Every player as a valuation in fantasy football, and these guys already cost a premium. There are some players worthy of reaching for ahead of their average draft position, and some guys are just valued accordingly. Every so often, players hit the end of their value curve, and drafting them any earlier puts gamers into a situation that may require making up for the pick later in the draft.
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
With an ADP of 5:12, Rodgers is being adequately placed. Unfortunately, inexperienced owners tend to gravitate toward household names in fantasy and cost themselves value later on. This is exactly the case with Rodgers. Going any earlier than the turn of Rounds 5 and 6 causes one to miss out on quality starting material at running back and receiver (possibly TE, if that’s your preference). Quarterbacks are too deep to reach for players unlikely to take their game to a new level, and the seemingly brittle Rodgers has peaked. A new coaching staff could reinvigorate him to a degree, but the talent around him isn’t what it used to be, and there’s only so much Davante Adams can do. Tread cautiously.
Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
It’s tough to understand what exactly gamers are expecting from the second-year quarterback by ascending his ADP to 10:08. He’s barely a backup, let alone being nearly a fantasy starter. His receiving corps will feature a pair of rookies and Willie Snead. The Ravens have nice tight ends to deploy, but how far can that realistically take Jackson. He claims he will run less this year, and every team has a blue print of how to slow him down. There’s just way too much risk to make him QB14.
Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon
Mixon is going, on average, with the seventh pick of the second round. He is behind arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL, and Cincy’s star receiving weapon is off of the field for several games to being the year. This means defenses will key in on Mixon with stacked boxes, and there’s little this porous front five can do to help him. A new coaching staff with a first-time skipper should give more reason for concern. Mixon’s individual talent is undeniable, but this is your friendly reminder that pro football is a team sport.
Kansas City Chiefs RB Damien Williams
For the sake of players who have already drafted Williams, I sincerely hope he lives up to all of the early hype. The reality is we’re talking about a career backup with basically five games of meaningful production. I would be remiss without recognizing Andy Reid’s storied success with backs in fantasy, but we now have two other dudes champing at the bit to get involved. Carlos Hyde — say what you will about him — has a track record with moments of success in the NFL. Rookie Darwin Thompson has looked every bit the part of an NFL-capable running back in the offseason. Williams’ draft stock has no meat left on the bone, even at this relatively reduced price of late.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin
This one will draw some flak, especially after I included his quarterback in the “players worth reaching for” counterpart to this piece. Hear me out … I have drafted Godwin anywhere and everywhere possible this summer, and he’s on my list of breakout players. Godwin also is at the end of the runway for draft stock. He would need to surpass Mike Evans to become the team’s WR1 in order to live up to being more than the 4:07 pick, on average — and that’s in PPR leagues where WRs typically get overvalued anyway. Godwin will be fine as a WR2, but his ADP is at the ceiling of the range.
New England Patriots WR Josh Gordon
Sigh. Every year we are in the same position and yet we expect something to change … it truly defines insanity. Gordon used to be worth the risk of an early pick. He struggles nowadays to gain separation, and for all of his second, third and 24th chances by Roger Goodell, at some point this cat will run out of lives. Gordon is at a fine placement right now with an ADP of 7:03. Anything earlier than that makes it awfully difficult to recover from losing him — which seems inevitable at this point. I wish him the best, but trusting him to finish out the year is not going to be a mistake I’ll make again. WR3 value and crossed fingers.
Houston Texans WR Keke Coutee
When a player is already going late, it’s tough to feel justified with his inclusion in this kind of article. Coutee feels different. Maybe it is because of all of the competitive drafts I’m in, where owners tend to reach for late-round guys to prove their acumen or what have you. Casual gamers may be more likely to overlook Coutee. Intermediate players, though, should recognize his role is limited, and his injury history is concerning. While Will Fuller is bound to break down at any time, Houston now has Duke Johnson to take on short-area work that could go to Coutee. He still has reasonable appeal late in drafts — just don’t let it be much earlier than his ADP of 12:02.
New Orleans Saints TE Jared Cook
Reports suggest Cook has been a shining star for the Saints in training camp. While that may be true, we still have a decade-long career of in-game action that suggests otherwise. He enjoyed a breakout year in 2018 with the Oakland Raiders, mostly due to the offense having no one left to catch a pass but Cook. Always be skeptical about players whose breakout season comes in their 30s. New Orleans should use Cook enough to make him a serviceable fantasy starter, but that also is in relation to how weak the crop is in 2019. An ADP of 6:12 is about as much juice as can be squeezed from this one.
Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku
Odell Beckham Jr. … Jarvis Landry … Rashard Higgins … eventually Antonio Callaway … Nick Chubb … eventually Kareem Hunt. Just how many passes do people expect this offense can possibly throw to make Njoku reliable? His high range in ADP is 6:06, which is bonkers, and there is always that unresolved issue of Njoku isn’t very good at actually catching the football. He will be erratic and difficult to play with any confidence. At any rate, he’s a fringe TE1, as people have usually chosen him, so don’t try to make Njoku into something more.