A big part of fantasy drafts is value. Reaching for the wrong players can set owners back early in the season. The following players are being overvalued based on their current Average Draft Positions (ADP). Don’t take them too early on draft day or it could be costly.
Average Draft Position (ADP) is taken from Fantasy Football Calculator data as of August 18 and is based on a 12-team PPR league.
Julio Jones, WR Falcons (ADP 5)
No player in Round 1 is a big reach. An argument can be made though that Jones shouldn’t be selected in the Top 5. Jones gobbles up yards and receptions but he’s only scored double-digit touchdowns once in his six NFL seasons. He has just 14 touchdowns over the last two years. Last season Matt Ryan didn’t force the ball to Jones in the red zone. Jones was targeted only nine times in the red zone and scored twice. To put that in perspective, Raiders tight end Clive Walford put up the same numbers. To be fair, Jones was targeted 21 times in the red zone in 2015. However, despite catching 136 receptions on 204 targets, Jones finished with just eight touchdowns. Hey, you can’t go wrong with Jones on your fantasy team but when comparing him to Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr., touchdowns can be the difference.
Todd Gurley, RB Rams (ADP 18)
Gurley is coming off a miserable 2016 season where he rushed for only 885 yards and 3.2 yards per carry. It’s easy to brush off Gurley’s struggles as he played on a bad offense with a weak offensive line. However, Isaiah Crowell played on a bad offense too and averaged 4.8 yards per carry. The Rams did have arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL last year. They upgraded it by signing left tackle Andrew Whitworth and center John Sullivan this offseason. Gurley needs to take some of the blame too. He finished with fewer than 60 yards rushing in 10 games last season. He didn’t reach 3.0 yards per carry in six games. Those are terrible numbers for a running back that ranked fifth in carries. Gurley could have a bounce-back year but are you ready to put your faith in Jared Goff? Using a Top 20 pick on Gurley is playing with fire.
Marshawn Lynch, RB Raiders (ADP 30)
The addition of Lynch will be a big help to the Raiders in real life football. He’ll also have a big fantasy impact but he’s being overvalued as a Top 30 pick. Lynch spent last season out of the NFL and he dealt with back injuries two years ago in Seattle while averaging 3.8 yards per carry. The Raiders also have DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard in the mix. There’s no question Lynch will be the early-down pounder but he’s never been much of a receiver. Washington and Richard are going to play on passing downs. Lynch is a beast near the goal. He’s scored at least 11 touchdowns in four of his last five seasons. When you break it all down though, he’s a 31-year-old with back issues who was out of football last year and has handled the ball 1,429 times since 2011. Don’t reach for Beast Mode.
Allen Robinson, WR Jaguars (ADP 41)
Last season was a long time ago. For those with short memories, last season is when people were wondering if they should start Robinson or Taylor Gabriel during fantasy playoffs. Because the Jaguars quarterback play was so bad in 2016, Robinson buried fantasy owners to the point where many of them had to put the stud receiver on the bench. Robinson finished with 73 receptions, 883 yards and just six touchdowns on 151 targets. Robinson saw just two fewer targets than he did the year before when he put up 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns but Blake Bortles’ erratic play doomed both him and fantasy owners. Last year Bortles completed just one of 24 passes that went over 20 yards to Robinson. Robinson finished with 57 receiving yards or fewer in 10 games. So, what’s changed? Bortles is on his way out of town and people are calling for Chad Henne. In case you forgot, this is the same Chad Henne that has a career 59.3 percent completion percentage with 58 touchdowns and 63 interceptions. Unless Henne has improved dramatically, owners can expect more frustrating weeks from Robinson this season.
Mike Gillislee, RB Bills (ADP 56)
It’s so stunning that Gillislee’s ADP is still Round 5 it feels like a mistake. Forget that Gillislee is listed as the Patriots third-string running back. That doesn’t really matter. What does matter is Gillislee has been injured for most of training camp and he’s sharing a backfield with Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis and James White. Let’s state the obvious: It’s no longer 2016. This is a different Patriots team. LeGarrette Blount and his 1,161 yards and 18 touchdowns are gone. There isn’t one back on the Patriots roster that’s going to replace Blount’s production. Gillislee will be a factor in the red zone; he scored nine touchdowns on 110 touches last season. It’s simply not logical Gillislee will be worth a fifth-round pick with Lewis healthy, White’s role as the third-down back secure and the versatile Burkhead in line for touches. Burkhead looked good in the Patriots second preseason game and he’s been running with the first-team offense. Let someone else use a Top 60 pick on a Patriots running back.
