7 Overvalued Players (2019 Fantasy Football)
Beyond our fantasy football content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator — which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents — to our Draft Assistant — which optimizes your picks with expert advice — we’ve got you covered this fantasy football draft season.
We’ve asked our writers to provide players they feel are overvalued based on our consensus average draft position (ADP).
Which players are currently most overvalued by on our consensus ADP?
Adam Thielen (WR – MIN): ADP WR10, No. 25 overall
I love Adam Thielen as a player and, in ideal circumstances, a fantasy WR1. But the truth is that he’s more volume-dependent than other pass-catchers in a similar ADP range. He opened up the 2018 season with eight-straight 100-plus yard games thanks to a deluge of targets (11.0 per game through Week 14) but fell off a cliff once Minnesota fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo in favor of Kevin Stefanski. After that change, Thielen averaged just 4.63 fantasy points per game. In Weeks 15-17, his target share fell from 28 percent to a measly 15 percent. Backing up a bit more, Thielen was WR23 from Weeks 9 through 16. During that stretch, he was held under 80 receiving five times and over the last month of the season he never exceeded seven targets in a single game. The Vikings want to be a different offense in 2019. Mike Zimmer is intent on feeding a healthy Dalvin Cook, and Stefon Diggs is the more physically gifted pass-catcher. Thielen will still probably manage to top 1,000 yards but expect regression in TDs (9) and receptions (113). That’s too much risk to take on in the third round.
– Brandon Katz (@great_katzby)
Kyler Murray (QB – ARI): ADP QB11, No. 98 overall
The toughest position for a rookie quarterback to adjust to the change in speed from the NCAA game to the NFL is quarterback. While many quarterbacks work exclusively out of the shotgun in college, the NFL requires quarterbacks to operate under center too. In college, quarterbacks can wait for receivers to be open. In the NFL that is too late and understanding timing routes and throwing to a spot where a receiver will be open is crucial. Rookie quarterbacks have undisciplined feet, they bail from the pocket early, they make mistakes, and they leave points on the field. It is worth developing a rookie for future years, but there are growing pains. Murray has the potential to be a great rookie and eventually a great player, but his current ECR and ADP leave little room for error this season. His ECR is currently 109 and his ADP is even higher at 98. He is anywhere between the 12th and 15th ranked quarterback by the experts — and QB11 based on ADP — meaning that he will need to score 275 to 300 fantasy points to be worth that selection. Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck had 4,374 yards passing, 23 passing touchdowns, 255 rushing yards, and five rushing touchdowns in his rookie season in 2012. That was a great rookie season and it amounted to 276 fantasy points. That is a high point total for a floor, as he is tremendously overvalued in fantasy football. He probably should be closer to QB20 than QB12, and he’ll need to be great out of the gate to live up to that ECR and ADP in his rookie season.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)
Patrick Mahomes (QB – KC): ADP QB1, No. 23 overall
From a macro perspective, you shouldn’t draft a quarterback in leagues that require only one early. If you don’t know why, read this from JJ Zachariason, who popularized the Late-Round Quarterback strategy. But it seems like many are spewing the infamous words of, “This time it’s different!” It rarely is. Patrick Mahomes threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns last season. That was a historic season, but what made it amazing from a fantasy perspective was the fact that he was drafted as the No. 15 quarterback and No. 112.54 player off the board, on average. Entering the 2019 season, the ECR on Mahomes is the No. 1 quarterback and No. 31 overall player, and he’s being drafted even earlier based on current ADP. I think Mahomes is a fantastic quarterback, and Andy Reid is a great offensive mind. With that said, if you’re drafting Mahomes at No. 31, you’re paying an exorbitant price for essentially last year’s numbers. Could he throw for 50 touchdowns again? Sure, but the probabilities are very slim. Since the beginning of NFL time, there have been 13 instances in which a quarterback threw for at least 40 touchdowns. Only once (2011/2012 Drew Brees) has a quarterback thrown for at least 40 touchdowns in consecutive seasons. To be