Which Players Are Experts Higher/Lower On Than The Public? (2021 Fantasy Football)
There are players who are hyped up by analysts all offseason every single year, only for the public to disagree and refuse to give in. Rookies are the biggest divider in the fantasy community, as the public doesn’t tend to value them nearly as much as the experts. It takes time for rookies to catch up in ADP, so we’re going to leave them out of this exercise.
Sometimes, the public just hasn’t caught up with the moves that have taken place over the offseason. Believe it or not, not everyone studies football all offseason. Many walk away from the game of fantasy football, then once they return, they’re shocked by the number of changes that have taken place on rosters.
Whatever the case, we’ll be looking at early ADP (Average Draft Position) versus early ECR (Expert Consensus Rankings) today in order to find the biggest discrepancies, and I’ll offer my take on which party I believe is right.
Quarterbacks Experts Are Higher On
Ryan Fitzpatrick (WAS) Current ECR: QB20, Current ADP: QB30
The public is sleeping on the bearded magician who’s now playing for his ninth NFL team. Yes, it’s crazy, but what might be even crazier is that he’s finished with QB1-type numbers in 11-of-24 games (45.8 percent) over the last two seasons, which ranks among the top-12 quarterbacks in football, and keep in mind that’s while getting pulled a few times. He’s now about to play for a coordinator who’s had the combination of Cam Newton, Will Grier, Alex Smith, Kyle Allen, Dwayne Haskins, and Taylor Heinicke throw the ball 1,232 times over the last two years. There’s only been two seasons where Fitzpatrick has thrown the ball more than 505 times, and both netted top-12 fantasy finishes.
Daniel Jones (NYG) Current ECR: QB19, Current ADP: QB27
This could be the public not realizing the weapons the Giants added this offseason, or it could be the public not caring so much after watching Jones throw just 11 touchdowns in 14 games last year. I compared Jones to Mitch Trubisky last year, saying he was too inconsistent to be relied upon, especially when you factored in his tough schedule. His rushing totals will carry him to what is likely top-20 territory, but given he plays Denver and Washington over the first two weeks, he’s once again undraftable outside of 2QB/Superflex leagues.
Quarterbacks Experts Are Lower On
Trey Lance (SF) Current ECR: QB30, Current ADP: QB24
I’ve tried to leave rookies out of this piece because experts are generally higher on them, but this one is noteworthy. The public seems to believe the 49ers will go to Lance rather quickly, though experts seem to believe Kyle Shanahan when he says Jimmy Garoppolo will be the starter to open the season. If Lance does start early in the year, his QB24 price tag would seem cheap, as his mobility would make him an instant top-18 quarterback play.
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) Current ECR: QB22, Current ADP: QB19
This isn’t surprising to me, as analysts watched Roethlisberger post a career-low 6.3 yards per attempt in 2020 despite his pass catchers being healthy nearly all season. Despite throwing the ball 608 times, he threw for just 3,803 yards, though the 33 touchdowns did salvage his fantasy performance (finished as QB14). But knowing he’s another year older and that the Steelers should have a run game with Najee Harris, where does his upside come from? Best-case scenario is that he finishes as a high-end QB2, so why not take a little more risk to get more reward?
Running Backs Experts Are Higher On
Mike Davis (ATL) Current ECR: RB24, Current ADP: RB29
This one strikes me as odd because as things currently sit, there’s no other running back on the Falcons roster who will stop Davis from hitting 250-plus carries this season. It’s very reminiscent to David Montgomery last year, as I said he was a virtual lock for 240 carries and was a screaming value in drafts. There’ve now been 131 running backs who’ve hit that mark over the last 11 years, and not one of them has finished worse than RB25, so the public is certainly behind the curve here, and you can argue the experts are, too.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC) Current ECR: RB15, Current ADP: RB19
Yes, there were many who were burned by Edwards-Helaire in 2020. Had you drafted him where he’s currently going (RB19), you wouldn’t have been upset at all. He was hurt in Week 15 and missed the final two games. Did you know he was the RB16 when that happened? Forget where you drafted him last year. Think about where you get to draft him this year, and then think about the best-case scenario, which is why you were drafting him in the first round last year. The public is sleeping on Edwards-Helaire.
Running Backs Experts Are Lower On
James Robinson (JAX) Current ECR: RB29, Current ADP: RB19
This one is somewhat impacted by the public not fully coming around on the rookie Travis Etienne, but I wanted to put Robinson in this article because I believe the analysts are still too high. We have a new coaching staff that came in and said they wanted to add depth to the running back position. After adding Carlos Hyde, we weren’t all that worried, but after adding Etienne in the first round, you definitely should be. I believe it’s going to be tough for Robinson to garner a consistent 12 touches per game, which is going to make it tough to trust him on a weekly basis.
Josh Jacobs (LV) Current ECR: RB21, Current ADP: RB14
Does the public not realize that the Raiders signed Kenyan Drake, who was essentially Jacobs’ 2020 doppelganger? The Raiders have done everything to ensure Jacobs isn’t heavily utilized in the passing game (for whatever reason), so adding Drake certainly won’t help, as he’s someone who’s had success as a receiver in the NFL. The experts have likely lowered Jacobs a bit too much, but the public certainly needs to lower expectations.
