Thursday - Apr 18, 2019

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SIZZLE VS. STEAK: The Most Overhyped and Undervalued Players of 2017

It’s still relatively early in fantasy draft season. With the exception of some dynasty startups and rookie drafts, most fantasy football leagues won’t be drafting for at least another month or so. After all, we won’t even hit the start of training camp in the NFL until July 19.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything going on. I’ve already participated in a few drafts that count for fantasy magazines that will be hitting newsstands soon. And of course, there are mock drafts galore going on as fantasy drafters start getting an early feel for player values in 2017.

It’s those values we’ll be addressing here. Whether due to summer hype, an injury or some other factor, there are already players who are raising an eyebrow or two regarding where they’re coming off draft boards. Some have the makings of the type of mid- or late-round values who can put a fantasy squad over the top. Others have the potential to be a bust that drags teams down – or at the very least are being drafted so near their fantasy ceiling that the value just isn’t there.

So, in the first of three of these types of articles here at Fantasy Sharks (I’ll hit it again at the end of both July and August), here’s a look at one player at each position who is overhyped and undervalued according to average draft position (ADP) as the calendar turns to July.

Average draft position courtesy of My Fantasy League.

OVERHYPED

Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ADP: QB5)

Given all the weapons the Buccaneers added around Jameis Winston this offseason, it’s little surprise that the third-year quarterback is one of the most hyped players of 2017. Danny Jaillet of FanSided went so far as to call Winston a serious contender to be named NFL MVP.

“This is the best group of receivers that the quarterback had had at any point in his career, Jaillet said. “He has passed for more than 4,000 yards in both years of his career (4,042 in 2015 and 4,090 in 2016) and this may be the year he throws for at least 4,500. Numbers like those would automatically make him not just a dark horse MVP candidate but an MVP candidate period.”

Yes, the addition of veteran receiver DeSean Jackson and rookies O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin can only help Winston as he tries to take a big step forward in Year 3 of his NFL career. But given where Winston finished 2016 (11th) it will have to be a huge leap just to justify his current ADP.

I like Winston fine. Just not better than Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Derek Carr and even 2016 NFL MVP Matt Ryan – all of whom Winston’s going ahead of at MFL.

Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears (ADP: RB6)

While discussing potential threat to Ezekiel Elliott‘s title as the NFL rushing king, Will Brinson of CBS Sports mentioned Jordan Howard. However, Brinson also allowed that the odds are stacked against the second-year pro.

“He did finish second in the league in rushing last year,” Brinson said, “had a fantastic rookie season [and] looked like one of the better parts of a very bad Bears team. I think part of the problem is to win that rushing title you’re going to need to be ahead in games so you can pick up those yards late when you’re wearing teams down. I don’t know that Howard is going to have that many opportunities to be ahead in games.

Brinson also mentioned a couple of the reasons why at Howard’s current ADP I won’t be touching him in drafts.

It’s no slight on the youngster. But we’ve seen this movie before. A promising rookie comes back in Year 2 to face 14 guys in the box all game long because he’s the only offensive threat on a bad football team that will have to abandon the run early more weeks than not.

It’s “Todd Gurley: The Sequel” waiting to happen.

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an eight-time FSWA Award finalist and two-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last three years. He won the honor in 2017. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.