fair, 2011 Aaron Rodgers threw for 45 TDs and followed that up with 39, while 2013 Peyton Manning threw for 39 TDs after his historic 55-touchdown campaign. In addition, three quarterbacks got injured the following year. Which brings me to the next point. The stars have to align for a quarterback to throw at least 40 TDs in a season. For starters, they have to stay healthy. Past that, there are a number of factors that could affect the final number. A ball gets tipped but lands in the receiver’s hand. A player breaks two tackles on a screen pass and takes it to the house. The defense shuts down the run, which allows for more pass plays. The coordinator calls a screen pass instead of a run. Etc, etc, etc. A useful number to look at is TD%, which is the percentage of passes thrown that end up as touchdowns. Going back to the beginning of NFL time, there have been 100 instances in which a quarterback had a TD% of 7.0 or higher. That number shrinks to 44 players if we use 8.0%. Last season, Mahomes had a TD% of 8.6%. For perspective, Aaron Rodgers has a career 6.2% rate and has been above 7.0% three times in his career. Drew Brees has a 5.3% rate and has been above 7.0% once. Peyton Manning has a 5.7% career rate and has been over 7.0% two times. We haven’t even mentioned the fact that Tyreek Hill may not play. That alters the Chiefs’ offense tremendously and goes back to the stars having to align for historic seasons to be produced. Many are just inserting Mecole Hardman into the Hill role as if it’s a copy-and-paste kind of situation. While they may have similar attributes, Hardman is a rookie and we have no idea if he can do the same things that Hill did. From a macro sense, it doesn’t make sense to draft Mahomes this high. From a micro sense, there is data to show that Mahomes will regress. He will still produce and likely be one of the better fantasy quarterbacks this season, but he probably won’t be head-and-shoulders above the field (which is what a third-round price is baking in) and there will be quarterbacks drafted much later who could approach similar numbers to what Mahomes will end up with.
– Stan Son (@stan_son)
Odell Beckham Jr. (WR – CLE): ADP WR5, No. 12 overall
This offseason was one of the wildest the NFL has seen in recent memory. We had a handful of star players switch teams which is not nearly as common in the NFL as it is in some of the other major sports. One of, if not the biggest name to switch cities was Odell Beckham Jr. A star wide receiver going from the depleted Giants’ offense to an ascending Browns’ team seems like it would be fantasy gold, but I’m not so sure. Let me start by saying that I have zero doubt that OBJ is one of the most talented receivers in the league, but does that necessarily translate to fantasy stardom in 2019? As of this writing, FantasyPros expert consensus rankings have OBJ ranked as the 13th overall player and as the fourth-best receiver. He’s ranked ahead of both Michael Thomas and Juju Smith-Schuster who I think are both better options this year. If you look at the earlier part of OBJ’s career, you’ll see one of the most dominant receivers the game has ever seen, but over the last two years, his production has dropped significantly. Of course, injuries have a lot to do with that, and that’s really his biggest issue. Beckham has missed more career games than Sammy Watkins, someone who is constantly being avoided due to health concerns. When you’re looking for your first or second pick you must consider the player’s injury past. There is nothing more crippling to a team’s season than losing your first pick for the season. Both Michael Thomas and Juju Smith-Schuster have been just as productive without the injury issues. The other reason I’m nervous about targeting OBJ so early is the Browns’ offense he’ll be playing in. It’s a loaded group that features Jarvis Landry, David Njoku and two top-end running backs in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. OBJ may not see close to his usual target share which would obviously hurt his chances of finishing as a top-four receiver. There is also an extensive history of big-name wide receivers switching teams and finding very little success in their new homes (Greg Jennings, Javon Walker, Vincent Jackson, Andre Johnson and many more). I don’t anticipate OBJ to fall off the face of the earth in any way but having him ranked in top four is being pretty optimistic. I’d look to target him closer to the bottom of the second round as the sixth or seventh wide receiver off the board. It’s not a knock on his talent at all. There are just safer options out there that bring similar upside with much less risk.
