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Overvalued Players in Best Ball Leagues (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Josh Shepardson | @BChad50 | Featured Writer
Mar 31, 2020

Josh Jacobs’ high Best Ball ADP does not properly reflect his limited receiving work.

I’ve previously discussed undervalued players in Best Ball leagues, and below are their overvalued counterparts. All four of the players have an ADP inside the top 60 and are top-10 selections at their respective positions. As one may infer from their high rankings, the quartet is a talented group. Although they’re draftable options, their ADP is too early to suggest pulling the trigger.

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Josh Jacobs (RB – LV): ADP – 14.0, RB10
Jacobs had a fantastic rookie season and established himself as one of the top runners in the NFL. The rookie tied for the ninth-best attempts per broken tackle (Att/Br) at 9.3 and fifth-highest yards after contact per attempt (YAC/Att) at 2.8, according to Pro-Football-Reference. Football Outsiders (FO) graded his work favorably, too, with Jacobs ranking 11th out of 45 backs with a minimum of 100 rushes in Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR) and 14th in Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA). As a runner, Jacobs has a top-10 profile.

Running is only part of the equation, though. The Raiders agreed to a two-year deal to bring back pass-catching back Jalen Richard.

Richard had a key role on last year’s team as a receiving option, and Jacobs was used sparingly in the passing attack. Jacobs was targeted more than three times only once in 13 games played. He received two targets or fewer in eight contests. Simply put, Jacobs wasn’t used as an every-down back. As you can see on our snap counts page, he played just 56% of the Raiders’ snaps last year and only eclipsed 70% in the season opener.

Maybe Jon Gruden will feature Jacobs more prominently in the passing game this year, but retaining Richard points to the contrary. Even going back to Jacobs’ college career, he’s never been used as an every-down back. If utilized similarly in his second season, the bar is set too high on his rushing output for him to deliver as a top-10 back. Also, he’ll be quite game-script dependent.

Last year, the Raiders won seven games. FanDuel Sportsbook has their team over/under win total for 2020 at 7.5 wins. Unless the Raiders exceed expectations and afford Jacobs more leads to protect, he could be in line for similar usage in his sophomore season. I’ll let someone else ignore the warts and select him at his current ADP.

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR – CLE): ADP – 27.5, WR9
Last year was an unmitigated disaster for the offseason-winning Browns. OBJ wasn’t terrible, but his 74 receptions for 1,035 receiving yards and four touchdown receptions left a lot to be desired. He finished as WR29 in full-point point-per-reception (PPR) scoring in 2019.

Beckham wasn’t even the highest-scoring or most heavily utilized receiver on his own team. Jarvis Landry finished last year as WR14 in PPR formats, and his 26.7% target share bested OBJ’s 25.9%, per Sports Info Solutions. For comparison’s sake, Beckham’s target share in 2018 with the Giants was 28.4%.

OBJ has a handful of elite seasons under his belt, and as recently as 2018 he amassed stellar per-game totals of 6.4 receptions and 87.7 receiving yards. A bounce-back that results in a top-10 finish among receivers this year is possible, but I wouldn’t classify it as probable. In addition to battling Landry for touches this year, the Browns added pass-catching tight end Austin Hooper to the fold. There’s also a decent chance there are fewer opportunities for all of Cleveland’s receiving options.

The Browns hired Kevin Stefanski to serve as their new head coach. As the offensive coordinator for the Vikings in 2019, Stefanski leaned heavily on the running game. The result was Minnesota attempting passes at the fourth-lowest rate, 52% of the time compared to a league average of 59%, according to Sharp Football Stats. Last year, the Browns attempted passes 60% of the time. Nick Chubb provides Stefanski a talented runner he can force-feed the ball to, and the team also placed a second-round tender on restricted free agent running back Kareem Hunt, which could result in him returning to the team this year.

The discount on OBJ off of a down year and in a potentially run-heavy offense isn’t great enough. I’ll pass on him in Best Ball drafts as a top-10 receiver. If he falls into the teens at the position, then I’ll revisit rostering him.

