Continuing my “Overrated, Underrated, Adequately Rated” monthly series, I now turn my attention to June ADP from DFF. Looking over the ADP, I have identified three players that I view as either overrated, underrated, or adequately rated based on their current ADP price.
Overrated: TY Hilton (WR7, ADP = 10)
For those of you who listen to my podcast, Fantasy Minute, you have heard me rant about Hilton’s inflated price for the past two weeks. As I said in my Lamar Miller article, we, the dynasty community, tend to overcorrect a player’s value due to recency bias. This happens every year and it is completely natural, but there comes a time when you have to put your foot down. TY Hilton, in the summer of 2017, has become the living embodiment of recency bias.
In 2016, Hilton caught 91 receptions on 155 targets for 1,448 yards and 6 touchdowns. By his standards, Hilton had a career year and he finished as the PPR WR5. On a weekly basis, Hilton had big play potential, but he was consistent as well. He finished with below 10 fantasy points in only 5 of his 16 games, while breaking 20 fantasy points in six games (two of which were over 30). After a year as an elite fantasy receiver, why am I calling him overrated?
2016 was an outlier for Hilton regarding production. Below are his numbers in 2016 versus his average numbers from the past three seasons:
As you can see, Hilton outperformed his average output in 2016, setting career highs in every category except touchdowns. So, what allowed him to have a career year in 2016? Donte Moncrief. In 2015, Moncrief had 64 receptions on 105 targets for 733 yards and 6 touchdowns. That same year, Hilton caught 69 receptions on 134 targets for 1124 yards and 5 touchdowns. Moncrief was plagued by injuries in 2016 and only caught 30 receptions on 56 targets for 307 yards and 7 touchdowns. Essentially, Moncrief’s production was halved from 2015 to 2016, and that production went to Hilton.
Hilton was the primary beneficiary of almost 50 targets and 430 yards missing from the Colts offense. With Moncrief back and healthy, the emergence of Jack Doyle and the addition of Kamar Aiken, Hilton’s numbers should fall back down to Earth some in 2017.
Now, let’s talk price. Hilton is currently going in the back of the first round as the seventh receiver off the board. Owners taking Hilton at that price are paying for his ceiling, which I believe we have already seen in 2016 and may never see again. Before last year, Hilton previously only finished as a WR1 once (in 2014 he was WR12). In his other two seasons, excluding his rookie year, Hilton has finished as a mid-backend WR2 (WR18 in 2013 and WR22 in 2015). Hilton is also turning 28 this season, so his inflated price is not due to his age, but simply due to recency bias from 2016.
If you were to take Hilton’s average from his last three years, he would have finished as the WR13 in 2016, aka Jarvis Landry. Right now, Landry is being drafted in the middle of the third round, but Hilton is a top-10 startup pick. At this time last year, Hilton was being taken at the end of the second and even early third round. His price has inflated to the point that he is now grossly overvalued in startup drafts and I will not be touching him anywhere near his current ADP.
Players behind Hilton I would rather own (ADP): Michael Thomas (11), Melvin Gordon (13), Devonta Freeman (17), Allen Robinson (18), Doug Baldwin (25)
Adequately Rated: Isaiah Crowell (RB14, ADP = 39)
There was a time when Isaiah Crowell was a buy low candidate. The end of last season was that time. Given his age, production, offensive line improvements, and the Browns willingness to feed him the rock, the buy low time has passed. Crowell’s price has caught up to his hype, no longer making him a steal in any draft. However, Crowell’s price has not reached a point that he is now overvalued. Currently, he is at the top of the third round as the 14th back off the board. Regarding his price based on production, Crowell finished as the PPR RB14 in 2016, meaning he is value is perfect.
He is currently going behind players like Lamar Miller, Keenan Allen, Corey Davis, Jay Ajayi, and Doug Baldwin. On the other hand, he is drafted ahead of players like Dalvin Cook, Terrelle Pryor, Stefon Diggs, Derrick Henry, and Tyreek Hill. Crowell has a ton of upside as a 24-year-old back on a team committed to the run with an elite offensive line. Teams will still have to respect the passing game in Cleveland, meaning defenses will not be able to game plan for Crowell alone. He can outproduce his current price, and I expect him to do so in 2017. However, regarding ADP, Crowell is right where he should be.
Underrated: T.J. Yeldon (RB60, ADP = 194)
What if I told you that you could draft an RB3 in the 17th round? What if I also told you that player was only 24 years old? You would be ecstatic, right? Some might even say that player is the steal of the draft. Well, I am here to tell you that you can draft a 24-year-old RB3 in the 17th round right now, and his name TJ Yeldon.
Yeldon finished 2016 as the PPR RB36, totaling 777 yards and 2 touchdowns on 180 touches. In 2015, he finished as the RB27 after totaling 1019 and 3 touchdowns on 218 touches. I get it, the touchdowns are not there for Yeldon, but you are not drafting Yeldon to score touchdowns. Yeldon is a PPR back much like Giovani Bernard or Duke Johnson.
The difference between Yeldon and those two backs is that the two-down back in front of him has question marks surrounding his pass-catching abilities. Everybody knows Joe Mixon’s talent as a receiver, and we have seen what Crowell can do as well (40 receptions on 53 targets in 2016). However, Leonard Fournette is coming into the NFL with questions about his pass-catching abilities. In his three-year college career, Fournette only caught 41 receptions for 526 yards and 1 touchdown.
To his credit, many believe he is capable, myself including, but he was never asked to do that at LSU. The Jaguars may use Fournette as the two-down back until he can step into a role as a receiver, or they may never ask him to receive at all. In either case, Yeldon has proven himself as not only a viable pass-catcher but a borderline elite receiver out of the backfield.
In 2016, Yeldon caught 50 passes (on 68 targets) out of the backfield, good for 11th among all running backs. However, he only had 4 fewer receptions than Devonta Freeman, who finished 5th in receptions among running backs. In terms of PPR production, Yeldon offers a safe floor as an RB3 or, in most cases, as a bye-week fill-in on your roster. I am not saying he should be a weekly starter, but he is surely a very good back to own as your fourth or fifth option on your depth chart.
Yeldon is being drafted around players like Charles Sims, Wayne Gallman, Jamaal Charles, Chris Thompson, Josh Reynolds, and Torrey Smith. I am easily taking Yeldon over all those players, as well as most players still going ahead of him. Essentially, you can trade a third-round pick for Yeldon or even as a throw-in piece in a deal. Using DLF’s trade finder, Yeldon has been sold straight-up for pick 3.08, straight-up for 3.12, and even straight-up for Christine Michael. Why would you not take a proven NFL talent instead of taking a chance on a third-round rookie flyer? At the very least, they will both sit at the bottom of your bench all season, so there is no risk involved in drafting or trading for Yeldon.
Players in front of Yeldon I would take him over (ADP): Josh Reynolds (193), Charles Sims (192), Chad Williams (191), Adam Shaheen (185), Devontae Booker (184)