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 be selecting 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 comparing players based on their current ADP on Fantasyfootballcalculator.com and filling up a QB-2RB-2WR-TE-WR/RB FLEX line-up with full PPR scoring. After giving you the RB1 for my roster, it’s time to select the WR1.
Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
ADP: 28 – WR11
Adam Thielen was targeted a phenomenal 142 times last season, catching 91 passes for 1,276 yards and 4 TDs, leading to him finishing as the WR8. Thielen is being drafted at his ceiling, with regression in targets almost a certainty for several reasons. A lot has changed in Minnesota, 142 targets was 50% more than he saw in 2016, and 124 more than 2015. This uptick in targets coincided with Pat Shurmur’s hiring as OC, we may say a significant reduction now that Shurmur has moved on to the Giants.
There is also a new Quarterback in town in Kirk Cousins, so Thielen’s rapport with Case Keenum is gone. Cousins is historically a high volume passer, but he is known to spread the ball around his offense. Cousins has never targeted a player more than 116 times in a season, Pierre Garcon in 2016, despite 606 pass attempts passes that season. The Vikings attempted just 527 passes in 2017. Stefon Diggs is one of the most talented receivers in the league and will command targets when healthy. Diggs was on pace for 109 targets last season and was targeted 22 times in the playoffs compared to Thielen’s 18. Thielen finishing as a WR1 again in 2018 is by no means out of the question, but expecting him to be, and in turn drafting him as one, is highly optimistic given how much his situation has changed.
Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions
ADP: 59 – WR25
Marvin Jones was thrust into fantasy relevance early in 2016 only to underwhelm those who traded for him or picked him up. This let-down led to him being an immense value in 2017, being drafted as the WR42. Jones went on to register his first 1,000+ yard season, with 1,107 yards, catching 61 of his 107 targets, which was good got a WR12 finish. Despite this, Jones has again fallen under the radar of drafters. Jones has now been targeted 100+ times for 3 straight seasons, and is tethered to one of the NFL’s signature ‘gunslingers’ in Matt Stafford, who has averaged 625 passing attempts and 28 TDs per 16 game season in his career.
Jones’ volume is not in danger of going down, so maintaining the 9 touchdowns he scored last year is not out of the question, especially with Eric Ebron leaving behind 12 red zone targets. Detroit did bring in a new head coach for 2017, but Jim Bob Cooter remains the offensive coordinator so we can expect more of the same going forward. Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount have been brought in to give the Lions a toothier running game than they’ve had for some time, which will give defences more to worry about than Stafford’s arm.
I have Thielen ranked as my WR14 and Jones as my WR18 in my latest rankings so I will be taking the value on Jones everywhere I can. If Jones outscores Thielen, I would not be the least bit surprised.
Thank you for reading. Stay tuned for further articles in this series. You can find me on Twitter @DFF_MSte.