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The flip side of succeeding with value players is failing with overvalued players. These are players that will not put up stats commensurate to their draft spot, and avoiding them is another of the important keys to a successful fantasy team. In an attempt 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 players mentioned and the reasons why.
Player Receiving 6 Votes
Amari Cooper, Cleveland
Ben Cummins: Amari Cooper is being drafted as a target hog yet he only averaged 6.9 targets per game last season and now joins a Browns team that appears likely to be missing Deshaun Watson for anywhere between 8-17 games. Cooper's price would have to drop multiple rounds for me to consider him.
Gary Davenport: At this point, drafting Cooper inside the top-20 fantasy receivers is either a matter of living in the past or ignoring the present. Yes, Cooper has demonstrated WR1 upside in the past. But it's just that—past. Now, Cooper is playing for a run-first Browns team that has ranked in the Bottom 5 in pass attempts each of the past two seasons. At this point, the most optimistic projection for Deshaun Watson's suspension is eight games—and it could possibly be much longer. Last year in Dallas, Cooper posted his fewest receptions and yardage since 2017—and that was playing on the league's most potent offense in Dallas. With Jacoby Brissett probably running the offense for at least half the year, Cooper's 68/865/8 stat line from 2021 is a pipe dream…and even that barely kept Cooper inside the top-25 in PPR points.
Dave Kluge: Cooper’s price tag as WR20 would be great if Deshaun Watson was presumed to be the Week 1 starter. But he isn’t, and his chances of playing at all this season seem to be slimmer by the day. Cooper was the WR10 his first entire season in Dallas. He was the WR15 the following year. And last season, he was the WR27. Now, at age 28, he goes to a run-first Browns team with no apparent quarterback. It feels as if he’s being drafted awfully close to his ceiling.
Craig Lakins: It's looking more and more like a given that Amari Cooper's quarterback is going to be Jacoby Brissett for much of the 2022 season. While Cooper is the Browns' clear No. 1 target, this offense seems likely to grind it out through their ground game. Given Cooper's tendency to disappear for long stretches at a time, I wouldn't be looking in his direction in the fifth round with much better value still left on the board.
Sam Wagman: Cooper is unfortunate collateral damage from the Watson fallout. He would certainly belong at this ADP if Watson were to play this season, but since it seems like he will be stuck catching passes from Jacoby Brissett at the current time, you have to bump Cooper down some spots. Cooper isn’t the most consistent receiver to begin with on a week-to-week basis but throw in Brissett who is merely an average QB and Cooper could tumble far down the ranks this season. I’m wary at WR20 for Cooper and would be more comfortable ranking him in the 30s.
Christian Williams: Cooper’s arrival in Cleveland came with tons of excitement. His inside-outside skill set is the ideal fit for the Kevin Stefanski offense that has not traditionally been friendly to wideouts. That excitement was largely on the back of competent starting quarterback play, and it’s looking like that may come few and far between for the 2022 Cleveland Browns. Cooper has always been a boom or bust option, but his ADP of WR20 fails to acknowledge that. His 13.5 points per game mark ranked 32nd in 2021 with Dak Prescott at the helm, and volume alone won’t make Cooper a worthwhile selection at that draft position.
Player Receiving 5 Votes
A.J. Brown, Philadelphia
Ben Cummins: A.J. Brown is extremely talented and the kind of player that can make me look stupid for putting him on this list. But he’s being drafted extremely early in a range I’m unlikely to select him. I’m buying Jalen Hurts progressing and improving entering year three but we must consider where he’s improving from. Hurts ranked 32nd in pass touchdowns per game (1.07) and 28th in passing yards per game (209.6) last season. The passing pie in Philadelphia is already smaller than many other teams and Brown also must compete with both Devonta Smith and Dallas Goedert, two talented teammates. I’d rather target Smith or Goedert at a lower cost if interested in acquiring a piece of this passing offense.
Drew Davenport: It is interesting that Brown's ADP currently sits at WR11 when Brown has yet to have a fantasy finish that high in his three-year career. He's finished as PPR WR21, WR12, and WR34. Now he gets traded from a run-first team to a...run-first team. Unfortunately for Brown, his quarterback situation is arguably worse than it was and now he goes from a team who threw the ball the 7th fewest times in the league to a team that threw it the fewest. Even if the Eagles throw it more Hurts would have to make a huge leap as a passer for Brown to end up in the Top 12 wide receivers to justify his price tag. That seems like far too many red flags to count on Brown as a late second-round or early third-round pick.
