Fantasy Football Overvalued/Undervalued: Week 2 (2020)
One of the toughest conundrums in head-to-head fantasy football is deciding whether you’d rather have your team underperform and win, or exceed expectations but come up short. In a couple of my leagues, I got the Week 1 victory but my teams didn’t look so great doing it. A friend of mine was complaining that his team scored the second-most points in the league and lost, which is what got me to thinking which side I’d rather be on.
Really, it comes down to why your team underperformed. If your players got hurt or didn’t have the role you envisioned, it could be cause for concern over the long run. If that’s the choice, I might rather lose the battle but win the war. But if the usage was there and it was simply a matter of some tough matchups and/or bad luck, I’ll gladly take the “W” even if it comes with a meager point total. That said, I wouldn’t feel too bad if my team scored a ton of points and lost — it’s just one week and there will likely be better days ahead.
Win or lose, we’re all about accountability here at FantasyPros. The site is known for grading fantasy writers’ accuracy, after all. So as I did last year, I am going to include a brief synopsis of how my previous week’s overvalued and undervalued picks fared.
My Week 1 picks included some notable hits and misses. I’m particularly pleased that I took a stand for James Robinson, who proved he can produce rock-solid RB3/flex value as long as he’s getting the bulk of the backfield work in Jacksonville. I had him at RB30, 19 spots ahead of the expert consensus, and he settled in at RB31. I also wisely faded Carson Wentz and Keenan Allen, while Tyler Lockett nearly reached the 100-yard mark, just as I predicted he would.
On the other side of the ledger, while I was technically correct that J.K. Dobbins did not play a “huge role” right away, his 36 percent of the snaps were more than Mark Ingram had, and Dobbins delivered two touchdowns for fantasy managers that started him. As someone who invested in Ingram this summer, I am doubly regretting that one. I also got burned by banking on Jared Goff’s Dr. Jekyll-and-Hyde act (is Jekyll or Hyde the one who’s bad at football?) and doubting Noah Fant, a stance I should have abandoned once it became likely that Courtland Sutton was not going to play. Eric Ebron failed to meet my expectations, too, but I still think he has a lot of potential in a rejuvenated Steelers passing attack.
As always, my picks for Week 2 are based on FantasyPros’ Expert Consensus Rankings for half PPR formats. If you’ve got a start/sit question or anything else fantasy football-related I can help you with, reach out to me on Twitter @andrew_seifter. And don’t forget to check out my brand-spanking-new fantasy sports show, MFSN’s The Hub, on YouTube. New episodes air on Tuesdays and Saturdays, so click to subscribe!
Overvalued: Drew Brees (NO)
My Rank: QB15
Many people view Brees as a set-it-and-forget-it QB1, but I’d caution against making that mistake this week. With Michael Thomas listed as doubtful, the Saints’ signal-caller will be playing without arguably the best receiver in the game today — and one Brees targeted on a whopping 32 percent of his passes last season. The drop-off from MT to Tre’Quan Smith, who has just 665 career receiving yards to his name, is steep. Brees’ massive home/road splits are also well-documented, and while crowd noise won’t be a factor this time around, his splits are even more pronounced in terms of artificial turf vs. grass surfaces (the Raiders new stadium has natural grass). So while a trip to Vegas may look like a favorable matchup on paper, it isn’t necessarily one for Brees.
Undervalued: Cam Newton (NE)
My Rank: QB7
The gradual decay of the Patriots’ skill position players may have been what prompted Tom Brady to depart for Tampa Bay, but it’s much less of a concern for a quarterback who can pile up fantasy points on the ground. That’s just what Newton did in Week 1, rushing 15 times for 75 yards and two touchdowns. The 15 rushing attempts were the most Newton has had since 2015, and it wasn’t simply the result of him scrambling around and improvising to make a play. Seven of his carries were designed runs, and another six were option plays where he kept the ball rather than handing it off to a running back. We know Cam has always been willing to carry the ball himself around the goal line, so the rushing touchdowns weren’t a fluke, either. It remains to be seen how long he can continue to play like vintage Cam at age 31, but as long as he’s doing it, Newton must be treated like a no-doubt QB1.
Overvalued: Devin Singletary (BUF)
My Rank: RB34
Singletary barely edged out rookie Zack Moss in snaps (57 percent to 45 percent) and touches (14 to 12) in Week 1, and it was Moss who dominated the high-value red-zone work (14 to 3). Neither back did much at all with their opportunities, but it was particularly concerning for Singletary, who supposedly had the benefit of incumbency going for him. Moss may already be the more valuable fantasy back if this distribution of work continues, and it stands to reason that his role will only grow from here. Neither Buffalo back is a particularly desirable fantasy option until one gains a clear upper hand, but at least Moss has a decent shot of finding the end zone in any given week.