Zach Ertz (TE – PHI): ADP – 38.5, TE3
After setting a single-season high for receptions by a tight end with 116 in 2018, Ertz was incorrectly labeled by many to be part of a Big Three headlined by Travis Kelce and George Kittle. Succinctly put, Ertz isn’t in their class. He’s a volume-driven player who needed a single-season high 156 targets to set the record for grabs by a tight end, and that season is a clear outlier in his career.

All of this isn’t to say Ertz is some slob at the position, but he’s being grossly over-drafted inside the top-40 picks in Best Ball leagues. Hell, he might not even be the best tight end on his own team. Below, you’ll see a table comparing Ertz and teammate Dallas Goedert.

Year Player Targets Receptions Yards TDs RZ Targets Y/Tgt Route Participation
2018 Zach Ertz 156 116 1,163 8 27 7.5 76.3%
2018 Dallas Goedert 44 33 334 4 7 7.6 36.1%
2019 Zach Ertz 135 88 916 6 19 6.8 82.0%
2019 Dallas Goedert 87 58 607 5 11 7.0 55.0%

Goedert has been a more efficient player than Ertz since Philadelphia selected the former in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. In addition to besting Ertz in yards per target each year, he’s also been a more efficient red-zone option. In 2018, Ertz hauled in 16 receptions for seven touchdowns on 27 red-zone targets compared to Goedert’s five receptions for three touchdowns on seven red-zone targets, according to Lineups.

Last year, Ertz reeled in nine of 19 red-zone targets for five touchdowns compared to eight receptions and four touchdowns on 11 targets for Goedert. So, in addition to ceding some red-zone looks to the second-year tight end in 2019, Ertz’s efficiency also went backward. The 29-year-old has never reached double-digit touchdowns in a season during his seven-year career. After scoring exactly eight times in 2017 and 2018, that number dropped to six last year. Goedert is a real threat to overtake more of his red-zone workload this year.

Ertz’s workload on the rest of the gridiron could be challenged, too. Injuries did a number on Philadelphia’s receiving corps that already lacked high-end talent and depth last year. They’re a good bet to add at least one receiver in a draft class seemingly every draftnik is gushing about after failing to make a splash at the position in free agency or in the trade market.

Ertz finished as TE4 in points per game (14.4) in PPR formats last season, edging out Mark Andrews’s 13.8, Evan Engram’s 13.7, and Darren Waller’s 13.6 by less than a full point each. I’d prefer the trio (as well as others) to Ertz at their respective ADPs. Furthermore, I’d rather take the plunge on Kelce or Kittle at their draft costs as well.

Deshaun Watson (QB – HOU): ADP – 54.5, QB3
Watson’s inclusion in this piece doesn’t require much analysis. Bill O’Brien’s ill-advised decision to trade DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals, while failing to secure a first-round pick in return, leaves a gaping hole in Houston’s passing attack. The Texans don’t have their own first-round pick, either, after trading it last offseason to the Dolphins for tackle Laremy Tunsil. That leaves them unable to nab one of the draft’s top receiving prospects. Signing Randall Cobb in the wake of trading Hopkins is akin to putting a Band-Aid on a shotgun wound.

The clear No. 1 receiver left for Watson is burner Will Fuller. His ability to handle the top-dog role is unclear, yet it’s not even the biggest concern regarding the fifth-year wideout. The main worry is that his single-season high for games played is 14 as a rookie in 2016. He played just 10 games in 2017, seven in 2018, and 11 last year.

Watson ranks outside my top-five quarterbacks. The quarterbacks going after Watson in ADP I’d rather have outright over him are Russell Wilson (61.0 ADP), Kyler Murray (61.5), Dak Prescott (64.5), and Josh Allen (76.5). Unless Watson’s ADP dips outside the top 75, I won’t be rostering him in Best Ball leagues.

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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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