We don't hate players. We hate ADPs. Today's exercise is about fading players at their current price on Underdog Fantasy, where we update ADPs on a 48-hour rolling window. Some of these players have upside, will score fantasy points, and could even be good picks on other sites given their default rankings, but I'm not drafting these players on Underdog Fantasy.
There have been 6 TEs to average more than 8.0 half PPR points per game as a 32 year old. Their per-game production dropped by 19.8% in their age-33 season. Kelce will be 33 years old this year. You have to squint, but Kelce's decline arguably has started a bit. His yards per route run was above 2.09 in each of the previous five seasons, but dropped to 1.91 last year, while being the TE4 versus man coverage. More importantly, I believe the Chiefs' offense is changing a little bit, swapping out some of the backyard style play that Kelce thrives in for more traditional under center concepts. It's possible they swap him out for better run blockers more than they've in the past, or simply run more than usual. It's hard to see him truly tanking, but it's extremely hard for a TE to be a top-15 asset given they score so many fewer points than the other positions. Mark Andrews is younger, just averaged more yards per game than Kelce, and goes later in drafts if you want an elite TE.
Instead, give me TE2 Mark Andrews later or your favorite Round 2 RB.
I have a model ("The Fantasy Usage Model") that converts usage to expected fantasy points. Samuel dunked on my model all last year, scoring 18.5 half PPR points compared to his 13.3 expected half PPR points (+5.2), which was the second most points over expected at the position behind only Ja'Marr Chase. Samuel's usage equated WR10, and I'm worried that his usage will drop with Brandon Aiyuk having a great camp (not in the dog house) and with George Kittle likely to be healthier in 2022. Through in the potential decrease in QB-to-WR fit with over the middle passer Jimmy G to sideline dual-threat Trey Lance, and we could have a lot more inconsistent play from Samuel. He's a hell of a player and a great watch, but his injury history, the negative regression, and the new environment are enough to scare me away.
Instead, give me WR8 Mike Evans, WR9 Tee Higgins, TE2 Mark Andrews, or your favorite RB in the middle of Round 2.
I'm not convinced Tua Tagovailoa is good enough to support two top-20 WRs in this offense. The 49ers, where this Dolphins playbook and philosophy comes from, have ranked 29th, 16th, and 29th over the last three seasons, while ranking 28th, 31st, and 20th in neutral-situation pace. The Chiefs and Dolphins were 2nd and 8th in pass attempts, respectively. There could be growing pains with this entirely inexperienced Dolphins coaching staff, too, especially if the offensive line remains a bottom-10 unit.
Instead, give me WR12 Tee Higgins, WR 14 Mike Williams, RB13 Leonard Fournette, RB14 Nick Chubb, or RB15 James Conner later.
Allen's yards per route run has dropped in five-consecutive seasons, and he's entering year #10 as a 30-year-old. In full PPR, Allen should still do his thing, but I think elite YAC and downfield work is asking a bit too much, especially with Mike Williams emerging. If Allen was going just 3-5 spots later, I'd be fine with him, but there are high-upside RBs and younger WRs in the middle of Round 3.
Instead, give me WR12 Michael Pittman, WR14 Mike Williams, WR16 Courtland Sutton, or RB15 James Conner.
Etienne certainly has upside appeal, but his tape has red flags. While having the burst to take it to the house, Etienne consistently looks for the big play, leaving yards on the field. NFL coaches care about this stuff, especially in short-yardage situations where all that matters is picking up the three yards that are blocked. Meanwhile, James Robinson and Snoop Conner are the opposite. I'm not sold Etienne will have the goal line role to himself. He will get schemed up receptions, but he's not a natural pass-catcher (still) and is a wild card in pass protection (where J-Rob shines). Ultimately, I think his usage is not worth his Round 3 price tag, especially with the Jaguars early in their rebuild.
Instead, give me RB15 James Conner earlier or RB17 Ezekiel Elliot later.