Undervalued: Adrian Peterson (DET)
My Rank: RB29
No one will mistake Peterson for the AP of old, but the guy can still play the game. He was the RB26 over the final 11 games of 2019, and he picked up right where he left off in Week 1, piling up 114 total yards on 17 touches. The Lions are unlikely to completely abandon their running-back-by-committee approach — rookie DeAndre Swift, in particular, will remain a focal point of the passing game — but Peterson has shown that he only needs about 15 touches to return RB3/flex value. This week he’ll face off with a Packers front that provided ample running lanes to both Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison last week. The game script could be a concern for AP — the Lions are 6 point ‘dogs — but he did catch three passes last week. It could also make sense for Detroit to try to play ball-control offense early in the game, particularly with Kenny Golladay looking like a long shot to suit up.
Overvalued: D.J. Moore (CAR)
My Rank: WR18
I have nothing against Moore as a player, but I do have a couple of concerns about his situation, particularly following Week 1. He played 87 percent of the snaps last week, rotating frequently with Robby Anderson (82 percent) and Curtis Samuel (75 percent). Last season, Moore played fewer than 90 percent of the snaps in just three of his 14 full games played (he missed most of the final two games due to a concussion). He’s also playing with a new quarterback, and while Teddy Bridgewater may be a real-world upgrade on Kyle Allen, the jury is still out on how Bridgewater’s more conservative style of play will impact Moore’s bottom line.
As far as this week’s matchup goes, the Bucs’ secondary was truly awful it 2019, but it looked much better against the Saints last week, limiting Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to a combined 32 receiving yards. Carolina’s poor defense could create a lot of favorable game scripts for Moore — including this week — but that doesn’t move the needle enough to expect WR1 numbers from him.
Undervalued: Mike Evans (TB)
My Rank: WR3
Giddy up, baby. A gimpy Evans (hamstring) was one of the most difficult players to rank last week, as he quickly transitioned from doubtful to questionable to active against New Orleans. It looked like he was destined to put up a goose egg for fantasy managers, but thankfully he found the end zone with less than 3 minutes to play in the game. Now, Evans should be much closer to 100 percent, and he gets an infinitely more favorable matchup against the Panthers.
Mike Evans said he hadn’t practiced in two weeks before Saints game due to hamstring injury. Said he gave himself a “25 percent” chance of playing, wasn’t 100 percent in the game. More time in practice this week will help him.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) September 17, 2020
Bucs coach Bruce Arians said this week that he “feels bad” whenever he doesn’t get Evans at least 10 targets, but that shouldn’t be an issue with Chris Godwin (concussion) looking unlikely to play. Evans trailed only the aforementioned Michael Thomas and Godwin in fantasy points per game last season, and while it may be unrealistic to expect him to put up the same numbers with Tom Brady that he did with gunslinger extraordinaire Jameis Winston, he’s got a real shot to have one of his vintage “Mike Evans blowup games” this week.
Overvalued: Zach Ertz (PHI)
My Rank: TE8
Ertz salvaged his fantasy day in Week 1 by hauling in a short first-quarter touchdown, but make no mistake, he was once again outshined by teammate Dallas Goedert. The Eagles may be able to support two viable fantasy tight ends in the short term, especially as they sort out their wide receiver depth chart, but it’s no longer entirely clear which one will be the better play from week to week. As Ertz approaches his 30th birthday with no contract extension in sight, he’s suddenly become the subject of trade rumors. The Eagles have every reason to find out what they have in Goedert, so a passing of the torch could be happening before our very eyes. Ertz is still an every-week TE1, but I’m no longer convinced he’s the automatic top-4 option that he was widely viewed as on draft day.
Undervalued: Jared Cook (NO)
My Rank: TE3
I know what I just got finished saying about Drew Brees, but that doesn’t mean the Saints offense is going to completely fall apart this week. Sean Payton’s offense has typically utilized a narrow target distribution, and Cook has solidified himself as one of the key cogs in it. He was the overall TE7 last season despite missing two games, and the TE3 over the final 8 games of the year. There was some concern that the addition of Emmanuel Sanders would hurt Cook’s productivity, but it certainly wasn’t the case in Week 1, when Cook caught five passes for 80 yards. Now, with Michael Thomas out, Cook will be all-but-certain to see another steady dose of targets from Brees.
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