Life is unpredictable. The NFL is unpredictable. Fantasy football…? Yeah, it’s unpredictable. Like it or not, it’s a complex system of probabilities, variables and butterfly effects all raining chaos down on our carefully constructed plans and projections. Try as we might to enforce some cohesion and order onto all of this, the reality is that complex systems rarely cooperate, and what we thought would happen rarely does.
It was in the hopes of finding some sense of cohesion and consensus regarding the current rookie class that I put out a call to the diverse and talented team of DLF writers (thanks for your help, guys). My request? Look at the latest Rookie ADP data compiled by our own Scott Fish, and tell me who you think is the most overdrafted/overvalued player on that list, and who you think is the most underdrafted/undervalued.
I was certain I would uncover a pattern, see many of the same names on each side of the ledger. I would just order the players into a list based on who had been voted most frequently. This would produce a nice, clear consensus, a tidy little list. What did I end up with? Not at all what I thought I would. Thank you, chaos.
The list which follows reflects the diversity of opinion you’ll likely find throughout the dynasty community. Even among a group of industry analysts who spend a ton of time sharing ideas and opinions there was a surprising lack of consistency in responses. In leagues where coaches of different experience levels use different sources for their dynasty analysis, this difference is bound to be even more pronounced.
As you can see from the following names, there is little consensus out there. Opinions on rookie value are still all over the place. Use this to your advantage. The names below may help you identify some of the rookies whose values might not be assessed consistently across your league. If nothing else, it’s interesting to see the differing opinions, and consider how such inconsistencies can create opportunity for you and your team.
“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail, and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but refuse. They cling to the realm, or love, or the gods…illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is. But they’ll never know this. Not until it’s too late.” – Littlefinger
Nelson Agholor, WR PHI – ADP 6.78
Jeff Haverlack – I’m actually quite conflicted over the choice of Agholor as my most over-drafted player, but with recent rookie ADP indicating a 6.78 value, I’m pulling the cord on him here. Fantasy leaguers need to slow the hype machine, even with the seemingly attractive Philadelphia system in the mix. Remove Agholor’s face and name from his player sheet and insert either of two former rookie USC receivers emerging from the past two years of the NFL Draft in Robert Woods (BUF, 2013) and Marquis Lee (JAX, 2014) and you’ll find stark similarities that can’t be ignored. Physical traits are nearly identical. Statistical production in their last two years at USC are also similar. In fact, statistically, Robert Woods is arguably the premier player of the three. Woods and Lee have both under-performed early in their careers. A 6′ receiver needs to be special to crack fantasy lineups on a consistent basis and while Agholor has been drafted into a more desirable situation than did Woods or Lee, it’s a leap to be drafting him sixth overall in this talent-filled draft.
Zach Bahner – Agholor’s ADP has risen every time we have collected data since our late March drafts, being cut in half after the Eagles selected him in the first round. He will be a solid PPR option, but he won’t approach meeting value being selected in the top six. His home should be more in the 10-15 range.
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR TEN – ADP 7.33
Scott Peak – Green-Beckham’s character issues have been well-documented, and he might already be in stage 1 of the NFL Domestic Abuse Policy. If you haven’t read it, check out the link below. A second offense results in a lifetime ban from the NFL. Green-Beckham isn’t the best route runner, and I think his athleticism is overrated. Green-Beckham put up just 13 bench press reps, 33.5 inch vertical, 119 inch broad jump and short shuttle 4.45 (3rd worst at WR) at the combine. Given his reputation, I would’ve expected him to prepare better for the combine. I’m shocked the Titans took him after spending a first round pick on Justin Hunter.
TJ Yeldon, RB JAX – ADP 8.56
Eric Olinger – I believe people are over drafting T.J. Yeldon on the assumption he is going to be a full-time three-down back in Jacksonville. Yeldon was never a feature back at Alabama and I don’t think he will be in Jacksonville either with Denard Robinson around.
Breshad Perriman, WR BAL – ADP 10.22
Dan Meylor – Despite landing in an ideal spot for early playing time and having freakish athletic abilities, Perriman is being drafted in the top 10 in rookie drafts which is just too high for a guy that drops passes and is unproven against quality cornerbacks. I’ll pass on him late in the first round.
