Each round of a fantasy football draft presents different challenges. It’s never as simple as picking your favorite sleepers or avoiding your busts, the concept of value picks, who’s worth waiting for, and how your leaguemates draft plays into every decision you make. Preparing for the ups, downs, and unknowns is vital to success. So let’s look at the concept of overrated and underrated fantasy players with a bit of a twist.
Instead of looking at players as a whole, let’s go round-by-round, based on ADP, and identify players who you should target and avoid in PPR leagues. Below are the big-name players going in rounds 6-11 of fantasy drafts. Who should you draft and who should you pass on? (Note: overrated and underrated players for the first five rounds will be released on Thursday).
Overrated: Cam Akers
This was a difficult round to choose an overrated player. The players with a current ADP between 61-72 are actually pretty solid values overall. However, if there’s one player I’d be a little cautious about it’s Akers. While I believe he could provide flex and maybe even RB2 value in the second half of the season, I’m tempering expectations for all rookies heading into this season. Plus, the Los Angeles Rams’ backfield is going to be a much bigger headache than many expect with not only Darrell Henderson getting work, but Malcolm Brown as well. Until we get some clarity on how this situation will shake out, fantasy managers are risking tying up a bench spot long-term before getting a return on their investment.
Underrated: Kareem Hunt
As mentioned above, there’s a lot of value in Round 6 right now, but I want to highlight Hunt, who certainly helped some fantasy managers make the playoffs in the back half of the 2019 season. Hunt garnered the vast majority of backfield targets once he returned from suspension and now gets to display the skill that made him a top fantasy option in Kansas City over 16 games with the Browns. Nick Chubb will still be the lead back, but both he and Hunt will be on the field at the same time frequently, with each getting work in their specialties. I expect Hunt to be north of 150 total touches this season (with 80-ish targets), providing solid low-end RB2 value.
Overrated: Hunter Henry
Spending an early seventh-round pick on an oft-injured tight end that’s getting a downgrade at quarterback is not my M.O. Henry is supremely talented and it was worth taking the risk when Philip Rivers was his quarterback and the tight end position lacked any meaningful depth outside of the top handful of options. Neither are the case this season, which is why I have Henry ranked nearly two full rounds lower than his ADP. I have Henry down for 44/525/4 over 13 games this season.
Unlike in Round 6, this appears to be the round where everyone is reaching for a quarterback or the third-tier tight ends. I’ll pass on both and keep adding to my wide receiver and running back corps. Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen is underrated at his QB9 ADP. However, he’s going as the 83rd player off the board on average, that’s very close to my ranking (No. 86 overall) so he’s not really underrated. Everyone else in this round is going relatively close to where they should be in their position group or are going a little too high.
Overrated: J.K. Dobbins
Dobbins is a tremendous talent, but I can’t justify his top-90 ADP. I’m not sure how often he’ll get on the field as a rookie, so this is shaping up to be Justice Hill 2.0 with the hype far outweighing productivity. The Baltimore Ravens ran a league-high 596 times last season. I don’t expect that number to be above 550 this season. Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Lamar Jackson made up 85.7% of Baltimore’s rushing attempts last season. Even if that percentage drops by 3% and no other back gets a carry, it’s hard to find a path to 100 rushing attempts for Dobbins. Considering how hard 2020 will be for rookies anyway, Dobbins is a stay-away for me.
Underrated: Marvin Jones Jr.
Jones is one of the more underrated players in the league. He finished last season as the WR24 in overall points and the WR19 on a points-per-game basis in PPR formats—and that’s despite playing five games with the combination of Jeff Driskel and David Blough at quarterback. Jones was the WR28 on a per-game basis in 2018, so his productivity didn’t come out of nowhere. With a healthy Matthew Stafford back and the strides he showed under offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell last season, I’m pretty bullish on the Lions’ passing offense. Jones will be a beneficiary and is my WR28 compared to his ADP of WR36.
Overrated: Noah Fant
As excited as everyone is to see this new Denver Broncos offense under second-year quarterback Drew Lock, fantasy managers must realize that not everyone can be successful. The Broncos will be a run-first team under Vic Fangio and the addition of free agent running back Melvin Gordon underscores that point. Drafting wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler will help, but will the Broncos throw enough for Courtland Sutton, Jeudy, Hamler, and Noah Fant to all be successful fantasy options? Probably not. Also of note, in Fant’s five games with Lock last season, he averaged 2.0 catches on 2.8 targets per game. He averaged 2.7 receptions on 4.7 targets per game with Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen. I’m not sure Fant’s one great game with Lock is enough to justify his ADP.
Underrated: Jamison Crowder
Crowder isn’t very exciting so he gets overlooked, but he’s a darn good PPR receiver. Volume is incredibly important for fantasy success and Crowder gets plenty of it. In the 13 games Crowder played with Sam Darnold last season, he amassed 108 targets, good for a 24.5% target share. There’s little reason to expect that to change in 2020. Crowder is Darnold’s safety blanket. If Darnold plays a full season, Crowder is in line for around 125 targets in 2020. That’ll play, especially in the ninth round.
Rounds 10 & 11
Overrated: Darius Slayton
I know everyone is very excited to see how Slayton follows up his breakout rookie year, but I want to throw a little cold water on the hype. First off, 44% of his receptions, 52% of his yards, 88% of his touchdowns, and nearly 40% of his targets all came over four games (Weeks 5, 8, 10, and 14) or 29% of his season. That isn’t a knock in and of itself, it’s just something to note, especially for those not in best ball leagues. The main concern is he’s fifth in the pecking order for targets in the New York Giants offense behind Saquon Barkley, Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram. The latter two have an extensive injury history that must be taken into account, but I think Slayton’s 2019 season is his peak in terms of potential 2020 production. That’s still valuable, but more as a low-end WR5 than a WR4.
Underrated: Golden Tate
Don’t forget about Tate—he’s not that far removed from his 90/1000/5 seasons in Detroit and showed some chemistry with Giants quarterback Daniel Jones last season. Tate was suspended to begin the year, but when he returned, nearly 20% of Jones’ pass attempts went Tate’s way when both players were active. The Giants are going to be forced to throw a lot this season and Tate will be a big beneficiary. Just like Crowder above, volume equals fantasy points. Tate is one of my favorite sleepers, ranking as my WR32 while being drafted as the WR52.