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The flip side of succeeding with value players is failing with overvalued players. These players will not put up stats commensurate to their draft spot, and avoiding them is another important key to a successful fantasy team. To point out these players, we asked our staff to look through the Top 150 and identify players that should underperform their draft position.
Here are the players who received the most votes:
And here are all of the payers mentioned and the reasons why.
Players Receiving 5 Votes
Anthony Amico: Rodgers does not belong anywhere near his current ADP if he stays with the Packers. He is coming off a season with an absurd 9.1% touchdown rate, which vaulted him to MVP status. A reduction down to his career number of 6.3% drops his touchdown total by 15, and Rodgers has never been a yardage accumulator (he hasn't hit 4,500 since 2011). There is some small chance he repeats if he ends up in Denver, but it is not bet-able, in my opinion.
Sigmund Bloom: Will Rodgers play for Green Bay this year? Will he play at all? These questions are difficult to answer, but you wouldn't know it from his ADP. The price to take Rodgers in a draft should be discounted much greater than it is right now. There's a reasonable argument that Rodgers won't reproduce his hall of fame level efficiency from last year and deliver on a top-10 quarterback pick even if everything was peachy between him and his team. It's not, and there's no reason to pay near full price for him while it is.
James Brimacombe: This offseason has been a mess for both Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. It seems there is no agreement on either side anytime soon, so I want to let others take their shots on Rodgers while I play it safe and draft other quarterbacks around the same ADP value. Obviously, if Rodgers and Green Bay get back on good terms, I would remove him from the overvalued group.
Drew Davenport: Rodgers threw 51 touchdown passes in 2018 and 2019 combined. Last year he put up 51 total scores thanks to three rushing touchdowns and a 9.1% touchdown rate through the air. He also had the second-highest Adjusted Yards per Attempt of his entire career. The problem is, he hasn't reached that level of efficiency but twice in the past decade. While he is an all-time great, his numbers scream for regression. These days, without much production on the ground, quarterbacks need to throw well over 40 touchdowns to challenge elite fantasy numbers. Rodgers will struggle to hit that number and has only done so one other time since 2011. He's an easy fade at current ADP.
Dan Hindery: Rodgers has three big factors making him overrated. First, there is the risk of a holdout or possibly even retirement. Is it worth taking the chance when there are equally strong and much safer options on the board at a similar ADP? Second, Rodgers would have a tough time repeating last season's fantasy success even if he does play. In 2018 and 2019, he averaged 25.5 touchdown passes per season. He exploded for 48 touchdowns last year, which looks like an outlier considering it was a career-high and over 20 more touchdowns than his recent averages. Lastly, Rodgers is doing less with his legs each season, which is understandable given he turned 37-years old last December. However, without rushing upside, he needs to throw for nearly 50 touchdowns again to make good on his current ADP.
Drew Davenport: The splits are pretty clear that when Ryan has the services of Julio Jones for fantasy purposes, he is a solid starter. But when Jones misses, Ryan isn't a top-12 quarterback. Rookie Kyle Pitts should help ease the transition, but expecting a rookie tight end to pick up all the slack after the departure of an all-pro wide receiver is a bit of stretch. The bigger issue, however, might be the arrival of Art Smith to run the offense. The Falcons could see an efficiency bump, but Smith likely won't be as pass-happy as the outgoing Atlanta coaches. None of the offseason changes have gone Ryan's way, so he is likely to disappoint where he's being drafted.
Pat Fitzmaurice: The only chance Ryan has to return a profit on a ninth-round investment is with a spike in his touchdown total, but that seems unlikely now that Julio Jones is gone. Ryan has thrown 26 or fewer touchdown passes in two of the last three seasons and four of the last six. He doesn't add rushing value, so even though he led the league in pass attempts and completions last year, he wasn't a top 10 fantasy scorer at the position. There's no appeal here.
Victoria Geary: We have all seen Ryan struggle when Julio Jones is out of the lineup. Now that Jones has been traded to the Tennessee Titans, Ryan is being drafted at his ceiling and is not worth the high price. He needed over 625 pass attempts last season to finish as the QB12 overall and was the QB13 in points per game. Ryan also lacked week-to-week consistency, as he scored in the top-10 quarterbacks only five times on the season. Newly added tight end Kyle Pitts isn't enough of an upgrade to make me reach for Ryan in drafts. Look for other quarterbacks with a higher ceiling and better rushing upside to lead your teams this year.