Wide Receivers Experts Are Higher On
Jalen Reagor (PHI) Current ECR: WR55, Current ADP: WR67
The public isn’t willing to go back to the Reagor well after he disappointed in a big way his rookie season. He failed to top 55 yards in any one game despite seeing five-plus targets in six games. The lackluster play of Carson Wentz certainly didn’t help, though not much changed once Jalen Hurts took over. Now you add DeVonta Smith to the offense? It’s tough to see Reagor making a significant change in 2021 unless Hurts turns into a different quarterback in the new offense. There are tons of moving parts, but once you get to this range of the draft, you’re shooting for those moving parts that can make a change. There’s probably a middle ground here, but I’m okay betting on Reagor’s talent.
Corey Davis (NYJ) Current ECR: WR42, Current ADP: WR49
We typically see the public rely heavily on recency bias, which would have Davis much higher than WR49. I’m going to attribute his ADP to the fact that he joined the Jets, as many fantasy managers don’t want to be associated with the team. News flash: Adam Gase is no longer the head coach. Sam Darnold is no longer the quarterback. Davis is the No. 1 option on this team and might actually be worth more than the WR42 price tag that experts have given him.
D.J. Moore (CAR) Current ECR: WR19, Current ADP: WR24
The start of last year weighs heavily on fantasy managers minds when it comes to Moore, but should it? Did you know Moore finished with 93-plus yards in 8-of-15 games last year? Do you know the only other players who hit that mark? Stefon Diggs and Calvin Ridley. That’s it. The Panthers lost Curtis Samuel this offseason, and while they replaced him with Terrace Marshall in the second round of the draft, it’s unrealistic to expect a rookie to walk in and get the 138 opportunities Samuel did. The public needs to move Moore up their draft boards.
Wide Receivers Experts Are Lower On
Cole Beasley (BUF) Current ECR: WR53, Current ADP: WR64
This one is tough because I understand not wanting to rank Beasley high, but both experts and the public are wrong on this one. Did you know he’s finished as the WR34 and WR26 over the last two seasons with Allen under center? Sure, the Bills added Emmanuel Sanders, but they also lost John Brown, so it’s kind of a wash there. Beasley isn’t going to win you your fantasy league, but he can certainly play a role.
Tyler Boyd (CIN) Current ECR: WR36, Current ADP: WR31
At some point, you have to pick which Bengals wide receiver you’re out on, and the experts have chosen Boyd. It’s not crazy to see him at WR36 in ECR considering he finished as the WR35 last year, and that was without Ja’Marr Chase on the team. Sure, A.J. Green saw 104 targets and Joe Burrow wasn’t playing the whole season, but Chase is going to see more targets than Green did, and Tee Higgins wasn’t even a full-time player out of the gate. There are only so many targets to go around, which is why Boyd is dropping among analysts.
Chase Claypool (PIT) Current ECR: WR31, Current ADP: WR26
This one is interesting to me, as we typically see the public fade upside and take safety, but that’s not the case here. Claypool is going as a borderline WR2 in ADP, which is problematic considering he finished as a WR2 or better in just 37.5 percent of his games in 2020, which ranked 30th among wide receivers. With Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster still in the fold, it’s tough to see where Claypool’s rise comes from. There’s upside, sure, but at WR26, there are still too many safer players (with upside) on the board.
Tight Ends Experts Are Higher On
Cole Kmet (CHI) Current ECR: TE19, Current ADP: TE31
I was someone who thought I’d have Kmet ranked as a top-15 tight end this year, but I’m officially out of that conversation because the Bears still haven’t released Jimmy Graham. As long as Graham is on the roster and making $7 million, he’s going to have a role in the offense. Will Kmet’s role grow? Of course, but not enough to draft him with any semblance of confidence. The public is too low, but the experts do need to dial back expectations with Graham on the roster.
Robert Tonyan (GB) Current ECR: TE10, Current ADP: TE18
The public either (a) isn’t expecting Aaron Rodgers to return to the Packers, or (b) isn’t buying Tonyan’s breakout season that included an 88.1 percent catch rate and a touchdown every 5.4 targets. Heck, maybe it’s a combination of both, but TE18 is a bit too low when there’s a chance of Rodgers returning. If Rodgers doesn’t return, the public is right, as Tonyan was the only top-20 tight end last year with fewer than 60 targets.
Tight Ends Experts Are Lower On
Rob Gronkowski (TB) Current ECR: TE17, Current ADP: TE8
This is a massive gap at the tight end position, as many of them inside the top-20 don’t have more than a few spots between ECR and ADP. C’mon, public… TE8? He finished there last year despite O.J. Howard missing essentially the entire season and Antonio Brown only playing half the season. From the time Brown joined the team in Week 9 through the end of the year, Gronkowski totaled just 19 receptions for 302 yards over eight games and was the No. 12 tight end in points per game. If you draft Gronkowski as a top-10 tight end, you’re going to be disappointed.
Hunter Henry (NE) Current ECR: TE16, Current ADP: TE10
I’ve spoken to some who somehow believe Henry is going to be the No. 1 tight end in New England. I’m not one of them. Here’s a crazy stat: Henry has finished with TE1-type numbers in 49.1 percent of his games, which is good, but has posted top-five-type numbers in just 9.4 percent of them. He’s been heavily reliant on volume for his fantasy production and has offered little upside despite that volume. The Patriots went out and signed Jonnu Smith on the first day of free agency and to a bigger contract than Henry, indicating which of the two they value more. Henry should be going well after Smith in drafts, which isn’t currently the case.