Overvalued Players to Avoid on FFPC (2022 Fantasy Football)
For this installment, we will be looking at early overpriced players based on average draft position (ADP) per RotoBaller for those who choose to participate in leagues under the Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC) umbrella. In case you are unfamiliar, FFPC is a host that yields high payouts for its participants; i.e., this is a high-stakes platform where many of the sharpest minds put their talents to the test.
Joe Burrow (QB5 – CIN)
After the fortification of their offensive line in the offseason with the additions of Ted Karras, Alex Cappa and La’el Collins, there is cause for great optimism as reigning AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow looks to improve upon his QB5 finish in overall scoring in the “fantasy season” (Week 1-17). So why mention him at all? A proverbial look under the hood is one of the most insightful acts any manager can perform. After all, this exercise is a simple audit of value.
On a per-game basis during the 2021 fantasy season, Burrow only ranked QB9 with 20.52 points per game (PPG). Remember, the overall finish is how players performed in sum, and the PPG finish is how they generally did week-to-week. Also, consider Burrow’s absolute pummeling of the badly decimated Baltimore Ravens last year, not only once but twice because both teams play in the same division. Across both matchups, the two of his three highest individual scores of his fantasy season, Burrow scored 65.7 fantasy points (20% of his overall points in 2021) per our database.
The point here is not that Burrow will be a bust, nor is it that he cannot take a step forward with a considerably better line in front of him, but that a simple look at 2021’s effectiveness will show Burrow’s output was heavily influenced by a pair of incredibly favorable matchups. A QB5 price tag is uncomfortably close to Burrow’s ceiling. Feel free to draft Burrow as your QB with confidence should he fall in drafts, but from a value standpoint, investment at this cost would be suboptimal.
Javonte Williams (RB12 – DEN)
This is another example of a player being priced at their ceiling. Yes, Melvin Gordon re-signed with Denver late in the process and is only getting older. However, it is also true that new head coach Nathaniel Hackett historically has a more defined RB1 and RB2 role in his offense than the nearly 50-50 split we saw in the Broncos backfield last year.
For greater insight, check out this thread from Corey Spala of DLF (@coreyspala on Twitter):
a javonte williams & melvin gordon tweet thread thing:
nathaniel hackett has been an oc for 8 seasons and here is how his rb1 & rb2 roles have been utilized
> injuries: a committee due to the rb1/rb2 missing more than 5 games pic.twitter.com/E0qwFLLMpY
– corey spala (@coreyspala) June 9, 2022
Suppose we do a one-for-one and cast Javonte Williams as Aaron Jones and Melvin Gordon as AJ Dillon: Jones only finished last year as RB9 overall in point per reception (PPR) scoring in the fantasy season. Granted, Jones has finished higher than that in years prior, but this is all under the assumption that the Broncos backfield becomes a clone of the Packers’ backfield as far as divvying up the workload is concerned.
Simply expecting Gordon to fall off a cliff and cede the lion’s share to Williams would be rather foolish. Not to say Williams cannot be a good fantasy asset, but there is no telling at this stage what the split between the two will be, and an RB1-type finish would be placing a lot of expectation on Williams finding the end zone considerably more often in 2022. Therefore, from a value standpoint, any managers drafting teams at this stage are much better off selecting Melvin Gordon at ADP RB37 and yielding a much higher return on investment.
Tyreek Hill (WR9 – MIA)
Buyer beware of Tyreek Hill at ADP cost. Concerns have considerably less to do with the individual’s talent and more to do with the quarterback throwing him the ball and the new offensive system he finds himself in. Much is made of the cherry-picked stat about QB Tua Tagovailoa’s “great” deep ball (20+ yard pass attempt) percentage from 2021 as justification for Hill being just fine as a downfield threat in Miami. However, Tagovailoa ranked second in that category per Pro Football Focus (PFF) on only 29 attempts. Other players around Tagovailoa on this list per PFF include Justin Herbert (48.4% on 64 attempts), Kirk Cousins (46.5% on 71 attempts), and Patrick Mahomes (47.4% on 76 attempts). In essence, this stat does not represent much argumentative value on behalf of Tagovailoa considering the low volume sample.
Additionally, the lead wide receiver in new head coach and run-heavy Kyle Shanahan disciple Mike McDaniel’s offense last season in San Francisco (Deebo Samuel) received a mere 64 air yards per game, a large step down from the 97 Hill was accustomed to in Kansas City with Patrick Mahomes under center per 4f0r4. Moreover, if we are to assume a copy-and-paste of last year’s stats for the sake of argument (per Pro Football Reference), 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo tallied 3304 intended air yards (24th in NFL) last season to Patrick Mahomes’ 4829 (6th in NFL).
Simply put, Hill and Miami are an odd pairing with plenty of room for volatile, unreliable scoring output week-to-week. Schematically, teammate Jaylen Waddle is a better bet in the 2022 fantasy football season.
Dawson Knox (TE10 – BUF)
To close, we revisit an age-old fantasy trope. Among tight ends who finished top 12 overall in PPR last year, Knox ranked last in target share (11.4%) and highly relied upon touchdowns to achieve his fantasy success per our Touchdown Regression tool. It is not uncommon for a tight end to sneak into the top 12 based on touchdowns. Not long ago, we saw Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan (TE4 in PPR overall in 2020) do the same thing with a similarly meager target share (11.8%) and flop in his rebound attempt last year through eight games before getting injured. These players are not typically a good bet to repeat.
That said, concluding 2021 with 18 red zone targets (tied for second among all tight ends) is worthy of consideration in Knox’s defense. His role in the Buffalo offense last year was essentially designed for him to be a touchdown machine not too different from what we’ve seen from, for example, Hunter Henry in the past. Knox could theoretically buck the trend and repeat all things considered, but an expanded role for third-year receiver and end zone threat Gabriel Davis may also hitch a snag in the effort in 2022. So be cautious of, but not completely out on, Knox being priced as a repeat performer.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.
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