Brown wins downfield and Kyler Murray has one of the best deep balls in the game, so there will be big weeks. I'm less convinced he'll be consistent, especially when DeAndre Hopkins returns after six games and if Rondale Moore takes a step. Brown has never had to compete for targets with legit WRs in the NFL and wasn't in a 3- or 4-WR set offense, where it's harder to earn targets. Brown probably has WR2 value early, but I think this price tag is rich for down the stretch. Another thing to watch, the Cardinals OL is suspect.
Instead, give me WR19 Terry McLaurin, WR21 Jerry Jeudy, WR22 Gabe Davis, or an elite QB.
From my Preseason Week 1 Recap column: "It's too early to tell, but this situation reminds me of Melvin/Javonte from last year. The offense is likely mid (or worse). The play volume isn't great. And both backs are good enough to start, so they split touches in disgusting ways. In Preseason Week 1, Carter started, played 10-of-20 snaps in the first two drives, and exited the game first (without playing in the second quarter). Hall subbed in after the chains were re-set as the 1B, also finishing with 10 snaps. The second-round rookie did handle the 3rd-and-1 carries (and was even subbed in for one, suggesting he's the goal-line back). That's a slight win. The Athletic and ESPN have both called Carter the RB1 right now, with the expectation that Hall will eventually take over. That could be in Week 1, after the bye, in 2023, or never. I've never seen Hall as the elite prospect others have, which is why I've been consistently lower on Hall and overweight on Carter (who is the far more consistent rusher at this stage)."
Instead, give me WR19 Terry McLaurin, WR21 Jerry Jeudy, WR22 Gabe Davis, or an elite QB.
Recent reports out of training camp suggest a two-back committee, rather than a bellcow backfield. Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson confirmed this speculation on our podcast. Akers has the skills, if healthy, to be a league-winner, but I think the Rams OL is worse, Stafford is banged up himself, and Darrell Henderson and passing-back Kyren Williams can be a crutch in his first full season back from a torn Achilles. Just too rich when the elite QBs are available.
Instead, give me QB3 Lamar Jackson, QB4 Patrick Mahomes, WR22 Gabe Davis, WR24 JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR26 Rashod Bateman, or WR27 DK Metcalf.
George Pickens is GOATed.
Update: Now that his ADP has dropped and we have news that his training camp absence could've been a hold-in (not injury), I'm more okay with Waller in Round 5.
His two seasons as a fantasy superstar came with far less target competition. The No. 2 target in those seasons were rookie-year Hunter Renfrow and Nelson Agholor. With Renfrow taking a clear next step and more importantly with Davante Adams in town, it's hard to picture his elite range of outcomes happening without unpredictable injuries. Waller is quietly older than expected (30) and has missed most of training camp with injury. The latter is notable considering his tight-lipped injury in 2021.
Instead, give me WRs or QBs in Round 5 and TE9 Dawson Knox later.
Kittle averaged 80.6 yards per game from 2018-2020, but the target competition on those teams were non-existent. The top non-Kittle target earner in those years: Kendrick Bourne, rookie Deebo Samuel, and rookie Brandon Aiyuk. We've entered the prime Deebo and Aiyuk ear, while swapping an over-the-middle pocket passer for an inexperienced deep ball dual-threat QB. Kittle's yards per game dropped to 65.0 last year, and it's possible there are fewer pass attempts in the red zone with Trey Lance. It's not a huge deal, but Kittle is also quietly 29 years old.
Instead, give me WRs or QBs in Round 5 and TE9 Dawson Knox later.
Multi-ligament ACL tears are no joke. And the one Dobbins had (PCL) is even more serious than the more common ACL/MCL tear. Dobbins' rehab is still ongoing more than a year later, and the first season back from these types of injuries aren't pretty. The Ravens do run the ball, which paints a picture that it's a fantasy RB-friendly offense, but they do not pass the ball to their RBs and Lamar Jackson steals goal-line work. Even if healthy, I don't see Dobbins breaking into the RB1 tier. There's more upside later in the draft and safer options at this ADP.
Instead, give me RB22 Eli Mitchell, RB23 A.J. Dillon, RB28 Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Update: Brian Robinson will miss time with two gunshot wounds. This will still be a committee, however, with J.D. McKissic.
