I’ve spent some time reviewing the experts and their consensus (ECR) and playing around several mock drafts to find an average draft position (ADP) for a lot of the players that’ll be selected in your Fantasy Football League(s). In participating, I found some strange outcomes that should help you, and I have put together a little something that might help your plan of attack. For me, it has been about QB’s and WR’s for years and that knowledge has taken me to no worse than 3rd place in any year I have played FF (currently reigning world champ) – so it is still surprising to me how often people go after RB’s so early. Here is an example from one of my mock drafts, I was drafting 6th, out of 10:
At the end of day, it is still your draft, and your choices, along with your instincts that sometimes you have to go with. Afterall, you know your league-mates better than anyone else, and what they are going to do. So, to recap – a player’s ECR and their ADP (average draft position) will not coincide with one another very often. There are players with large discrepancies from where the experts are projecting them and where drafters and mock drafters alike are selecting their picks.
With less than two months until the start of the season, let’s take a look at which players are being overvalued and undervalued based on their difference in ECR and ADP. It’s a classic experts versus the average drafter. I’m providing three undervalued and three overvalued players at each of the four offensive positions (QB, RB, WR, TE).
- Colin Kaepernick – SF (ECR-105, ADP-138, Diff. +33)
It appears that a lot of people are down on Xerxes after a sub-par 2014 season, as he is being massively undervalued as the 21st QB. He finished last year as the 16th-best QB. With Jim Harbaugh out of the mix and the defense depleted from retirement, I expect Kaepernick to get plenty of garbage time opportunities to rack up fantasy points.
- Teddy Bridgewater – MIN (ECR-104, ADP-136, Diff. +32)Teddy Two-Gloves came into his own the last five games of 2014 and could take another leap with Adrian Peterson returning to the mix. He is a borderline QB1 yet is currently being drafted as the 19th QB off the board, even behind rookies Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota – If you are a fan of streaming QBs, Teddy might be your guy to target for 2015.
- Ryan Tannehill – MIA (ECR-75, ADP-95, Diff. +20)Tannehill, who was the eighth-best QB in 2014, is currently being taken nearly two rounds later than what experts would expect. Many fantasy owners are still unsure of Tannehill, but with his underrated running ability (317 yards), he still looks like a steal as the 11th QB taken.
- Jameis Winston – TB (ECR-152, ADP-131, Diff. -21)Winston is being taken almost a full two rounds before the experts’ consensus. Winston is still a gamble at best in 2QB leagues, as we’ve yet to see him take a snap under center in the league. The Bucs’ offensive line is one of the worst in the league and they have zero run game. Do not reach on Famous Jameis until the last round of your draft.
- Tom Brady – NE (ECR-86, ADP-72, Diff. -14)Even if his suspension were cut to zero games, Brady is being taken as an elite quarterback, a level he only briefly performed at in 2014. Despite a stretch of monster games in Weeks 5-9, Brady was a QB1 only two more times. In other words, if you are expecting consistency and an elite level of performance every week, look elsewhere.
- Peyton Manning – DEN (ECR-43, ADP-31, Diff. -12)Manning is being taken consistently as the third QB in drafts, mostly propped up from years of fantasy football respect. During the second half of 2014, Manning was a replacement level QB, as the Broncos leaned heavily on the run game. He’s not the Peyton of old, so be sure to draft accordingly.
- Roy Helu – OAK (ECR-150, ADP-235, Diff. +85)Helu is another PPR owner’s dream that is slipping tremendously in drafts. The newly-inked Oakland Raider should be an active third down back with exceptional receiving skills. At +85, Helu has by far the greatest discrepancy of any ECR vs. ADP ranking. Maybe snag this guy in your drafts because no one else seems to be!
- LeGarrette Blount – NE (ECR-59, ADP-73, Diff. +14)It looks like owners are still skeptical of the weekly Patriots RB roulette. Despite being the most talented back in New England, Blount is being taken behind Giovani Bernard, Joique Bell, and Tevin Coleman, backs in a clear time-share situation. He was the lead back after being acquired in Week 12 and lead man throughout the playoffs. He represents great value as a RB3/FLEX play.
- Danny Woodhead – SD (ECR-139, ADP-149, Diff. +10)Woodhead is currently being taken as the 57th RB mostly as a reaction to his lost 2014 campaign due to a broken fibula in Week 3. As a third-down back, he is a perfect PPR candidate as a FLEX and should be taken above other backs with no clear role in their offenses (Duke Johnson, Charles Sims, Darren McFadden).
- DeAngelo Williams – PIT (ECR-175, ADP-127, Diff. -48)As Le’Veon Bell’s handcuff and replacement during his suspension, owners are scooping up Williams almost 50 picks before the experts’ consensus. He offers replacement-level value at best and does not offer long-term fantasy relevance at his current ADP. He is simply not a must-own for those who do draft Bell early.
- Todd Gurley – STL (ECR-58, ADP-44, Diff. -14)The former Georgia Bulldog has yet to touch the field as a professional and yet is being drafted as a clear-cut RB2 and the 20th RB overall. Drafters seem to have much more confidence in Gurley than the experts. Although he has the talent, he is still a relative unknown for fantasy purposes coming off ACL surgery.
