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Quick Hits: Overvalued or Undervalued

In contrast to my typically lengthy reads, I wanted to improve my ability to succinctly assess players in a digestible manner. This piece examines one player from each major fantasy position and offers my thoughts on why they’re over or undervalued. Without further ado, let’s move on to the quarterbacks.

Quarterback

Overvalued: Josh Allen, Buffalo
ADP QB7, Dynasty QB7

At his current ADP of QB7 in both redraft and dynasty leagues, the Josh Allen hype has reached a point where the downside significantly outweighs the upside. Through his first two NFL seasons, here’s a snippet of his statistics as a passer and fantasy player.

YearCompletion %Y/GTotal QBRAY/AANY/AFP/G
201852.8% (33rd)172.8 (32nd)49.8 (24th)5.4 (32nd)4.37 (32nd)17.34 (19th)
201958.8% (32nd)193.1 (30th)47.3 (24th)6.7 (23rd)5.71 (23rd)18.60 (11th)

There’s really no point in dressing it up; those numbers are middling at best and only showed marginal improvement from his rookie season. Additionally, the Bills finished with the 7th most rushing plays as a percentage of plays ran last year. That doesn’t really signify a more Allen-centered approach this season.

Proponents of Allen will point to his rushing ability as justification for his lofty valuation. Impressively, Allen racked up 510 yards and 9 scores on the ground last year. For those of you wondering, that TD total placed him 8th in the NFL in terms of rushing touchdowns, ahead of Lamar Jackson even. Can it be replicated? Sure. Is it likely? No.

If you’re drafting Allen as the QB7, you’re taking a leap of faith that he’ll continue to improve as both a passer and a runner. When so much potential upside is already baked into the price, it’s wise to exercise patience and turn your attention elsewhere.

Running Back

Undervalued: Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
ADP RB36, Dynasty RB39

When it comes to finding undervalued RBs, it’s important to appropriately weight their path to volume and usage. The reasoning for this is fairly straightforward as volume tends to be the biggest driver of RB production. Unsurprisingly, efficiency metrics tend to be quite noisy for RBs and offer little predictability on a year-over-year basis.

At his current ADP of RB36 in redraft and RB39 in dynasty, the once hyped Ronald Jones offers a lot of bang for your theoretical buck. Quietly, Jones did a nice job of building upon his disappointing rookie season in 2020. Below are some of his career rushing, receiving and fantasy stats.

YearRushYdsY/AY/GTgtRecRec YdsFP/G
201823441.94.997332.2
20191727244.245.340313099.4

As mentioned, his rookie stats are nothing short of horrific. Last season, the improvement was massive from a numbers standpoint as Jones was able to surpass 1000 all-purpose yards and tack on 6 scores. Will Jones be able to extend that uptrend in 2020? There are certainly a few reasons to be optimistic.

First, Jones will enter the season as the most likely candidate to lead the backfield in carries this season. While many fantasy players are drinking the Ke’Shawn Vaughn Kool-Aid, I’m going to pass until anything of substance emerges regarding his role. As far as positives go, Jones has higher draft capital, is younger and had an extra year under Arians learning the offense. The latter of those is most important in my mind as this offseason is truly unique and should give veterans a larger than normal edge for playing time, particularly in the early going. 

Second, offseason reports on Jones have been very positive. While a healthy dose of skepticism is required, if he has indeed bulked to 225 lbs and been working tirelessly on his receiving skills that should benefit him in his battle for touches.

Third, the Bucs enter 2020 as one of the top 5 favorites to win the Super Bowl. The offense is going to be potent and as a result, their lead runner should see plenty of quality opportunities and favorable defensive fronts. Ultimately, this bodes well for Jones should he claim the starting job.

Winning the starting job will undoubtedly be key to Jones’ success in 2020. Given the shallow nature of the Bucs RB room, there should be plenty of volume and opportunity for the winner. At his current ADP, there’s a lot to like about taking a flyer on a high upside back like Jones in the 7th round and beyond.

Wide Receiver

Overvalued: Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
ADP WR22, Dynasty WR17

As a shameless plug, I’ve already written two articles on “WR’s to avoid” which focussed on Stefon Diggs (https://fantasyfuru.com/2020/06/16/wrs-to-avoid-stefon-diggs/) and DeVante Parker (https://fantasyfuru.com/2020/06/19/wrs-to-avoid-devante-parker/). While they remain amongst my favorite fades this year, Courtland Sutton is not terribly far behind.

Personally, I’m a fan of Sutton and by no means see him fading away from fantasy relevancy. However, at his current price tag, the odds of him underperforming appear greater than outperforming. Below are Sutton’s receiving and fantasy stats through his first two seasons.

YearTgtRecYdsY/GTrue Catch %aDOTFP/G
2018844270444.068.9%14.011.7
201912472111269.578.3%11.67.2

Evidently, Sutton is no slouch, and I expect him to deliver a WR 30-36 type season this year. Yet, his ADP and dynasty ranking present an attractive fade opportunity this year and should result in a lower valuation come next offseason.

In free agency, the Broncos shelled out for former Charger RB Melvin Gordon. Pairing Gordon with Lindsay (both Pro Bowl selections in 2018) is an interesting approach and could conceivably lead to an increased emphasis on running the ball. Denver already ran the ball at a 42.87% clip last season (9th in NFL) and any improvement upon that will be unfavorable for the passing game. Furthermore, Gordon is a very capable receiver who should command an increased target share to the RB position.

During the draft, the Broncos added Jerry Jeudy (15th), KJ Hamler (47th) and Albert Okwuegbunam (118th) to bolster their pass catching corps while sophomore TE Noah Fant looks to build on his strong rookie season. This added depth should have a positive impact on the Broncos passing game while simultaneously diluting the concentration of targets that Sutton enjoyed last season. For reference, Sutton boasted a 24.8% target share and 42.9% of the Broncos intended air yards, both among the highest in the NFL. Without doing too much math, it’s reasonable to assume that those numbers are likely to decline.

With the possibility of a similarly run-centric approach and the impending probability of fewer targets will give Sutton difficulty living up to his ADP this year. Unless that number begins to decline, there are better values at WR.

Tight End

Undervalued: Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons
ADP TE16, Dynasty TE14

This or possibly Allen are my highest conviction picks in the article. Entering 2020, Hurst finds himself in a tremendous position to easily outperform his ADP of TE 16 and boost his dynasty stock. 

The Falcons gave up quality draft compensation when they made the decision to acquire Hurst from the Ravens this offseason. Logically, it makes a lot of sense as Hurst will immediately step into the void left by Austin Hooper’s departure. As a result, it’s probable we see Hurst set career highs in targets, receptions and yards this season. While some of that is baked into his current price, there’s loads of room for more. Choosing not to replace Mohamed Sanu only further validates this line of thinking.

While the perceived increase in volume is huge, Hurst will also benefit from joining one of the most consistently successful passing attacks in recent years. In Baltimore, Hurst was forced to play second fiddle to Mark Andrews on a team that attempted the 4th fewest passes per game last season. Fortunately, for him, he now finds himself on the team that attempted the most last year. 

Finally, the Falcons will once again trot out one of the softest defenses in the NFL and as a result should find themselves in plenty of high scoring affairs this year. With the deserved attention defenses will be giving the likes of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley; there should be ample opportunity for Hurst to produce.

For those interested, I wrote a more detailed article on Hurst earlier this offseason which can be read here https://fantasyfuru.com/2020/06/05/tes-to-target-hayden-hurst/.

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