Dark time in the NFL? Pfft. Allow us to illuminate, fellow fantasy football fiends, some of the best potential bargains and buyer beware candidates based on summer average draft position (ADP) data from
Fantasy Football Calculator
That's right, it's the first rendition of our annual summer series,
the ADP Alert, where we go position by position scouring for steals and recognizing red flags as draft season nears. For starters, we checked in on 12 undervalued fantasy options approximately three weeks from the start of training camps. Naturally, we turn next to players who are currently overvalued.
Baker Mayfield (QB5, 6.07)
Look, we love Mayfield as much as the next guy, but doesn’t it feel like his fantasy outlook might be unreasonably tethered to the (unreasonable?) hype around his Browns? How else do we explain Mayfield’s ADP residence above far more proven quantities still possessing immense fantasy potential like Russell Wilson (QB9, 8.01) and Philip Rivers (QB14, 10.07)?
Jared Goff (QB12, 9.07)
Goff was actually a better fantasy quarterback in his third season, when he jumped from QB12 to QB7. That fact can easily be lost in his December-January swoon, when he tallied a 7:8 TD-INT ratio — with four of the touchdowns coming in a meaningless Week 17 contest vs. a lowly Niners defense. More so than recency bias, it's the Rams' interior O-line turnover giving us trepidation regarding a quarterback who struggles in muddy pockets.
Dalvin Cook (RB10, 2.04)
Such an awesome talent, such a massive injury risk. Sigh. Cook actually dropped from 9th to 20th in per-game fantasy scoring last season, which we'll chalk up largely to the O-line horror show, but missing 19 of his first 34 NFL games with injuries? Not a fluke for a player who entered the league with significant durability issues and a laundry list of surgeries on his shoulders and knees. Throw in an unsettled O-line, the arrival of third-rounder Alexander Mattison and we see a player going at least one round too early.
Phillip Lindsay (RB22, 4.04)
Lindsay was undoubtedly a rookie revelation, but Denver didn't spend a Day 2 pick last year on the bigger, stronger Royce Freeman — reportedly an offseason standout — to forget about him. Moreover, a sneaky-good run-blocking O-line lost anchor Matt Paradis, whom the Broncos loved running behind, in free agency and wasn't as effective after he went down with injury in November: Lindsay averaged a half-yard less on the same number of carries in the second half of the season. Perhaps a 5-8, 190-pounder also was running out of gas — another reason we prefer spending an eighth-rounder on Freeman.
Derrius Guice (RB28, 6.01)
Kicking off Round 6 by picking Guice, who redshirted as a rookie with a torn ACL, would be risky even if Adrian Peterson wasn't re-signed. Of course we know he's back after turning back the clock to 2015, while we know nothing about how Guice will return from injury and assimilate to an NFL offense for the first time that's likely to be led by a rookie quarterback. This entire offense is volatile, but Chris Thompson in Round 13 might be our first choice.
Darrell Henderson (RB34, 7.06)
Yes, the Rams traded up for Henderson, the most explosive runner in college football last season. True, Todd Gurley's arthritic knees are on borrowed time. Also true: the Rams matched Detroit's offer on RFA Malcolm Brown, guaranteeing him more than $2 million. Unlike Henderson, he's built to tote the rock often if Gurley can't, and flashed his own dynamism in New Orleans last season with that awesome pirouette TD. With so many mouths to feed in L.A., is the third-string runner and likely gadget specialist worth a seventh-round pick? Not to us right now.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR6, 2.03)
In his first three NFL games without Antonio Brown, JuJu thrashed the Texans and Browns as a rookie and Bengals last season for a combined 20-255-3 receiving. But those defenses were nothing short of awful, ranked 26th, 30th and 29th, respectively, in passing yards per play. In his first three games as Pittsburgh's new WR1, he'll see a Patriots 'D' that stymied him last year (4-40 receiving), the Seahawks and 49ers. It's certainly possible he's ready for the regular attention of the opposition's best corner and/or bracket coverage every week, but it's also an awfully expensive leap of faith on someone who hasn't done it before.
Julian Edelman (WR15, 4.02)
He hasn't finished ranked higher than 14th in per-game half-PPR scoring since 2015, when Edelman was on the other side of 30 and Rob Gronkowski was still a TE-sized monster having his second-best receiving season as a pro. It's not that Edelman hasn't fared well previously in Gronk's sporadic absences, and if healthy he'll surely be in line for 150 or so targets, as he's received in each of his past two full seasons, both partial years for Gronk. But with N'Keal Harry aboard and Edelman's lack of big-play prowess, this price tag is a tad steep for our liking.
Tyler Boyd (WR27, 6.05)
There's a lot to like about Boyd: ascendant talent, in a contract year, likely to again be in a dumpster fire defense. It's just that we like the chances of a rebound for A.J. Green, who amazingly can be found at the Round 3 turn, a lot more than Boyd becoming something he has yet to be in fantasy with Green and Tyler Eifert (for now) back and Joe Mixon poised for even more work this season.
Geronimo Allison (WR37, 8.11)
Allison is a good player who mostly has maximized his NFL opportunities, but not to the point of preventing Brian Gutekunst from spending three picks in his first draft at the controls, or Aaron Rodgers driving the Jake Kumerow hype train again this offseason. Kumerow, Equanimeous St. Brown and J'Mon Moore are going undrafted, and we're befuddled by Allison's ADP relative to Marquez Valdes-Scantling's (two-plus rounds later), never mind known commodities like Larry Fitzgerald (8.12) and Emmanuel Sanders (10.06) and higher-ceiling prospects like Mecole Hardman (9.07) and Dede Westbrook (10.06).
Eric Ebron (TE7, 6.11)
This one is pretty simple: Ebron epitomized TD-dependent in his breakout debut season with the Colts, much of it spent without Jack Doyle, who's almost healthy again. Ebron still fights the ball, and he'll have to fight for targets with new middle-of-the-field threats in Devin Funchess, Parris Campbell and Deon Cain. Ebron is a boom or bust fantasy option at what's been a stream-able position in recent years — hardly a wise later-sixth-round investment.
David Njoku (TE10, 8.05)
Like in Edelman's case, we might be picking nits a bit here. Njoku is a unique talent in a unique offense loaded with playmakers. But he'll of course be joined by Odell Beckham, easily a top-five receiving talent, and returns alongside target hog Jarvis Landry (19 red-zone chances), not to mention the arrival of an underrated TE weapon in Demetrius Harris. And the tight ends might need to block more with Greg Robinson and Chris Hubbard as Mayfield's edge protectors. Njoku parlayed 88 targets into TE9 overall standing last year, but it says here he'll have to be more efficient on what's likely to be a lot fewer opportunities, to match his current draft slot.