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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 of the important keys 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.
Player Receiving 5 Votes
Sigmund Bloom: Golladay was overvalued before the hamstring injury; now, he's almost undraftable unless he falls well past ADP. Reports have indicated that he and Daniel Jones aren't establishing chemistry, and now they are losing important practice time. Sterling Shepard is still Jones' favorite target, and this is a crowded and conservative passing game. Jones and play-caller Jason Garrett combined to be one of the least effective red-zone passing combos, further limiting Golladay's upside.
Ben Cummins: Golladay only played in five games last season due to hamstring and hip injuries, and he’s once again dealing with a hamstring injury in camp. In taking a macro-level approach, the Giants just aren’t a team I’m willing to invest a lot in. Daniel Jones was not good last year, and I have little faith in head coach Joe Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. Golladay switched teams this offseason, which isn’t necessarily a negative, yet I believe it is in this case.
Andrew Davenport: Before the 2020 season, there were concerns about offensive coordinator Jason Garrett's ability to run an offense after his difficulties in Dallas. This turned out to be a justified narrative as the Giants offense was inept, and Daniel Jones threw for an anemic 11 touchdowns. The return of Saquon Barkley is a step in the right direction, but Golladay's history says that he needs a more potent offensive situation to excel. As a receiver with no seasons over 70 catches and already battling a hamstring injury, none of the offseason changes for Golladay have been positive. Leave Golladay for someone else.
Jordan McNamara: The Giants spent big on Golladay in free agency, but he is already hurt and struggling to integrate with Daniel Jones. The thing that always gave me concern about Golladay leaving in free agency was how the Lions, who had one of the worst receiving corps in the league without Golladay, let him walk in free agency without even using the franchise tag. That has me spooked about his health, and we are seeing that play out now. I'm avoiding him at cost.
Jason Wood: Just because the Giants paid Golladay star money doesn't make him a star. He benefitted from a high-volume passing offense in Detroit with limited competition for targets. Yet he still needs unsustainable touchdown rates to gain fantasy relevance. He goes from Matthew Stafford to Daniel Jones at quarterback, has a much deeper cast of veteran receivers vying for targets, and is banged up already, making it impossible to build rapport with his new quarterback and coaches.
Player Receiving 4 Votes
Pat Fitzmaurice: He's not Minnesota's No. 1 receiver anymore -- that's Justin Jefferson's gig now -- and we know the Vikings prefer to be run-heavy on offense. Thielen has averaged just 53.7 receiving yards per game over the last two seasons. Targets are earned, and after averaging 9.2 targets per game in 2017-2018, Thielen averaged just 6.2 targets per game in 2019-2020. He's simply not a big catch and yardage collector anymore, and Thielen won't come close to equaling the 14 touchdowns he scored last season.
Victoria Geary: All of the stars aligned for Thielen's career-high 14 touchdown season in 2020. Thielen is on a run-first team alongside one of the NFL's hottest up-and-coming wideouts in Justin Jefferson, who should garner more looks this season in the red zone especially. Breakout candidate tight end Irv Smith Jr. will also command more targets in the endzone with the departure of Kyle Rudolph. Touchdown regression is coming, and we shouldn't bet on another top-10 season from Thielen.
Andy Hicks: Sometimes, in fantasy football, it is hard to see a player slide when they have overachieved their entire career. Adam Thielen is a player that is primed for a fall. He will be 31 this year. Justin Jefferson has emerged quickly as the clear No. 1 receiver, and Thielen’s role changed dramatically last season. From being a player who caught a touchdown every 15 catches during the first six years of his career to one who caught one every five catches last year, Thielen was more a red zone threat than a consistent receiver. Those numbers are hard to maintain. Thielen has to be a risk in all but best-ball leagues with a drop in target share and being reliant on touchdowns.
Jordan McNamara: Adam Theilen had very favorable touchdown scoring last season but is way over-drafted in the top 18 of wide receivers this year. I wrote this about him here: Thielen had 14 touchdowns on only 74 receptions. With 106 targets, Thielen is on the precipice of a significant drop in fantasy scoring when he regresses in touchdown rate. On a positive note, his 22% target share was 14th in the league in 2020, but the Vikings ran designed passes on only 56.9% of snaps, 26th in the league. Thielen represents a volume trap, with a WR3 destiny if touchdowns regress in 2021.
Players Receiving 3 Votes
Andrew Davenport: It looks like the Marquise Brown experiment is coming to a crossroads. He did finish as the PPR WR36 last year, which is several spots ahead of where he's being drafted this year. But he was a paltry 47th in points per game, and before a stellar finishing stretch, Brown was the WR54 averaging less than 9 points per game through 11 weeks of the season. Perhaps the end of the season is a harbinger of things to come. Or maybe the body of work should be trusted over a six-game stretch last year. The further concern is whether he can fight off rookie Rashod Bateman who should push for targets and playing time as soon as he's healthy. Brown is overvalued in the Ravens' low-volume passing game.
Ryan Hester: Brown entered 2020 with a hype train that was full steam ahead. He was a major flop as Baltimore continued to be a run-heavy team, and he didn’t show that he could get open enough to receive a WR1 workload. And Baltimore’s offseason shows they don’t believe Brown is that player either. The team signed Sammy Watkins in free agency and drafted Rashod Bateman in the first round. Leave Brown and his low target projection for someone else to pick.
Matt Waldman: Brown must show that he can win in the middle of the field and handle the game's physicality. Otherwise, he's going to have a career as a one-dimensional speedster. The addition of Rashod Bateman is an indication that the Ravens desire a better presence over the middle from its perimeter receivers. Think of Brown as the Ravens' version of Mike Wallace until he proves otherwise. A big year is possible, but it won't happen again without the entire passing offense taking it up a notch.
Sigmund Bloom: Hopkins' production tailed off in the second half of the year after the league adjusted to his very predictable usage in the passing game. The team added Rondale Moore and A.J. Green this offseason to bolster the complementary receiver group. Hopkins doesn't have the upside of players on the upslope of their career arcs like A.J. Brown, Justin Jefferson, and DK Metcalf, and he should be drafted after them.
Jeff Haseley: DeAndre Hopkins has back-to-back top 10 finishes, but he has not topped double-digit touchdowns in the last two years and only had six touchdowns in 16 games in his first season with Arizona. He's still a top-flight wide receiver, but others have overtaken him in fantasy rankings. Add in Kyler Murray's propensity for red-zone touchdowns (11 rushing scores last year), and it points to an uphill battle for Hopkins making a case for 10+ touchdowns.
Ryan Hester: Of all the top-tier WR1s, Hopkins would be the least surprising to fall short of returning value. There are many mouths to feed in Arizona, and after his hot start last year, Hopkins was pedestrian by elite WR1 standards. Other alphas below Hopkins could outproduce him.
Andrew Davenport: The oft-injured wide receiver is already banged up in camp, and he has to sit a game to start the season. On top of that, when he comes back, he'll battle several factors that usually don't equate to fantasy success. He'll have a quarterback who is still developing and hasn't shown much ability to pilot a potent offense. He'll also fight for targets with talented rookie Jaylen Waddle and incumbent Davante Parker. Taking Fuller means counting on all of these factors resolving in his favor. That's not the kind of bet to make with other better options on the board where he's being drafted.
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