Tevin Coleman, RB ATL – ADP 10.78
Eric Burtzlaff – I’ve never seen it in Tevin. The Atlanta backfield provides plenty of opportunity but I view this as a Bishop Sankey situation of 2014 – overdrafting for situation while ignoring actual football skill. I won’t be an owner anywhere at this price.
Jameis Winston, QB TB – ADP 13.67
Jaron Foster – In one-QB leagues, Winston should not be a first-round pick. Even with a high ceiling and big receivers, his bust potential is too high to justify being selected over some of the RBs and WRs being selected in the second round. The value just isn’t there.
Nathan Powell – Before the rookie draft season, I was absolutely positive that I’d get my share of Jameis Winston on my dynasty team. While I love Winston’s talent and situation he landed in, in Tampa, I’m not drafting any rookie QB in the top 15 of rookie drafts, which is where Jameis went in my rookie drafts, so sadly, I am leaving draft season with no Jameis Winston. In super flex/2 QB leagues, it is a totally different story, landing Jameis in that format any pick after 1.03 is a bargain.
Jaelen Strong, WR HOU – ADP 14.00
Rob Leath – Jaelen Strong early in the second is an egregious reach, in my eyes. While he is strong at the catch point, that is really his only standout trait. I want a long-term starter at this point in rookie drafts, and I see Strong as a limited player with only a modest ceiling.
Devin Funchess, WR CAR – ADP 14.89
Ken Moody – He’s a large target and Cam needs that. But he’s a WR who doesn’t catch particularly well, he’s slow, and he doesn’t even fit a traditional NFL role well – is he a WR or a TE? There are so many decent young RB’s and viable WR’s I’d rather roll the dice on in the early to mid second round of a rookie draft. I probably wouldn’t touch Funchess until the end of the second which means I won’t own him in any leagues. And I’m fine with that.
David Johnson, RB ARI – ADP 16.33
George Kritikos – Johnson is currently being drafted as the sixth rookie running back despite Bruce Arians already announcing Andre Ellington as his primary back. With a vote of confidence like that, there is no reason to draft him over running backs like David Cobb or Javorius Allen, players who landed in better situations with clearer paths to playing time.
James Simpson – I can’t buy it. He is a great receiver and he’s versatile, but that is not what I want from a fantasy running back. I don’t think he can run inside well enough to be a feature back or see a heavy workload, so an early second price tag is too high. Cardinals fans will love him and he will be a great weapon for the offense, but I’m not adding him to my teams.
Eric Hardter – This one is simple. Running back is about opportunity, and I don’t see Johnson unseating my guy Andre Ellington – that’s not a good look for a guy who will turn 24 in December. He doesn’t play to his size, and isn’t the thumper AZ needs – no way is he the 16th best rookie.
Phillip Dorsett, WR IND – ADP 18.00
Eric Olinger – I believe Phillip Dorsett is being over drafted based on the assumption he’ll replace T.Y. Hilton when he hits free agency. Just because Dorsett & Hilton are similarly built & measured doesn’t mean Dorsett will be as productive as Hilton. It would shock me if the Colts let Hilton leave Indy.
Ryan McDowell – When the Colts shocked us by selecting former Miami wide receiver Dorsett near the end of the first round, I immediately pegged him as a late second round, or even early third round pick. Dorsett has speed to burn, but I never thought of him as the most talented receiver on the recent disappointing Hurricanes’ teams and he lands in possibly the most crowded pass catching situation in the league. The Colts passed on Reggie Wayne and gladly let Hakeem Nicks leave town and they still have TY Hilton, Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief, Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener all competing for snaps, not to mention shot in the dark Duron Carter. That is a lot of mouths to feed. Obviously, Johnson won’t be around forever and recent speculation has the team planning to use Dorsett to replace soon to be free agent Hilton, but I just don’t buy it and the current asking price of 18 overall for the rookie just seems too costly. I’ve seen him go as high as the mid-first round in some rookie drafts.
