Fantasy Football: Who Are The Experts Higher On?
We’re at the point in the off-season where you can start to find out where the early expert consensus rankings (ECR) differ from those of the general public. As draft season approaches, the gaps get smaller and smaller, taking away the edge you get by doing your off-season research. Whether you’re participating in MFL10’s, drafting early, or want to target a player in a trade before the hype builds, that’s the purpose of this article today.
We’ll be going through each position, finding the player that experts are lower on, as well as those that they’re higher on in comparison to average draft position (ADP) from mock drafts over the last month. As the season nears, I’ll be doing my own personal rankings vs. ADP, but today we’ll be focusing on the ECR. I’ll also limit it to players who are at least borderline starters. Once you’re done reading, practice your drafting skills in our Draft Wizard, available for free right now.
Quarterbacks Experts Are Higher On
Joe Flacco (QB – BAL) ECR: 23, ADP: 27
This one isn’t shocking, as the experts are often expecting some sort of a breakout from Flacco, though we are now 10th season and he’s never finished better than the No. 10 quarterback. In fact, he’s been the QB20 and the QB26 over the last two seasons. His finish will likely be in the QB17-QB20 range, though, as it’s been for five of his 10 years. While I don’t blame the public for drafting Flacco at QB27, he’ll likely finish better than that.
Marcus Mariota (QB – TEN) ECR: 9, ADP: 13
If you would’ve asked me who I thought would be higher on Mariota before looking, I would’ve said the public, so this is definitely shocking. His 5.8 percent touchdown rate in 2016 ranked No. 4 behind only Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady, yet he finished as the No. 12 quarterback in terms of points per game. Considering his leg injury, I also wouldn’t expect Mariota to run for 349 yards, like he did last year. His weapons have gotten better, but the Titans still want to run the ball.
Quarterbacks Experts Are Lower On
Dak Prescott (QB – DAL) ECR: 12, ADP: 7
It’s somewhat surprising to see Prescott this low among the experts, as he finished with the ninth-most fantasy points per game in 2016, and that’s despite he really didn’t play in Week 17. If you remove that game, he would’ve been the No. 6 quarterback (which is where he actually finished) on a per-game basis. His schedule is worrisome, as is the fact that they didn’t get him a wide receiver to play opposite Dez Bryant, but there were just three quarterbacks who were as consistent as he was last year based on top-12 performances: Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers.
Alex Smith (QB – KC) ECR: 24, ADP: 20
This one is odd, because Smith has been an under-appreciated fantasy quarterback in the public since he started in Kansas City. He’s finished inside of the top 20 quarterbacks for four of the last six seasons, but he’s never been drafted inside of the top-20. Maybe the experts expect Patrick Mahomes to take over at some point, but that seems very unlikely to me.
Running Backs Experts Are Higher On
Samaje Perine (RB – WAS) ECR: 34, ADP: 45
This is one of the rankings that will catch up by the time draft season rolls around. There have been whispers out of Redskins camp that Perine looks great and that he’ll likely unseat Rob Kelley from the get-go. There is risk with taking Perine in this range if he isn’t named the starter right away, because you’re going to have a player taking up a bench spot during the most important part of waiver season, right after Week 1.
Joe Mixon (RB – CIN) ECR: 17, ADP: 23
Not surprising to see the public lower on Mixon, as he’s a rookie and the Bengals already have Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard on the roster. But the public likely doesn’t realize that Bernard still isn’t recovered from ACL surgery, and that Hill hasn’t been very good despite his fantasy success. The only way to escape the negative media coverage the Bengals have gotten is to play him.
Running Backs Experts Are Lower On
Latavius Murray (RB – MIN) ECR: 37, ADP: 30)
Despite being the most puzzling move of free agency, the public still continues to buy Murray being a big part of the Vikings offense. Being drafted as the 30th running back off the board essentially means that he is being drafted as a starter. The experts are out in front of this one, and it’s possible that they are still too high.
Adrian Peterson (RB – NO) ECR: 30, ADP: 24
This isn’t surprising at all, because there are major differences in opinion when it comes to Peterson. Not just between the public and the experts, but among everyone. There are some experts who have Peterson as high as the No. 20 running back, while others have him as low as No. 46.
