Fantasy Focus: Early ADP Risky Investments

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Deshaun Watson
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We are approaching draft season for the fantasy football faithful. As we draw closer and closer to our much-anticipated drafts, we really start to delve into the numbers between the numbers. We scrutinize, digest, and dig for information about the top sleepers, the heavy favorites and the most reliable fantasy assets we want on our rosters. A big part of that is ADP, or average draft position.

It is still early for redraft leagues, but it’s never too early to start analyzing draft trends, ADP reports, and depth charts. If we think of the players as stock and our picks as our investments, it might make it a little easier to asses a players value to our team overall. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some players that are currently above the probable return value and why we may want to let someone else take the risk.

Fantasy Focus: Early ADP Risky Investments

1. Deshaun Watson – QB – Houston Texans

Deshaun Watson put on a show for seven games last season. He threw for almost 1,700 yards while completing just over 61 percent of his passes. His 19 touchdowns in that span broke a record previously held by Kurt Warner. All of this was very impressive from the rookie out of Clemson. If extrapolated out to a full 16-game season, Watson’s stats would be record holders in multiple categories.

It’s difficult to imagine that Watson could have continued that pace throughout the entirety of the NFL season. His success has led to an early, over-inflated ADP that should send red-flags up for any savvy fantasy football players.

He’s currently listed at pick 3.07 as the second quarterback off the board. He’s only behind Aaron Rodgers as far as quarterbacks go and ahead of more trustworthy names such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson.  

At this point, no one can knock what the rookie accomplished through a small sample size, but what needs to be remembered is that it was a small sample size and not a full season of gaudy stats. There is the remote possibility that Watson picks back up where he left off, but there’s a better statistical chance that he settles down into more realistic production levels. 

Watson may come out strong and show that he’s a reliable weekly fantasy asset. At his current ADP, which should be monitored, there are more fantasy-reliable options without the inherited risk of such a high draft pick. 

Jay. Ajayi – RB – Philadelphia Eagles

Jay Ajayi did not have a stellar 2017 season, for either team he played for. He finished as the number 33 running back in fantasy points last season. That’s behind Chris Thompson (who only played 10 games) and Javorius Allen. He finished the season with a 4.2 yards-per-carry average, which is somewhat deceptive. His first seven games he was averaging 3.4 yards-per-carry and relied on a few big runs to bolster his end-of-season average. He only finished with two touchdowns and three fumbles on 208 total carries. 

Ajayi is currently coming in at pick 3.05 as the 17th running back off the board. Assuming that after half a season he’ll be more comfortable with the offense is fine, but he is still not the only mouth to feed in that backfield. Dropping a high-end third round pick on a running back that averaged a 33.9 percent snap count is absorbing all of the risks and minimizing the value. 

Adam Thielen – WR – Minnesota Vikings

Adam Thielen did not become a household name for fantasy players until week five of the 2016 season when he went off for 127 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions. Then in week 15, he exploded for 202 yards and two touchdowns against the Green Bay Packers. 

Entering the 2017 season, Thielen was drafted typically as a WR3 with upside. He finished as the ninth best wideout for fantasy purposes and vaulted himself into a no-question, every week starter. The owners who drafted him last year were more than thrilled with their return on that investment.

Adam Thielen finished with 1,276 yards on 91 receptions and four touchdowns. He caught 64.1 percent of his passes while averaging just over 79 yards per contest. Maintaining that type of efficiency will be difficult to match coming into this season. His current ADP 3.07 as the 12th wide receiver off the board.

Thielen is a solid and dependable wide receiver and Kirk Cousins, on paper, is an upgrade at the quarterback position. However, Thielen is likely going to see a bit of regression this season. He is currently being drafted closer to his ceiling than his floor, removing the return value from the pick. 

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