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Sink or Swim: Early Overvalued Players in Fantasy Football

As July begins to turn the page on to the heat of Summer, drafts have begun. The early draft data shows a lot of overvalued players in fantasy football.

As you begin researching this draft season take note of guys to stretch for and to stay away from. Despite the available information, fantasy players are drafting these players higher than they should.

The draft won’t win league’s but take the wrong guy(s) and you could be sinking before you leave the dock.

Andrew Luck (ADP: 46.6; 3rd – 5th rounds; QB2)

There is a growing consensus in scouting circles that has Andrew Luck a top-five quarterback in the league. That consensus has him as high as the #2 guy as he looks to repeat from his amazing 2018 campaign. However, the numbers could predict something a little different in the upcoming year. Last season was one of his best by a country mile. His 5,018 passing yards – including the playoffs – was the highest since 2014. A 66.2 completion percentage was the best of his career and his 42 touchdowns came in at #2

The concern might be on the volume of passes which exceeded 700 for the second time in his career. Following 736 passes in 2014, he would attempt only 838 passes over the next three years due to a shoulder injury. The severe injury would cost him most of the 2015 season and all of the 2017 season. 2018 also marked his lowest average depth of target at 8.3, almost a yard shorter than any other year.

You have every right to be a little worried as injury news has already hit the Andrew Luck train. A calf injury has ultimately stopped him from progressing through the offseason already. The calf injury, even if it’s not as severe as the shoulder issues of the past, should make fantasy football players cautious when drafting Andrew Luck. It’s likely not going to sideline him, however, a decrease in plays even a little can drop his value by a lot. And if the injury lingers on longer than it should you may find yourself without a QB. Luck may be an amazing NFL quarterback but he may be one of the overvalued players in fantasy.

Justin Jackson (ADP: 152.4; Rounds 12 – 14; RB56)

For most players, it might be hard to believe that drafting a halfback in the 12th round is overvaluing. The news of Melvin Gordon requesting a trade has certainly rippled through the fantasy landscape quickly. This news has immediately increased the value of both Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. But we are here to tell you to pump the brakes a little bit.

Ekeler is by far the more valued player of the two in the LA backfield. Ekeler would lead the team in yards per carry, and yards per reception. He also led in yards after contact and yards per target of any back with more than 15 snaps.

What is troubling was the share of duties. Of the 5 running backs on the roster, Jackson would only get 11% of the snaps. The 435 running plays the Chargers ran Jackson would only get 12% of the carries. Jackson would have more than 10 carries just once but would have three games over 55 rushing yards and another with seven receptions for 47 yards. Since the news of Gordon requesting a trade, Jackson has gone up a round in early average draft position figures according to FF Calculator. Fantasy football players have overvalued players in fantasy like Jackson for a long time but be careful when drafting him before you should.

Philip Lindsay (ADP: 40.3; Rounds 3 – 5; RB23) 

If you read our article Striking Gold: Early ADP Shows Undervalued Players, then you knew this selection was coming. Lindsay is coming off one heck of a year as an undrafted free agent rookie. He led the team in yards, carries, yards per attempt, yards per reception and was second in receptions. A wrist injury would sideline Lindsay for week 17 and require surgery in the off-season. While that injury isn’t significant enough to put fear into those drafting him this season it should create caution.

The Broncos went into the 2018 year excited about what 3rd round rookie Royce Freeman can bring to the table. They have been just as excited about how he can grow and get better in 2019. This puts some question marks on the table if Lindsay can play as he did before the injury. The rest of the Broncos backfield is a bit crowded as well. Devontae Booker shared the passing game workload with Lindsay with 38 receptions on 48 targets. The addition of Theo Riddick can only make matters worse. Riddick has had at least 60 targets and 50 receptions for each of the last four years in the Lions offense.

All four running backs probably won’t make the 53 but we’re pretty sure Lindsay is to keep his job. While that is enticing the idea of Riddick or Booker taking his passing work drops the value a bit. The early average draft position shows Lindsay as the 23rd RB taken off the board.

Christian Kirk (ADP: 82.1; Rounds 4 – 9; WR33)

There are plenty of overvalued players in fantasy and the WR position is no different. It is very hard for anyone to predict the outcome of the sophomore wideout after a pedestrian rookie season. The Cardinals drafted Kirk in the 2nd round of the 2018 draft and compiled 43 receptions for 590 yards. Kirk’s 2018 campaign shows a steady consistency that many rookie receivers don’t normally get. With at least 10 games of three receptions or more Kirk also had 10+ fantasy points seven times.

2019 is looking a bit different for the Texas A&M standout who is going to be returning to a BIG12 offense. The addition of new Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury formerly from BIG12 school Texas Tech and Kyler Murray from Oklahoma should make Kirk feel right at home. For those reasons, we understand why fantasy players have been drafting Kirk as a WR3 so far this year. However, with a new offense, a struggling offensive line that is returning four guys off IR things could get messy.

We believe this Cardinals’ offense is going to be high powered but there will be some mouths that need feeding. Larry Fitzgerald is entering his 16th season in the NFL and still commands a large amount of the looks. With Fitz playing the slot his 143 targets per season average should continue to trend similarly. Like Fitz, David Johnson is another player that will demand a focus on the offense. Johnson, in what could only be seen as a down year, accumulated over 300 touches including 50 receptions on 70 targets. Making Kirk the 3rd most targeted player on his team.

Kliff should get Kirk more involved in the offense but to what extent? He finished as the 62nd best receiver in 2018. But to be the 33rd best receiver as early average draft position data indicates he’ll need 25 more receptions, 250 more yards, and 4 more touchdowns. That’s a lot of extra mouths to feed.

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