Season-long fantasy and DraftKings certainly aren’t twins. But they’re not long-lost cousins either and there is a lot of value in understanding what season-long players are thinking. After all, the vast majority of people playing on DraftKings this year will also be doing season-long drafts.
We can get an early glimpse into what these people are thinking based on season-long ADP. For example, you may think Keenan Allen will be super-sneaky early in the season as he comes off his lacerated spleen. You would be wrong. Allen’s current ADP in full-PPR is 15.61, also know as early-second round.
For this article, I’m using ADP from full-PPR MFL10s and 25s. I hit on the undervalued players last week.
These players are currently overvalued:
1. Kevin White, WR, Bears – ADP 66.7
No one should be surprised that White reportedly looked like a “work in progress” during the spring. He missed his entire rookie season following August surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left shin. So I think we have viable NFL adjustment concerns on a player who was only a full-time player in college for one year and has no professional snaps under his belt.
There are more concerns with White. Head coach John Fox skews conservative when given the choice and often went that path last year as the Bears ranked 27th in neutral pace. It worked to some degree as Jay Cutler turned in arguably a career-best season as a game-manager, attempting just 32.2 passes per game (29th in the league). We should see more of that this year as the Bears have one of the most improved defenses in the league — hiding Cutler makes sense. And when Cutler does throw, he often locks onto Alshon Jeffery (10.4 targets per game). The unproven No. 2 WR in a slow, game-managing offense is not something that interests me.
2. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos – ADP 24.9
The Broncos quarterbacks this year are Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. They also have the league’s best defense and spent the entire offseason investing in their run game. If you were Gary Kubiak, what style of of offense would you run? It’s a no-brainer for Kubiak to severely lean toward a run the ball/defend system and that’s obviously not good for Demaryius Thomas.
Peyton Manning was completely done last year, but he was still able to put Demaryius in position to be viable via screens – Thomas’ Average Depth of Target (via PFF) was a very low 10.8 yards. The screen coupled with 176 targets (fourth-most in the league) allowed DT to compile a 105-1304-6 line. With Manning now gone and Thomas already severely lacking efficiency in the red-zone over the last two years, the floor here has been lowered dramatically.
3. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers – ADP 34.9
Benjamin is going in the third round, before players such as Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy and C.J. Anderson. That’s a nod to his 2014 rookie campaign which resulted in a WR16 finish. It fails to look past basic raw numbers and Benjamin’s situation this year.
As a rookie, Benjamin saw a whopping 26.8 percent of the Panthers’ targets and finished sixth in the NFL in targets with 146. Despite all that volume, Benjamin still barely broke 1,000 yards because he posted a pathetic 50 percent catch rate and got just 2.4 yards after reception per catch (101st among 110 qualifiers). Now he’s coming off a knee reconstruction and will have to fight Greg Olsen, Devin Funchess and Ted Ginn for market share.
4. Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers – ADP 84.6
Gordon was PFF’s No. 62 RB among 68 qualifiers last year. He scored zero touchdowns on 217 touches, fumbled six times, averaged just 3.48 YPC and then underwent knee surgery following the season. His pet’s heads are falling off.
I typically don’t write off prospects after one poor year, but Gordon’s path to a bounce-back fantasy season is blocked by Danny Woodhead. Last year, Woodhead functioned as the Chargers’ two-minute, four-minute, third-down and goal-line back. That led to nine touchdowns via 15 red-zone targets and 19 red-zone carries. Gordon had two red-zone targets and 11 red-zone carries. Don’t expect the roles to change this year, leaving Melvin with a capped ceiling even if he somehow turns his wretched on-field play around.
5. Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks – ADP 62.8
Lockett was quietly awesome as a rookie, hauling in an elite 76.1 percent of his targets, averaging 5.1 yards after the reception and getting open at will as shown here by NFL.com’s Matt Harmon. But I fear Russell Wilson’s unsustainable outlier of a second half last year is getting baked into projections. Wilson completed a white-hot 70.9 percent of his passes over the final seven regular-season games, averaging 8.78 yards per attempt and compiling an absurd 24:1 TD-to-INT ratio.
While the Seahawks will put more and more on Russ’ shoulders in the wake of Marshawn Lynch’s retirement, that kind of ridiculous efficiency is unsustainable. On top of that, Seattle gave Doug Baldwin $47.5M and Jermaine Kearse $13.5M this offseason. Jimmy Graham (knee) is expected back for Week 1 and rookie C.J. Prosise is a threat to take some market share in the pass game.
6. Todd Gurley, RB, Rams – ADP 7.3
Using a high first-round PPR pick on a strict two-down back who plays for a team projected to win just 7.5 games is always going to scare me. It doesn’t matter how special the back is. Note that over the last two years, notorious two-down backs Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Alfred Morris and Doug Martin have averaged just 11.24 DraftKings points as an underdog vs. 16.24 as a favorite. So although Gurley’s skill set is truly unique, there are still going to be a lot of games where the ball is taken out of his hands. He averaged just 17.5 touches per game in losses last year while getting the rock 21.2 times per game in wins.