One of the most important parts of winning your league is winning
your draft. One of the most important parts of winning your draft
is maximizing value at whatever draft position you find yourself
in. Getting “your” guy is always fun and, in some cases,
smart, but over-reaching has a negative ripple effect on your entire
The following 9 players are what I consider land mines at and around
their current ADP. I don’t necessarily dislike all these players
but at the spots they are being taken I feel they are all over-valued.
For reference the ADP’s listed here are for 12-team PPR leagues.
Hopkins is one of the most skilled and productive receivers of the
past decade, averaging over 100 receptions and 1,300 yards per season
over the past five years. Still in the physical prime of his career,
he is being drafted as the 5th WR off the board, just a couple picks
after Julio Jones.
While I don’t doubt Hopkins has the tools to be a top 5 receiver
still, I don’t think this is a good year to bet on it. The
change of scenery is drastic for Hopkins, having to adjust to a
new city, coach, QB, and offense, all of which are fairly big changes
from his previous stint in Houston. For several years the offense
ran exclusively through Hopkins, dominating target share with passes
forced his way. In Arizona they tend to spread the ball around more
and run four-wide sets, often targeting quick routes rather than
throwing up deep jump balls, where Hopkins has dominated.
This is not to say Hopkins won’t be productive but in a shortened
off season with limited time to establish a connection with QB Kyler Murray, chances are good that the duo will take at least a few games
to really get going. I look for Murray to spread the ball around
more than what Hopkins is used to, the run game to be efficient,
and Murray himself running a bit more than last year. All this adds
up to less opportunity for Hopkins, and I see him falling in the
120-130 target range rather than the 150+ he was used to.
In the early rounds you should be aiming for extreme upside and
Hopkins is just too risky this year to expect anything but regression
from last season.
Thomas is coming off one of the best seasons ever for a receiver,
racking up over 1,700 yards and hauling in 149 receptions. In practically
every format, Thomas is going as a top 8 pick and while there’s
almost no reason to believe he will be a total bust, he’s
one of the worst values in drafts this year.
Thomas’ 2019 season was good for 7th best all time in receiving
yards. The six players that have had better seasons, dropped off
considerably the following year, most by 400+ yards and over 25
receptions. Even the great Jerry Rice dropped off by over 600 yards
despite playing all 16 games and receiving only 23 less targets.
The bottom line here is it is very likely regression is coming,
even if Thomas has another great year.
With Drew Brees entering his age 41 season, the addition of Emmanuel Sanders, and a healthy Kamara, a dip in targets is likely. Add this
to the fact that Thomas has never reached double-digit touchdowns
in his four- year career and you begin to get a picture of his upside
being much less than what his ADP would suggest.
With a shortage of difference-making RB’s available past the
first two rounds and great depth of upside wide receivers, the smart
drafter is passing on Thomas in Round 1 in favor of a potential
The argument for Jackson being a bad pick at his ADP is fairly simple.
His 2019 season was historically one of the most efficient and explosive
seasons ever for a NFL QB and that is highly unlikely to happen
again. Jackson’s TD rate was 9.0% while the league average
was closer to half that. To put this another way, Jackson attempted
401 passes and threw for 36 touchdowns. According to the league
average TD percentage, Jackson should’ve thrown around 19
or so touchdowns (17 less). Let that sink in for a minute. Even
if Jackson was better than league average by a “normal”
amount, he likely would’ve thrown 10 less touchdowns last
season and I fully expect that to be the case this season.
But what about his rushing? Jackson broke the all-time quarterback
season rushing record last year, by over 150 yards and finished
6th in the NFL among all players in rushing yards. To put it bluntly,
this is an anomaly. Is Jackson an amazing runner? Absolutely. Will
he likely have another great year running the football? Sure. The
chances though, that he has such success two seasons in a row (or
again in his career) is very unlikely especially after defensive
adjustments are made.
The bottom line is that just about everything went perfectly for
him last year and the odds of that repeating in the NFL is highly
unlikely. The range at which Jackson is being drafted is full of
potential studs at shallow positions so do yourself a favor and
wait on jumping the gun at quarterback.
4. RB Clyde
Edwards-Helaire, KC (ADP 1.07)
I get it, it’s so tempting; the starting running back for
the best offense in the NFL. It’s not hard to see why CEH
could be a legit fantasy stud this season, as a first round draft
pick and one of college football’s best receiving backs in
Let me throw a little water on the flame for a minute here. First
off, CEH is a rookie, and not just any rookie but a rookie during
Covid-19 with limited training camp practices and less time in pads
than most years. With limited reps will he be given a large load
the first third of the season? The first half of the season? Even
with limited depth behind him, there are several veteran backs on
the roster that Andy Reid may trust more to churn out yards until
CEH is up to speed.
