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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 is the player who received the most votes:
- Justin Herbert. Easily.
And here are all of the payers mentioned and the reasons why.
Player Receiving 5 Votes
Anthony Amico: Herbert looked like the next great quarterback prospect in his rookie season, but his average draft position has jumped the shark. Even if Herbert is a tremendous passer, he doesn't add enough rushing production to be comfortably in the top six of the position. Multiple veterans going after Herbert have better demonstrated elite passing upside, and a few can also run a decent amount.
Andrew Davenport: Herbert faces a few hurdles in his sophomore season. He'll have a new coaching staff, and he will face the league after 15 games of putting out game tape for defensive coordinators to watch. In 2020 Herbert was just 15th in adjusted yards per attempt and only 18th in net yards per attempt. And while he does have some rushing upside, five touchdowns on the ground from 234 rushing yards is also a bit of an outlier. He is still a QB1, but taking him before an established veteran like Russell Wilson is too high, leaving Herbert little room to return value.
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, he's more of an opportunistic runner than a guy who'll consistently add fantasy value with his legs, and he has to adjust to a new system this year. Herbert is a terrific dynasty asset, but I have zero interest in him in redraft leagues at his current price.
Jordan McNamara: Justin Herbert is an avoid for me in the range where he's being drafted. Herbert was one of the best quarterbacks under pressure last season while near the bottom of the position in clean pocket passing. That is a dangerous formula for regression in 2021. Without an elite ceiling, I'll pass on Herbert in the range because his floor is much lower than Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.
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 3 Votes
Ben Cummins: In three full starts last season, Hurts ran for over 100 yards once and threw for over 300 yards twice. These numbers shouldn’t have come as a surprise after capping off an awe-inspiring collegiate career by throwing for 3,851 yards and 32 touchdowns and rushing for 1,298 yards and 20 touchdowns in his senior season at Oklahoma in 2019. Hurts could easily make me look silly here, but he’s currently being drafted over Mathew Stafford, Joe Burrow, Trevor Lawrence, and Trey Lance. I prefer all four to Hurts. I won’t have confidence in new head coach, Nick Sirianni, until he proves it, and the reluctance to completely buy into Hurts as the Eagles’ starting quarterback isn’t helping. Throw in what I believe to be genuine rumors of a possible Deshaun Watson trade, and I’m looking elsewhere.
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? They seem to be looking for a Deshaun Watson trade before this season even starts. Losing isn’t going to help the long-term cause for Hurts should he play. I can even see the team pulling the pin if they want to look at another quarterback on their roster.
Jordan McNamara: With the depth at the position, I don't think I need to take a risk on Hurts in the range. Hurts has a new coach and a questionable set of weapons, and at the cost, I can take a more stable option, with a flier on Justin Fields later in the draft.
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 in 2020, 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 miss out on in drafts this year because he will be selected before I become interested. What if his 2019 performance is the best we'll ever get from him? Just like with Cam Newton, if his rushing output decreases, his fantasy value does as well. My guess is that we will see a better performance than last year, but not as great as 2019.
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, which should allow expected growth in the passing game. Baltimore says they're going to air it out more this season, but that's a "believe it when you see it" proposition. And even if they do, Jackson's elite fantasy production comes on the ground more than in the air.
Andy Hicks: How much longer can Lamar Jackosn rush for 1000 yards a season and dominate fantasy leagues with his rushing touchdowns? The Ravens have gone out of their way to upgrade their receivers. Sammy Watkins, Rashod Bateman, and Tylan Wallace were added, while the departure of Mark Ingram thins the ranks at Running Back. The team will pass the ball more. Jackson has a great passing touchdown to interception rate, but his passing yardage should expect improvement this season, highly likely at the expense of his rushing numbers. This will negate his fantasy worth.
Sigmund Bloom: Mahomes should be the #1 fantasy quarterback, but he is not worth a round plus of ADP more than Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson. The point differential between Mahomes and that duo is much smaller than the quality dropoff in RB/WR/TE between Mahomes ADP and their ADP. Don't be afraid of taking a top-five quarterback, but don't take the first quarterback off the board.
