We are in the peak of hype-season, and for every player that shoots up in ADP, there is one who falls. Remember to take all hype with a pinch of salt. This time of year we are inundated with positive reports from beat writers, coaches, and even players. Coaches need to be positive about their players, players are always going to big-up their teammates, and beat-writers need clicks. I will select a starting line-up of currently over drafted/overhyped players and pit them against a team of under-drafted players, position by position. These under-drafted players are players who I think are not only better value but can also out-score their over-drafted counterparts in 2018.
I’m going to be comparing players by current ADP on Fantasyfootballcalculator.com and filling up a QB-2RB-2WR-TE-WR/RB FLEX line-up with full PPR scoring. Our first face-off pits Joe Mixon against Jordan Howard for the RB1 role on our hypothetical roster.
Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears
ADP: 25 – RB16
Jordan Howard followed up his RB10 finish in 2016 with 299 touches, 1,247 yards from scrimmage, a 4.6 ypc and 9 Touchdowns in 2017, to finish as the RB14. Joe Mixon was given 208 touches for 913 scrimmage yards, 3.5 ypc and 4 TDs in his rookie campaign.
The Chicago Bears are primed for their offense to ascend in 2018, with an influx of talent in Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Anthony Miller and a new offensive-minded head coach in Matt Nagy. Jordan Howard has managed to rush for over 1,100 yards in each of his seasons so far and has scored 16 TDs, on an offence which was 28th in points scored in both years.
Howard has a career yard per carry of 4.6 on 528 attempts, this guy is a tried and tested workhorse. The Bears face the easiest schedule in the NFL for running backs in 2018 when it comes to fantasy points allowed to running backs in 2017. The combination of an upgrade in talent and a soft schedule for RBs means that Jordan Howard should find himself more opportunities in the Red-Zone. Howard has shown incredible efficiency in the red zone, since he entered the league in 2016 he has been handed the ball 64 times within the 20-yard line, scoring 14 touchdowns. All of this points to Howard being a locked-in RB1 in 2018, and he is currently being drafted near his floor.
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
ADP: 26 – RB17
Mixon, on the other hand, is stuck in a lackluster Marvin Lewis offense, who was reluctant to feed him the ball significantly last season as the Bengals finished as the 26th highest scoring offense in the league. There are a lot of people who consider Mixon as the best all-around back from the 2017 class, and he may be, but he showed a severe lack of efficiency in his rookie season. He finished the year with an average of 3.5 yards per carry and posted just a 41% success rate as a rusher according to footballoutsiders.com, which was 37th in the league.
Mixon was out-performed by Giovanni Bernard as both a rusher and a receiver. Not only was Giovanni Bernard preferred to Mixon in the passing game, with 60 targets to Mixon’s 34, but Bernard was also more efficient on the ground, averaging 4.4 yards per carry, with three more breakaway runs (20+ yards) than Mixon on 76 less attempts. When Joe Mixon went down in week 14, Bernard took over and impressed, posting 206 rushing yards with two rushing TDs, and catching 16 passes for 133 yards in 3 games. Bernard finished as the RB6 during this stretch, averaging 20.7 fantasy points per game. As long as he is tied to this offense, taking Mixon at the 2-3 turn is drafting him close to his ceiling.
These two should be going at least one round apart in drafts, if you are facing these two in this spot, there is only one choice, and it’s Howard.
Thank you for reading. Stay tuned for further articles in this series. You can find me on Twitter @DFF_MSte .