When entering the draft, I like to have the mindset of taking the best player available, regardless of if my starting lineup is filled out. My roster changes so much over the course of the season that those spots eventually get filled, and guys who I drafted who were supposed to fill them are filling my bench or someone else’s. With that said, I try not to take players in the early rounds who have tons of risk associated with them or their workload isn’t clear or they don’t have enough of a workload to have standalone value, or that there’s other talent at other positions that is just more valuable. Because of position scarcity and past performance, we might draft a few guys ahead of what they’re worth. Here are a few of the players I think are being overvalued in ADP at the moment.
Deandre Hopkins is super talented. He is one of the most incredible wide receivers in the league and one of the best at making tough catches. However, his QB situation isn’t great. He’s currently going in the beginning of the third round, and to me that is super risky when you look at all the other guys on the board at that spot. Last year the offense was a wreck with Brock Osweiler as the starting QB. Hopkins ended up being ranked 29th in receiving yards and only 4 TDs. We saw what Hopkins did in 2015 with Brian Hoyer, who is a very adequate QB, who also threw to Hopkins on what seemed like every play. Once Hoyer was out, we didn’t see Hopkins make the same impact he did in the beginning of the season. We can’t expect Tom Savage to come in and help re-create Hopkins’ 2015 year, but he can level him out a bit and give him 1000 receiving yards with 5-6 TDs. Still, with that said, I rather take guys who are going around him in ADP with better opportunity like Brandin Cooks, Isaiah Crowell, Doug Baldwin, Christian McCaffrey, Terrelle Pryor, and Allen Robinson. His risk is just too high at that spot.
Blount is going at the top of the 5th round. Do we remember the Eagles RB carousel last year? Owning Ryan Mathews was very frustrating, and Blount is going to be playing that role. He is less talented than Mathews, but will probably be able to stay healthy, something Mathews struggled with his entire career. He will be their bruiser, but he can’t have anywhere close to the season he had last year on the Patriots. He only had value because he was on the Patriots. On an Eagles team with 3-4 running backs in the rotation, we can’t expect Blount to get a reliable workload. He will probably get goal line carries, which was the one good stat Ryan Mathews had last year – he was 8th in attempts inside the 5 yard line. Blount was first for the best offense in the league, which is why he scored so many touchdowns and had that value. The Eagles aren’t going to be up in that many games to be able to run the ball down the other teams throat like the Patriots did either. I would temper expectations for Blount in this offense, and rather take other guys who are going around his ADP: Jordan Reed, Jarvis Landry, Michael Crabtree, Martavis Bryant, Andrew Luck, Brandon Marshall, Ameer Abdullah, Julian Edelman, and maybe Mike Gilislee.
Derrick Henry is a handcuff who gets occasional work. He had 110 carries last year and only 13 receptions, some of that coming when Murray was hurt. We can’t expect that workload to increase by that much. Even if he gets 140 carries, that’s not enough to be drafted in the beginning of the 6th round. The Titans have a very talented and efficient back in Demarco Murray who can handle all game situations. Also, there’s no way Henry can oust Murray without an injury. The other backups who are being drafted after Henry can actually become the more fantasy relevant RB in their respective backfield if their incumbent doesn’t play well – Mike Gilislee, Dalvin Cook, Mark Ingram, Paul Perkins, and Bilal Powell. That’s not happening in Tennessee with Murray at the helm. Not only are those running backs available around that spot, but so is Julian Edelman, Donte Moncrief, Larry Fitzgerald, Golden Tate, Tyler Eifert, and in the next round, Willie Snead. You can’t start him if Murray is playing. You can, but you have to get lucky for him to give you value, and we don’t want to depend on luck; we want to depend on expected opportunity.
The main concept around Henry is why I don’t think Coleman is worth picking at the end of the 5th round. Coleman only had 118 carries last year. He had 8 touchdowns on those carries, which is unsustainably efficient. That calls for negative regression next year. He had 31 catches for 421 yards, which was a whopping 13.6 yards per reception! For a running back, that is crazy efficient, and is very hard to reproduce. That also calls for negative regression. We are overvaluing Coleman because of his amazing season on limited work, but we have to judge him on the work and the opportunity, not the stats. Can he see more playing time next season? Maybe. But Devonta Freeman was a beast, and there’s no reason for him to be on the field less next season. He’s still 25 years old, and probably not even in his prime yet. Coleman will get similar work next year, but we can’t expect him to have standalone value. Last year was an anomaly, and like I said with Derrick Henry, we can’t draft him that high just in case the starter goes down. As a handcuff to Freeman, sure. I don’t know if I would do it, but it at least locks down a RB slot for the rest of the season. An argument I hear for Coleman is that the offense is so good that it can sustain two running backs to have fantasy value. We can’t expect that offense to fire on the same cylinders it did last year. It was one of the most efficient offenses of all time, so there is negative regression expected in Atlanta as a whole, which leads me to my final overvalued fantasy player.
When a QB has a very efficient year, we have to take a look to see how reproducible it is. We can’t anoint them an automatic repeat just because they had a great year. Look at Cam Newton last year. He was horrendous compared to the previous season, where he was all-time good. Ryan was rolling last season, but look at how he did the previous seasons. He threw for 38 touchdowns last year, and only threw for 30 once before then. Only 7 interceptions, but averaged 13 throughout his career. Not bad by any means, but we have to call out the outlier season. The Falcons offense is also going through an offensive coordinator change. They’ve come out and said that they are running the same offense, but we have to expect some changes in style, play calling, and leadership. These types of things can change an offense, and we can’t expect it to continue rolling like it was without any hiccups. I expect Ryan to be back more like his old ways than this past season, which is a QB who is barely viable in a 10-12 team league. He’ll get you your points, but is not going to put up 30-point weeks every week. With that said, picking a QB in the 5th round HAS to work out as an elite QB, because you’re giving up on guys that could make a serious impact at the skill positions. Rodgers, Brady, Brees, and Luck all have a chance to be the QB1 overall. I don’t think Matt Ryan has enough of an elite track record to be a part of that conversation. I rather not waste that pick and just draft a QB late if I’m not getting one of those elite guys.