Deviating from Expert Consensus Fantasy Rankings: Raheem Mostert among players being overlooked

ECR stands for “Expert Consensus Ranking,” which means the average ranks of many members of the fantasy football industry and is typically similar to ADP (which differs from site-to-site). This will be an ongoing series highlighting some big differences between ECR and my own ranks. In general, it’s usually best to regress to the market some, and knowing your league’s ADP remains equally important when drafting, but I rank the following players a lot higher than the general fantasy community.

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (ECR = QB18 vs. DDD = QB10)

He’s a below average real-life quarterback who doesn’t add much fantasy value with his legs, but Goff is yet another example of why waiting on quarterback is so easy. Thanks to Sean McVay, Goff is one season removed from posting a top-five fantasy QB season (despite a mediocre 0.6 CPAE) and finds himself in arguably an even better situation to put up stats in 2020 with a declining defense, Todd Gurley (and his 42 rushing TDs over the last three years) gone and the Rams being loaded with Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett as receiving options. LA ranked No. 3 in Pace (situation neutral) last year with one of the league’s pass-heaviest offenses and should be in a bunch of high-scoring games throughout 2020 in a division featuring the Cardinals, 49ers and Seahawks.

I’m not expecting Goff to make a giant leap (although he’s still only 25 – just one year older than Josh Allen), but he’s going to be a massive profit at draft tables even with just average play in this situation. Goff is one of only two quarterbacks in the NFL who has a pair of WR teammates in the top-20 and a TE in the top-10 in ECR, so his ADP doesn’t make sense.

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Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers (ECR = RB26 vs. DDD = RB17)

Mostert is an undrafted 28-year-old who’s never started an NFL game, has just 178 career carries and is part of a committee, so I get the hesitation. But he’s also one of the league’s fastest backs who just totaled 792 yards and scored 12(!) touchdowns over the final eight games last season (including playoffs) despite a tough schedule. Mostert remains undervalued in fantasy drafts despite being the lead back in a Shanahan system that’s one of the run-heaviest in the league, saw Matt Breida (and his 142 touches last year) traded away and a motivated Trent Williams added at left tackle during the offseason.

Mostert finished No. 1 in rushing DVOA by a wide margin last year, while Tevin Coleman finished 44th out of 45 qualified backs. Sports Injury Predictor also gives Coleman the highest % chance for any RB to suffer an injury this season, while Jerick McKinnon hasn’t played since 2017 while undergoing multiple knee surgeries. Mostert bulked up during the offseason anticipating a heavier workload, and while he wasn’t thrown at much last year, he was productive when targeted and wide receiver was actually his position in college.

Raheem “Must-Start” just led the NFL in YPC while approaching a 25-touchdown pace over a half season and remains in the same terrific situation (SF had the second-most red-zone rush attempts last season and provided him the most yards before contact among RBs) only with less competition for touches now. Maybe Mostert would command more fantasy attention if only he had a good game in the spotlight.

[2020 Draft Rankings: Overall | QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | DST | Kickers]

Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens (ECR = WR34 vs. DDD = WR15)

It’s possible Brown won’t hold up physically, but he was impressive as a rookie playing underweight and at far less than 100% while dealing with a foot injury that prevented him from even practicing. Brown has since had a troublesome screw removed during the offseason, when he’s been putting in serious work.

The Ravens appeared to have big plans for Brown as a rookie before injuries slowed him (he ranked No. 11 in WOPR over the first month) and didn’t add much receiver depth in the draft/offseason but did trade away Hayden Hurst. Baltimore will also be hard-pressed not to throw more in 2020. The franchise asked Lamar Jackson (please be safe!) who he wanted as his No. 1 receiver, and he replied Hollywood Brown or Jerry Jeudy the following year, and Baltimore didn’t hesitate to spend the No. 25 pick on someone coming off Lisfranc surgery. Jackson doesn’t throw to backs much, and the team’s WR2 right now is Willie Snead, so Brown’s ECR appears to be underrating his projected target share (he played a season-high in snaps and led the team with 11 targets and 126 yards during their playoff loss).

Brown finished No. 8 in fantasy points per route playing on one leg as a rookie, and he’s a deep threat (with serious speed) on a team that PFF graded with the No. 1 pass blocking unit last year. Brown is also the clear top target for a QB who just posted a 24:1 TD:INT ratio over the final seven games of an MVP-winning season, as defenses primarily focus on trying to figure out how to stop the Ravens’ rushing attack. Brown is a top-15 wideout at a much cheaper cost.

CINCINNATI, OHIO - NOVEMBER 10: Marquise Brown #15 of the Baltimore Ravens runs with the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter of the game at Paul Brown Stadium on November 10, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images)
Baltimore Ravens receiver Marquise Brown just scratched the surface of his potential during his rookie season. (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images)

Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints (ECR = TE9 vs. DDD = TE6)

This might end up being the smallest discrepancy in positional rankings in this series, but I have Cook ranked much higher overall than his ECR/ADP, and I’m closer to moving him to my TE5 than I am lowering him. Cook recorded 537 yards and scored seven touchdowns over the final eight games last year. While you’d like to see more volume, not all targets are created equal, and ones from Drew Brees in New Orleans are beneficial (and worth more) like hitting in Coors Field.

Cook, who deserves a ton of credit for recording 896 yards and six scores with the Raiders the year before, scored nine touchdowns over 14 games last season (while leading the league in yards per target and fantasy points per target) despite Brees and him both suffering injuries and a WR teammate putting up a historical season that likely won’t be repeated. Cook will be more acclimated Year 2 in New Orleans (in a contract season), and anything short of double-digit touchdowns would be a serious disappointment.

Later this week I’ll name some players I like less than the market.

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