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Overvalued Fantasy Football Players to Avoid (2023)

By C. H. Herms 9:35am EDT 8/22/23

Don't Spend Draft Day Reaching

You’ve surely heard some variation of: “You can’t win your league on draft day, but you can lose it.”

That’s an exaggeration, but it’s not entirely incorrect.

Fantasy managers need to ensure that each pick is smart and comes at a good value.

In fact, the first pillar of our fantasy football strategy is:

Pursue Value Above All Else

That means scooping up undervalued players ... and avoiding the overvalued.

We’ve gathered a list of overvalued players relative to current ADP.

There’s nothing wrong with taking any of these guys if they sink past ADP, but don’t fall for drafting them at cost.

Check out where these players land in our award-winning fantasy football rankings

Aaron Rodgers, QB, New York Jets

Draft Sharks Ranking: QB18
Current PPR ADP: QB14 (9.12)

There are plenty of reasons to give Rodgers a bit of a pass for 2022.

The Packers’ offense lost Davante Adams. Their top two WRs were both rookies. And Rodgers played through a fractured thumb for most of the season.

In fantasy terms, he only logged one weekly top-12 QB performance and averaged just 14.1 fantasy points per game.

Last season was ugly no matter how you slice it.

The good news is that now Rodgers finds himself with a change of scenery in New York. But will it be enough?

New Places, Old Friends

Rodgers will be working with a few familiar faces.

New OC Nathaniel Hackett served in the same capacity with the Packers between 2019-21 and helped oversee an offense that produced two of Rodgers' MVP campaigns (2020, 2021).

The Jets also signed former Packers WR Allen Lazard to a four-year, $44 million contract ($22 million guaranteed) this offseason to work opposite young star Garrett Wilson.

Perhaps this environment will be conducive to getting Rodgers back on track. But even if these moves work out, it's likelier to pay greater dividends for real-life football than fantasy.

Signs Of Decline

The former MVP recorded career lows in passing yards per game (217.4), passer rating (91.1), and QBR (39.3) last year. And his 6.7 yards per attempt were his lowest since 2015.

On top of that, only Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Brett Favre, and Warren Moon have posted a top-12 fantasy season at age 39+ (since the 1970 NFL merger).

Though the Jets have invested plenty in building around Rodgers -- including signing veteran RB Dalvin Cook to run with Breece Hall -- it's too difficult to ignore his signs of decline and his age.

Rodgers is a fine mid-QB2 in superflex leagues but probably not going to be your best bet as a starter in 1-QB leagues.

Travis Etienne, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Draft Sharks Ranking: RB14
Current PPR ADP: RB12 (3.07)

Etienne had a bit of a slow start to 2022.

He opened the season splitting carries with then-teammate James Robinson. But by early October, the former first-round NFL draft pick took over the backfield, and Robinson got traded to the Jets.

From Week 5-9, Etienne ranked as the RB11 in PPR points per game (19.4) while posting the fourth-most carries per game (17.4) and second-most rushing yards per game (107.6) among RBs.

Nagging injury slowed him down a bit down the stretch, though Etienne still put up a respectable 16.2 carries, 82.7 rushing yards, and 0.5 TDs per game in his 12 fully healthy games from Week 7 through the playoffs.

Now, though, a new teammate threatens to cut his workload.

A Committee In Jacksonville?

The Jaguars selected RB Tank Bigsby with the 88th pick in the draft.

The rookie has already impressed this preseason, logging 122 rushing yards on 22 carries through two games.

According to ESPN's Michael DiRocco, Jaguars HC Doug Pederson recently said he "doesn't want to overload Bigsby early in the season, but it's likely his role will expand as the season progresses."

TIP

You can keep up with all camp reports and important fantasy football news here at Draft Sharks.

That aligns with Pederson's track record of deploying committee backfields. In his six seasons as an NFL HC (Eagles 2016-20, Jaguars 2022), Pederson has only given an RB more than 50% of the team’s carries once (Miles Sanders, 2020: 60.6%).

The most carries per game any RB had in any of those seasons was Sanders in 2020, with 13.7.

Etienne will need to find greater usage in other areas to make up for the presence of Bigsby.

Pass-catching is one potential avenue. However, Etienne only saw a 6.5% target share last season following Robinson's trade in Week 7. Plus WR Calvin Ridley joining WR Christian Kirk, WR Zay Jones, and TE Evan Engram will challenge the available target share.

Unless Etienne can stave off Bigsby for the high-value goal-line touches, his status as a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 is a bit shaky.

Where's the value?

More importantly, we project Etienne for not even 10 more PPR points than guys like Rachaad White, Alexander Mattison, Cam Akers, and James Conner, who are all going 2+ rounds later.

There's no reason to spend a third-round pick on Etienne. 

D’Andre Swift, RB, Eagles

Draft Sharks Ranking: RB30
Current PPR ADP: RB26 (6.06)

Swift has struggled with injuries throughout his career and has yet to put it all together and become a workhorse RB.

