Though bargain hunting is far “sexier,” avoiding overpriced players is equally important to building a strong fantasy portfolio. The following names are the players who, in my eyes, offer far less value to fantasy owners than their current asking prices. I’ll break down why I feel this way, as well as who I’d rather target, both in their price range as well as alternatives at far cheaper costs.
ADP determined by FantasyPros consensus ADP
My Rank = 94 Overall, QB8 (and falling)
Expert Consensus = 59 (+35), QB4
ADP Rank = 56 (+38), QB6
Luck presents as 2017’s clear-cut most overvalued player at his current market price. For one, QBs, in general, are way overpriced, given how deep the position is. There are 16, maybe even 17, QBs I’d comfortably roll out in a given week, and most leagues require owners to start only one. This creates a simple case of a high supply but low demand and makes the opportunity cost of taking a signal caller this early even more emphatic. By drafting Luck at his current price, you’d be passing up on high-upside WRs like Tyreek Hill, Martavis Bryant, and Larry Fitzgerald, or quality RB2 options such as Mike Gillislee or Ty Montgomery, just to name a few.
Let’s assume you just need to take a QB this early (unwise). Why, then, is Luck the preferred option over Matt Ryan, who the experts rank 14 spots lower? The most common argument against Ryan is that he’s an obvious regression candidate with really only one year of elite production. But what exactly has Luck done before or since his massive 2014?
Give me the guy who’s coming off the elite season, who makes sound decisions (only seven interceptions all of 2016), plays with the same explosive surrounding cast that yielded this monster campaign, and remains in relatively the same system that facilitated the results. Not the injury-prone, erratic signal caller, with a weak weapons cabinet, who flashes elite ability before chucking a pick right into a middle linebacker’s hands. Especially when the way more appealing option is at a full-round discount.
Let’s not forget that Luck has yet to even throw this offseason as he recovers from shoulder surgery. In fact, the most recent reports suggest Luck’s Week 1 status is in question:
Indianapolis Colts beat writer Dakota Crawford is reporting quarterback Andrew Luck (shoulder) is “not ready to commit” to playing in Week 1. “It’s hard for me to look beyond, really, today’s rehab session,” Luck said via the Indy Star. “That’s the approach I have to take.”
Moreover, Luck’s line is minimally improved and remains one of the worst in the league. Thus, he’s likely due for another pounding and more missed time, considering he cannot throw the ball away. Beyond T.Y. Hilton, the weapons are uninspiring – yes, we love Jack “The Beanstalk” Doyle as much as anyone, but you cannot pretend he’s a juicy target. And Donte Moncrief’s “raw potential” means nothing if it forever remains raw and injured.
I simply don’t understand the Luck Hype Train whatsoever. As detailed, Ryan makes far more sense, both floor and ceiling wise, at the current price. I personally value Derek Carr more than Luck, and he’s ranked well lower by the experts.
In short, QBs are overvalued in general, but none more egregious than Luck.
My Rank = 85, RB35
Expert Consensus = 55 (+30), RB24
ADP Rank = 70 (+15), RB28
Yay! Eddie Lacy’s tubby self is doing P90X again!
— Eddie Lacy (@Lil_Eazy_Ana_42) May 10, 2017
News flash: I do P90X for my workouts. Has it helped me achieve a jacked “dad bod?” Absolutely.
Am I stepping onto an NFL field to take a pounding from NFL linebackers? Absolutely not.
The fact that the fantasy community and NFL world is praising Lacy for doing the same exact workouts of a high school special ed teacher (turned fantasy expert) is embarrassing. To be honest, Lacy should be doing FAR more. He is an NFL player who’s paid millions of dollars to keep himself in top shape during the offseason. If anything, Lacy being so widely recognized for completing these mildly challenging workouts is more concerning than comforting. So is his above preface to working out: “This is new for me…”
I don’t care what the PFF stats may say about his “Elusive Rating” or “Broken Tackle” rate. Two straight seasons of film show a severely out of shape load who runs as if an anchor is tied to his back while stuck in thick mud. This is a plodder to the millionth degree. As an owner who rode Lacy to a title his rookie season, this is painful to admit. But true. I won’t go near him unless he truly looks slimmed down and more explosive.
And let’s assume he accomplishes this – weight incentives in his contract certainly don’t hurt. Still, Lacy will be running behind arguably the league’s worst line, while C.J. Prosise (who I have higher than Lacy) steals all receiving work and Thomas Rawls, who was reportedly the star of OTAs and earned himself a significant role, breaths down Lacy’s neck for early-down carries.
Based on his bruising past and a run-heavy scheme that loves power backs, could Lacy bounce back? Sure. Far more likely, Lacy will remain out of shape, succumb to his heavy weight or ineffectiveness, and make Rawls the far more attractive investment at nearly half the cost. Passing up on talented backs like Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Mike Gillislee, and Ameer Abdullah for this type of risk would be a horrendous mistake.
My Rank = 107, WR42
Expert Consensus = 74 (+33), WR33
ADP Rank = 74 (+33), WR31
We move from a well-established member of the “Tub Club” to the group’s newest arrival in Kelvin Benjamin.
WHOA, FAT KELVIN
WHOA, FAT KELVIN
ATE TOO MUCH HAM
CATCHIN' PASSES FROM CAM
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) May 25, 2017
Reportedly clocking in around 280 and looking like a reserve guard in photos, Benjamin absolutely blew up this spring. Similar to Lacy, this added mass has allowed Benjamin to gain praise for “strenuous” work like getting in the whirlpool and sauna during practices. Vomit.
