Rest assured someone at some point during each of your drafts
will utter some variation of the words ďvalue pick.Ē
But what exactly is a value pick? What is value? Value is a relative
term that changes based on public perception. When I consider
value, Iím looking for a positive return on my investment.
Just because a player has an a fourth round ADP and is still sitting
there in the sixth round does not make him good value. At the
same time, taking a player a round or two above his ADP is not
necessarily bad value. Again, everything is relative.
My goal in every pick I make is to take a player I believe will
perform at a level above where I drafted him. Last season, Allen Robinson had a seventh round ADP. This year, he has a third round
ADP. Robinson gave owners one hell of a positive return on investment.
On the flip side, JuJu Smith-Schuster had a second round ADP.
This year, heís going in the fourth round, which is much
higher than his 2019 production would suggest he should. Thatís
the type of pick we all hope to avoid.
Letís take a look at which WRs I expect to outperform their ADPs
and which I expect to fail.
The case for Chark being undervalued: Heís the
undisputed WR1 on a team that will need to throw a lot.
The case against Chark being undervalued: The
Jaguars project to be a bad team, which could cap Charkís scoring
Verdict: Irrelevant coincidence: D.J. Charkís
overall and positional ADP are exactly the same as Tyler
Lockettís (my first undervalued for 2019) at the time I wrote
this article last year.
Early in the pre-draft process, I liked Chark. By the middle
of July, I loved Chark. After a lackluster rookie year marred
by injuries, Chark broke out in his second NFL season, finishing
as the overall WR13. He was almost a WR1 and now heís being
drafted as one of the last WR2s. Yes please.
Chark’s target competition is virtually nonexistent. Dede Westbrook is nothing more than a role player who was misevaluated
by many in the fantasy world. Laviska Shenault Jr. is electric,
but heís a rookie without a true position. Chris Conley
and Keelan Cole are just rotational guys.
Although this offseason is unlike any other, it was still a full
offseason knowing Gardner Minshew would be the starting quarterback.
Minshew and Chark in 2020 smell an awful lot like Blake Bortles
and Allen Robinson in 2015. This just strikes me as the perfect
setup of a quarterback that is willing to just chuck it to his
alpha WR1 and a super athletic receiver prepared to see 150 targets.
Chark averaged 7.8 targets per game in 2019, a total of 117 targets
and he didnít drop a single pass. Chark has 96th percentile
speed and 93rd percentile burst. Heís going to be a WR1
this year and is a must draft once you get to the fourth round.
I would take him before guys like Odell Beckham Jr., JuJu Smith-Schuster,
and (spoiler alert) A.J. Brown.
The case for Thielen being undervalued: Heís
well established as an excellent receiver with absolutely no target
competition in 2020.
The case against Thielen being undervalued:
Heís now 30 years old and dealt with a series of nagging injuries
last season that could rear their ugly head again.
Verdict: The only way Adam Thielen isnít a screaming value
in 2020 is if he gets hurt. I havenít been more confident
that a wide receiver is being slept on since Tyreek Hill in both
2017 and 2018.
How quickly weíve forgotten that Thielen was the overall
WR5 in 2018 and WR10 in 2017. He may be 30 years old, but wide
receivers donít really start to worry me until they reach
32/33 and Thielen is a young 30 because he didnít break
out until age 26.
I am willing to completely toss aside last season for Thielen.
His low target share (17.8%) was a product of the Vikings running
the ball too much and Thielen attempting to play through injury.
In 2018 and 2017, Thielen saw 153 and 142 targets and Stefon Diggs
is gone. Justin Jefferson is no slouch, but heís not coming
in as a rookie posing any threat to Thielenís status as
the alpha in this passing game.
If Thielen stays healthy, he is a lock for at least 140 targets
and given how poorly the Vikings defense is expected to be, Thielen
has a real shot to lead the NFL in this category. While it is
unrealistic to expect the Vikings to attempt 606 passes like they
did in 2018, Thielenís WR10 finish in 2017 came on just
527 total pass attempts. The volume is there. The talent is there.
