Overrated/Underrated Fantasy Football Players: Rounds 1-5

Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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. To see players for rounds 6-11 click here. Below are the big-name players going in the first five rounds of fantasy drafts. Who should you draft and who should you pass on?

Round 1

Overrated: DeAndre Hopkins

This has nothing to do with Hopkins’ talent. He’s one of the best receivers in football and will have a very productive 2020 season with the Arizona Cardinals. The problem for fantasy managers? He’s with the Cardinals and not the Houston Texans. Hopkins won’t get the 170-plus targets he saw with the Texans. I anticipate he’ll be closer to 130-140 targets, which will still keep him around the top-six players at the position, but not worthy of a first-round selection. 

Underrated: Alvin Kamara

Kamara’s ADP of 5.0 is pretty respectable, but it doesn’t reflect his actual upside. Sure, he had a down year in 2019, but he was still an RB1 despite suffering a knee injury in Week 6 that he never fully recovered from. Aside from returning to full health, the biggest thing in Kamara’s favor this season is positive touchdown regression. Kamara scored a touchdown about every 15 touches if you combine his 2017 and 2018 seasons. Last year, he scored one touchdown per 42 touches. That won’t happen again. He’ll be back in double-digit territory in 2020. If Kamara scored a touchdown every 15 touches last season, he would’ve finished as the RB5 in total points and the RB2 in points per game, despite missing two games. He’s my clear No. 3 overall pick in PPR formats.

Round 2

Overrated: Nick Chubb

I continue to have an internal conflict with this one. I’m in the weird position of being so high on Chubb but also lower than most have him. Why? The lack of pass-catching will depress his fantasy value. I have Chubb projected to lead the league in rushing yards and rushing attempts, but his limited work in the passing game and unlikely ability to match a Derrick-Henry-like touchdown total makes him more of an elite RB2 for me. Chubb caught 24 passes in the first eight games of 2019… then Kareem Hunt joined the team following his suspension. Chubb only had 11 receptions over the final eight games of the season, and it’s hard to imagine him besting that per-game total in 2020 with a more run-heavy offense. 

Underrated: Aaron Jones

Jones’ touchdown total will regress some, that’s to be expected, but the rest of his 2020 performance is legit. The fantasy community has been waiting for Jones to be unlocked and he was last season. The result: Jones finished as the No. 2 running back in fantasy last season with 298.5 fantasy points—he was the RB3 on a per-game basis with an average of 19.9 points. Jones will effectively serve as the Packers’ No. 2 pass-catching option this season, which should help quell some concerns about his with-Davante Adams, without-Davante Adams numbers. He’s a first-round talent with an ADP barely inside the top 20.

Round 3

Overrated: D.J. Moore

I’m simply not buying the Moore top-10 wide receiver hype. He finished as the WR12 overall last season and WR15 on a per-game basis, but I’m not sure the upgrade from Kyle Allen to Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback will be all that helpful for him unless he starts playing a whole different game than we saw last season. Moore still doesn’t use all of his athletic gifts, which prompted TDN’s Ben Solak to call him more talented than valuable to his team. I think that WR12-15 range is his peak, so I’d be more comfortable taking him around WR20 than this WR10 ADP. 

Underrated: Le’Veon Bell

Much like Kamara, some positive touchdown regression should be on the way for Bell this season. Bell scored a total of four touchdowns last season on 311 touches. There’s no way that happens again. I’ll take a chance on the guy who finished eighth in the NFL in touches per game last season with his 34.8 ADP. Last season may be as bad as it gets and Bell still finished as the RB15 in total points and RB17 on a per-game basis. I have Bell ranked as my No. 15 running back with the following projection: 1,395 total yards and six total touchdowns on 310 touches.

Round 4

Overrated: Courtland Sutton

I’ll preface this by saying that I love Sutton’s talent. I just have some reservations when it comes to some extremely bullish projections for the Denver Broncos’ passing offense this season. I expect Denver to be a run-first team, leaning heavily on Melvin Gordan and Phillip Lindsay. While quarterback Drew Lock flashed at times last season, don’t expect the team to run through his right arm. That brings me back to Sutton. Lock will have plenty of options at his disposal after the team added both Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler via the 2020 NFL Draft. Sutton is still the No. 1 and caught Lock’s first two NFL touchdowns, but we look back at the waning weeks of last season through rose-colored glasses. After a great first game with Lock, Sutton ranked as the WR50 during the final month of the season. I’m letting someone else pay the price at his current ADP.

Underrated: Cooper Kupp

Some may be nervous by his poor (sans touchdowns) second half of last season, but Kupp continues to produce when he’s on the field.  He ranked as the WR4 in total points and the WR7 in average points per game in 2019 after being the WR15 on a per-game basis at the time of his ACL injury in 2018. Kupp will continue to get plenty of targets and plenty of red-zone action in 2020. My full stat projection can be found here, but Kupp is a top-10 fantasy wide receiver for me coming off draft boards with an ADP of 39.3 (WR15).

Round 5

Overrated: D.K. Metcalf

I’ve been flamed for this take already, so I’ll defer to my projections and why figuring out Metcalf’s target volume is the key to his fantasy value:

In 18 total games last season (16 regular season and two playoff games), Metcalf averaged 9.82 yards per target—that number was actually significantly higher in the postseason, which is a great sign. Assuming that stays relatively constant, that works out to 883.4 yards over 90 targets.

Metcalf had a 60.53% catch rate as a rookie. Assuming he stays around that mark in 2020, that projects out to 54.5 catches on 90 targets. 

Metcalf should be able to somewhat replicate his rookie stats, which I think is tangible progress considering he will be a bigger focus for defenses in 2020. I just don’t see a huge progression of his fantasy stats on the horizon for this season.

Underrated: T.Y. Hilton

One of the most underrated players in fantasy this season, Hilton is a borderline WR1 (No. 13 in my rankings) going as the WR24 right now. Hilton was the WR9 in total points in 2014, the WR5 in 2016, and tied for WR10 in average fantasy points per game in 2018. If he plays all 16 games in 2020, he’s a lock for WR1 territory and likely the top-half of it. A Philip Rivers wide receiver has finished in the top 10 on a per-game basis in four of the last five seasons. There’s no reason Hilton can’t keep that streak alive in 2020.

Written By:

Jaime Eisner

Managing Editor

Managing Editor of The Draft Network. He’s a former editor for Sports Illustrated, FanRag Sports and Arizona Sports. He’s the co-host of the TDN Fantasy Podcast and has an extensive background covering fantasy sports and sports betting.

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