Early Overvalued Players Based on Expert Consensus Rankings (2022 Fantasy Football)
This list intends to evaluate players based on their current ranking in the FantasyPros 2022 Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR). After much research and careful deliberation, the following players are those I have deemed as being overvalued in PPR scoring formats:
Deshaun Watson (QB – CLE)
It isn’t necessarily that his talent doesn’t back up his ECR (QB14). The issue with Deshaun Watson’s ranking is that there is too much uncertainty surrounding him to feel comfortable with him as a borderline QB1.
For one thing, he is not guaranteed to play all 17 (if any) games season. The NFL is currently conducting an internal investigation, which will ultimately result in whatever disciplinary action they and the NFLPA deem necessary. He could end up with a multi-game suspension, further increasing the amount of time it’s been since Watson last played in an NFL game.
It has been over a year since Watson last threw a pass against an NFL defense. He also will be tasked with adjusting to an entirely new team with a completely new offense, further increasing the difficulty of “shaking off the rust.”
Whatever the case, the former Texan is far from a safe pick and yet, is being ranked as a borderline QB1. The players ranked immediately below him (Trey Lance, QB14, and Derek Carr, QB15) are much more appropriately valued.
Breece Hall (RB – NYJ)
The excitement is understandable. Breece Hall is one of the most dynamic offensive weapons in the 2022 rookie class. He is a complete back whose college production (3,635 total yards, 45 total TDs 2020-21) is up there with all-time greats. However, let’s keep in mind he’s on the Jets.
The Jets (often trailing) ran the ball on just 38.7% of their plays (fourth-lowest rate) in 2021. The “Men in Green” notably improved their offensive line during the offseason. However, that doesn’t mean Hall (who will still have to compete for touches with Michael Carter) deserves to be ranked above players like Elijah Mitchell (RB24), Miles Sanders (RB26), or Kareem Hunt (RB29). The other players have clearly defined roles and experience producing against NFL defenses, two things Hall lacks at the moment.
If Hall fails to carve out a significant role in the passing game, it will make it difficult to justify his ECR of RB21 (projected AVG: 11.9 PPG). That’s not to say he won’t blow expectations out of the water, but given the information currently available to us, Hall should be considered overvalued.
Travis Etienne is an explosive player who boasts an established rapport with his QB Trevor Lawrence. Infamous for his receiving ability, Etienne could feasibly finish at the top of the position in targets in 2022, especially with James Robinson expected to begin the season on the PUP list. Is it likely, though?
Robinson, an established 1,000-yard rusher, will return at some point this season and likely reassume his early-down role. Etienne’s season-long outlook is murky. For all we know, he could end up being Nyheim Hines.
He is currently ranked as RB23, which puts him above the three aforementioned RBs (Sanders, Mitchell, Hunt) as well as Damien Harris (15+ touches in eight/15 games, 15 TDs in 2021) and Melvin Gordon (1,100+ yards and 10 total TDs in 2021).
To be ranked so high despite never having played a down of NFL football seems a bit reckless.
Diontae Johnson (WR – PIT)
When reviewing the ECR, the one player who jumps out as “overvalued” above all others is Diontae Johnson. He is a reception machine and has improved his fantasy totals every season (WR41 in 2019, WR21 in 2020, WR8 in 2021). However, now that Ben Roethlisberger has retired, Johnson will be working with an assortment of unproven QBs (Mitch Trubisky, rookie Kenny Pickett, and Mason Rudolph), with Trubisky being the most experienced of the bunch.
Roethlisberger managed to get the ball to Johnson 107 times in a down year, peppering him with a robust 28.5% target share. Considering his current QB situation, it’s unlikely he will reach these totals again.
Not that ‘Big Ben’ was incredibly productive last season, throwing for just 3,740 yards, but when you consider that’s 500 yards more than Trubisky’s career-high of 3,223, it’s fair to assume Johnson is due for some serious regression.
For Johnson to be ranked as a WR1 solidifies him as the very poster child for overvalued players heading into 2022.
DK Metcalf (WR – SEA)
We hear the name ‘DK Metcalf,’ and we conjure a mental image of a physical specimen capable of roasting any defender. There is no denying he is a special athlete. The harsh truth is: name value is the only thing keeping Metcalf in the top-20.
He failed to manage 1,000 yards last season and finished as WR20 in three games with Geno Smith and 14 games with Russell Wilson (27.3% target share). We witnessed a diluted version of Wilson in 2021, but most would agree a diluted Wilson is a significant improvement over Smith or Drew Lock.
Expecting Metcalf to improve upon subpar stats after a major QB downgrade doesn’t sound like the strongest bet. A player like Metcalf will be prone to the occasional explosive week, but he is overvalued at his current ADP (WR17).
Kyle Pitts (TE – ATL)
Kyle Pitts delivered a glimpse of a bright future in 2021, becoming the first rookie TE in history to finish with 1,000+ receiving yards. It’s easy to be optimistic about an athletic specimen like Pitts reaching his full potential. It isn’t Pitts’s status as a TE1 that has landed him on this list. But does he deserve to be ranked above established threats like George Kittle or Darren Waller?
Let’s keep in mind Pitts (currently ranked as TE3) experienced a major QB downgrade this offseason. Matt Ryan (or at least his ghost) is now on the Colts. Ryan ranked eighth in QB accuracy last season and has been notorious for producing 1,000-yard receivers throughout his career.
Current Falcons QB, Marcus Mariota, has a career completion percentage of 62.8%. That would have ranked 25th among qualified QBs (min. 2,500 pass yards) in 2021. He also hasn’t produced a 1,000-yard receiver since 2015.
Pitts should undoubtedly be atop the Falcons’ pecking order this season, but exactly how productive that position will be is in serious doubt. Kittle (TE4) and Waller (TE5) are much safer bets for a top-three season.
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