Not only is Thielen a steal in the third round, heís on
the short list of receivers with at least a chance to finish as
the overall WR1.
The case for Hilton being undervalued: Heís
been a true WR1 for years and has shown no signs of decline.
The case against Hilton being undervalued: He
has a lengthy history of soft tissue injuries, including a hamstring
strain prior to any team activities beginning.
Verdict: The 2020 season is going to be a mess. The lack of on
field work for these players combined with the inevitable positive
tests throughout the season will result in a bunch of relevant
players missing time. Predicting who those players will be is
an exercise in futility. Just give me the best fantasy players
and I will take my chances.
How the hell is T.Y. Hilton the WR25? Really? Over the first
seven weeks of the 2019 season, Hilton was the overall WR5, averaging
18.1 FPts/G. Had he maintained those numbers, he wouldíve
finished as the overall WR3, ahead of DeAndre Hopkins and just
behind Julio Jones. Hilton is still the same WR1 heís been
for the past five years.
Philip Rivers is not good anymore, but he will still be an upgrade
over Jacoby Brissett. And if you recall, Brissett got thrown into
the fire last season after Andrew Luckís abrupt retirement
very close to the season meaning Hilton was putting up WR1 numbers
under difficult circumstances. His health is a concern. There
is no denying that. But in the fifth round, I will gladly roll
the dice that I can get even 10-12 games from Hilton because he
is a lock to produce above his draft position if heís healthy.
The case for Hopkins being overvalued: Heís
on a new team with little opportunity to develop a rapport with
The case against Hopkins being overvalued: Heís
one of the most talented WRs in the league and if anyone can overcome
the circumstances of 2020, itís Hopkins.
Verdict: Last year, my first overvalued receiver was also going
at 1.09 as the WR3. It was Michael Thomas. That turned out to
be a terrible call. Will history repeat itself with DeAndre Hopkins?
I donít think so as Hopkins is being valued as if nothing
has changed this offseason
There are a number of things working against Hopkins living up
to his elite WR1 billing. First, thereís the trade to Arizona.
I love Kyler Murray as a player. I love Hopkins as a player and
he is going to make the Cardinals a better team. But heís still
a wide receiver switching locations and history has not been kind
to even the most talented of receivers in this scenario. Most
recently, we saw Odell
Beckham Jr. go from overall WR8 in 2018 to overall WR33 in
2019 and Allen
Robinson average a measly 11.8 FPts/G in his first season
with the Bears. Robinson is still the same elite WR heís always
been and he proved it in 2019, but he still struggled that first
season in Chicago. Hopkins is not only switching teams, but he
is doing so in the worst of circumstances.
Which brings me to the second issue: the pandemic. Hopkins will
not have the benefit of a normal training camp and the preseason
to develop chemistry with Murray. Their first live action together
in pads will be in mid-August and their first real game together
will be Week 1 of the regular season. They may need time to get
on the same page and thatís time fantasy owners canít
The third issue is the way Kliff Kingsbury designs his offense.
Hopkins is accustomed to being a target hog. Heís seen at
least 150 targets every season since 2015 and I donít see
that happening in Arizona. The Cardinals run a lot of three and
four receiver sets and their offense is designed to spread the
defense out. Hopkins will lead the Cardinals in targets, but this
isnít an offense designed to force feed one guy 150+ targets.
Hopkins could be looking at a much flatter target distribution
with Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald with both likely to see
over 100 targets, leaving Hopkins 120-130 targets of his own.
He is still very much capable of producing WR1 numbers and I think
he will, but they may be more mid-to-low WR1, making him a bad
value in the first round of fantasy drafts.
The case for Kupp being overvalued: He was the
WR45 over the second half of last season while seeing his snap
The case against Kupp being overvalued: Heís
a very talented receiver and was the ovearll WR3 over the first
half of last season.
Verdict: Cooper Kuppís 2019 was literally a tale of two
halves. He went from elite WR1 to ďyou need to bench himĒ
seemingly overnight. So the question for 2020 is which Kupp is
the real Kupp? Itís a very tricky situation because normally
I favor players that are good at football and Kupp is definitively
good at football. Kuppís ADP reflects fantasy gamersí
uncertainty. If we were sure of either outcome, Kupp would be
a second round pick or a double digit round pick. Instead, he
falls in the middle. His price is fair; I just believe I know
the answer the question and want no part of Kupp in 2020.
