We can’t underestimate how important Average Draft Position (ADP) is when preparing for the greatest day on the fantasy calendar. It’s the hand that guides us through the draft, forcing us to reach in some instances and shy away in others.
With training camp finally here, it’s time to start examining what our opponents think of players. You can find out what we think of them in the Draft Guide, available now. The ADPs cited in this column from Yahoo, MyFantasyLeague (MFL) and Fantasy Football Calculator.
Here are eight players’ ADPs to track because they’re overvalued right now. For my take on undervalued players, bang it here.
1. Nick Foles, QB, Eagles
Yahoo ADP: 70.7
MFL ADP: 55.8
Calculator ADP: 66.2
It’s virtually a given that Peyton Manning is going to regress off his remarkable 2013 season that saw him throw 55 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. So why aren’t more people talking about a Nick Foles regression off his absurd 27 touchdown, two interception campaign? This is a former third-round pick who has 16 career starts, arm strength/mobility limitations and plays in a run-first Chip Kelly offense that defensive coordinators will finally have a full offseason to scheme against. Foles also lost speed demon DeSean Jackson, a player that allowed Riley Cooper to overperform severely and opened up the entire offense. I’m fine with Foles as my starter, but his current ADP is far too high. I prefer Robert Griffin III (69.6 ADP on MFL), Matt Ryan (70.7), Tony Romo (100.0) and Jay Cutler (108.0).
2. Percy Harvin, WR, Seahawks
Yahoo ADP: 44.5
MFL ADP: 43.5
Calculator ADP: 43.8
I can understand why owners are taking Harvin in the fourth round. He has MVP-caliber natural ability, having established himself as one of the game’s most dangerous players with the ball in his hands while with the Vikings. Harvin also says he’s as healthy as he’s been since high school, and Golden Tate is gone. However, the problems here are two-fold. First, Harvin’s rugged, physical style of play leads to injuries at 5’11/184. He’s participated in just three of his teams’ last 25 games, and often had his snap count coddled in Minnesota. The second issue is usage. Mike Clay projected the Seahawks as the third-most run-heavy team in the league, and their pass game is of the conservative, “spread the wealth” variety. During Russell Wilson’s two years as a starter, no one has topped 64 catches, 898 receiving yards or seven receiving touchdowns. Harvin will be the kickoff returner as well, putting his health at risk while not getting us any points. There’s far too much risk here for a capped number of touches.
3. Reggie Bush, RB, Lions
Yahoo ADP: 45.9
MFL ADP: 50.2
Calculator ADP: 32.7
The Lions could have let Joique Bell play out the season on a one-year, $2.1 million restricted free agent tender. Instead, they went out of their way to give him a new three-year, $9.3 million deal. So we know they’re going to use Bell’s grossly underrated all-around talents plenty, especially with Saints product Joe Lombardi now at the controls. Here are the running back touches in New Orleans: 2013 – Pierre Thomas 224, Darren Sproles 124, Mark Ingram 85. 2012 – Ingram 162, Thomas 144, Sproles 123. 2011 – Sproles 173, Thomas 160, Ingram 133. This rotational approach at running back is far from ideal for fantasy purposes, and the Lions’ upgrade in weaponry (Golden Tate, Eric Ebron) will prevent them from force feeding Bush in the passing game. Theo Riddick is also gaining steam as a potential Sprolesian asset. Don’t expect Bush to come close to last year’s 277 touches, 1,512 total yards and top-12 fantasy finish.
4. Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills
Yahoo ADP: 110.4
MFL ADP: 50.8
Calculator ADP: 83.0
Watkins’ MFL ADP is laughable. I wouldn’t take him at the Calculator ADP, and I might even pass at the Yahoo cost as well. It’s simply too much to pay for a rookie wideout in a run-heavy scheme with major question marks at quarterback. Over the last 20 years, just eight rookie wide receivers have posted 1,000 yards. That’s as strong of a trend as we can find, and it’s because the position is so hard to learn right off the bat. Expect the Bills to run with C.J. Spiller, run with Fred Jackson, run with Bryce Brown and then use Watkins and Woods on quick-hitters to hide E.J. Manuel’s limitations. It’s not a recipe for fantasy success.
Editor's Note: For tons of fantasy NFL nuggets throughout training camp, follow Adam Levitan and Rotoworld Football on Twitter. And don't forget to buy our Draft Guide, which is packed with rankings, projections, mock drafts, columns and tons more.
Keep reading to Page 2 for more overvalued players and some honorable mentions.
5. Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts
Yahoo ADP: 88.9
MFL ADP: 115.5
Calculator ADP: 85.2
I’ve been very public about my take on players coming off knee reconstructions. I don’t take them in their first year back, no matter how glowing the spring and summer reports are. Wait, you mean player X is “working really hard” and is “ahead of schedule?” No way, I never would have guessed! That take has burned me a few times in the past, most notably on Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles. But it’s served me well in plenty of other incidents, including Robert Griffin III last season. So I wasn’t going to be on Reggie Wayne no matter what, but I am especially low on a 35-year-old Wayne who projects as a mere possession receiver in Pep Hamilton’s stubbornly conservative scheme. Even if Hamilton finally decides to open things up, T.Y. Hilton and Hakeem Nicks project as better options than this version of Wayne. His big name is the reason for his mid-round ADP.
6. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
Yahoo ADP: 59.5
MFL ADP: 89.2
Calculator ADP: 74.8
Some will call me Satan, but it’s time to accept that Tom Brady (who will turn 37 next month) is on the downside of his career. His deep ball isn’t what it once was and his accuracy left plenty to be desired last season as he set a ten-year low in completion percentage and an eight-year low in yards per attempt. If Rob Gronkowski (ACL) can get healthy, it’ll be a massive boost. But as I mentioned in the Reggie Wayne entry above, I wouldn’t count on that. Furthermore, the Patriots are always ahead of the curve in terms of scheming, so there’s plenty of reason to think they’ll lean on the run game more than ever this year. As defenses put more and more small men on the field, smart offenses can counter with big men. Add it up and there’s little reason to use a mid-round pick on risky guy at the game’s deepest position. The whole idea on draft day is to get players cheaper because they’re still ascending on their career arc, not to pay a premium for past results.
7. DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins
Yahoo ADP: 43.2
MFL ADP: 56.5
Calculator ADP: 52.5
Our Evan Silva has talked about how DeSean Jackson’s 2013 was an outlier, and I totally agree. In five years under Andy Reid, Jackson averaged 3.85 catches for 67.3 yards and 0.32 touchdowns per game on a 52.2 percent catch rate. In one season under Chip Kelly, he averaged 5.12 catches for 83.2 yards and 0.56 touchdowns on a 65.0 percent catch rate. That drastic uptick (while also staying completely healthy for the first time since 2008) is unlikely to be duplicated by Jay Gruden and the Redskins. Reliable volume target Pierre Garcon will be a hog, and Jordan Reed is getting glowing reviews as a dominator in the middle of the field. Jackson is expected to run plenty of vertical clear-out routes, the low-percentage kind of plays that resulted in the 52.2 catch rate I previously mentioned. Look for him to be third on his own team in receptions and come up way short of returning value on a fourth- or fifth-round ADP.
8. Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins
Yahoo ADP: 28.1
MFL ADP: 40.6
Calculator ADP: 21.1
I wrote plenty about how replacing Mike Shanahan with Jay Gruden is a disaster for Alfred Morris in the column Coaching Change Losers. The bottom line is that as good as Alf has been over the last two years, we can’t ignore what Shanny’s zone-blocking system does for runners. He made guys like Tatum Bell, Olandis Gary and Reuben Droughns and Mike Anderson into fantasy studs. So even though we think Morris is a beast, he’s never played a down in the NFL without Shanny – and that’s scary. The second part of the equation is the arrival of Gruden, a pass-centric coach who believes in rotations. It’s terrible for Alf, who struggles badly as a pass-catcher. Roy Helu, who was underutilized by Shanahan, has a good shot at the Giovani Bernard role. Even if Alf slipped to me in the third round, I’d pass on the impending frustration.
Marshawn Lynch, Yahoo ADP 6.1: A two-down volume back losing volume. Christine Michael is closing the gap here, leaving Lynch as a questionable bet for 300 carries.
Julian Edelman, Yahoo ADP 57.1: If Edelman is forced to catch 105 passes again, the Patriots will be in trouble. Look for more runs, more Dobson, more Amendola, more Gronk. Edelman is likely to hover around 70 catches.
Knowshon Moreno, Yahoo ADP 93.3: If you’ve been following the offseason news, there’s no way you’d take Moreno. Since a 37-carry Week 12 game against New England last season, he’s averaged 3.87 YPC, lost snaps to Montee Ball, attracted virtually no interest on the free agent market, accepted a bare-bones offer from Miami, showed up overweight/out of shape to OTAs and got his knee scoped.
Danny Woodhead, Yahoo ADP 121.8: I like to take fliers with major upside at this point in drafts. Woodhead is a strict role player and his ceiling is capped by the addition of Donald Brown.