He's been effective when healthy despite these struggles, however.

Swift has recorded 70+ targets each of the past two years and finished as a top-20 back in PPR points per game in all three of his NFL seasons. 

Following an offseason trade to the Eagles, he'll have a chance to be the lead back in one of the league's best offenses.

But is it a good fit?

A Square Peg in A Round Hole

Philadelphia may not be the best fit for Swift's fantasy viability.

Carries figure to be spread around.

Jalen Hurts led all QBs last season with 165 rushing attempts. He led the Eagles in carries inside the 5-yard line (tying Miles Sanders in carries inside the 10).

RBs Kenneth Gainwell and Rashaad Penny are also threats.

Swift also could see limited target volume. The Eagles only directed 12% of targets to RBs last year, second-lowest in the NFL.

With limited upside in both TDs and receiving, Swift doesn't sport a great ceiling in our projections.

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Our 3D projections give you a quick look at every player's fantasy ceiling.

 

D.J. Moore, WR, Chicago Bears

Draft Sharks Ranking: WR28
Current PPR ADP: WR23 (5.03)

The Bears traded for Moore this offseason in hopes that he can spark the passing game.

He has finished the last four seasons with at least 60 catches, 800+ receiving yards, and 4 TDs.

Moore has the talent to make a big difference in Chicago, but how much will that mean for fantasy?

Huge Hurdles

Barring an overhaul in philosophy, the Bears will likely be run-heavy again in 2023.

In 2022, they ranked 31st in pass rate and recorded the NFL’s lowest pass rate over expectation since 2016 (-14.1%).

The Moore trade clearly indicates a desire to pass more. But how much more? We can't really know that until the season begins.

And there are still concerns about QB Justin Fields. He finished last year with only:

  • 192 completions on 319 attempts
  • 2,242 passing yards
  • and 17 TDs.

He ranked dead-last in PFF passing grade among 25 QBs who recorded 400+ dropbacks last season.

Fields did rank top-10 in passing grade over his last two seasons at Ohio State, which points to passing upside beyond what he has shown to date.

But there are too many questions to support Moore's WR2 price tag.

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Identifying value is a key part of draft strategy.

 

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Tennessee Titans

Draft Sharks Ranking: WR27
Current PPR ADP: WR20 (4.11)

A string of injuries over the last couple of years and a six-game PED suspension to open 2022 have put a damper on Hopkins' production, though he's still a darn good player.

Hopkins finished as the WR10 in PPR points per game last year (16.9) with 10.7 targets, 7.1 catches, 79.7 yards, and 0.3 TDs per game.

It's easy to get caught up in the name value of Hopkins, but don't be fooled ...

Low Volume, Limited Upside

The Titans don't throw a lot.

They've ranked 25th or lower in pass attempts in all five seasons under HC Mike Vrabel, and 30th or lower in four of those years.

Expect Tennessee's offense to remain centered on RB Derrick Henry, perhaps with a dose of third-round rookie RB Tyjae Spears as well.

And don't be surprised if second-year WR Treylon Burks challenges Hopkins for the team lead in targets -- assuming Burks recovers from his knee injury.

There's also a chance the Titans switch to Malik Willis or Will Levis if the season isn't going well. Either unproven QB would bring the risk of a drop in passing efficiency vs. Ryan Tannehill.

And we can't ignore Hopkins' injury risk. Our Injury Predictor has Hopkins projected to miss 3.4 games this season.

Add all of this together, and it's pretty difficult to justify taking the veteran wideout at WR20 in drafts this year.

George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

Draft Sharks Ranking: TE7
Current PPR ADP: TE4 (5.05)

Kittle developed a connection with QB Brock Purdy toward the end of 2022.

He averaged 3.9 catches, 55.9 receiving yards, and 0.9 TDs in eight full games (playoffs included) with the rookie.

Kittle's success didn't just come with Purdy in the lineup either. After missing the first two games, Kittle ranked top 5 in targets, catches, receiving yards, and TDs among TEs from Week 3 on.

So why aren't we more excited?

Regression Ahead

His production from last year is unsustainable.

Kittle scored on 18.3% of his receptions. The average league-wide TD rate for TEs is 8.4%.

He also drew his lowest target share (18.9%) since 2017. That followed shares of 24.8% or more in each of the previous four years.

That target share could drop even lower. In seven games with a healthy Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey last year, Kittle only saw 12.3% of targets.

 

Find The Best Value With Every Draft Pick

It's tough to get a read on a player's true value.

There are so many factors to consider that it's easy to overthink every pick ...

... unless you have a fantasy football cheat sheet customized to your exact league settings.

Our Draft War Room syncs directly to your league and recalculates player values as the draft unfolds.

The result: You get the top value recommendation at every turn.

Sound like something you're interested in?

Create your Draft War Room now.

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