Don’t Reach For These Players in 2016
The internet can be a double-edged sword when it comes to fantasy football research.
Not only are various fantasy football websites an open forum for player statistics to be stretched and inverted in various directions to convince you to draft (or not draft) certain players, but it hinders the ability of a team owner to draft sleepers and value picks in the proper round.
Many of the top fantasy football players begin their draft research the prior season for the following season; they see tremendous value in overlooked or undervalued players that can be a focal point with some pre-season development in pre-season camps.
Most of these potential value players can be drafted the following season in mid-to-late rounds.
Here are the most over-drafted players for the 2016 fantasy football season based on pre-draft hype:
How can the #1 fantasy quarterback be over drafted? It’s a valid question.
Cam Newton was THE fantasy force last year. With 3,837 yards, 35 touchdowns, 7 rushing touchdowns, and averaging almost 29 fantasy points a game, not only did Newton make it to SuperBowl, he effortlessly put a lot of doubt to rest for fantasy football team owners with a projected mediocre team.
So coming off of a career year, how can we possibly overdraft Cam Newton? There’s nothing wrong with Cam Newton as the #1 quarterback off the board (and in any type of fantasy football league); it’s the depth of the position.
There’s nothing wrong with Cam Newton as the #1 quarterback off the board (and in any type of fantasy football league); it’s the depth of the position.
While quarterback tends to produce the most fantasy points throughout the season, it’s only 10% of you total starting lineup.
There are a few premiere quarterbacks that are top tier, but there are a sufficient amount of productive quarterbacks that can produce a consistent amount of points that you can draft for much later.
While Newton is a solid investment at the position, it’s much more valuable to target a WR or RB in the 3rd round, which is where Newton’s average ADP.
Actionable Takeaway: Draft a quarterback late. Not only is the position deep in 2016, but you’re getting much more value in the early rounds, especially if you’re drafting with the Zero RB Strategy.
As stated in the beginning of this article, the internet is primarily the factor in exposing potential sleepers or value picks at a particular round.
Initially, Donte Moncrief may not be even considered as a WR2 on most teams, but by the end of training camp, he will more than likely become over drafted based on analyst’s prediction for the 3rd year player.
While Moncrief’s first 2 years in the league do not seem as impressive on paper, he has the potential to exceed based on pure physical talent and supporting teammates. With a 6’2″ frame and good speed, Moncrief’s precise route running is what makes him such an ideal breakout candidate.
2014 Season: 32 Receptions, 444 Yards, 3 TDs
2015 Season: 64 Receptions, 733 Yards, 6 TDS
As training camp unfolds, it will be more prevalent that Moncrief is a valuable WR2 in most formats; and potentially driving his average draft position to far to be considered a value pick.
Currently, the only live fantasy football drafts are MFL10 leagues, and as you can already see, Moncrief is steadily rising in popularity:
Actionable Takeaway: By all means, target Donte Moncrief for your fantasy team. Just don’t reach for him. If you’re considering drafting Moncrief before the seventh round, there’s not much value there that can be invested in other players.
The Seattle Seahawks are primed for a big 2016 season.
Russell Wilson looks poised to be one of the top-rated quarterbacks, Thomas Rawls looks to fill in nicely for the retirement of Marshawn Lynch, and the contract extension of Doug Baldwin makes an even balance for maximum production for the 2016 season.
But who has the biggest upside of the Seahawks? It’s Tyler Lockett.
As a rookie in 2015, Lockett impressed with 51 Receptions, 664 Yards, and 6 Touchdowns. With good play speed, Lockett not only contributed to the WR corps, but was a valuable piece to the special teams. While his physical build isn’t ideal for separation, his explosiveness is what is ideal for a WR2.
The potential for a breakout season is there for Lockett. Normally a run-first team, Seattle poured on the passing in the 2nd half of the 2015 season.
Doug Baldwin received the lion’s share of targets, but Lockett was still a factor in their aerial assault. With Baldwin drawing the double team in 2016, Lockett is primed for a big season.
And therein lies the problem. With an initial ADP of 7:12 , Lockett provides serious value.
As training camp begins, we’ll be hearing much more of Lockett’s ability, and thus, more hype that will drive up his average draft position.
Actionable Takeaway: If you’re thinking of drafting Lockett before Doug Baldwin or Thomas Rawls, you’re making a big mistake. The ceiling upside is there. It’s the floor you need to worry about.
Is Ezekiel Elliot set up for success? Absolutely.
Does he have the #1 offensive line in front of him.? Sure does.
So what is stopping you from drafting Elliot as the #1 back off the board, based purely off of situation and talent? The fact that he has yet to play a down in the NFL.
Too many times fantasy team owners have been burned on rookie projections. A successful college player is drafted with every opportunity to overtake the starting role for their team, only to disappoint their first season.
But what about players like Todd Gurley? Of course, they’re are going to be impact players who make a splash right away. Todd Gurley, who’s ADP in 2015 hovered around 4:4, was an absolute steal.
There’s a difference in drafting a rookie in the first round versus the fourth, though. For every successful rookie that’s drafted in fantasy football, there’s significantly more that are disappointments for their first season. For 2015, see Melvin Gordon, Ameer Abdullah, and Tevin Coleman.
Here are some rookieWRs to be cautious about in 2016. Unless you’re drafting them in the late rounds, more than likely they will be over-drafted:
Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants
Corey Coleman, WR, Browns
Derrick Henry, RB, Titans
Actionable Takeaway: If Elliot falls to the back half of your first round or even into the second, by all means, draft away. But with Le’veon Bell returning from injury, Todd Gurley playing a full season, and Adrian Peterson continuing with above average consistency, the “potential” juice isn’t worth the squeeze.
Fight The Urge To Reach
When it comes to drafting your fantasy football team, while it’s important to be knowledgeable on who to draft, it’s equally important to know who not to reach for.
Reaching for a player not only puts your team in jeopardy of capitalizing on a more valuable player in that position but potentially derails the remainder of your draft.