Adrian Peterson, RB Saints (ADP 67)
Peterson is one of the top running backs of all-time but he’s coming to the end of his stellar career. He also enters a situation where Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara will have big roles in the Saints offense too. Peterson missed all but three games last year with a torn meniscus. He’s now recorded fewer than 40 touches in two of the last three seasons. Peterson is going to be a factor near the goal line. He’s scored at least 10 touchdowns in eight of his 10 seasons in the NFL. Peterson offers little as a receiver though and when you factor in he’s going to be battling Ingram and Kamara for touches every week, the future Hall of Famer is a risky mid-round fantasy selection.
Terrance West, RB Ravens (ADP 84)
West told fantasy owners they should select him in their drafts this year. While West is to be commended for his confidence, it’s hard to trust his objectivity. What West is failing to realize is he shares a backfield with Danny Woodhead and he could have lost his starting job to Kenneth Dixon before Dixon was lost for the season with a knee injury. West started to lose carries to Dixon late last season. He has a career 3.9 yards per carry average. That means West can be replaced at any time. West is currently scheduled to handle the early down work but the versatile Woodhead offers more fantasy value in PPR leagues. Also, Javorius Allen is having a strong camp and could push for playing time if West struggles. BaltimoreRavens.com suggested the team will even look at players who get cut to help bolster its running game. While West sees a big season in his future, the Ravens obviously aren’t sold on him. Fantasy owners shouldn’t be either.
Eddie Lacy, RB Seahawks (ADP 90)
Lacy’s ADP is Round 8, which is too high considering he’s been running primarily with the second-team offense in practice. While that’s not a huge deal seeing that Lacy is coming off ankle surgery and learning a new offense, it does suggest Thomas Rawls is still going to be a big part of Seattle’s offense this season. He also must deal with third-down back C.J. Prosise and impressive rookie Chris Carson fighting for touches in the Seahawks backfield. Lacy may seem like good value in Round 7 but in reality owners are getting a player who struggled with weight problems, has a history of ankle injuries and is battling three other backs for touches. That’s not a great recipe for fantasy success. Pass.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB Steelers (ADP 108)
Roethlisberger is overvalued every year by fantasy owners. The fact is most seasons Big Ben is a low-end QB1/high-end QB2. Roethlisberger has only finished as a Top 10 fantasy quarterback once since 2010. The issue for Roethlisberger is his performance on the road. At home over the past three years, Big Ben has thrown 59 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. On the road over that span, Roethlisberger has thrown 23 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. He ranks third in fantasy points at home and 18th on the road. Roethlisberger is being drafted as the 10th quarterback off the board. He’s no longer a weekly QB1. Roethlisberger is more of a streaming option when he starts at home.
Jamaal Charles, RB Broncos (ADP 119)
Charles is going in the tenth round of fantasy drafts, meanwhile, Denver beat writers are still debating on whether he’ll even make the final roster. Charles was once the most explosive back in the NFL but injuries have limited him to just eight games over the last two years. Charles is now a 30-year-old, injury-prone running back fighting for touches with C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker, not to mention impressive rookie De’Angelo Henderson. Anderson is locked in as the Broncos starter. The best-case scenario is Charles is healthy enough to get eight to 10 touches a game. The more likely scenario is Charles’ best days are behind him and he gets passed on the depth chart by Henderson.
Matt Forte, RB Jets (ADP 130)
Forte isn’t an awful pick later in the draft but older running backs on bad teams that are starting to break down because of injuries don’t instill a ton of confidence in the fantasy community. Bilal Powell took over last year after Forte went down with a knee injury and he gave the Jets running game some life. Forte averaged just 3.7 yards per carry last season. He finished as the 21st fantasy running back. The veteran is now behind Powell and if he gets injured again, Forte could lose touches to rookie Elijah McGuire. When you’re on the clock in Round 11, players like Dak Prescott, Rishard Matthews and Mike Wallace are better options than the aging Forte.
O.J. Howard, TE Buccaneers (ADP 146)
Howard has loads of physical ability and he’s destined to be a big-time fantasy tight end. It’s just not going to happen this season. Rookie tight ends rarely make a big fantasy impact. Howard is such a good blocker, that’s where he’s going to make most of his money as a rookie. The problem with taking Howard in Round 12 is his teammate Cameron Brate, Evan Engram, Austin Hooper, Dwayne Allen and Julius Thomas are all going after him. Engram is the better rookie tight end to target this year and the rest of those options are in more favorable fantasy situations. Howard will show flashes of his future potential and he’ll be a factor in the red zone. He just won’t be consistent enough for fantasy owners on a weekly basis. Howard is a guy to target in dynasty leagues but he’ll be on the waiver wire in re-draft leagues.