Second, we know CEH can catch the ball, but he is neither a short-yardage
power back, nor a legit break-away threat, and he will definitely
need some work in pass protection, so at least to start his career
he does not project as a workhorse-type back. Of course in the Chiefs
offense he may be so efficient that he will not need to be, but
banking on that efficiency as a rookie at a mid-first round ADP
is a very hard sell.
Currently, CEH is being taken ahead of backs that are guaranteed
large workloads and have posted big numbers at the NFL level. The
first round or two of a draft is where you cannot afford to take
big risks and CEH, while a “sexy” pick, has risk written
all over him. Your team’s first selection should always be
a rock to build around and CEH simply does not fit this definition.
I had not taken, or paid much attention to Carson in any drafts
this offseason so I was shocked to see he was going off the board
in the early to mid-third round, as a top 18 RB. Carson is the ultimate
JAG (Just A Guy), who is not particularly good at any specific skill
but found himself in the right place at the right time and has made
the most of his run-heavy situation in Seattle.
Carson’s numbers last year were solid, although his yards
per carry and rushing touchdown numbers actually dropped despite
31 more carries and an extra game played. Carson did show better
involvement in the passing game (37/266/2) but does not project
as a traditional receiving back and may be replaced in this role
by 4th round rookie DeeJay Dallas, who is a naturally more versatile
Add this to the signing of Carlos Hyde, who had a similar 2019 season
to Carson on the ground, and the potential return of former first
round pick Rashaad Penny, and you suddenly have the makings of a
full-blown committee situation. Will Carson lead the committee?
Sure, but he’s not talented enough to hold everyone off if
he has a couple bad games or if his fumbling issues continue (7
Wilson publicly pleading for the offense to be more aggressive,
and a talented receiving corps to throw to, the Seahawks may throw
more than many expect, further diminishing the touches for Carson.
In the middle of the third round the wide receivers available are
so juicy that taking Carson is a total waste to me. Guys like Allen
Moore, Mike Evans,
Beckham Jr. are often available and offer much more upside with
higher floors as well. Taking Carson in the third screams desperation
and that is not how you win a draft.
Kupp has had an excellent career thus far and has over-achieved
in many people’s eyes as a target hog who has certainly earned
Jared Goff’s trust. Most of Kupp’s fantasy value is
based on volume, much like Jarvis Landry or Julian Edelman in his
prime. Kupp does not offer much in big-play ability run after catch,
or red-zone ability.
The trap I believe is that his volume will likely go down, taking
away some of his floor and consistency that makes him a “safe”
fantasy pick. The Rams shifted in the second half of the 2019 season,
from a mostly three-wide offense, which often favors the slot receiver,
to more of a 12 personnel team, which highlights the tight ends
and outside receivers. Once the team started this trend, Kupp’s
snaps dropped from well over 80 percent to just 64 percent, as the
team was hesitant to play him on the outside. In 2019, 75 percent
of Kupp’s 134 targets came from the slot, but most of those
came in the first half of the season when the team was running 12
personnel less than 25% of the time, compared to running it nearly
40% of the time the final four games of the season. Kupp averaged
6 targets a game those final four weeks, compared to over 9 per
over the first 12 games.
With two talented tight ends competing for targets, as well as Robert
Woods and Josh Reynolds (both better at playing on the outside),
Kupp could easily see a 25%+ decrease in targets this year and without
elite athleticism it would be hard to expect big yardage games with
that kind of target reduction.
Kupp should be viewed more as a mid-range WR3 but he is currently
being drafted as an early to mid-range WR2. This is a waste of value
to me, especially when rounds 4 and 5 are chock full of high-upside
receivers that could match Kupp in targets but easily beat him in
yardage and touchdowns.
Waller burst on the scene last year with PPR drool-worthy stats
of 90 receptions and 1,145 yards. A late bloomer thanks to some
off the field issues, the tight end found success as the Raiders
top target hog on a team desperately lacking legit receiving options.
This offseason the Raiders looked to remedy the situation, signing
veteran TE Jason Witten and drafting two high profile rookie receivers
in Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards. Add to this the development
of productive 2019 rookie Hunter Renfrow, buzz about getting RB
Josh Jacobs more involved in the pass game, Tyrell Williams still
hanging around, and Waller could easily go from the Raiders weekly
number one option, to third or fourth in targets in any given week.
