Fantasy owners are overvaluing Derek Carr,
Cam Newton, Adrian Peterson and other "popular"
There is a “cost” for everything in this world.
I paid a little over a dollar for my coffee at McDonalds this morning.
Starbucks charges $4.15 for their Caffe Latte Venti. That’s
a lot more for essentially the same thing. And fantasy owners, who
love to own marquee players pay a premium price as well. It shows
up in the form of a higher ADP.
You'll pay a premium for these six marquee players.
Because many fantasy owners love to watch and talk about “their”
guy. That only happens when “their“ guy is on national
TV games and only the elite players, on winning teams, get frequent
national exposure. It’s why you will never get Aaron Rodgers,
Tom Brady or any Dallas Cowboys/Pittsburgh Steelers star at a
discount. They are elite players and teams with a “national”
Even the advent of the Internet and the NFL’s “Red
Zone” channel can’t completely negate the fun of watching
your quarterback play on a Monday night in front of the entire
Listed below are six players who come with the “popularity”
ADP values from FantasyFootballCalculator
# - of players who played at least six games
Carr – (2017 ADP Position Rank – 6, 2016 Production – 17#)
The Oakland (soon-to-be Las Vegas) Raiders have always been a
“national” team with followers around the country
even when they were terrible. Now that they are good, fans and
fantasy owners want to get in on the fun and Carr is the leader
of a potent offense. Unfortunately, the numbers don’t equal
the hype. His 2016 production (21.0 FPts/G) was just 17th-best,
yet he is the sixth quarterback off the board in 2017. The issue
is that he’s struggled within the division. He owns a career
73.5 rating against Denver and an even worse 68.1 rating against
the Chiefs. Those numbers don’t compare well to his career
87.9 rating. Until he solves both those defenses, you won’t
be getting fair-market-value. Mike Krueger has projected him as
the No. 15 QB posting 4,120 passing yards, 28 TDs and 10 INTs.
From the moment rookie Russell Wilson grabbed the starting spotlight
from Matt Flynn, he’s been a celebrity. His Seahawks have
posted double-digit wins in all five seasons and he led them to
two Super Bowls appearances and one championship. He even married
a celebrity. Everyone knows who he is, even the occasional fan,
so to get him on your roster means taking him a little early.
Wilson didn’t produce in 2016, finishing 19th in FPts/G
(20.4), but he’s going off the board at No. 7. There are
multiple questions to answer before selecting him that high. Is
his line improved? Can he play all 16 games? Will head coach Pete
Carroll let him run like he did when he was a 24-year-old? If
he’s healthy and running again, he could certainly get you
those numbers, but it’s a risk. At FFToday we think he’ll
get you the production you are seeking – 4,122 passing yards,
27 TDs, 10 INTs, 367 yards rushing, 2 TDs.
Newton – (2017 ADP Position Rank – 8, 2016 Production – 16#)
Newton has been in the national spotlight since choosing a college
and he’s still there. A trip to the Super Bowl in 2015,
a charismatic smile and seemingly unlimited talent is the reason
he’s going No. 8 in mock drafts despite posting just No.
16-level statistics in 2016. His talent at wide receiver is limited
to whether Kelvin Benjamin is ready to mature into a star. The
team did add a running back who can catch the ball (Christian McCaffrey), but to this point, Newton has failed to use his running
backs as receivers. If that changes, if Benjamin matures, if Devin Funchess progresses, if the OL improves, then Newton will have
more options than just throwing to tight end Greg Olsen. However,
I think it’s going to be a struggle for the Panther’s
quarterback and he likely won’t produce up to his drafted
level. FFToday is projecting 3,626 passing yards, 23 TDs, 12 INTs,
316 rushing yards, 4 TDs.
Gurley – (2017 ADP Position Rank - 10, 2016 Production – 27#)
I’m not sure why Gurley continues to be picked this high.
He’s the same player, his quarterback is the same and his
top receiver from a year ago is now playing in Cleveland. Unless
Robert Woods and Tavon Austin become receiving threats, defensive
coordinators will continue to load up in the box, stop Gurley
and dare Jared Goff to beat them with his arm. After ranking fourth
at the position in 2015 (14.6 FPts/G), Gurley’s production
took a nose dive last season to 9.8 FPts/G. I can only assume
that since new head coach Sean McVay comes from the offensive
side of the ball that owners believe he can help Goff and in turn
take pressure off of Gurley. Hopefully the improvement to the
offensive line and a solid defense will keep the Rams in ball
games and allow the running game to mature, but I’m not
Peterson – (2017 ADP Position Rank - 20, 2016 Production –
played just three games producing 2.7 FPts/G)
Peterson has led the league in rushing three times (2008, 12,
15), been to seven Pro Bowls and even changed the time frame we
now think of for the return from knee injuries. But he played
just three games last season and has missed 18 games in the last
three seasons. Now he joins a passing team which already had a
top-10 fantasy running back (Mark Ingram) and drafted a back in
the third round (Alvin Kamara). If that doesn’t say RBBC
I don’t know what would. Yet he’s being selected as
an RB2 as the 20th back off the board. If AP were to get 275 attempts
he could produce top-10 results, but on a team with Drew Brees
that seems unlikely. In fact, no back has had even 230 attempts
under the Brees/Sean Payton combination. At FFToday we believe
it will be a full-blown RBBC and have Peterson at just 139 attempts
for 582 rushing yards and five TDs. Those are not RB2 statistics.
The good news - Thomas posted his fifth consecutive 1,000-yard
receiving season and continues to see plenty of targets. The bad
news – despite his 1,083 yards, he produced just five touchdowns
and his lowest production since 2011 (8.6 FPts/G). More bad news
– the Denver Broncos’ quarterback situation remains
unsettled with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch battling for the
starting role. Their OL is ranked just 25th by PFF, down one spot
from 2016. This is not Peyton Manning-to-Thomas anymore. In fact,
Emmanuel Sanders saw almost as many targets as Thomas (137-144),
produced similar yards (1,032) and just as many touchdowns. Until
the QB situation is settled we really don’t know which receiver
is No. 1 and which one is 1A. In the meantime, Thomas is going
off the wide receiver board at No. 15 and Sanders at No. 34. Seems
like with Sanders you are getting more bang for your buck.
We all know Hopkins has the talent to be a fantasy stud and remember
his 1,521-yard season in 2015, but he produced WR4 numbers last
season. Why is he going off the board at No. 12? Is Tony Romo
out of the broadcast booth and someone didn’t tell me? Is
the change to Tom Savage/Deshaun Watson/Brandon Weeden going to
help Hopkins back to his 2015 production (13.6 FPts/G)? Yes, I
believe when Watson finally starts it will be an improvement over
last season, but I’m not ready to declare Hopkins a WR1.
The Texans have two tight ends who can catch the ball (C.J. Fiedorowicz
and Ryan Griffin), along with second-year speedster, Will Fuller,
and converted QB Braxton Miller, who might also be a factor in
2017. All told, I think Hopkins will certainly be improved, but
I don’t think he will see the volume of targets needed to
be a full-blown WR1. That will come in 2018.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.