Gary Davenport: Was Brown's arrival a big get for the Eagles and great news for Jalen Hurts? Absolutely. Was it good news for Brown's chances of rebounding from last year's injury-marred campaign? Probably not. To his credit, Brown has already shown that he can produce in a run-heavy offense—two years ago, Brown was sixth in PPR fantasy points per game among receivers despite just 106 targets playing for a Titans team that attempted the third-fewest passes in the NFL. The problem is that he could be in an even worse situation in 2022—the Eagles were dead last in pass attempts last season, Jalen Hurts isn't the passer Ryan Tannehill is, and in Nashville, Brown didn't have DeVonta Smith to contend with for targets. A top-12 season is possible, but Brown is being drafted far too often with the expectation that it's probable.
Ryan Weisse: Brown was the WR32 in 2021, WR14 in 2020, and WR32 in his rookie year of 2019. So now, after moving to the lowest passing volume team from a year ago, we are drafting him as a top-12 wide receiver? Fantasy drafters seem to remember the good with Brown every year but forget the bad. He's never started 16 games or caught more than 70 balls. It will take insane efficiency and a lot of touchdowns to make him worth his ADP, and in Philadelphia, that might be hard to come by.
Jason Wood: A.J. Brown has never been a top-10 fantasy receiver in PPR formats, yet he consistently gets drafted as one. The issue isn't talent, it's opportunity. Brown averaged less than 100 targets per season in Tennessee. While the Eagles traded a boatload for him and are paying him $25 million per season, they're also one of the few teams more run-heavy than the Titans. Will they completely revamp their offense with Brown in town? It's possible, but Jalen Hurts has done nothing to prove he can successfully execute a higher-volume passing attack. Unless Brown gets double-digit touchdowns -- which is possible -- he's got a WR2 ceiling but comes at a WR1 price.
Michael Thomas, New Orleans
Jeff Bell: A wholly lost season to injury is the easy way out on Thomas, but the more significant concern is the window when he did play in 2020. His 13.2 PPR points per game from Week 9 to Week 14 ranked him WR30, his current rank. With a new quarterback, a new play-caller, and the 11th overall pick on Chris Olave, it is fair to question if the player who captivated fantasy in 2019 is gone forever. And that is assuming he plays. The idea of drafting him as WR30 is too heavy on the risk side.
Kevin Coleman: The Saints have upgraded their receiver room this off-season, bringing in free agent Jarvis Landry and rookie Chris Olave. On top of these additions, Thomas isn't fully recovered from his off-season ankle surgery which is concerning as it’s the same injury he has dealt with for the past two seasons. When healthy, Thomas is one of the best receivers in football and a top 12 fantasy receiver. The problem is we haven’t seen a healthy Thomas since 2019, and that was with Drew Brees, a Hall of Fame quarterback. As of now, Thomas is a player to avoid in your drafts. Let other managers take the risk.
Jeff Haseley: There is a possibility that Michael Thomas' ankle won't ever be the same which would mean his best years are behind him. According to those in the know, he isn't close to where he was expected to be in terms of his recovery and return to form. The Saints may know how bad it is, which may be why they signed Jarvis Landry and drafted Chris Olave. It's getting to the point where he is a dart throw in the later rounds of your draft long after securing your starting wide receivers. Selecting him in the middle rounds is too much of a risky proposition.
Craig Lakins: There's a very odd stench around Michael Thomas's yet-to-heal ankle injury. After sitting out for the entire 2021 season, he is still unable to participate in the Saints' OTAs. There is still plenty of time for him to progress to full health and get up to speed within the offense, but I have my doubts that he'll be ready for Week 1. The Saints have added Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave to compete for targets and they are the ones getting valuable reps with QB Jameis Winston this offseason.
Christian Williams: There’s a real chance that Thomas begins 2022 on the PUP if off-season workout videos are any indication. The lack of explosiveness seen in clips from his rehab are cause for concern, and when he arrives, he will be forced to fabricate chemistry with Jameis Winston. Even if that chemistry is automatic, Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry provide the Saints with the most reliable set of wideouts in Thomas’ tenure and will command more targets than Saints WR2s and 3s of the past. Thomas is one of the easiest fades at his ADP of WR31.
Players Receiving 4 Votes
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