Fantasy owners get overly excited at times about rookies. What was the hype on them? What was their NFL Draft capital? What is their landing spot? There are a lot of factors to consider going into rookie drafts and weighing one piece over others can lead to making poor decisions. The savvy owners take advantage of others’ weaknesses overvaluing situations or those who stubbornly stick to predraft evaluations only.
This has led to the following list being overdrafted in early drafts.
Anthony Richardson, QB IND (Round 1, Pick 4)
The appeal of Richardson is massive and rightfully so. He is the most athletic quarterback ever with arm traits that can be eye-popping. His floor is actually quite high due to his rushing and fit within Shane Steichen’s offense with the Colts. In superflex, it makes sense to be all in on Richardson as the 1.02, but in single-QB leagues, he will be overdrafted.
QB is more important in single-QB than the general fantasy community thinks, but Richardson creeping above potential starting running backs and wide receivers feels wrong. With both Bryce Young and CJ Stroud often falling to the late second of rookie drafts, just wait a round and take the last one left. Richardson may creep into the mid-first round of rookie drafts soon and be overdrafted.
Zay Flowers, WR BAL (Round 1, Pick 22)
The profile looks good as a first-round rookie WR, but Flowers fails to check almost any other boxes for fantasy production. His size is a big issue at 5’9, 182 pounds, especially with his lack of route running and downfield attacking ability. He definitely ranks a distant fourth behind Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Quentin Johnston, and Jordan Addison.
On top of this, the Ravens are getting a new offense under Todd Monken. They may pass more, but the targets are likely to be distributed a ton between Mark Andrews, Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham, Isaiah Likely, JK Dobbins, and Flowers. There just may not be the consistent volume for fantasy production. The landing spot isn’t bad (and shouldn’t make a HUGE difference for rookie drafting spot), but it compounds Flowers’s issues where he needs volume for fantasy points.
The WR class as a whole was weak, so this is a rookie draft to take RBs and TEs. After the top three WRs, it is generally a “stay away” from the position and eat up value elsewhere. Unfortunately, that means letting someone else take the first-round shot on Flowers.
Marvin Mims, WR DEN (Round 2, Pick 32)
Mims was a fantasy darling before the draft and rightfully so. He is an impressive downfield player who is likely to fulfill the KJ Hamler role the Broncos offense never had. Sean Payton likely wants a stretch-the-field player who can keep safeties back to improve the run game (and keep Jerry Jeudy clean on slants). Unfortunately, deep-threat WRs are not fantasy-friendly, and as I outlined last year, they are overdrafted.
The last pick of the second draft capital also looks deceiving. It feels much better to draft a second-round WR than a third-round WR, even if the difference is merely a couple NFL Draft picks. Don’t fall into this trap. The difference in draft capital between Mims and Jalin Hyatt or Cedric Tillman is nominal, but many fantasy players will miss that.
Tyjae Spears, RB TEN (Round 3, Pick 18)
The Senior Bowl highlights pushed Spears into the general fantasy consensus with many rating him as the third or fourth RB in the class. With medical questions lingering, the draft capital was a question until the Titans pulled the trigger in the third. Obviously Spears is behind Derrick Henry, but he should get the opportunity to be a change of pace back from the beginning. Everything seems good, but there is more underneath the surface.
After he was drafted, it was revealed that Spears has no ACL in one of his knees and degenerative arthritis. The longevity of his career is in question, and with part of that career coming as a likely backup, it is a difficult investment to make. Some of the day three RBs should go over Spears.
Darnell Washington, TE PIT (Round 3, Pick 30)
Getting first-round buzz is nice, but when medicals knock you down into the third round, there are questions. This TE class is phenomenal and worth investing picks into, but Washington is the outlier. Even before the draft, his blocking was the key component to his draft profile, and you don’t get points for that in fantasy. Even with the size and athleticism, Washington was going to be overdrafted in fantasy leagues. Then he fell.
Joining a Steelers team that is run first with Pat Freiermuth as their TE1 is not ideal. Washington will be called to block. A lot. Perhaps a red zone TD or two will look impressive, but don’t expect fantasy numbers. The fact that Washington may be drafted over other day two TEs like Luke Schoonmaker and Brenton Strange is pretty crazy.