Reports suggest Benjamin is back down close to his playing weight as camp opens, looking “leaner than in weeks past, and quick off the ball.” If he’s back in shape and keeps a hold on the No. 1 wideout role in an offense that could rebound majorly, the 6’5″ monster should be able to beat this low projection.
Yet, the team added both Christian McCaffrey AND Curtis Samuel in the draft. Both of these guys absolutely thrive in a quicker-strike, yards-after-catch offense, which is the exact opposite of Benjamin’s slower-developing, “contested ball” type of game. The Carolina offensive shift that’s been hinted at all offseason could take a huge toll on Benjamin’s looks.
In addition to maintaining his own weight and finding looks in a more crowded offense that doesn’t fit his style of play, Benjamin’s fantasy fortunes are also dependent on a Cam Newton bounce back. Though I feel Newton will indeed rebound, this is also far from a guarantee and just another factor working against Benjamin.
Overall, the risk is enormous here, and buying Benjamin at his current price would cost you a chance at higher floor, equal (or higher) ceiling receivers like Willie Snead, DeSean Jackson, and Eric Decker. For a guy who ranked as the WR50 from Weeks 3-17 and got heavier this offseason, that’s an awfully poor decision.
My Rank = 71, RB30
Expert Consensus = 44 (+27), RB18
ADP Rank = 46 (+25), RB19
I genuinely like Anderson as a talent, particularly his lateral agility in tight spaces and “bowling ball” style of running. In fact, I’ve owned Anderson two straight seasons as a result. Nonetheless, this has made me well aware of his many negative fantasy factors that seem to be largely overlooked.
To start, Anderson is stuck in a crowded backfield with a new head coach who seems committed to committees. Vance Joseph has repeatedly emphasized, “You need two or three guys that can carry the load. It is no longer a one-guy position… It’s going to be competitive, and that’s the way it should be. Every spot on the football team is up for competition.”
In a best case scenario, let’s assume Anderson emerges as the starter and earns ~65% of the work. Still, he’ll be operating in Mike McCoy’s typically unsuccessful run scheme. For all his passing game wizardry, McCoy’s rushing offenses have consistently been lackluster.
In eight seasons as a coach or coordinator, McCoy’s offenses have ranked in the top-half of total rushing yardage only twice. One of those seasons was with Tim Tebow as his quarterback, the other ranked 13th. Moreover, McCoy’s teams have ranked 26th or lower in half of those years. Rushing TDs are equally scarce here. McCoy’s offenses have been 19th or below in rushing TDs in five of eight seasons, never finishing above 12th in the league.
Plus, Anderson’s line remains one of the weaker in the league, first-round mauler Garrett Bolles notwithstanding. Stir in a glaring injury history in which Anderson has never played a full season or topped 200 carries, and there are major red flags in his Usage, Scheme, Surrounding Talent, and Risk scores. Anderson is being recommended by experts, and drafted by the public, ahead of potential season-winning WRs like Tyreek Hill and Martavis Bryant. RB-wise, Adrian Peterson , and Doug Martin are ranked three or more rounds later, and I’d rather roll out either on a weekly basis.
My Rank = 43, WR24
Expert Consensus = 31 (+12). WR16
ADP Rank = 36, (+7), WR17
One of 2016’s largest busts is apparently being forgiven way too easily. Yes, Robinson’s out-of-nowhere 14 TDs in 2015 emphasize the enormous upside that comes with a 6’3″ mammoth who can outleap corners.
Yet, he relied on massive volume and weaker coverage for his 2015 miracle, and neither will be the case in 2017. Just look at the following stats that expose Robinson when facing high-end corners, via Scott Barrett.
Among all 116 WRs (over the past decade) to see at least 40 such targets, ARob's 0.76 PPR per target average ranks second-worst. (2/2)
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) April 8, 2017
With increased defensive attention, Robinson was no longer making the “jump ball” plays we once saw. The “unbreakable chemistry” between him and Blake Bortles was completely shattered, rendering the duo into one of the league’s most inefficient. Unpromisingly, Bortles is reportedly off to a horrendous 2017 start, chucking five interceptions throughout 7-on-7s and 11-on-11 drills Saturday.
Thus, Marrone hopes to keep the air completely out of the ball and pound the rock as much as possible:
Marrone, asked how many times a game quarterback Blake Bortles will ideally throw next season, said his answer was simple: “Zero.” He said he wasn’t joking about this, and he wasn’t smiling when he said it. “For me, I’d like to run the ball every play,” Marrone said. “I want to go back to the old way. I want to change the game.”
It’s clear the team drafted Leonard Fournette with every intention of featuring him to take pressure off Bortles and the passing game, and Robinson’s usage is bound to suffer. Also, with a rapidly improving defense, the Jaguars should at least be contending, if not leading, in most contests, which will keep game-flow favoring Fournette. Far less “garbage time” is in Bortles and Robinson’s future, which has been unfortunately crucial for their respective fantasy successes:
— Mitchell Renz (@MitchellRenz365) July 22, 2017
Brandin Cooks is currently worth less in the experts’ eyes, yet I’d take him nearly 20 spots higher than Robinson. I’d also take Martavis Bryant, who’s ranked over 40 spots lower by the experts, ahead of Robinson in all leagues and formats. Get over the “Bonafide WR1 Build.” A struggling and inefficient quarterback, increased defensive attention, and a run-first mindset are all working heavily against a Robinson bounce back.
These are just five of the 10 Overpriced Players you can find in the Roto Street Journal’s first-ever Fantasy Football Market Report.