’t command a big enough role around the stripe to justify being nabbed as a top-15 fantasy wide receiver.

Davante Adams ADP 4.05 – After two uninspiring seasons to begin his career, Adams shocked the fantasy world with his tremendous third-year breakout. Adams became Green Bay’s second-best wideout and finished second in the NFL with 12 touchdowns.

I just don’t see those lofty scoring numbers carrying over. Randall Cobb, who usually commands a large chunk of the Packers’ red zone looks, wasn’t healthy last year and should be 100% in 2017. Green Bay also added TE Martellus Bennett and should be much better at running back with Ty Montgomery, Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones. All told, Adams, who was 7th in the NFL with 20 red zone targets, could easily see a fairly significant decrease in that area in 2017.

Adams has also finished in the top-20 in dropped passes in each of the past two seasons, an issue that could quickly become an issue for a team loaded with offensive talent.  I’m just skeptical that a player that nobody wanted anything to do with in 2016 fantasy drafts can repeat those lofty numbers. For me, Adams is more of a WR3, but he’s being drafted as a WR2.

Tight Ends

Eric Ebron ADP 12.07 – Seemingly every year this will be the season Ebron breaks out and pays off that No. 10 overall draft billing. Although he’s slowly been improving over his three seasons, I don’t have enough confidence in the Detroit offense or Ebron himself to draft him as my starting tight end.

Now you’ve probably read that Anquan Boldin had 22 red zone targets last season and Ebron is clearly the front runner to absorb most of those looks, but despite his imposing size, Ebron doesn’t use his body well in that area and is unable to put himself into position to become a dominant red zone player. A healthy Ameer Abdullah and enormous rookie wideout Kenny Golladay are also strong candidates to see big roles near the end zone as well.

Ebron is a trendy pick to finally break out this season, but when I’m “waiting” on tight ends, I’ve already decided to throw in the towel so to speak on those high-risk types. I’d just as soon wait for a guy who’s proven he can be a healthy weekly producer, like Jason Witten.

C.J. Fiedorowicz ADP 14.06 – Now admittedly, when you get down to the 14th round there’s not really a lot of downside to players this late. Fiedorowicz was great last season and looks very appealing as a late-round target for those that wait entirely too long to take a TE or just want a back-up.

I also cover the Texans locally and can say this with confidence: There is no way Houston’s tight ends will command 176 targets again in 2017. Call it the “Brock Osweiler Effect”- an inability to progress through reads and relying on short, safe throws to tight ends rather than trying to run Bill O’Brien’s complex system.

Last season, Osweiler’s Texans threw a ridiculous 30.5% of their targets to tight ends. In O’Brien’s first two seasons in Houston, those figures were 10.6% and 12.7%.

Regardless of who starts at quarterback for the Texans this year, look for those target numbers to drop off precipitously, and that will make it hard for Fiedorowicz to remain on fantasy rosters in 2017.

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About the author

Jody Smith

Senior Writer Gridiron Experts. 2012 FantasyPros Most Accurate Fantasy Expert. Member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. 26-year fantasy football veteran. Featured on NFL.com, Fantasypros, Football Diehards annual magazine, local AM sports radio, podcasts everywhere and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. Once scored 4 touchdowns in a single game for Polk High School.

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