Welcome to the all new Fantasy Insiders! Some of you may be familiar with my work over at RotoGrinders and/or SiriusXM Fantasy Sports radio as a DFS player/personality, but I am excited to be a part of the team at FI bringing you season-long content that will make you a better player. I have been playing season-long fantasy football for over 20 years now and am excited to have such a great platform to share my process and my hot taeks, as the kids like to say these days.
In this first article, I will be giving you five guys I am lower on than current ADP. Tomorrow, I’ll cover five guys I am higher on. Two things to remember before we dive into some players. First, ADP should be used as just a guide of the average spot players are being drafted. Don’t become so attached to ADP that you lose sight of who you like and don’t like in a draft. Second, my opinions will change throughout the summer as news comes in and yours should as well. Be open to changing your mind on players or situations as this little game of ours is so fluid and constantly changing. Whether it’s positive or negative change, take that flexibility with you into your draft.
On to the picks!
FIVE PLAYERS I’M LOWER ON THAN CURRENT ADP
1. RB LeSean McCoy, BUF (Current ADP: 2.09)
Shady will go down as one of the best running backs of this generation, but there comes a time when these great runners start to decline. McCoy showed no signs of slowing down last season, as he racked up 1,586 all-purpose yards and 8 touchdowns. But the fact is, this is going to be a bad Buffalo Bills offense led by the likes of AJ McCarron or rookie Josh Allen. The offensive line may be one of the worst in the league and the other skill position players also leave a lot to be desired (I’m lookin’ at you Kelvin Benjamin and Zay Jones).
The folks in the McCoy camp will tell you fantasy football is driven by volume and he’s assuredly a lock for 300-plus touches once again. I absolutely agree volume is king, but all touches are not created equal. Drafting a running back from a losing team with a bad line in the second round is not a winning strategy. Unless he somehow slides to the fourth round, which isn’t happening, I have to pass on Shady in 2018.
2. WR Josh Gordon, CLE (ADP: 3.05)
I’m sure you’ve all seen the picture by now with Gordon looking like he’s carved out of stone. It got some people excited to anoint him as a surefire WR1 and others bringing up the ghost of David Boston. I find myself somewhere in the middle of these two camps.
Problem is the middle of the camps does not equate to a pick in the early- to mid-third round for me. The Browns are a team led by a quarterback in Tyrod Taylor who has never passed for more than 3,035 yards in a single season and has never gone over 20 touchdown passes. This is a team that spent a ton of money on wide receiver Jarvis Landry. This is a team that has a breakout-in-waiting at the tight end position in David Njoku. This is a team that has one of the best pass-catching running backs in the NFL in Duke Johnson. This is a team that brought in Carlos Hyde and then drafted stud running back Nick Chubb and clearly has a focus on establishing the run.
I love Gordon the player, but ask yourself how a team with so many weapons and a quarterback with little history of putting up big numbers through the air support a third-round wide receiver in fantasy? The answer is simple, they don’t.
3. RB Rashaad Penny, SEA (ADP: 3.12)
So let me get this straight: a team with one of the worst offensive lines in the league drafts a running back in the first round of the NFL draft who’s main weakness coming out of college is his ability in pass protection?
I love the talent Penny shows as a runner but this is not a good fit in the short term. If you watched any Seahawks football in 2017, you saw a lot of franchise quarterback Russell Wilson running for his life because the line was so horrendous. They did very little to improve that line and actually got worse in the passing game with the departures of Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson. This will be a bad offense in 2018 and the running game will continue to struggle like we saw last season. Give me Alex Collins, Sony Michel or Dion Lewis -- all being drafted later -- before I invest a late-third or early-fourth in Penny.
4. QB Deshaun Watson, HOU (ADP: 4.12)
First things first: I’m a “wait on quarterback” kind of guy. Drafting a quarterback in the fourth just isn’t happening for this guy.
My issue with Watson specifically is while what we saw during his historic run was absolutely breathtaking and a treat to watch, it’s highly unlikely he can duplicate the insane efficiency he showed during that stretch. He threw 19 touchdown passes on just 126 completions. That’s a touchdown every 6.6 completions. If Tom Brady did that last season, he would have thrown an NFL-record 58 touchdowns.
As much of a threat as Watson is both through the air and on the ground, and as much fun as he is to watch play the position, he’s overvalued in fantasy circles right now. The potential upside is intriguing but the quarterback position is too deep to invest a pick in the fourth round. Avoid the temptation people.
5. TE Evan Engram, NYG (ADP: 6.09)
Like Watson, Engram was absolutely amazing in his rookie season, piling up an impressive line of 64 receptions for 722 yards and 6 touchdowns. We rarely see rookie tight ends make such a massive impact in their freshman season, so I completely understand the excitement surrounding Engram. Dude is a big-time talent for sure.
But how easily we forget that Odell Beckham, he of the second-highest target total in the NFL in 2016 at 169, only played four games last season. Teammate and expected No. 2 wide receiver Sterling Shepard managed only 11 games. Add in the best receiving running back we’ve seen from the college game since David Johnson in Saquon Barkley, and you get the point.
Engram will have his weeks, but the inconsistencies week-to-week will be extremely frustrating for fantasy owners. If you don’t land a top-three tight end (Gronk, Kelce, Ertz), I would rather wait than panic and grab Engram in the sixth. Bold call: Trey Burton, who is available 2-3 rounds after Engram, outscores him.
That’s it for five guys I’m lower on than current ADP. Check back tomorrow for five guys I’m higher on!