From my Preseason Week 1 Recap column: "Gibson started the game, but the rest was negative. He was subbed out for J.D. McKissic on the first two third downs (3rd-and-4 and 3rd-and-2), fumbled in traffic (after having way too many fumbles last year), and then played with the second-team offense after Brian Robinson scored a goal-line TD with the first-team. But it gets worse! When Gibson was playing with the second-team offense, he was again subbed out on 3rd-and-1 for Jonathan Williams! And holy smokes, it gets worse again!!! On the next set of downs, Gibson finally gets a crack on a 3rd-and-2 carry, but he gets stuffed for no yards. In comes Jonathan Williams for the fourth down attempt, and he converts!!! OH NO! I wonder if the Commanders don't trust him on passing downs and short yardage. His ADP rightfully will plummet. Robinson's rightfully will climb, as he didn't play a single snap with the second-team offense following Gibson's fumble." Since this, he's seen reps as a punt protector on special teams.
Instead, give me RB28 Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Olave has some juice and is a polished route runner, but he never profiled as a target dominator and quietly has more target competition than this ADP suggests. Michael Thomas reports have been positive the last two weeks, Alvin Kamara's suspension risk is lowered, and Jarvis Landry's experience is valuable to the Saints. He'll have to run really hot on deep targets or have Thomas miss time to pay off this ADP. Just a bad price tag.
Instead, give me WR46 Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR48 Tyler Lockett, or WR50 Tyler Boyd.
Edmonds' (5'9/210) career high in touches is 159 and he's eclipsed more than 16 touches in a game only five times. Pigeon-holed as a passing-down back, it's hard to see him earning enough targets in an offense with two stud WRs to pay off this ADP, at least in half PPR formats. Either Sony Michel or Raheem Mostert will likely handle goal-line touches in this mediocre offense. I'll chase more upside in this tier.
Instead, give me RB30 Rhamondre Stevenson, RB31 Kareem Hunt, RB33 Damien Harris, or RB35 Ken Walker.
The Cowboys offensive line isn't as good as it once was. Prescott's rushing yards per game dropped from 19.0 to 9.1 last year. Coach McCarthy seems like a donk. And the skill group looks worse this year with Noah Brown/Jalen Tolbert stepping in for Amari Cooper. The only time I'll draft Prescott is when I took CeeDee Lamb early on.
Instead, give me one of the top-6 QBs earlier.
Stafford led the NFL with 32 passing touchdowns in the red zone, and the Rams only had 10 red zone rushing teams. Those will even out, hurting Stafford's career-high 6.8 TD%. More importantly, Stafford seems to be dealing with an elbow injury that he'll have to manage it now that his injection and rest didn't work. Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson has more on the situation here. For now, my only Stafford shares are with Cooper Kupp or Allen Robinson drafted earlier.
Instead, give me QB13 Derek Carr or QB15 Kirk Cousins later.
There is upside here. He's a first-round prospect, of course. But I think we're paying for it. Burks was a boom-bust prospect because he only played outside on 18% of snaps in college and struggled with his weight in general. This offseason, Burks hasn't practiced in full often (something coach Mike Vrabel particularly hates) and, based on his Preseason Week 1 usage, is playing a new role as an outside receiver who will be running downfield routes. Both me and Vrabel weren't impressed with his Preseason Week 1 film, so I think we're in for an adjustment/development season as a rookie. There's reasonable odds that he's a backup to start the season.
Instead, give me WR40 Kadarius Toney or WR41 Christian Kirk earlier.
The Bills were 26th in RB fantasy usage last year, which was similar to the previous seasons since Josh Allen took over. That's simply not enough unless there's one bellcow back. And that's simply not the plan here. Singletary is the early-down rusher but has never been a good passing-down back. Cook is expected to be the passing-down back but never was the early-down grinder in college. And the beat reporters have been confident and consistent in reporting that Zack Moss is competing for touches around the goal line, and potentially more. This is too messy.