– Eli Berkovits (@PTTF_Eli)
Amari Cooper (WR – DAL): ADP WR12, No. 28 overall
There’s no doubt that Amari Cooper was more productive after his trade to Dallas from Oakland, but at this point in the pre-draft season, it appears that the scales may have shifted a little bit too far in favor of him. With an ADP that puts him as the 12th wide receiver on the board, many analysts are projecting Cooper to be a fringe-WR1 type of player. His time in Dallas showed flashes of that, but it wasn’t nearly consistent enough to justify the type of risk associated with picking Cooper in the late-second/early-third round of fantasy drafts. Many will remember the eight-catch, 180-yard, two-touchdown and 10-catch, 217-yard and three-touchdown performances that Cooper posted for the Cowboys, but outside of those games, it was nothing but inconsistency. You can play the “remove a player’s best two performances” game with nearly any potential selection, but it impacts Cooper more than most. Those two game-breaking performances were impressive, but Cooper scored fewer than 8.3 points four times for Dallas in his nine games with the team. Compare that to players like Stefon Diggs (twice under 8.3 points in 15 games), Brandin Cooks (twice under 8.3 points in 16 games) or Julian Edelman (zero times under 8.3 points in 12 games) who rank below Cooper and you can see that there are more consistent options available that won’t sink your team in a ‘down’ week. If Cooper were to drop toward the late-fourth or early-fifth round I would consider taking the risk, but at his current ADP, I would avoid him entirely.
– Brian Rzeppa (@brianrzeppa)
Le’Veon Bell (RB – NYJ): ADP RB7, No. 9 overall
Bell has been a household fantasy football name since he joined the Steelers, but his price tag for his services drove him out of Pittsburgh this offseason and into the New York Jets’ locker room. Last year, the Jets were really bad at running the football. How bad? Their offensive line ranked 32nd as a unit — dead last in layman’s term. Their top three fantasy running backs (Crowell, McGuire, and Powell) last year combined for 286.9 FPTS, which still wouldn’t have been among the top five RBs! In his time with Pittsburgh, Bell put up great fantasy numbers when he was healthy (missed the last nine weeks in 2015 with an MCL tear). He finished 2014 in fantasy football as RB1 (370.5 FPTS), 2016 as RB3 (317.4 FPTs), and RB2 in 2017 (341.6 FPTS). The offense line ranked sixth, third, and seventh, respectively in those seasons. His production was built from his skill and offensive line but also from the other players on the field. As an offensive unit, the Steelers had a lot of firepower around Bell, with the likes of Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Martavis Bryant. Bell’s current supporting casts in New York consists of Sam Darnold (ADP QB24), Robby Anderson (ADP WR30), Quincy Enunwa (ADP WR65), Jamison Crowder (ADP WR57), and Chris Herndon (ADP TE15). Names that defenses do not have circled to scheme around. Having more than just one option in an offense eliminates the ability for a defense to take away their best player. In 2019, this may be a problem for Le’Veon Bell. To fix some of the Jets offensive woes, the team hired Adam Gase to be their new head coach this offseason. Gase brings a new offensive philosophy but has not been fantasy-friendly to running backs. Just one running back had over 250 carries (Drake) and only two topped 50 catches (Drake and Moreno) under Gase in his six years of play calling. Now, do I think Le’Veon is more talented than any RB in Gase’s past offensive systems? Yes, but I think with his year off, new offensive line, and lack of a supporting cast, we won’t see the Le’Veon Bell of old. I do see Bell having some big-time games but taking Bell at his current ECR (13) and ADP (9), I don’t envision those type of games coming consistent enough to warrant the cost.
– Kevin O’Connor (@22koconnor)
Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA): ADP WR22, No. 52 overall
Tyler Lockett at 52 overall and WR22 is downright comical. To be clear, I’m not knocking Lockett’s talent. He just happens to be stuck in the worst situation/scheme for an NFL receiver. With the Seahawks last season bringing in the walking yawn of an offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, Seattle was dead last in pass attempts (427) and had the fewest pass attempts in a single NFL season since 2013! While some fantasy players spend months foraging through different sets of information trying to find an edge on why certain players are draft-worthy, sometimes the simplest solution can be found right under our nose. Schottenheimer isn’t going anywhere, and Russell Wilson just lost his long-time favorite receiver in Doug Baldwin. Do you really expect the Seahawks to all of a sudden flip the script on their offensive identity in 2019? Now ask yourself this: Why on Earth would anyone go into their fantasy draft(s) with an actual plan to draft a receiver who is playing in an offense that is historically undesirable for their passing game? In a game that is built on accumulating statistics over the course of a 16-game NFL season, the odds are stacked against you chasing out-of-this-world efficiency in a Brian Schottenheimer offense. Calvin Ridley (WR26) and Sammy Watkins (WR27) are far superior options playing in offenses that are tailormade for receivers, despite not even being the number one targets on their own teams.
– Rob Searles (@robbob17)