2014 Fantasy Football: 10 Overvalued Players Based on Current Fantasy Football ADP

Several similarities exist between managers of a fantasy football team and those that manage an investment portfolio. One of the similarities is the attempt by both to uncover values in a dynamic environment with imperfect information.

If an investment's valuation (present value of expected future cash flows) exceeds its cost on the open market, the asset is undervalued. Otherwise, it's not. That means, there are times when a "good company" is not necessarily a "good investment." On the surface, that may not seem counter-intuitive, but hype and buzz for a company can lead to situations where the company becomes overvalued.

The same phenomenon happens every year in fantasy football.

Some players are overhyped. In fact, those same players may start as values until group think causes their ADPs to ascend so that they are no longer undervalued; and in some cases, they even become overvalued. Regardless of what led to the disconnect, sometimes a good football player is not necessarily a good option in fantasy football at his current cost.

Earlier this week, I posted a list of 12 fantasy options that are undervalued based on their current average draft position (ADP). Today I turn my attention to those that are going too early in fantasy drafts.

Like I noted with my undervalued players post, ADP can vary widely from site to site. In order to smooth out those differences, I will use consensus ADP data from FantasyPros.

Here is a list of 10 players that I feel are overvalued based on their current ADPs (ADPs via FantasyPros):

QB - Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos (ADP: 7, QB1)

Seventh overall? Fourth overall in ESPN leagues? That's way too rich for my blood.

Without question, Manning should be the first quarterback off the board in fantasy drafts. (But seventh overall?!?!) Not only was it a record-shattering season for Peyton and the Broncos offense, but he was dominant on a weekly basis. Manning threw four-plus touchdowns in nine games last year; team Hall-of-Famer John Elway did that 10 times in his entire career.

The gap between Manning and Drew Brees, second in fantasy points last year, was more than 50 points. While I have Manning projected for another great season (5,264 yards and 45 TDs), the gap between Manning and Aaron Rodgers, my second-ranked fantasy quarterback, is slightly more than 10 fantasy points in my 2014 fantasy football projections.

I would consider taking Manning at the end of the second round, but not the middle of the first round.

RB - Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions (ADP: 32, RB16)

Bush rushed for 1,000-plus yards for the second time in the past three seasons while also setting a career high in yards from scrimmage (1,512) last season. I have Bush ranked lower (RB19) than his ADP (RB16), but the reason he's on this list mostly has to do with his backfield mate, Joique Bell.

While Bell had 219 touches last season, the workload between Bush and Bell is expected to be closer to even this year. I expect both to be top-20 fantasy backs this year (like they were last year). While their fantasy production should be fairly similar, Bush is going several rounds earlier than Bell, who as you probably suspected is on my list of undervalued players.

RB - Chris Johnson, New York Jets (ADP: 57, RB23)

Over his six-year career, Johnson has been remarkably durable despite his high usage rate and relatively light frame. On a full-season basis, he's been consistent with 1,000-plus rushing yards and 1,400-plus YFS every season. Johnson has been a frustrating boom-or-bust type of running back to own over the past few sesaons, however:

  • Boom: Johnson has 11 100-yard rushing games over the past three years. Only five RBs have more.
  • Bust: Johnson has 13 games with 30 rushing yards or less during same span. No other running back has more than nine such games with at least eight carries. In fact he has more than twice as many of these duds than all but two other running backs — BenJarvus Green-Ellis (nine) and Michael Bush (eight).

Now that Johnson is with the Jets, he will no longer be a workhorse back as the team will try to be "strategic" in his usage. In addition, Chris Ivory is slated to get the goal-line carries. Likely poised for his worst statistical season, he won't be on any of my fantasy teams this season.

RB - Ben Tate, Cleveland Browns (ADP: 63, RB24)

Like with Bush and Bell, Tate is in a similar situation with rookie Terrance West. While neither Tate nor West is likely to be as productive as either of the Lions top-two running backs, it wouldn't be a surprise if West, who's going much later (ADP: 115, RB39), is more productive than Tate assuming both backs play 16 games this season.