For a guy that only caught 3 touchdowns on 117 targets, a significant
drop in targets is not going to go well for Waller, who was one
of the most reliable PPR options at the position last year.
Waller is in, what I’d call “no-man’s land”
for the tight end position, meaning, he’s stuck being the
first TE drafted after the big four (Kelce, Kittle, Ertz, Andrews),
grouped in with the next tier of guys that are all similar. There
is not a lot of difference between drafting Waller or Hunter Henry,
Evan Engram, or even Hayden Hurst, yet these guys are separated
by two-three rounds.
The play at TE this year is spending up for one of the Big 4 or
waiting till after Round 7 to snag one of the handful of higher
upside, but perhaps less proven guys, at the position. Drafting
Waller in the 5th or early 6th puts you in a rough spot by missing
out on better value at other positions for a player that has nowhere
to go but down based on last year’s numbers.
Everybody loves Gronk. Everybody wants to own Gronk and cheer him
on as he spikes the ball after a touchdown and then gives the sideline
reporter a hilarious interview, I get it. The chance to text your
league-mates a hilarious Gronk gif or meme after he scores or makes
a big play is tempting, and to me it is the only explanation why
he is being drafted in the 6th round as the TE6.
Gronk has had an all-time great career, no doubt, but has not played
a full season since 2011 and looked like he was running in wet cement
the last time we saw him play in 2018. Yes, he’s had time
off to theoretically recover, and yes he’s reuniting with
Tom Brady, but he’s also going to a brand new team for the
first time in his career and will be surrounded by, perhaps, the
best weapons he’s ever had all competing for targets.
Can Gronk still be a dangerous redzone weapon and catch 7 or 8 touchdowns?
Sure he can, but so can eight other tight ends being drafted a few
rounds later. In his prime, Gronk was Brady’s top target but
would it be a stretch to say he might not even finish as a top 3
target on the Bucs this year? I don’t think so. With O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate both in the prime’s of their career
I’m not even sure Gronk will be the best tight end on the
team from a fantasy standpoint. At this point in his career Gronk
has done just about everything to cement his legacy so to me I would
not be surprised if he came to Tampa to just have fun, teach the
young guys, and eat some avocado ice cream with Brady one last time.
In the 6th or 7th round there are too many other options with both
higher ceilings and floors than Gronk at literally every other skill
position. Let your league-mates win the gif or meme war, you just
focus on winning your draft by avoiding Gronk.
Drew Brees failed to play at least 15 games in a season last year
for the first time in 16 years. Despite an injury to the thumb in
his throwing hand and missing five games, Brees was ultra-efficient
last season, especially throwing touchdowns, finishing 3rd best
in TD percentage (7.1%), which was his career high and up a full
1.5% off his career average. Relying on a strong run game and a
suddenly near-elite defense, Brees did not throw for a ton of yards,
finishing with the second-fewest per game average in his New Orleans
career, just ahead of his 2018 average and just barely below his
The past three seasons have shown a trend for Brees, as his run
game and defense improved, Brees has become more of a game manager,
attempting far fewer passes on average than he did during his first
decade as a Saint. With Taysom Hill stealing snaps and a more conservative
game plan in place, Brees, going into his age 41 season, is still
a great NFL QB but on the downslope of his career as an elite fantasy
With regression in the touchdown percentage department nearly certain,
Brees could look more like a middle of the road option rather than
the top 8 fantasy asset he is being drafted as. Much like Waller,
I look at Brees as being in “no-man’s land” in
terms of ADP for fantasy quarterbacks, currently being taken as
the QB7. There are six quarterbacks worthy of being selected in
the first 7 or 8 rounds, all with various degrees of upside, mostly
based on their extra ability to run or their extremely explosive
offenses. Brees, at this point does not fit this description and
therefore should be lumped in with the next tier that could go as
many as seven deep. As the first QB in this tier, Brees represents
a terrible value, especially when similar QB’s are not going
off the board until the 9th or 10th rounds. With tantalizing talent
available at other positions in the 7th and 8th rounds there is
no need to reach for a QB in this range, especially one like Brees
who could experience some real fantasy regression this season.
Much like the tight end position, I’m either taking a top
6 QB in the first 7 rounds or simply waiting closer to the end of
my drafts where there is solid upside paired with better value.
Enjoy watching an all-time great in again this year, but leave Brees
off your fantasy squad anywhere near the 7th round.