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Overvalued Fantasy Football Players to Avoid: ESPN Leagues (2024)

It’s important to identify overpriced players as you prepare to make picks in your fantasy football leagues. However, these overvalued fantasy football assets can vary depending on the commissioner site you use for your l draft. We’ll have you covered this fantasy football draft season as we’ll explore overvalued fantasy football players and draft values for each specific fantasy football commissioner site. Today we explored overvalued fantasy football players to avoid in ESPN drafts. You can also find Fantasy Football Draft Values: ESPN Leagues.

2024 fantasy football draft kit

Overvalued Fantasy Football Players to Avoid

There is a reason that so many fantasy analysts have a background in finance – the ability to predict and adapt to market changes is a significant factor in draft analysis. One positive comment in a beat reporter article, one dropped pass in a preseason game, or one “he’s in the best shape of his life” note from an offensive coordinator can shift a player’s draft position. However, it’s crucial to resist the urge for knee-jerk reactions and instead take a step back and analyze the larger picture. This approach empowers us to make more informed decisions.

As part of an ongoing monthly series leading up to draft season, I recently examined several players ranked higher in the FantasyPros Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) than in ESPN’s most recent ADP data, presenting an opportunity for value, should circumstances fall correctly.

(For reference, you can find that article here: Fantasy Football Draft Values: ESPN Leagues )

Now we focus on the inverse side -which players are currently being overdrafted in ESPN leagues compared to our ECR. This highlights possible pitfalls you should avoid, emphasizing the importance of a cautious and well-informed draft strategy. Do the default rankings factor in? Let’s see.

Quarterbacks

As mentioned in my earlier article, ESPN strongly devalues the quarterback position in its default rankings, so no relevant QB1 options are currently being selected higher than they should be. After taking a moment to sift through their ADP data, it appears that the position has dropped even further in drafts, as their fantasy managers continue to hammer away at running back, wide receiver, and tight end instead before beginning to address signal callers.

Here are several examples to emphasize my point:

The first quarterback listed in FantasyPros ECR is Josh Allen, and the QB1 sits at 21st overall in our rankings. He doesn’t appear on ESPN until 34th overall – after several RB2 candidates (De’Von Achane, Rachaad White, James Cook) are listed. Things only become progressively more eyebrow-raising from there:

  • Jalen Hurts ECR – 25th overall, ESPN – 39th overall
  • Joe Burrow ECR – 58th overall, ESPN – 71st overall
  • Tua Tagovailoa ECR – 90th overall, ESPN – 186th overall
  • Jared Goff ECR – 99th overall, ESPN – 203rd overall

It is essential to note that although ESPN’s generic/predetermined scoring settings have passing touchdowns set to four points (other leagues have the default as six), otherwise, they mimic other providers identically. If you’re participating on ESPN, it will encourage you to address other positions first.

Running Backs

Onto the polar opposite. Whereas quarterbacks are at the bottom of the proverbial barrel, running backs are continually listed higher on ESPN’s default rankings – thus resulting in inflated ADP.

Eight of the first 16 players on ESPN’s default rankings are running backs, culminating in Isiah Pacheco. Looking for him on the ECR site? Keep scrolling down until the 38th overall.

In full-PPR formats, Pacheco is ranked as the RB10 on FantasyPros and elevated to RB8 on ESPN – the difference stems from the latter placing him ahead of Travis Etienne Jr. and Derrick Henry. Initial projections on FantasyPros have Pacheco rushing for his first 1,000-yard season and scoring ten touchdowns, with ESPN having him fall just short of both figures. Instead, his higher projections are based on an increased usage in Kansas City’s passing game with more check-down passes from Patrick Mahomes.

The overall point-projection totals (239 on FantasyPros, 232 on ESPN) are nearly identical. Yet, Pacheco sees a sharp two-round drop in standard-size leagues due to wide receivers and quarterbacks being thrust up in ECR.

This trend continues for the beginning of the RB2 tier on ESPN before finally leveling off as RB3s are selected later. Kenneth Walker is ESPN’s RB17 and their 41st overall default-ranked player. Walker is also the RB17 in the ECR but is listed as 56th overall. Fantasy managers participating on ESPN should give a second glance at the RB8-RB17 territory and see if there is a wide receiver or tight end alternative that offers higher upside instead.

Wide Receiver

Given the PPR format, fantasy managers usually address receivers early and often, favoring their predictable point floors and decreased injury risks over running backs. Echoing that idea, 15 of the first 24 players are wideouts on our current board, and 15 of the first 29 selections are wideouts in ESPN’s default rankings. Both sites fell within reason of each other in terms of rankings through the initial first two tiers, with ESPN having a five or six-player drop, due to the quarterback situation mentioned above.

Christian Watson was the first wide receiver to stick out like a sore thumb and buck the trend.

Ranked as the WR46 and the 109th player from ECR, Watson is the WR40 and 86th overall player on ESPN. Reports on Watson have been favorable of late, as he believes to have found the source of his hamstring woes that have plagued him over the last two years, an imbalance in muscle mass of one leg versus the other. Having missed 11 games over the first two years of his career, ESPN appears to be more bullish that he can get things back on track rather than another flop.

Buffalo Bills rookie Keon Coleman also caught my eye. Coleman is listed as the WR53 and 131st player from ECR and the WR46 and 99th overall player on ESPN. I’ve touched on Coleman in other articles as a sleeper to consider based on the overwhelming number of targets that are open for grabs after the departure of Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. Don’t expect to get any discount on ESPN.

That trend of rookie wideouts being “overpriced” continued.

  • Rome Odunze is the WR44/103rd overall on FantasyPros and the WR44/96th overall on ESPN
  • Ladd McConkey is the WR48/114th overall on FantasyPros and the WR47/100th overall on ESPN
  • Brian Thomas Jr. is the WR51/129th overall on FantasyPros and the WR51/113th overall on ESPN
  • Xavier Legette is the WR74/182nd overall on FantasyPros and the WR57/129th overall on ESPN

Drafting rookies will cost you.

Tight End

Like receiver, tight end rankings start quite similar on both sites, with Travis Kelce and Sam LaPorta the only options ranked within the top 30 on both charts.

Mark Andrews is the next tight end listed on ESPN, and is their 46th overall player. He is the fourth option on ECR, and falls to 59th overall. Notably, they value his career track record over Trey McBride, who others have suggested in this slot.

Evan Engram is also ranked much higher on ESPN, appearing as the 61st overall player and TE5. They are clearly confident that his breakout 2023 split of 114/963/4 is repeatable, despite Jacksonville drafting Brian Thomas Jr. in the first round and signing Gabe Davis. This seems rather bullish for a volume-based player who historically is not a major red-zone threat.

Another player to make a quick note of — George Kittle. Both sites have him listed as the TE7, but ESPN has a dramatically higher ranking of him at 64th overall than ECR at 86. Entering his age-30 season and recovering from core muscle surgery in the offseason, Kittle will continue to compete for targets opposite Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Finishing last year as the TE5, Kittle was able to leverage deep targets into large amounts of fantasy points, despite modest volume. He will need to continue to rack up YAC on each reception to finish as a top-five selection.

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