Tyler Lockett, WR SEA – ADP 24.22
Doug Green – Overdrafted for me has to be Tyler Lockett going 23rd overall. I know that’s a borderline 2nd/3rd round pick, but Seattle has never had much interest in throwing to the outside and I would not be comfortable taking him there.
Chris Conley, WR KC – ADP 25.11
Jeff Miller – I really like Conley’s talent and upside. My issue is that he is almost certain to disappoint this season, meaning he is likely going to be much cheaper 12 months from now. I’ll let somebody else blow a late second then trade them an early fourth for Conley next April.
Breshad Perriman, WR BAL – ADP 10.22
Jeff Miller – A more complete receiver than people think, Perriman has a great chance of having a strong rookie season in a pass catching corps devoid of options. He is a near certainty to be much more expensive next off season than he is now.
Jameis Winston, QB TB – ADP 13.67
Eric Burtzlaff – While incredibly polarizing and perceived as “dumb”, Winston killed his Wonderlic test and has proven heart. I personally am gambling on him to be a plug-and-play QB for years in a desolate looking QB-future. I’d draft him about 4 picks earlier if my need was there and 1.01 in a superflex format.
Phillip Dorsett, WR IND – ADP 18.00
Jaron Foster – In my six dynasty leagues, Dorsett has gone between 1.08 and 1.11 in all but one (where he went 2.01). His stock was rising leading up to the draft and the only reason many cited for his post-draft fall is his landing spot. However, TY Hilton, Andre Johnson, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen are not yet signed beyond 2016 and Donte Moncrief is still an unknown. Dorsett was selected in the first round to grow as a primary target for Andrew Luck. The ceiling is high.
Duke Johnson, RB CL – ADP 18.22
James Simpson – I have admittedly been a fan of Duke for a very long time, but I think the immediacy of the three-headed backfield has scared people away from a great talent. Dynasty football often requires patience, and I think his owners will win out. With great balance, vision, agility and ‘wow’ speed, I think he can eventually take over a backfield.
Maxx Williams, TE BAL – ADP 18.22
Jeff Haverlack – I’m not normally high on tight ends and I don’t have Williams rated as an elite talent at the position. Yet I can’t ignore his status as the draft’s top tight end combined with his extremely attractive Baltimore situation. Current Raven tight end Dennis Pitta is no lock to return to his former athletic and productive self while the inexperienced and underwhelming Crockett Gillmore doesn’t have typical “move” traits. Enter Williams. For a tight end, system usage can be critical to early-career production and Baltimore has a system in place that should allow Williams to see the field early and often in his rookie campaign. With fellow receivers Steve Smith and rookie Breshad Perriman able to take the top off of opposing defenses, Williams should find a lot of single linebacker coverage in the seams, a match-up which should leave him drooling, especially give Joe Flacco’s arm. While I’m seeing wild stabs and role playing names being called ahead of Williams in rookie drafts, I think he’s a fine selection in the top of second rounds if you need young tight end help on your roster.
Devin Smith, WR NYJ – ADP 21.89
Eric Olinger – If the Jets had a better quarterback or offense as a whole, Devin Smith would probably be going 7-8 spots higher than the 22nd rookie off the board. He’s so much more than a deep threat.
Nathan Powell – Like many people in the industry, this year more than ever before, I am putting a premium value on draft position. Contrary to many fans frustrations, NFL teams are right a lot of the time. Devin Smith is a big play wide receiver out of Ohio State who was selected as the 5th pick in the 2nd round and the 7th wide receiver off the board. I also think landing with the Jets and getting the opportunity to learn from Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker makes for a sneaky good landing spot. As the 10th wide receiver off the board per rookie ADP, I think Devin Smith is definitely being under-drafted.
Javorius “Buck” Allen, RB BAL – ADP 26.89
Doug Green – Underdrafted is right in that same range with Buck Allen going 25th overall. I think he has a great chance to be the starter before the year is out in Baltimore and Marc Trestman can use him as mini-Matt Forte. I think he’s a solid pickup for that price.