Wide Receivers Experts Are Higher On
Tyrell Williams (WR – LAC) ECR: 46, ADP: 61
This one is interesting, as there are some experts who believe rookie Mike Williams will have an impact immediately. Some have the rookie as high as the No. 30 wide receiver, while others have him as low as the No. 86 receiver. Tyrell is the exact same, with one expert having him as the No. 20 wide receiver. It’s clear that this is a battle to watch in the pre-season, but as of now, most experts say Tyrell is the one undervalued and Mike is the one overvalued.
Breshad Perriman (WR – BAL) ECR: 52, ADP: 62
I’ve gone back and forth in my assessment of Perriman, but have come to a definitive conclusion – he should be higher in both ECR and ADP. While I don’t think Perriman is the most gifted wide receiver, he’s going to finish at this his current ranking (WR52) by necessity alone. The Ravens threw the ball more than any team last year and saw over 150 wide receiver targets leave this off-season. The public is sleeping on Perriman.
Wide Receivers Experts Are Lower On
John Ross (WR – CIN) ECR: 58, ADP: 46
If you’ve been following my work here at FantasyPros, you know that I’m a massive fan of Ross in the long run, but there’s no way I’d put him inside my top 50 wide receivers in redraft. Even as a fan, my ranking at No. 55 assumes that he sees more targets than both Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd, which is generous. A.J. Green is the dominator of this offense right now, so don’t go overboard on Ross just yet. This is an exciting offense going forward with Green, Tyler Eifert, Ross, and Joe Mixon, but instead of taking any of them, you may want to just snag Andy Dalton to get a piece of everyone.
Tyreek Hill (WR – KC) ECR: 33, ADP: 27)
It’s either you’re in or you’re out on Hill, there is no in-between. His touchdown rate last year was astronomical, as he scored one touchdown for every 7.08 offensive touches. Yes, that includes his special teams touchdowns, but still. They say he’s going to be more involved on offense, and while I believe that to be true, his touchdown regression is unavoidable. He’s not for the fantasy owner who looks for consistency, which is likely why experts are a tad lower on him.
Tight Ends Experts Are Higher On
C.J. Fiedorowicz (TE – HOU) ECR: 17, ADP: 26
There were times last year where I shouted from atop a mountain that Fiedorowicz needed to be owned everywhere. Ok, I didn’t have a mountain, but I had a microphone. But in this case, I think the public has it right. The only reason Fiedorowicz was a player to aim for last year was because of the guaranteed targets from the incompetent Brock Osweiler, as Fiedorowicz became his safety blanket. Osweiler is gone and you should suspect that DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller are both target hogs under Tom Savage and/or Deshaun Watson.
Coby Fleener (TE – NO) ECR: 18, ADP: 24
The hate has officially gone too far with Fleener, who finished as the No. 12 tight end last year despite being incredibly disappointing. It’s likely because he was being drafted as the No. 6 tight end, leaving a bad taste in owners mouths. But Brandin Cooks is gone and the Saints replaced him with Alvin Kamara and Ted Ginn, who will both occupy short and long targets, leaving plenty of work over the middle for Fleener. He’s going to finish better than both his current ECR and ADP.
Tight Ends Experts Are Lower On
Julius Thomas (TE – MIA) ECR: 23, ADP: 16
There’s been a resurgence in Thomas’ draft value since his move to Miami, though experts seem to think it’s more hype than anything. It’s important to note that Thomas has only played in 49 of 64 possible games the last four years. On top of that, there were just six games with the Jaguars in which he totaled more than 28 yards. There was plenty of competition for targets in Jacksonville, but going to Miami is just as bad with Jarvis Landry, Devante Parker, and Kenny Stills competing for targets.
Evan Engram (TE – NYG) ECR: 26, ADP: 19
It seems to be a common theme with rookie tight ends, where almost all of them are being drafted higher than their ECR, but none higher than Engram. The concern is that he’s a wide receiver who is playing with a tight end tag. If you haven’t watched Engram, he’s a big slot wide receiver. It appears very likely that the Giants misevaluated him as an in-line tight end, because he’ll be competing with Sterling Shepard for snaps, and that’s not a good thing.