Last week, the incredibly helpful Pat Fitzmaurice pointed out ten players who, based on their current ADP, are undervalued.
To complement Pat’s analysis, I’ve waded through the hyperbole of hype season (that’s right now, you know) and listed ten players who, if drafted based on their current ADP, could damage your fantasy hopes.
Disclaimer: There are several sources for ADP with a variety of results in this still early drafting season. Like Pat, I am using the ADP from our friends at Fantasy Pros.
Matt Forte, Bears, RB6, 7th overall
In PPR leagues last season, Forte was the third-best at his position behind DeMarco Murray and Le’Veon Bell. A big chunk of those points came from Forte’s whopping 102 receptions, a testament to Marc Trestman’s abnormally heavy use of Forte in the passing game.
But Trestman’s departure strips the Band-Aid and should leave potential owners with some concerns. Forte is turning 30 this year and, as evidenced by last season’s 3.9 yards per carry, may be slowing down. Forte topped the 1,000 yard mark on the ground because he was so heavily utilized, but only had one run over 19 yards. Plus, have you seen the Bears defense? I doubt there will be many instances when Forte is running out the clock in garbage time.
Peyton Manning, Broncos, QB3, 30th overall
You never know with Peyton. But after finishing as the fourth-best fantasy quarterback last season, signs of improvement or even sustainability just aren’t there. The wear and tear is coming to the surface, and Manning topped 300 yards just once over Denver’s last seven games. The Broncos lost talented tight end Julius Thomas in the offseason, as well as beloved by Manning offensive coordinator Adam Gase, who loved to air it out. And versatile rusher C.J. Anderson should be heavily involved and could be even more of a focal point if Denver slowly migrates to a run-first philosophy.
Even if Manning’s true worth is in the QB5-QB7 range, and I believe it could be lower, he’s not worth the risk. I suggest Pat Fitzmaurice’s strategy of adding value at another crucial position in the early rounds and taking your chances much later by grabbing a couple of potential sleepers like Colin Kaepernick, Carson Palmer or perhaps the guy that Gase is now coaching, Jay Cutler.
Seattle Defense, DST1, 66th overall
66th overall? Seriously? Never ever pick a defense before the double-digit rounds. Consider not only the opportunity cost, but Seattle’s schedule. A sampling of the non-divisional quarterbacks Seattle will face this season: Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton. Please don’t waste a pick here.
Jimmy Graham, Seahawks, TE2, 28th overall
I think we can all agree that Graham will see a dip in production from his days as Drew Brees’s primary target. Graham a is game-changing presence and that dip could be more minimal than anticipated, especially if you believe the training camp hype. But even five less catches than last season (putting him at 80) and two less touchdowns (8), and Graham would have finished as only the fifth most productive tight end. When you consider that Russell Wilson is no longer in a contract-year, meaning he can rely on his workhorse running back as opposed to trying to pad stats, the prospect of Graham finishing the season as the second-most productive tight end seems like a stretch. Resist the urge to use an early third round pick on Graham and instead fill the slot with a Travis Kelce or Martellus Bennett in the late fifth or sixth rounds.
Amari Cooper, Raiders, WR22, 50th overall
By all accounts, Cooper is a superstar in the making. His fancy footwork has impressed during this infancy of training camp. Unfortunately his team, which last year finished dead last in total offense and 26th in passing, just doesn’t have enough pieces yet to provide an environment for which Cooper can be a consistent factor.
Sammy Watkins, Bills, WR21, 52nd overall
Watkins’ talent is unquestionable. But he plays on a team helmed by two quarterbacks named E.J Manuel and Matt Cassel. Like most Rex Ryan-coached squads, expect the Bills to be very run oriented. Plus, there are lingering concerns about the hip surgery Watkins underwent in the offseason.
Adrian Peterson, Vikings RB1, 1st overall
So we didn’t have the biggest canvas for which to judge Peterson last year, at least on the field. Mike Zimmer promises a heavy workload and Peterson is targeting 2500 rushing yards (no “I” in team, right?) but I’m just not convinced that 30-year old Peterson who hasn’t played a down for a year will be exactly the same player we remember.
Add in Teddy Bridgewater’s expected rise, coupled with a newly intriguing wide receiver corps that now includes Mike Wallace and physical rookie Stefan Diggs and I’d rather use my top overall pick on Jamaal Charles, Eddie Lacy, Le’Veon Bell or Marshawn Lynch. Better yet, try and trade down.
Drew Brees, Saints, QB5, 41st overall
It’s hard to knock a man who has hovered near or above 5,000 yards for five straight seasons. But the signs of slowing down are there, particularly when it comes to velocity. From 2011-2014, Brees completed 67, 66, and 69 passes over 20 yards, respectively. Last year that number dropped to 52. But the issue lies deeper
As Pat pointed out in an earlier column about the most intriguing players of 2015, think about the Saints current roster (sans Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills) and try to envision how 5,000 passing yards and 35 touchdowns would be allocated.
Joique Bell, RB25, 62nd overall
Let’s see, Bell is starting camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list after recovering from knee and Achilles’ surgery this offseason. He’s 29, but starting to feel like an old 29. The Lions drafted Ameer Abdullah in the second round of this year’s draft, a sign they don’t exactly consider Bell a long-term option. Abdullah has wowed in the early days of camp to the point where he should get a respectable workload if not the startership.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR14, 34th overall
One look at Benjamin’s rookie season targets (142, per Pro Football Focus) and it’s easy to salivate. The overall numbers were impressive – 73 receptions, 1008 yards, and 9 touchdowns – but dropped pasess and general sloppiness were also evident. Benjamin may very well improve and put up big numbers, but with the addition of exciting rookie WR Devin Funchess, and TE Greg Olsen, fresh off a career year, I see him as more a low-end WR2.