Instead, give me RB37 Dameon Pierce, RB38 Melvin Gordon, RB43 Alexander Mattison, or RB44 Nyheim Hines.
The WR15 in his own class, Tolbert projects as a fringe NFL starter, yet has been steamed to Round 10-11 due to the injuries of Michael Gallup and James Washington. The problem is both of those WRs will be back around early October, and veteran Noah Brown currently runs in 2-WR sets over Tolbert.
Instead, give me WR57 George Pickens, WR58 DeVante Parker, WR59 Joshua Palmer, or WR61 Michael Gallup.
Obviously, the Bears stink. And I haven't seen anything on Kmet's tape to suggest he's more than a check-down option. In fact, he was 2nd in routes to the flat last year (a low ceiling route) and had a below-average 83% route rate (the percentage of passing snaps where he ran a route instead of pass protected). Through in his mediocre TE14 per game finish in routes run and his TE15 yards per route run versus man coverage, and I will pass on this recently-inflated ADP.
Instead, give me TE9 Dawson Knox earlier.
From my Preseason Week 1 Recap column: "Russ, Javonte, Sutton, Jeudy, and the other big names didn't play in the opener, but Okwuegbunam did. Not only did he play, but he also didn't even start with the Broncos in a run-first look with two tight ends on the field. Albert O was subbed out often throughout the first half in run-heavy looks and missed a few blocks when given the opportunity. Keep in mind, Greg Dulcich (hamstring) wasn't even active here. Put simply, Albert O's playing time projections deserve a tick downwards. He played until halftime and wasn't a full-time player."
Instead, give me TE16 Hunter Henry later.
He was cooked last year and the Giants beat reporters are openly calling him out for effort this training camp. Kadarius Toney, if healthy, looks like a talent capable of running laps around Golladay, plus Wan'Dale Robinson is in the mix. Golladay is the cover boy of Free Agent WRs Changing Teams narrative.
Instead, give me WR63 D.J. Chark, WR65 Jahan Dotson, WR66 K.J. Osborn, and WR69 Isaiah McKenzie later.
Update: Meyers seems destined for 2-WR sets again, so I'm back in. Kendrick Bourne is in the doghouse and Tyquan Thornton will miss the first month or two.
Meyers is a slot WR, who played in 2-WR sets last year. Now he has to compete with X-WR DeVante Parker (my favorite Patriots WR at cost) and second-round rookie Tyquan Thornton, who played in the slot in the preseason opener. Meyers simply isn't good enough to be fantasy viable if he's not in 2-WR sets because this offense will use those personnel packages often with Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith paid handsomely.
Instead, give me WR71 Nico Collins, WR72 Robbie Anderson, or WR75 Van Jefferson later.
A mediocre prospect in general, Allgeier opened Preseason Week 1 as the RB4 on the Falcons, who have one of the worst projected offenses in the NFL. Cordarrelle Patterson was put on ice all offseason to keep him fresh for the season, so Allgeier needs a lot of things to go right to be in the fantasy mix and even if that happens we're talking about a rookie on a bottom-10 offense.
Instead, give me RB48 Michael Carter, RB49 Khalil Herbert, RB50 Brian Robinson, RB52 Jamaal Williams, or RB53 Zamir White later.
Watson has missed too much time this offseason to be counted on, especially considering he was a small school prospect who produced on manufactured touches and deep routes only. Aaron Rodgers seems to like his RBs, his veteran WRs, and rookie Romeo Doubs better. More importantly, I didn't think Watson was a legit NFL prospect. Way too many holes in his game.
Instead, give me WR78 Alec Pierce, WR79 Corey Davis, or WR82 Zay Jones later.
Gesicki was 73rd in split zone blocking snaps among TEs last year. George Kittle was 3rd. This scheme requires their TEs to do the dirty work, and that's not Gesicki's strength. He had to play with the second-stringers in Preseason Week 1 to test his blocking ability, and I didn't think it went well. With Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle being the focal points in the pass game, it's hard to see the consistent pass volume we've been used to recently.
Instead, give me TE18 David Njoku later.
I have the full list here, headlined by Mr. Ronald Jones.