Overvalued Best Ball Players (2023 Fantasy Football)
With as many undervalued players as there were to write about in last week’s article, the list is a bit thinner on the other side of the coin. If you haven’t read that piece yet, I recommend it, but I will reiterate that the early offseason average draft position (ADP) for best ball leagues is surprisingly on point. This is due, in large part, to the fact that most managers drafting so early in the offseason can be considered as sharps.
With that, the current ADP will certainly fluctuate as the offseason rolls along. It’s important to stay up to date with the current ADP, as it should factor into your draft day decisions. At the end of the day, you want to get your guy, but if you take a player three rounds earlier than you need to, another team who selected the same player three rounds later will have a significant advantage.
For this article, I am utilizing February’s ADP thus far and considering the general value I’ve seen tossed around the marketplace.
- Introduction to Best Ball Leagues
- Underdog Best Ball Strategy
- Erickson’s Best Ball Positional Primers
- Best Ball Roster Construction Strategy
Overvalued Best Ball Players
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In the month of February, Swift’s ADP is sitting at RB10, ahead of Kenneth Walker, Josh Jacobs, Travis Etienne and many other running backs who should be ahead of him. I understand the appeal. Swift is an explosive player who finished as the RB21 despite an extremely disappointing season. Jamaal Williams will be a free agent and is unlikely to replicate his touchdown total if he does return.
However, there is mutual interest for Williams to head back to the Motor City and the Lions clearly like him as the short yardage and goal line back. Another thing that’s clear is that they don’t trust Swift to be on the field as frequently as fantasy managers would like. I labeled Swift as a sell high after 175 yards and a score in Week 1, with the following synopsis:
The truth is, if it’s not Jamaal Williams, it will likely be somebody else garnering the goal line work and stealing many snaps along the way. Swift can provide you with some big weeks, but he tallied eight top 24 weeks last year, which was tied for 21st and finished as an RB1 three times. I don’t mind snagging Swift for the big weeks alone, but RB10 is too rich for that type of player.
There are a few issues with Leonard Fournette, who is being drafted as the RB21 in the month of February. He’s due $6.5 million, but with a dead cap hit of just $1.5 million, the Bucs may be looking to move off the seventh-year pro. It’s tough to say if that’s good news or bad news, as Lenny was visibly sluggish behind a putrid offensive line. In addition, Rachaad White figures to be an even bigger factor in year two, further limiting Fournette’s workload after he finished as RB12 in 2022.
While it may be a positive to escape that situation, the free agent and draft classes are littered with running back talent. Unfortunately for free agent Lenny, his 3.5 true yards per carry won’t lure any teams into handing over the keys to their backfield. The best case is a timeshare in which he continues to catch passes and touch the ball in around the goal line. That’s a possibility, but not a resume I’m highlighting as the 22nd RB.
As somebody who has always been a fan of Keenan Allen’s game, I made the difficult decision to jump ship last offseason due to a decline in many advanced metrics. While that decision paid off, I couldn’t have predicted injury then, and I certainly can’t now. However, Allen has spent a great deal of time on the trainer’s table over the years and will turn 31 in a couple of months. Admittedly, Allen was terrific when healthy.
He was the WR3 from Weeks 11-18 and is attached to an ascending young QB with a shiny new offensive coordinator. Those things may be enough to make up some of the ground on his declining efficiency, but it’s tough to look past the age, injuries and 8.5 average depth of target last season. That was the 83rd-lowest mark in the league among wide receivers, and his average cushion of 4.85 was the 53rd-worst mark. On the other hand, there’s no doubt he benefited greatly from a conservative offensive approach that saw Justin Herbert and the offense play close to the line of scrimmage.
Remember the shiny new offensive coordinator I referenced? Kellen Moore was brought in to do the exact opposite of that. The organization wants to extend the field for Herbert and push the ball downfield. As such, speculation of the Bolts adding a wide receiver via free agency or the draft has run rampant, as has the buzz that Allen could become a cap casualty. Not many teams will utilize him in the same way that Herbert and the Chargers have, but even if he sticks around, he’s unlikely to see as much volume. So it looks like another offseason that I’m out on Allen unless his ADP takes a tumble.
I can only think of one reason why Najee Harris is going as RB9, but I can think of zero good reasons he is going as RB9. Volume is king amongst running backs in the fantasy space, and Najee gets a lot of it. However, volume is less important in best ball, as we need the spiked weeks. Despite handling the fifth most carries of any running back, Harris produced just four RB1 scoring weeks which was tied for 13th most. After just two years in the league, we’ve already seen the ups and downs of Harris and what a dip in volume will cause.
He touched the ball 22.4 times per game in his rookie season, second only to Derrick Henry. Last season, however, that total dipped to 18.4. His carries fell from 307 to 272, but the targets took a major tumble from 94 to 53. Ben Roethlisberger’s inability to push the ball downfield was a major factor in Harris’ rookie success. Still, when that evaporates, we’re left with a pedestrian workload and 3.8 yards per carry, good for 40th in the NFL. For what it’s worth, Najee touched the ball at least 20 times in each of the last four games, but the usage was sporadic throughout the season, and 3.8 yards per touch won’t be enough to live up to this ADP.
Evans produced yet another 1,000-yard season in 2022, making it nine for nine since entering the league in 2014. He cleared 1,100 yards for the first time since 2019 and finished as WR17. So, what’s the issue with him being drafted as WR20? For starters, he’s staring down the age cliff as he turns 30 in August, but that’s not the only factor working against Evans. His air yards shot up last year, but his efficiency dropped. His 774 unrealized air yards were the 10th most, while his 181 yards after catch were 54th.
He’s more of a contested catch guy anyways, but his 81% true catch rate is concerning, as it was 67th in the league. His route win rate was just 41% (45th), and his target separation vs. man was 1.31 (78th). He saw 14 red zone targets but caught his fewest touchdowns since 2017 with just six. Evans has always been a target hog, but he was passed up by Chris Godwin this year with 8.47 per game compared to Godwin’s 9.47.
This came in an offense with the highest pass percentage in the NFL at nearly 68%, a number unlikely to repeat itself with Tom Brady out the door. As if that wasn’t enough, we have no idea who will play quarterback for the Bucs next season. With Evans slowing down as he ages and getting passed up by Godwin in an offense that will see a significant reduction in pass attempts, it feels reckless to expect WR20 production.
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