Matt Waldman: Although there's a chance that Arthur Smith will run a much different offense, bet on Atlanta wanting to run the ball more. Mike Davis isn't a huge brand name, but a team can lean on him and the right side of Atlanta's line is talented enough to emerge this year. Kyle Pitts is, at least, a Delanie Walker-type of a tight end with even greater upside as a detached receiving weapon. Even so, we'll see more sets with two or three tight ends with Lee Smith signed as a free agent. Even if Pitts earns 800-900 receiving yards, the departure of Julio Jones leaves an additional 900-1,100 yards that Pitts and Atlanta's receiving corps will not earn. Expect a drop in Ryan's production this year.
Jason Wood: Matt Ryan was overvalued at ADP before the Julio Jones trade and is now the most overvalued player at any position. The Falcons' best years came when they ran the ball aggressively and fostered a balanced offense. New head coach Arthur Smith got this job by running a balanced offense in Tennessee. See a trend? With only one elite receiver at his disposal and all signs pointing to a significant retrenchment in pass attempts, Ryan is just another guy in 2021.
Player Receiving 4 Votes
Pat Fitzmaurice: The kid has a bright future, but it's silly that Herbert is being drafted ahead of Russell Wilson. Herbert averaged 7.3 yards per pass attempt last year, which is just a so-so figure, and he finished 12th in passer rating. He's certainly not an elite passer yet, and he's more of an opportunistic runner than a guy who'll consistently add fantasy value with his legs. Herbert is a terrific dynasty asset, but I have zero interest in him in redraft leagues at his current price.
Jordan McNamara: I'm a huge fan of Justin Herbert long-term. He was underrated by the NFL and fantasy community coming out of Oregon and demonstrated that quickly in 2020. That said, his 2021 cost is too high. The jump from very good to great is one the fantasy community repeatedly assumes will happen, but has historically been less likely. Projecting a leap over Tom Brady and Russell Wilson is too far before Herbert proves he is elite.
Matt Waldman: Herbert out-performed rookie expectations and did much of it without Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams. Most of the receivers he targeted for big plays were UDFA options other teams have cut. Herbert and his teammates will learn a new scheme this which, as we saw with Baker Mayfield in Year 2, can lead to a sophomore slump. Don't expect Herbert to drop out of the Top 10-12 in production at his position, but expecting a leap like Kyler Murray in Year 2 may be unrealistic with a new system and opposing defenses having more tape to study and adjust.
Jason Wood: Justin Herbert was revelatory as a rookie and has a long, storied career ahead. But the enthusiasm has gone too far entering his second season, and taking him at ADP is ripe for disappointment. We can't underestimate the risk of the new coaching staff, which will be the youngest in the NFL and, as far as my research shows, one of the youngest in NFL history. Joe Lombardi, the new offensive coordinator, isn't a spring chicken but is woefully inexperienced as a play-caller. I like Herbert as a QB1, but toward the lower end and behind a handful of other quarterbacks available a round or two later.
Players Receiving 2 Votes
Andy Hicks: Cincinnati has one of the highest upside young group of wide receivers in the NFL. All can remain with Joe Burrow for the next three years. Burrow is a promising quarterback and was knocked around and tore his ACL primarily due to lack of protection up front. He is not guaranteed to start in week one. Even if he does, his mobility may be limited. It would be a better move to watch Burrow develop in 2021 for a breakout next season as his receivers gain experience rather than expect starting-level fantasy production this year.
Ryan Weisse: It's not hard to understand the optimism for Burrow this year but drafting him as a top-12 QB feels like a trap. Yes, he has an arsenal of weapons that would make some militaries jealous. Last year, with most of this same group, he averaged just 17 fantasy points per game. That ranked as the QB18. Is Ja'Marr Chase replacing A.J. Green really moving him up 6+ spots? Can he protect Burrow's surgically repaired knee? The eighth round of your fantasy draft is not the time to answer these kinds of questions.
Jeff Haseley: For my taste, there are too many questions about Lamar Jackson this year. Which player will we see? The 2019 MVP or the 2020 Jackson who took a downturn? He still finished in the Top 10 among fantasy quarterbacks, but he wasn't the elite version we saw the year prior. He turned it on at the tail end of the year to reach that top-10 finish, but he's likely a player I will skip over in drafts this year. What if the 2019 performance is the best we'll ever get from him? I'd rather target Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, or Tom Brady than have a sub-elite Lamar Jackson.
Ryan Hester: Jackson's ceiling comes with a dozen or more rushing attempts per game. Baltimore's ceiling comes with a healthy Jackson. The team would be wise to reduce his rushing workload throughout the regular season, something that expected growth in the passing game should allow. Baltimore says they're going to air it out more this season, but that's a believe-it-when-you-see-it proposition.