That said, Tate has struggled to stay healthy even though he's primarily been a backup and has played only 40 games since being drafted four years ago. I'd rather wait several rounds and take West.

RB - Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles (ADP: 99, RB35)

After being traded in the offseason, it's possible that the 31-year-old running back is as productive with the Eagles this year as he has been with the Saints. That said, Sproles (RB46 in my rankings) is being drafted before many guys that I have ranked higher and are going several rounds later — Jeremy Hill (ADP: 131), Carlos Hyde (139), Andre Williams (142), etc.

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WR - Wes Welker, Denver Broncos (ADP: 42, WR17)

Welker set seven-year lows with 73 catches for 778 yards, but he scored in a career-high 10 touchdowns. That said, Welker sustained a pair of concussions sustained over a four-game span last season. With Eric Decker leaving in free agency, Welker should see his snaps and targets increase some on a per-game basis.

Based on my projections of 82/918/8 for Welker, however, he's my WR28; yet he's going ahead of roughly a dozen wideouts that I have ranked ahead of him. Instead of listing two Broncos on this list, a bonus overvalued player is Emmanuel Sanders (28th WR in ADP; 37th in my rankings).

WR - T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (ADP: 67, WR25)

Breaking out last season with some monster (and dud) games as Reggie Wayne went down with a torn ACL, Hilton finished the year with 82 catches for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns. With 982 yards and six TDs projected for Hilton, he's my 31st-ranked fantasy wide receiver.

With a healthy Wayne (and tight end Dwayne Allen as well) plus the free-agent addition of Hakeem Nicks, I'm not sure that Hilton takes a big step forward in 2014 although I do have him ranked as the team's top wideout entering the season. In the daily mock drafts I've been doing since May 27th, he has yet to land on my team once.

WR - Riley Cooper, Philadelphia Eagles (ADP: 107, WR37)

Cooper had a breakout season last year, but it's possible that Cooper finishes fifth, or even sixth, on the team in catches. Both LeSean McCoy and Sproles are excellent receivers out of the backfield, Zach Ertz should take a big step forward in Year 2, Jeremy Maclin is back from his torn ACL and Jordan Matthews is a second-round rookie that has generated plenty of buzz all offseason. (That said, it was a rough preseason debut for Matthews for last night.)

While it's difficult for rookie receivers to make major impacts, Matthews has good size (6-3, 210) and speed with a tremendous work ethic. (This is one of my favorite examples of his work ethic.) As the season progresses, I expect Matthews to see his role/targets increase at the expense of Cooper.

Cooper is my WR51 and some of the guys that I like better that currently going after him include Brandin Cooks, Rueben Randle, DeAndre Hopkins, among others.

WR - Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens (ADP: 154, WR51)

One of my favorite players in real football, Smith is one of the toughest players in the league on a pound-for-pound basis. And he's been über productive over his career. At this point, however, the upside is limited and he's going higher than some receivers that I like a lot, such as Justin Hunter, Kenny Stills, etc. Based on my projections of 52/608/3, Smiff is my 71st-ranked wide receiver in standard-scoring leagues.

TE - Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions (ADP: 137, TE14)

As difficult as it is for rookie receivers, it's more difficult for rookie tight ends to make a significant impacts as rookies. In the history of the NFL, the last (and only) 1,000-yard rookie tight end was Mike Ditka in 1961. You guys remember that season? Yeah, me neither — since I wasn't born yet.

More recently, only one rookie tight end has had more than 600 yards in the past decade: John Carlson (627 yards in 2008).

If we're talking re-draft leagues, which I am in this post, I doubt Ebron outscores guys like Charles Clay, Heath Miller and Ladarius Green, all of whom are going after Ebron based on consensus ADP data.

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