Sammie Coates, WR PIT – ADP 27.67
Scott Peak – Coates has been dissected by the media, and questions have been raised with his hands and aggressiveness in attacking the ball. Coates still has the size, athleticism and character to succeed in the NFL. Situation is a bit crowded but Pittsburgh will given him a chance to develop his raw ability. I’d rather pick Coates in round 3 of a rookie draft than spend a first on Green-Beckham.
Eric Hardter – At first glance Coates’ landing spot isn’t ideal, but outside of Antonio Brown I’m not sold on the rest of that receiving corps. Markus Wheaton hasn’t shown much and Martavis Bryant has Terrance Williams written all over him to me – there’s no way he keeps up his scoring pace. Coates was a third-round pick by one of the smartest franchises in football, meaning (in my opinion) he should be a third-round pick in dynasty drafts. It wouldn’t shock me if he becomes the team’s WR2 by 2016.
Mike Davis, RB SF – ADP 29.78
Zach Bahner – While Davis wasn’t the most talented runner in the draft, he is really only being held back by Carlos Hyde. Hyde has inexplicably become a top 10 RB after doing nothing special in his rookie campaign. If he doesn’t perform better in 2015, he will be supplanted.
Kenny Bell, WR TB – ADP 31.22
George Kritikos – When you enter the third round of a rookie draft, you want to find talent with a path to playing time. Bell is a vertical threat with an insane catch radius who will likely have an opportunity to start whether the Bucs cut Vincent Jackson before the 2016 season (to avoid another $12 million cap hit) or allow his contract to expire afterward.
Josh Robinson, RB IND – ADP 32.11
Ken Moody – I think everyone can agree Robinson is not the most talented back in the draft. But he has landed in a situation filled with potential. He’s sitting behind 32 year old Frank Gore, and JAG Dan Herron. He finds himself in an offense headed by the best young QB in the league and a run blocking scheme which complements his running style. The historical fantasy landscape is littered with failed RB’s of modest talent who landed in the proverbial ideal situation. Investing a high draft pick in such a selection is definitely unwise. But in the mid-second round or later, you are gambling anyway, and at that point, a guy with the potential upside Robinson is as good a gamble as any. As a third or fourth round pick? Fuggedaboutit.
DeAndre Smelter, WR SF – ADP 32.75
Rob Leath – Late in rookie drafts, I am just taking stabs at guys I hope have value over short stretches. Seldom do I find talents with immense natural skills, as I do with DeAndre Smelter. He was already a long-term investment, so the knee injury does not scare me away. I feel he has potential that matches the second tier receivers in this class.
Stefon Diggs, WR MIN – ADP 36.00
Dan Meylor – The Vikings are in need of a slot receiver. While most expect Jarius Wright to handle that role, Diggs has the pedigree and skill set to potentially grow into a premiere slot guy, In an offense that’s improving, he’s exactly the kind of lottery ticket I like to take in the third round or rookie drafts.
Bud Sasser, WR STL – ADP 46.50
Ryan McDowell – Sasser, a late round pick by the Rams, is being severely overlooked in early rookie drafts. He currently has an ADP of 48, but in most drafts I’ve followed and participated in, he’s going underrated altogether. While at Missouri, all Sasser did was make big plays when his team needed him. I can envision him doing the same for the Rams, who desperately need a consistent threat at the receiver position. Kenny Britt actually brought some stability to the team last year, but Tavon Austin has been a complete bust, Stedman Bailey has shown glimpses of potential, but can’t seem to really put anything together. Just when we thought Brian Quick was making the leap, he got hurt. On a team with so many options, however mediocre they might be, there is a chance Sasser gets lost amongst them, but for a fourth of fifth round rookie pick, I’m willing to take the risk.
I set out hoping to compile a fairly definitive list of players who are overvalued and undervalued. What this has instead highlighted is the lack of definitive value for rookies and players in general. There is only the perception of value, and those perceptions can vary pretty wildly. Most of us already knew this, so this in itself is no revelation. But hopefully this list will provide some names to focus on when searching your own leagues to find those valuation differentials, and using those inconsistencies as an opportunity for deals and trades.
So those are some of the players we came up with for over-drafted and under-drafted rookies. Who would your two players be?
Take a look at our Rookie ADP and share your thoughts below.