Overvalued and Undervalued Rookies for 2020 Redraft Leagues (Fantasy Football)
It’s normal to get excited about rookies coming into the league, as the possibilities are endless. We’re always looking for the next Michael Thomas or Christian McCaffrey. Everyone knows those guys are unicorns in fantasy, but it doesn’t stop owners from trying to find them. Because of that, fantasy football enthusiasts are willing to venture into the land of the unknown.
Should you be one of them? Well, it depends. Not only have we done research this offseason to determine what rookies (at all positions) are worth in fantasy football based on where they were drafted (read that here), but we’ve been doing this for years while not being partial to either side of the argument. By being partial, you could be missing out on some of the biggest steals in fantasy drafts, and that does nobody good, including that best friend in your back pocket. All we need to do now is cross reference that article with current ADP to find the most overvalued and undervalued players.
It’s extremely hard to find completely accurate ADP at this time of the year, so I’ve combined three sources (Yahoo, CBS, Our Expert Consensus Rankings) to get our positional averages.
CeeDee Lamb (WR – DAL) Average ADP: WR45
You can like Lamb as a player all you want, but his average draft position as a rookie is too high. Did you know the average finish for a rookie wide receiver drafted in the first round is WR64? On average, they net 65.2 targets their rookie year. While some may consider Lamb much better than average, he fell into a situation where he’s likely to start as the No. 3 option behind Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, who’ve both proven to be able to post top-24 numbers in the NFL. It’s extremely rare for there to be three top-45 wide receivers on the same team. Lamb’s time will come, but you shouldn’t draft him as a WR4 this year.
Jerry Jeudy (WR – DEN) Average ADP: WR49
You won’t find a bigger Jeudy fan than me, but he’s being a bit overvalued in redraft leagues. I say that because he walks into a situation in Denver where the wide receivers saw just 247 targets last year, which ranked as the sixth fewest in the NFL. Courtland Sutton is the go-to receiver for Drew Lock right out of the gate, as they have chemistry together. I don’t doubt that Jeudy will have some big weeks mixed in, but there will be minimal consistency in year one. Wide receivers drafted in the first round have finished as a WR3 or better just 24 percent of the time in their rookie season, and his landing spot isn’t good enough to overcome those odds.
Justin Jefferson (WR – MIN) Average ADP: WR56
Another rookie wide receiver who some are overvaluing. I should also state that it depends on which site you’re drafting on, as his ADP is as high as WR49 on Yahoo. Did you know that last year, despite Adam Thielen being out of the lineup for essentially half of the games, Stefon Diggs saw just 92 targets in this very offense? The Vikings wide receivers as a whole saw 201 targets, which ranked as the second fewest in the league. Jefferson is a good football player, but this is a run-first team and he’s behind Thielen in the pecking order. He won’t be a weekly fantasy asset as long as Thielen is on the field.
Worth mentioning: Cole Kmet (TE – CHI) has an ADP of TE15 on Yahoo right now, which is way overvalued, but CBS and ECR have him outside the top-25, so I didn’t list him here.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC) Average ADP: RB16
“How in the world is Edwards-Helaire undervalued as the RB16?!” I’m 100 percent certain there’ll be responses like this. Well, it’s quite simple. There have been nine running backs who’ve been drafted in the first round over the last seven years. Just two of them finished outside the top 30 running backs, and one of them was Melvin Gordon, who got hurt (the other was Rashaad Penny, who should’ve never been drafted in the first round). In fact, 6-of-9 running backs finished as a top-18 option. You add in the fact that Edwards-Helaire is going to a top-three offense which happens to be an Andy Reid coached offense, and you have yourself the recipe for a top-10 running back. And no, you shouldn’t be worried about Damien Williams. Think about it: Reid legitimately took carries from Williams to feed a 31-year-old LeSean McCoy. Edwards-Helaire is superior in every way.
Jonathan Taylor (RB – IND) Average ADP: RB23
Many had Taylor ranked as their No. 1 running back headed into the NFL Draft, and despite landing behind the best offensive line in football, he’s going as a bottom-of-the-barrel RB2? Granted, second-round running backs have averaged 77.3 fewer touches than running backs drafted in the first round, but 8-of-17 running backs drafted in the second round have still totaled at least 208 touches. That’s essentially all you need from Taylor to live up to his current ADP. Last year’s RB23 was Melvin Gordon, who totaled 204 touches on the year. Marlon Mack is going to steal some work, but this backfield produced 469 total touches for their running backs last year. I’d set the over/under for Taylor around 250, making him a value.
Henry Ruggs (WR – LV) Average ADP: WR55
It’s odd. The three receivers that I like more long-term (Jeudy, Lamb, Jefferson) are all guys I’d consider overvalued for redraft, while Ruggs is someone I feel is being undervalued. Why is that? Opportunity. There is no Amari Cooper, Courtland Sutton, and Adam Thielen on the roster to compete with for targets. The Raiders only targeted their receivers 208 times last year, but again, when you have no clear-cut No. 1 receiver, it makes the climb towards 100 targets much easier. There have been just 9-of-25 first round wide receivers who’ve topped 80 targets in their rookie season, and eight of them topped Ruggs’ WR55 ADP. In fact, of the five wide receivers who saw 93-plus targets, none of them finished worse than WR27. Ruggs has the clearest path to targets among the rookie wide receivers, but he’s not being drafted like it.
Michael Pittman (WR – IND) Average ADP: WR72
It’s not common that I’d suggest a rookie wide receiver is undervalued, but when you were drafted at the top of the second round, and your ADP is outside the top-70 wide receivers on all three sites, the reward is much greater than the risk. The Colts have said Pittman will be their “X” receiver, which means he’ll be a full-time player alongside T.Y. Hilton. You will not find another full-time receiver this far down in ADP, especially one who has double-digit touchdown potential at 6-foot-4 and 223 pounds with Philip Rivers as his quarterback. He’s one of those guys you snag at the end of your draft and you’ll find out immediately just what you have.