Wide Receivers Overvalued in Best Ball Drafts: Part 2

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As we are doing best ball drafts, one of the biggest keys is making sure we are taking players at or around where they will be the end of the season rankings. If we are lucky we are finding guys who are outperforming their rankings and bringing us clear value. We want to avoid drafting players who don’t come close to meeting their ADPs. That is where you will typically struggle to succeed. If you took guys like Michael Pittman last year in the 2nd or 3rd round, you were going to struggle as he didn’t finish as a top-20 WR. Here are some players after the top 100 who could really struggle to hit value for us in our drafts.

Part 1 – TOP 100 | Part 2 – 101+

 

ADP 101+ Overvalued Wide Receivers:

Michael Thomas – WR 47, ADP 94.6

From 2016-2019 Michael Thomas was one of the top fantasy wide receivers in the league and was a guy who was perfect for best ball given the consistency that he displayed. In the three seasons since then, Thomas has played a total of 10 games, and just three over the past 2 seasons, due to multiple lower leg injuries. Thomas is the biggest high-risk/high-reward player in fantasy drafts this season, as there is just so much unknown.

If Thomas is 80-90% of what he was, then he’s a steal at this ADP/ranking. If he is only 60% or less, then you are probably regretting this selection. That is the decision that drafters need to make, while also accurately factoring in his high injury risk.

What we do know is that Thomas is healthy to start camp, and should slide into the number 2 role behind Chris Olave. If Olave can follow up his impressive rookie year, and show that he’s the true alpha on the team, it will limit Thomas’ target opportunities. The question then becomes how much number 3 WR Rashid Shaheed, and the multitude of tight ends currently on the roster squeeze that number 2 role. The other issue is will the Saints pass more with Derek Carr this season. In the past two years since Drew Brees retired the Saints have only thrown the ball 502 and 517 times, (30th and 27th in pass attempts). That can make it tough for a good number 2 WR to emerge, particularly if the number 1 has a major target share, and other options have a strong role as well.

A lot of this boils down to how much you are playing. If you are someone who is entering hundreds or more best ball line-ups in the various contests, then having a little risk with Michael Thomas in this range is maybe worth it. If you are only doing 50 or fewer line-ups, I would be more hesitant to take on this risk in any of them. Now if Thomas starts sliding a couple rounds, then it might start being more worth it.

 

Darnell Mooney – WR 59, ADP 128.1

I talked about the overall concerns with the Bears’ passing game when I discussed D.J. Moore previously, and those same overall issues remain true with Mooney. Now Mooney might carry less opportunity cost than Moore as he’s going 6-7 rounds later, but he’s still being selected in the 11th round. Even with a fairly strong jump from the Bears’ passing game, they aren’t going to be more than middle of the league in opportunities. Unless Moore is injured or Claypool completely falls off the map, Mooney is an extremely volatile moderate spike week player. Best case he gives you 2-3 games in the 17-24 point range.  Most weeks though he could struggle to break 7-9 points.

Unless I’m stacking him with Fields, this is just not a range I like targeting low-volume deep-threat receivers. There are multiple better options behind him, and this is a strong range for QB2’s and TEs, as well as running backs with clearer upside/roles.

 

Rondale Moore – WR 60, ADP 129.5

When the Cardinals released De’Andre Hopkins, Moore saw his ADP jump to the point where he’s going comfortably in the 11th round. That is a very high range for a player who has missed 12 games in two seasons and only has a total of 849 yards and 2 TDs on 95 catches in that time. Moore does possess some deep speed ability, but at 5’7″ and 180 lbs, he is miscast as an outside receiver. He needs to run his routes primarily from the slot, and that can be a starting position still, but it does limit his ability to fully be on the field. Even when he is on the field, he isn’t likely to have a lot of touchdown equity, which is a concern in .5 ppr.

This Cardinals team is a major unknown, as it’s unclear when Kyler Murray will return as the starting QB, and just how effective he will be. Even if Murray is back for most of the season, this is an offense that could struggle given their overall lack of talent. With a brand new coaching staff, we don’t know how run/pass-heavy the team will be, and how often they will utilize 3 WR sets.

This makes Moore’s status very much up in the air. Even in a best-case scenario where Moore is on the field 80% of the time, and sees more deep targets, it would be tough for Moore to pay off this ADP. If things don’t go according to plan, then Moore is probably getting you 5-9 points a game, with little ceiling potential. Moore is someone that is a bye week fill-in, 7th or 8th WR taken. Likely I target those players in the 15th or 16th rounds. There are just too many guys with better upsides and even safer floors on the board when he’s selected.

 

D.J. Chark – WR 69, ADP 158.3

Chark signed a 1-year contract with the Panthers this offseason and is currently penciled in as a starter. Chark had a 1,000-yard season back in 2019, but injuries have limited him to just 28 of 50 games since. Chark last year still had some big plays, but he just didn’t look as explosive as he has in the past. Speed has been Chark’s calling card in the league, as he’s never been a big contested catch or elite route-running guy. So if the speed falls off it could limit his effectiveness.

