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Early Overvalued Wide Receivers (2023 Fantasy Football)

Early Overvalued Wide Receivers (2023 Fantasy Football)

The NFL is filled with highly talented young wide receivers. Nevertheless, some are presently overvalued in fantasy drafts. A do-it-all but unconventional wide receiver is one player selected too early in Underdog Fantasy drafts. A receiver returning from a suspension also has an average draft position (ADP) earlier than they should be popped. Finally, a receiver entering his second season on the heels of a promising rookie campaign with flashy highlight-reel catches is also currently overvalued.

2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Advice

Overvalued Wide Receivers in February 2023

Deebo Samuel – San Francisco 49ers: 30.1 Underdog Fantasy ADP and WR14

Samuel was a borderline unstoppable force in 2021. Unfortunately, he missed a few games and failed to replicate his breakout performance in 13 contests in the regular season in 2022. In fact, he averaged a career-low 48.6 receiving yards per game on 4.3 receptions per game. Samuel also splashed paydirt just five times.

Sadly, it gets worse. Most of Samuel’s production was with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback. According to numberFire, Samuel had 68 targets, 42 receptions, 497 receiving yards, 337 Air Yards and two receiving touchdowns on Jimmy G’s passes.

Samuel missed three games after Brock Purdy took the reigns for an injured Garoppolo. Nonetheless, when including the opener that Trey Lance started, Samuel had only 27 targets, 14 receptions, 135 receiving yards, 92 Air Yards and zero receiving touchdowns in nearly four games on passes thrown by anyone other than Garoppolo.

Samuel’s rushing production was also underwhelming after the 49ers acquired Christian McCaffrey. As a teammate with CMC, he had 19 rushes for 96 yards and two touchdowns in seven games.

Samuel had a blowup game in the playoffs, torching the Seahawks for six receptions, 133 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown and 32 rushing yards. However, he had only 56 scoreless yards and four receptions in the Divisional Round and 24 scoreless yards and three receptions in the Conference Championship Round.

Samuel’s a dynamic player, but he has significant competition for touches. Most important, Jimmy G is unlikely to return to the 49ers this season. Samuel will probably pop up for the occasional week-winning game. However, he’ll also likely have many underwhelming performances and fail to provide the consistency gamers should seek from a mid-third-round pick, which is where Samuel’s ADP presently sits.

2023 NFL Draft Guide: Prospect Rankings & Player Profiles

Calvin Ridley – Jacksonville Jaguars: 40.5 Underdog Fantasy ADP and WR19

Ridley last played an NFL game on October 24, 2021. He sat out the remainder of that season and was suspended for the entire 2022 season. So, Ridley will have missed nearly two full seasons before he takes the field this year. The layoff is concerning for his immediate production.

In addition, he was inefficient and underwhelming as Atlanta’s No. 1 wide receiver early in the 2021 season. Ridley enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2020 as the Robin to Julio Jones‘s Batman. Yet, he failed to build on his success when he was tasked with leading the position group.

According to Pro-Football-Reference, he had a ghastly 5.4 yards per target n 2021. Further, per Pro Football Focus (PFF), Ridley was tied for 61st in Yards per Route Run (1.43 Y/RR) out of 90 wideouts targeted at least 50 times in the regular season and postseason in 2021. The Falcons had a lackluster offense that year. Still, Russell Gage had 1.96 Y/RR and 8.2 yards per target in the same offense without Ridley to draw defensive attention to boot.

According to the Fantasy Leaders landing page, Ridley was tied for WR27 in half-point point-per-reception (PPR) points per game (PPG) among wideouts who played more than three games. Sure, he was the WR4 in half-point PPR PPG in his breakout 2020 season. Still, Ridley’s outstanding 2020 campaign was the outlier in his young career, and his return from a lengthy layoff makes him a risky pick as a top-20 wideout. A fringe top-36 WR ranking is more appropriate when considering the negatives for Ridley.

George Pickens – Pittsburgh Steelers: 73.8 Underdog Fantasy ADP and WR37

The Steelers landed a big-play wideout in the second round of last year’s NFL Draft. Pickens made splashy, highlight-reel catches on deep passes. But, unfortunately, his jaw-dropping plays might be inflating his ADP.

According to numberFire, Pickens had an unspectacular 14.9% Target Share, third on the Steelers, on Kenny Pickett‘s 389 passes. Pickens was also third in receptions (38), first in receiving yards (555) and touchdowns (four) on Pickett’s passes and second in Air Yards (787).

Pickens’ usage as a vertical weapon on a modest Target Share increases his weekly volatility. He’s also attached to an uncreative and largely unsuccessful offensive coordinator and a young, unproven quarterback.

After two unsuccessful seasons, the Steelers perplexingly retained Matt Canada as their offensive coordinator. According to Pro-Football-Reference, the Steelers offense was 21st in points in 2021 and 26th in 2022. Moreover, according to Football Outsiders, the Steelers were only 18th in situation-neutral pace last season. So, the offensive environment leaves a lot to be desired for Pickens. Gamers would be better served to invest in wideouts with a higher Target Share or attached to better offenses in the range where Pickens is selected.

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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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