I am a self-described Twitter junkie always on the lookout for that
next big injury update or news item that might give me a leg-up
on the competition in my league. With nearly every NFL beat writer
tapped into social media, ready to be the first to break the latest
NFL headline, Twitter is a vital tool that has revolutionized the
fantasy sports industry.
With the good always comes the bad, and the need for beat writers
to provide new content on a daily basis can create a plethora
of coach-speak nonsense, as coaches boast how well their players
are playing in mini-camps and how they plan to get wide receivers
more active in the red zone.
Is some of this information useful for fantasy owners when looking
for an edge on identifying possible sleepers or value picks? Sure,
but the problem is that there is so much information spewed out
on a daily basis that it becomes difficult to discern between
factual intel and NFL off-season gibberish.
Fantasy writers like myself are not immune from the pressure
to provide regular content and insight on players, and our articles
and thoughts can shape the early ADP of players to the point that
we help develop a market based purely on speculation. If a player
becomes too hyped on social media and on early season articles,
that player’s ADP rises to a point in which they are no
longer a value.
Here are five players that I suspect will not be on any of my
rosters in 2017 based simply on the fact that their preseason
hype pushed their ADP to an unattractive level.
Recent history plays a big role in player
value and some won't forget Abdullah's lost season in 2016.
Dubbed as one of the big winners of the offseason due to the
fact that the Lions did not use a high pick on a running back
in the draft or sign a free agent complimentary back like LeGarrette Blount, third-year running back Ameer Abdullah appears to be the
starting tailback for Detroit heading into training camp.
After a solid rookie campaign in which he averaged 4.2 yards
per carry in limited action, Abdullah looked primed to take over
the lead back role in 2016. Unfortunately, injuries derailed a
promising start to the season, leaving Abdullah with 18 carries
in two games before getting placed on IR.
With no clear threat to the starting role this season, the love
for Abdullah continues to grow, and his ADP is edging toward the
end of the fifth and beginning of the sixth round. I anticipate
that if the Lions do not add another running back to the mix before
training camp, owners will continue to push his ADP to a point
where he is no longer a value.
The Lions lost starting left tackle Taylor Decker for an undetermined
amount of time, and their schedule to start the season is one
of the most difficult in the league (ARI, @NYG, ATL, @MIN). As
a late sixth or early seventh round pick, Abdullah is worth the
risk, but not if he continues to rise.
If there is a 31-year-old running back in the NFL today that
can successfully return to form after spending a year away traveling
the world, it would be Marshawn Lynch. Despite entering the league
as a first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills way back in the
2007 season, Lynch has a relatively small number of carries on
his wheels (2144) and has mostly avoided serious injury while
a member of the Bills and Seahawks.
In the history of the NFL, there have been 12 players to rush
for more than 1000 yards in their age-31 season, with Curtis Martin
setting the bar high with a career-best 1697/12 season with the
Jets in 2004. Fellow Hall of Famer Walter Payton posted his third-best
statistical season at age 31, while Thomas Jones of the Jets posted
career-best 1402 yards and 14 touchdowns while playing for New
York in his age-31 season.
So there is certainly a history of players performing well after
they pass the 30-year old threshold, and both Martin and Payton
posted their impressive numbers with hundreds of more carries
and much more wear and tear on their legs.
But the unknown of how well Lynch will respond after missing
a year of action is enough to make me hesitant to take him before
the late third or early fourth of 12-team leagues this season.
With an ADP of 21st overall according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com,
it appears as though the masses do not have my reservations, and
Beastmode will likely be drafted well before I can pull the trigger.
Tyreek the Freak has been a prominent topic on social media this
off-season as people continue to speculate how much of a volume
increase Hill will see after his impressive rookie campaign. The
frenzy on Hill hit astronomical levels when the Chiefs released
Jeremy Maclin out of the blue, giving Hill apologists even more
fuel for their fire.
Hill’s 1.66 fantasy points per touch in 2016 was tops among
wide receivers, and a negative regression is almost a certainty
when his volume increases. There are also questions on how well
his small frame will handle an increase in snaps and the corresponding
beating he will take if he does increase his catch totals.
Despite these questions, Hill is one of the most dynamic players
in the league and is a threat to score from anywhere on the field.
As a mid-to-late round pick, the risk associated with Hill and
his significant upside is built into his price. At his current
and likely to rise ADP of 41st overall (4.05), owners are paying
too much draft capital for a player that has one year of production
under his belt.
One year removed from his first full season as a converted wide
receiver, Pryor joined the Washington Redskins as a free agent
over the off-season. With Pierre Garcon now in San Francisco and
DeSean Jackson down in Tampa Bay with Jameis Winston, Pryor appears
to have landed in an advantageous spot with close to 200 targets
available for the taking.
Pryor’s size 6’6”, 230 lbs and his ability
to be a downfield and red zone threat have made him a favorite
of fantasy analysts entering training camp. The fantasy football
community doesn’t consider last year a fluke either as evident
by his early-fourth-round ADP.
There is no doubting his talent, and the opportunity to get triple-digit
targets is certainly there in Washington. But there are significant
red flags in that Pryor has only been fantasy relevant for one
season, the Redskins have very little invested in him (one-year
contract), and Kirk Cousins already has two wide receivers in
which he enjoys an excellent rapport (Jamison Crowder and top
target Jordan Reed).
Pryor is going to have some big weeks, and it would not surprise
me to see him finish as a top-24 wide receiver. However, at his
current ADP as the 18th wide receiver off the board, he is too
expensive for me based on the fact that I don’t think he
will be consistent enough to justify the cost.
In keeping with the trend of New England players that I will
likely not own in 2017, the trade of Brandin Cooks for the Patriots
2017 first-round draft pick made an already overvalued player
even more overpriced.
Cooks is a talented player, averaging 1150 yards and eight touchdowns
in his last two seasons as a member of the Saints. But to achieve
those stats, Cooks needed an average of 125 targets from Drew
Brees as the 1B option in the passing offense with Michael Thomas.
In New England, Cooks will enter as the number three option behind
Gronk and Julian Edelman, and Tom Brady has proven over the years
to spread the ball around.
I anticipate that Brady will use his new weapon well and the
Patriots offense will be excellent in 2017 in route to another
AFC title and likely Super Bowl ring. But Cooks may be a better
real-life player than a fantasy option as I doubt he will receive
enough consistent volume to justify his second-round ADP.