In order to illustrate my point, Iím going to use Derrick
Henry as an example. In 2018, Henry spent half the season sharing
snaps with Dion Lewis and was genuinely droppable. Henry wasnít
getting work and wasnít playing well Then, he started seeing
more volume and and played phenomenally. It would stand to reason
that his coaches would take note of the improvement not just for
Henry, but their offense, and carry that over into the following
season, which they did. His final four games should have more
weight than the first 12 because they were the more recent data
Circling back to Kupp, Sean McVay saw what Kupp did over the
first half of the 2019 season. He knows how talented Kupp is (I
think?). Despite all of that, he decided that the Rams offense
was better without Cooper Kupp. The Rams started running more
12 personnel and even when Brandin Cooks was out, Kupp was not
part of two receiver sets. Josh Reynolds played ahead of Kupp
and there were games where Johnny Mundt, the third string tight
end, out-snapped Kupp. In Weeks 13-17, here were Kuppís
snap counts: 73%, 34%, 92%, 58%, 64%. That is wholly unacceptable
for a fourth round wide receiver. We have every reason to believe
the second half of 2019 is what we should expect in 2020 because
of McVayís decision to curtail Kuppís snaps late in
The case for Brown being overvalued: He was
unsustainably efficient as a rookie and is in a run heavy offense.
The case against Brown being overvalued: Heís
a talented receiver and will improve in his second season now
that he enters as the undisputed WR1.
Verdict: I like A.J. Brown as a player. He is good at football
and he has the talent to exceed his ADP. My fade of Brown is based
on situation and opportunity and you are paying for the improvement
Brown was the overall WR29 last season at 13 FPts/G. However,
after Brown became a full time player (Week 10) he was the overall
WR6, averaging 18.6 FPts/G from Week 10 through Week 17. The ceiling
is there but a ton of things broke right for Brown that seem unlikely
to repeat in 2020.
The Titans attempted just 448 passes last season and while itís
reasonable to project that to increase, thatís the type
of offense they want to run making Ryan Tannehillís pass
attempts ceiling is likely around 500. Brownís absolute
target ceiling is likely around 120.
Then thereís the part where Brown and Tannehill were both
hyper efficient. Brown posted WR7, WR2, and WR6 finishes last
season in games where he saw just five, seven, and eight targets.
He scored nine touchdowns, which can be attributed to his 447
yards after the catch, sixth in the league despite only being
a full time player for half a season.
From Week 10 through their first two playoff games, which encompasses
Brownís entire run as a full time player, the Titans scored
43 touchdowns against just one field goal. That will never happen
again. The Titans are going to score significantly fewer touchdowns
Brown was top three in yards per reception, yards per target,
and yards per pass route. Itís all unsustainable. He will
not average 20.2 yards per reception again and even 15 would be
impressive and likely be the result of his after the catch ability
as Tannehill averaged just 3.3 deep pass attempts per game.
Brownís 16 game pace after he became a full time player
would put him at around 95-100 targets. For Brown to be worth
his cost, he would need to average about 15 Fpts/G. In order to
get him there, we need to project a substantial increase in targets
while preserving his efficiency. If his yards per reception dips
below 15; or his target count doesnít reach 120; or his
catch rate stays around 60%; or he doesnít get to at least
eight touchdowns, Brown is going to be no more than a low end
There is absolutely a world where Brown hits 120 targets with
a 65% catch rate, 15+ yards per reception, and eight touchdowns
or more. The problem is he needs a lot to break right with the
Titans offense and his own efficiency in order to do so. A more
likely outcome is Brown only sees around 110 targets with a 60-65%
catch rate, around 15 yards per reception and eight touchdowns.
That would put him at roughly 14 Fpts/G, right on the WR2/3 borderline.
Brown has WR1 upside for sure, but I donít see it happening