- Joique Bell – DET (ECR-64, ADP-57, Diff. -7)Bell’s fantasy value has taken a hit this offseason, especially with the Lions’ drafting of speedster Ameer Abdullah. This has not kept owners from grabbing Bell as a borderline RB2. Expect his value to drop even further as preseason begins and Bell loses his grip on the starting role.
- Anquan Boldin – SF (ECR-93, ADP-122, Diff. +29)Although many owners have pegged Boldin as over-the-hill and it seems like he’s been in the league forever, the veteran finished his 2014 campaign 21st WR in standard formats and 18th in PPR scoring. He is being “rewarded” for these efforts by being selected as the 47th WR. He will still be Kaepernick’s favorite target and an excellent WR3 candidate for those who wait patiently.
- Allen Robinson – JAX (ECR-74, ADP-87, Diff. +13)Robinson has been one of the most talked about fantasy players of the offseason yet is still not receiving his due. Despite being the Jaguars clear No. 1 option at WR, he is going a full round later than projected. He will only go up in value from this point, as he has WR2 potential.
- Vincent Jackson – TB (ECR-61, ADP-71, Diff. +10)Jackson had a hard-luck 2014 season, as he had only 55% of his targets considered “on-target,” the lowest total in the league. His two touchdowns were a disappointment, another testament to poor QB play. He is being drafted currently as a WR3 and could present some sneaky value.
- Kevin White – CHI (ECR-98, ADP-78, Diff. -20)What do we know so far about White as an NFL receiver? Other than Mel Kiper Jr. drooling over his potential and the hangover owners are experiencing from last year’s rookie WR blowout party – White should be handled with much more care than the nearly two-round differential he is being selected at. Owners need to take into account newly-signed slot receiver Eddie Royal, who will compete with White and gather targets over the middle from QB Jay Cutler.
- Victor Cruz – NYG (ECR-114, ADP-97, Diff. -17)After a devastating patellar tendon injury ended his 2014 season, owners seem to think Cruz is capable of coming back with a vengeance. He will compete for second place in the Giants’ target pecking order with Rueben Randle, someone who is currently going 204th overall and presents much better value. For Cruz’s skill set as a shifty, speed receiver, a big return from this kind of injury is unlikely and does not warrant anything above a ninth- or tenth-round pick.
- Sammy Watkins – BUF (ECR-55, ADP-46, Diff. -9)After a rookie year in which Watkins flashed game-breaking ability as well as having major hip surgery, owners are drafting him as the 19th-best WR. With an unsettled quarterback situation and a change in the coaching regime in Buffalo, Watkins has too many variables to be taken this early.
- Larry Donnell – NYG (ECR-133, ADP-231, Diff. +98)Poor Larry…He is basically being undrafted, as there’s a huge difference between the ECR and ADP. Although he crept in as a TE1 and was a red-zone target for Eli Manning
last year, he is currently being forgotten behind throw-aways Eric Ebron and Jared Cook.
- Tyler Eifert – CIN (ECR-137, ADP-219, Diff. +82)Eifert represents a significant value for owners with TE1 upside. Eifert had major shoulder surgery in the offseason but will be the main TE target in Cincinnati following Jermaine Gresham‘s departure. If you are looking for a late-round flyer, he should be available. Yahoo has basically dropped Eifert off the face of the planet, ranking him as the 55th TE overall and 1840th overall!
- Delanie Walker – TEN (ECR-103, ADP-140, Diff. +37)Walker quietly put together a solid season despite poor QB play in Tennessee, finishing as the 8th TE overall. Owners must have forgotten that a trusty TE is always a rookie QB’s best friend, as he is currently going behind a suspended Antonio Gates, an offseason-hyped Josh Hill, and a TD-dependent Dwayne Allen. Walker has great value and should finish as a TE1.
- Julius Thomas – JAX (ECR-94, ADP-75, Diff. -19)Other than being a red-zone monster (12 TDs) in 2014, Thomas had minimal value with 43 catches for only 489 yards. After getting paid by the Jaguars this offseason, he currently is being drafted as the sixth TE, almost two rounds before the experts. Taking into account the change of scenery from Denver, it will be hard to recreate Thomas’ red-zone opportunities from 2014. Advice; pass on him at his current ADP.
- Owen Daniels – DEN (ECR-126, ADP-110, Diff. -16)It is clear that Daniels and Gary Kubiak have a good thing going. From Houston to Baltimore and now Denver, Daniels has had a significant role in each offense Kubiak has led. Drafters are betting on Manning finding Daniels regularly, although he could face stiff TE competition from an emerging Virgil Green.
- Dwayne Allen – IND (ECR-122, ADP-111, Diff. -11)Much like Thomas, most of Allen’s value in 2014 came from the eight touchdowns he scored on only 29 catches. He is being drafted as the 11th overall TE yet will be splitting time with Coby Fleener. Earlier this offseason, the Colts also revealed that they are ditching their two-TE sets, meaning Allen should be falling even further in an offense where the ball will be flying all over the place.