Right now Chark is expected to start, he has a pretty tenuous hold on that starting spot. Adam Thielen was also brought in this offseason, and he was given a larger and longer contract, making it far more likely that his starting role is secure. In addition, 2021 2nd rounder Terrance Marshall Jr. and 2023 2nd rounder Jonathan Mingo both can push for a starting role. Marshall struggled his rookie season and for much of last year, but down the stretch he started seeing the field and had a couple of solid games. Early off-season reports have been good with Marshall, so it will be interesting to see if he can turn the corner. Mingo was the Panther’s early 2nd rounder this season, and the expectation is he will be given a chance to earn a big role.

If Marshall and Mingo develop, it’s likely Chark and not Thielen who is at risk for losing significant snaps. Even if he starts the year as a starter on the outside, it’s possible that Chark doesn’t finish out as a top 3 receiver on this team. Given that we are dealing with a rookie QB, the likelihood is that only 1 or 2 receivers on this team will be fantasy viable anyways. Chark carries a lot of risk to be taken in the 13th round. He does offer the spike week upside, but with an undefined role, he should probably go 3-4 rounds later.

 

Marvin Mims – WR 71, ADP 160.3

For as bad as the Broncos’ offense was last season, I do see a lot of reason to hope that Sean Payton and Russell Wilson can turn it around. So overall I like having exposure to Denver’s passing game. Normally the idea of targeting a 2nd round pick with deep speed like Mims would be appealing, but the Broncos situation isn’t your normal landing spot. Mims faces a very crowded depth chart, with Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and Tim Patrick expected to be the three starting receivers. Behind them, Mims is joined by 2020 2nd rounder KJ Hamler and Marquez Callaway who Payton brought from the Saints. Mims is likely ahead among the 2nd trio of receivers, but he will face some pretty decent competition for snaps.

There are paths where Mims could find a bigger role, as Sutton has been rumored to be traded and Patrick is returning from a knee injury. The problem is nothing ever materialized from the trade rumors, and it seems less likely to happen now. So far all reports are that Patrick has made good progress and is on track to be a full go for the season. For a team that is also expected to utilize tight ends a good amount, it’s pretty tough for a 4th receiver to have much value, even if they have deep-threat ability. Mims currently is going in the 13th round, 8 spots ahead of Patrick.

In addition, multiple clear 2nd or 3rd options on teams, are going behind him. Unless something changes in front of him, it will be tough for Mims to crack 250 snaps for the season, and most weeks he’s going to give you a zero. For me I’d only be taking him in the 17th or 18th round as a correlated 8th WR on a build. Otherwise, you are probably just burning a roster spot for little upside. As a 13th-round option, he just carries so little value at this point to justify the pick.

 

Jalin Hyatt -WR 83, ADP 203.1, and Wan’Dale Robinson – WR 86, ADP 204.5

The Giants last season finished the year 25th in passing attempts, 26th in passing yards, and tied for 24th in passing TDs. This isn’t really a team that you want to load up on pass catchers, even if they increase their pass rate slightly. Of all the players you can grab Hyatt and Robinson make the least amount of sense, and it appears their recent draft capital has driven the hype with them.

Robinson was a 2nd round pick last season who in 6 games had 23 catches for 227 yards. He’s undersized and really can only play in the slot effectively. That slot position is very crowded with the addition of Hyatt, Parris Campbell, Jamison Crowder, and Cole Beasley. That doesn’t even include veteran Sterling Shepard. While a couple of those players can play a little on the outside (mainly Hyatt and Campbell), they profile best inside. The bigger issue facing Robinson though is we don’t know yet when he will be back from his knee injury. The expectation is he might need to start the season on the PUP list, and might not be back until late in the season. Even if he can return earlier, given the depth chart, it seems like he might just be a part-time slot player this season. That likely has zero value in fantasy football.

Hyatt was drafted by the Giants in the 3rd round this season, after a big year in the SEC. He is an extremely fast deep-threat option, but given the gimmicky offense he ran in college, his projection was always a question mark. With him sliding to the 3rd round it appears NFL teams felt the same, and early reports are that Hyatt is working with the 3rd team offense. From a long-term perspective that is good for Hyatt as they can develop his natural tools into being an NFL WR. For fantasy purposes though, that means Hyatt likely will play very sparingly, and might not even be active every game. Even if injuries (or setbacks to say Robinson) happen in front of him, Hyatt might not be able to pick-up the slack as he develops.

At the end of the day, this is a low-volume passing offense, that should be led by TE Darren Waller, and the projected starters of Darius Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins, and Campbell at wide receiver. While at least one or two of these Giants receivers can return value in the late rounds of Best Ball drafts, this is not a team you want to oversaturate your receiver group with. The good news here is the market is already starting to correct itself some, as just a month ago Hyatt and Robinson were going 40+ spots higher and were typically the top Giants receivers drafted. Even though they have slid into more the 17th or 18th-round range, this will still likely return negative value for your line-ups.

 

Check out the UNDERVALUED receivers 2-part article here:  Part 1 – TOP 100 | Part 2 – 101+

 

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