Overdrafted Fantasy Football Players
Too often in the Fantasy Football industry today we hear the term “bust” thrown around loosely. It is quickly becoming one of my greatest pet peeves. Let me make myself clear. If you draft Jordy Nelson early and he gives you 65 receptions, 800 yards, and 6 touchdowns, does that make him a “bust”? Not in the slightest. The more appropriate verbiage that we should use is “overdrafted”. This means that while the player may have performed decently, they did not provide you with a proper return on investment for where you selected them. So what are the factors that play into the equation when projecting an overdrafted player?
I will give you the four most common reasons that the ADP surpasses the fantasy value of a player. First, media hype can often lead to a players’ ADP rising overly high and sets unreasonable expectations. Second, expecting a player to repeat a single successful season is a recipe for disaster. Just because a player broke out last season does not guarantee that he will have that same success this year. Third, a new team, coach, or quarterback can often alter the value of a skill-position player immensely. While their name recognition or past success will continue to hold their ADP steady, their value may be lower due to their new situation. Lastly, the amount of love that rookies receive from the fan population is often times absurd. People always want to invest in the sexy new weapon that has yet to see an NFL snap. The problem there is exactly that. Nobody has ever seen them in action as a pro. If fantasy owners can look at these factors through an objective lens, they would do themselves a huge favor on draft day.
So, who can fantasy football owners expect to be overdrafted heading into the 2017 NFL season?
Here are six players, identified by my colleagues at Gridiron Experts and myself, who are currently being overdrafted. ADP is pulled from FantasyFoootballCalculator.com using standard scoring format.
RB | Seattle Seahawks
Eddie Lacy is currently being drafted as RB19 in standard leagues and coming off the board in the fourth round. While I do not doubt that he has the physical capability to produce low-end RB2 numbers, I believe that his situation in Seattle will leave owners frustrated with his week-to-week consistency. The Seahawks brought him in on a 1-year, $5.5 million contract in hopes of regaining their identity of an elite rushing offense. And personally, I believe Pete Carroll when he says that he will run the ball more in 2017.
But does that mean that Eddie Lacy is going to be “the guy” to take on a workhorse role for the Hawks? I’m not buying it. They have an extremely talented pass-catching back in C.J. Prosise, whom they have high expectations for. The former wide receiver showed an impressive ability to make big plays out of the backfield before suffering a season-ending injury in 2016. It would not be a stretch to think that, if healthy, Prosise could easily surpass 50 receptions.
So, Lacy will be a two-down starting running back? Yes, if he can beat out Thomas Rawls for early-down work and convince the team not to take a hot-hand approach to their run-game. As a rookie in 2015, Rawls led the NFL in yards after contact as well as yards per carry. However, his poor overall performance and a season-ending injury led to a disappointing sophomore campaign. Healthy once again, Rawls is entering 2017 hungry for opportunity and claims to be faster than ever.
Lacy will get the first crack at the starting role. And with a career average of 15.5 carries per game, he also has a track record of being able to handle a heavy workload. If every card played right for him in 2017, I believe he is a guy who can put up 900 yards and 8 touchdowns. But am I willing to bet a fourth round pick for a potential moderate return on investment? No, thank you. This is less about Lacy and more about the situation and surrounding talent. I would happily consider waiting for a guy like LeGarrette Blount (RB24), Ameer Abdullah (RB28), or Bilal Powell (RB31). If possible, I would take a fourth-round wide receiver like Keenan Allen or Demaryius Thomas and grab one of the previously mentioned RB’s in rounds 5-6.
Paul Maland – @PaulMalandNFL
RB | Jacksonville Jaguars
Leonard Fournette was a force to be reckoned with at LSU, but people are setting some lofty expectations for him as a rookie. I’m afraid Ezekiel Elliott’s rookie success has warped the minds of the fantasy community. That was an outlier folks. Elliott was a talented back, but more importantly, fell into the perfect situation in Dallas. Fournette will be running behind one of the worst offensive lines in football (ranked 23rd per Pro Football Focus) on a perennial loser of a team that constantly trails. Game script alone will hinder Fournette’s ability to get touches. Jacksonville ranked 23rd in run plays in 2016 with only 392 in total. It’s uncertain how much he’ll be involved in the passing game as well with Yeldon still on the roster. It’s also questionable how well the Jaguars will be able to move the chains with Bortles still learning the fundamentals of throwing a football. To drive home the risk of over-drafting Fournette even more, keep in mind that in three games against Alabama he ran the ball 57 times for 145 yards (2.5 YPC). As a sophomore and junior against the Tide, he had 19 carries for 36 yards (1.6 YPC) and 17 carries for 35 yards (2.1 YPC), respectively. That’s pretty alarming considering Alabama is the best example of the talent he’ll be seeing at the next level. Don’t risk blowing your draft in the first or second round taking a guy like Fournette.
Bob Talbot – @TalbotTalks
WR | Philadelphia Eagles
The recommendation from here is to thoroughly evaluate your degree of confidence in Jeffery’s ability to restore his numbers to a level that resembles his career-best totals. He is currently the 14th wide receiver being selected, which is earlier than enticing options like Demaryius Thomas, Allen Robinson, Davante Adams, and Terrelle Pryor. This results in a substantial investment very quickly in the draft process, on a player who could easily supply only sporadic production.
Phil Clark – @_PhilClark
WR | Buffalo Bills
Sammy Watkins was the ultimate frustration for fantasy football owners last year. He missed eight games and in the games, he did play he was very ineffective in the Bills run-first offense. Entering 2017, Watkins has an ADP of 40 overall as the 19th wide receiver off the board in standard leagues. In his current situation, it’s easy to project that he will be a huge disappointment in 2017. Even if he is healthy which is no guarantee, he plays in an offense where running the ball is the first priority. He has an average quarterback throwing him the ball and currently no established talent to take defensive coverages off of him. Even if he has a big game or two, fantasy owners will be left scratching their heads on a weekly basis when to start him. With so much depth at the wide receiver position, I just do not see the value in taking Watkins at this price. Avoid the headache and disappointment by leaving Watkins on the draft board.
Andrew Erickson – @AndrewErickson_
TE | LA Chargers
Hunter Gibbon – @HunterGibbon
QB | Pittsburgh Steelers
Readers should know that I’m a die hard Steelers fan with the logo on my arm. I also really enjoy winning fantasy football, and I won’t be paying the price on Big Ben. Over the last five seasons, Roethlisberger has exactly ONE finish inside the top 10 of QBs.That finish came in the 2014 season. For context, Peyton Manning finished fourth that season. The last time Big Ben was a top five QB, Manning was still a functioning NFL player. He does get freak WR Martavis Bryant back into the fold to go along with WR Antonio Brown and RB Le’Veon Bell. However, Roethlisberger has incredibly bad home/road splits.Just last season, only 9 of his 29 passing TDs came on the road. That’s just not good enough for your fantasy QB. He’s going ahead of Kirk Cousins, Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. I would take all four of those QBs ahead of Roethlisberger. Even if these five QBs finish with roughly the same amount of points, the odds are the other four will be more consistent than Roethlisberger. Don’t fall into the trap of spending a 7th-8th round pick on the wrong QB.
Adam Strangis – @Bucn4life
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