Sigmund Bloom: There's nothing wrong with Mahomes going off of the board as QB1, but when it is a round or two ahead of other top-five quarterbacks who should finish in his vicinity on a points per game basis, or perhaps even pass him in a best-case scenario, well, you don't want to be the one to break the seal at quarterback. The dropoff at other positions between Mahomes ADP and the ADP of other top-five quarterbacks is much steeper than the dropoff between Mahomes and his top-five peers.
Ryan Hester: It's not as though his status as QB1 is incorrect. What makes him overvalued is that fantasy GMs in 12-team leagues need to spend a second-round pick on him. There is as much upside, if not more, with other quarterbacks in the top tier. If Kansas City doesn't utilize him as a runner during the season (and they'd be smart not to), Mahomes' ceiling is lower than his athleticism would suggest.
Phil Alexander: Mayfield is the definition of a replacement-level QB2 for fantasy purposes. He'll have a handful of strong games when the matchup is right and/or the Browns' play-action passing game is firing on all cylinders. But Cleveland is built to win with defense and running the ball. Last season, the Browns passed on just 52% of their offensive plays, which was the fourth-lowest rate in the league. There is nothing in the makeup of this year's roster to suggest a change is on the horizon. Mayfield shouldn't be coming off the board ahead of Carson Wentz or the rookie quarterbacks with rushing upside.
Troy King: I agree with all of Phil's points. Browns were fourth in rushing attempts and fifth in rushing TDs. Their offense is run-centric, and I believe that hurts Mayfield's upside. I prefer a player like Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is ranked one spot behind Mayfield in FBG consensus rankings. I see his ceiling as a high-end QB2.
Players Receiving 1 Vote
Andy Hicks: It’s easy to be an optimist when ranking Jalen Hurts, but caution may be the wise move. First, there is a new coach. History isn’t kind to young quarterbacks learning a second system in their second year. Next, we have the supporting cast. This side is rebuilding. The offensive line has struggled to hold up. If that continues this year, we don’t have a quarterback scrambling. We have one getting annihilated. How much is the regime in love with Hurts? Are they just dating this season and looking elsewhere next year for their guy? We won’t know this until the season is well underway. Losing isn’t going to help the cause. I can even see them pulling the pin if they have another quarterback they believe can win them some games.
Chad Parsons: The average 1.01 drafted quarterback is a QB23/24 their rookie season in fantasy terms. With two quality running backs (plus Carlos Hyde), Lawrence's chances for high volume are low. Joe Burrow a year ago was high volume and was still in the low-teens for his PPG ranking. Every quarterback I draft I want a decent shot to be a top-12 option, and Lawrence is close in price point, yet I see low odds.
Chad Parsons: Murray had a magical season as a runner, averaging 6.2 yards per rush and totaling 11 touchdowns. With 34% of his fantasy production coming on the ground, he was only surpassed by Taysom Hill, Cam Newton, Jalen Hurts, and Lamar Jackson. His rushing marks (Rush%, yards-per-carry, and touchdown rate) are in the >85% historical regression zones of their respective categories. Murray has been an average NFL passer to date, propped up fantasy-wise by his rushing alone. As a high-QB1 in drafts, you are paying for an absolute repeat of his ridiculous rushing season. Fade Murray.
Victoria Geary: The narrative that Stafford will be playing with the most talented offense of his career has forced his ADP to skyrocket in recent months. If you are drafting him anywhere from QB9 to QB12, you are likely taking Stafford at his absolute ceiling. In his 12 seasons as an NFL quarterback, Stafford has only thrown 30 or more total touchdowns twice, the most recent season being 2015 when he was still throwing to superstar Calvin Johnson. In addition, the Rams were tied for the second-most rushing attempts in the red zone in 2020, which does not bode well for Stafford's 2021 numbers. Couple these things with the minimal rushing upside he will provide, and Stafford is not worth his high cost this year.
James Brimacombe: This is the easy answer to the question. Even in the three-quarterback builds I do in best-ball leagues, I want to stay as far away from Deshaun Watson as possible. There is a strong chance that Watson will not see the field at all in 2021, and if he does, it most likely won't be for the Houston Texans as he already was looking to get out of town. The talent is clearly there for Watson, but the fear he will be a wasted roster spot is real.
Dan Hindery: The whole "Let Russ Cook" phenomenon died out midway through the 2020 season when Pete Carroll decided he did not want to play that style of football. We saw Wilson's fantasy production fall off a cliff once Carroll decided to go more conservative. Over the second half of the season, Wilson was only the QB13 overall (and QB16 in points per game). Given the greater upside of many of the younger quarterbacks being drafted in the same range, Wilson is overrated.