Ben Cummins: Both can be true: Patrick Mahomes is the best player on the planet, yet he shouldn’t be drafted in the first three rounds of traditional start-1-quarterback fantasy drafts. The opportunity cost is too high as you're passing on high-floor, high-upside running backs and wide receivers that early in the draft. We’re required to start more backs and receivers weekly, and viable quarterback starters can be found numerous rounds later. And while Mahomes does provide production with his legs, he doesn’t offer nearly as much rushing upside as guys being drafted after him, such as Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, and Lamar Jackson.
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, and they're being drafted a round or two later. 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.
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 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. This year, look for other quarterbacks with a higher ceiling and better rushing upside to lead your fantasy teams.
Ryan Weisse: There is hope for Ryan based on his own past and what his new head coach recently did with Ryan Tannehill. The biggest differences between Atlanta and Tennessee are that Derrick Henry is not on the Falcons' roster and Atlanta's defense is not good. While the bad defense could lead to more pass attempts, overall, this offense may not be good enough to score many points. The Falcons were middle-of-the-road in total points last year and now lose Julio Jones. There is no hope that Kyle Pitts replaces him, but those are big shoes for the rookie to fill. Ryan is a full avoid this year at any ADP, but he certainly does not belong in the Top 15.
Player Receiving 2 Votes
Chad Parsons: The average 1.01-drafted quarterback finishes in the QB23-24 range for fantasy in Year 1. Lawrence is being drafted around 10 positional slots higher than that. While Lawrence is mobile, he is not a projected elite runner, which is the fast track to besting that historical average. Color me skeptical Lawrence lives up to his 2021 draft cost regardless of his long-time outlook and possible NFL success to revive Jacksonville’s franchise.
Ryan Weisse: There is a lot of hype behind being the 1st overall pick, but there are too many unknowns to make him your fantasy quarterback in 2021. First, we have no idea if Urban Meyer's system will work in the NFL. They have an established offensive coordinator, but he was in Detroit the last two years, not exactly a hotbed of fantasy value. Second, the wide receivers are still unproven for the most part, and Tim Tebow is playing tight end. Basically, his weapons are questionable. In redraft, Lawrence is not worth the gamble in your draft. Wait until he's on waivers four weeks into the season.
Players Receiving 1 Vote
Sigmund Bloom: Other than a rough stretch in October, Allen seemed to have everything break right for him last year. He was lackluster in the playoffs, reminding us that he still runs hot and cold. Zack Moss is back and healthy, and the team is trying to establish the run. Combine that with Allen signing a huge extension, and Allen could lose a few rushing scores to Moss. We're splitting hairs, but that's what we do when we evaluate early picks. Allen is being drafted at his ceiling and not worth as much more than Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray as ADP suggests.
Jason Wood: Andy Dalton has command of the Bears offense in training camp, and Fields hasn't yet looked like a credible threat for the job. A lot can change between now and Week 1, but given the current outlook, it's hard to justify drafting Fields as a high upside QB2 when there are four or five other starters available with much higher floors. The Bears found themselves last year when they re-committed to the running game, and it's hard to be excited for a fantasy quarterback playing in the Windy City (historically a terrible place for passers), in a run-heavy offense, with a proven veteran outplaying him in camp.
Phil Alexander: Mayfield is the definition of a replacement-level QB2 for fantasy purposes. He'll have a handful of high-scoring games when the matchup cooperates, 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 we should expect a change.
Chad Parsons: Murray has been an average-ish NFL passer in his career with his outlandish rushing season in 2021, especially 6.2 yards-per-carry and 11 touchdowns. One stat I track for regression is what percentage of a quarterback’s production is as a rusher. Murray is on the hot list for regression in 2021, with 34% of his 2020 fantasy points on the ground. The average peer historically drops by 12% the following season. Can Murray’s passing bridge the gap? They added A.J. Green and Rondale Moore of note this offseason. Still, I am skeptical Murray does enough as a passer to consistently prove worthy of an elite fantasy draft standing and over guys like Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers all clearly behind Murray this season.
Andrew 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, quarterbacks need to throw well over 40 touchdowns to challenge for elite fantasy numbers without much production on the ground. 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.
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. Even with the season-ending injury to running back Cam Akers, head coach Sean McVay will use a committee on the ground with Darrell Henderson and Xavier Jones. Couple these things with the minimal rushing upside he will provide, and Stafford is not worth his high cost this year.