2021 Fantasy Football Overrated Players

by Nick Spencer
2021 Fantasy Football Overrated Players

Welcome fantasy football fanatics to the 2021 Fantasy Football Overrated Players article!

This article details players who I believe are currently being overvalued according to their Fantasypros’ Average Draft Position.

Every year there are a handful of players whose draft cost just doesn't quite line up with their expected production. In fantasy football, a few bad picks are all it takes to sink your team for an entire season, so it is vital to dodge these draft-day traps.

Without further ado, here are my 2021 Fantasy Football Overrated Players you should avoid in your drafts.

2021 Fantasy Football Overrated Players

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Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (ADP 19 – QB1)

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Ignore this pick for Superflex leagues 

The first player on my overrated players' list is the 500 million dollar man himself, Patrick Mahomes. I have nothing against Mahomes, he is one of the most talented quarterbacks I have ever seen. But taking a QB in the first two rounds of your fantasy draft is a death sentence.

The position is incredibly rich with talent, and the opportunity cost you give up to select Mahomes here is far too high. In fact, I wrote a whole strategy article on why you shouldn’t draft quarterbacks early. 

To quickly summarize that article here: you shouldn’t draft a quarterback early because the drop-off from an elite quarterback to a waiver wire quarterback is negligible when compared to other positions. Quarterback production on a year-to-year basis is unpredictable. And by streaming and rotating quarterbacks you can always have your fantasy QB playing against the worst defenses in the league.

If despite my pleading you insist on drafting a quarterback early, at least wait and grab Kyler Murray two rounds later. The upside is virtually the same but the opportunity cost is lower.

J.K. Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens (ADP 26 – RB15)

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As you could probably tell from my RB Heavy Draft Strategy article, I love taking running backs early and often in drafts. I also love J.K. Dobbins' talent. So what's my problem with him in fantasy this year? 

My first problem is Gus Edwards. The Ravens re-signed Edwards to a two-year nine million dollar contract, so he is going to continue to be very involved in this offense. While Dobbins was extremely efficient last year, Edwards was right there with him.

This is going to be more of a timeshare than fantasy owners would like.

My second problem is Lamar JacksonTargets are worth more than carries, and through the first three years of his career, we haven’t seen Lamar target the running back very often.

Baltimore had the second least amount of running back targets last year at 62. Dobbins saw just 24 of these for 18 catches and 120 yards. This is not something that is likely to change, as generally a lot of running back targets are dump-offs, but Lamar is so quick that if nobody is open he tends to tuck it and run himself. 

This leads me to another problem for Dobbins, which is his touchdown rate. Dobbins scored a touchdown on 6.72% of his carries. This was the third-highest rate in the league among running backs with at least 60 carries last season.

Touchdowns are not a sticky stat and this is very likely to regress to mean, especially with Lamar’s ability to steal touchdowns on the ground in the red zone. 

Finally, we might also see a small team-wide regression to the mean in pass to rush ratio, the Ravens had the lowest pass to rush ratio in the league last year at 0.73. Now the ravens are a run-first team and I don’t expect that to change completely, but looking at their offseasons moves, they pursued every possible high-end WR candidate in free agency and ultimately ending up signing Sammy Watkins and drafting Rashod Bateman in the first round.

They are clearly sending a message that they want to be able to pass a bit more often. 

Between the split backfield, lack of passing work, and touchdown regression coming, Dobbins is being extremely overvalued. He lacks that elite ceiling that we are looking for when trying to win it all.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders (ADP 30 – RB17)

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Oh Raiders, what are you doing? In case you missed it, the Raiders lost three starting offensive linemen this offseason. Only to follow it up with a bizarre signing of Kenyan Drake despite still having first-round running back Josh Jacobs still on the roster.

Jacobs finished the season as the RB8, but it wasn’t pretty. According to Fantasy Data, he averaged a meager 3.9 yards per carry, 41st in the league. He was 34th in breakaway rate at 3.3% (percentage of carries greater than 15 yards). And he was 40th in fantasy points per opportunity at 0.73 per touch.

He got to his RB8 finish based on volume, as he had the third most carries in the league.

Now with Kenyan Drake in town, it will be very difficult for Jacobs to repeat that level of volume. We have also heard hype dating back to last offseason that the organization wants to get Jacobs more receiving touches.

But after just 33 last year, and the signing of Drake, it would seem that they don’t feel Jacobs is up to the task of being a three-down back.  

Similar to Dobbins, Jacobs lacks the receiving upside that we need to win championships, however, his outlook is even worse when factoring in his inefficiency last year, the offensive line turnover, and the addition of Kenyan Drake.

Avoid this headache in the third round. 

James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (ADP 44 – RB22)

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James Robinson had a fantastic year last year and finished as the RB7. 

Yet, in an extremely strange selection, the Jaguars took Travis Etienne in the first round. Drafting one of the few positions on the roster where they didn't have a hole, thanks to Robinsons' emergence last year.

I'm going to attribute this weird decision to Urban Meyer being a brand new NFL head coach. Meyer likes his speed, and he isn’t used to having to construct a team with limited resources.

Now as great as Robinson was last year, a lot of it was volume-based rather than efficiency. According to Fantasy Data, he was number one in the league last year in opportunity share at 85.2% (percentage of team running back carries plus targets).

With Etienne eating into his touches this year I don't see how he will be startable in this bottom-tier offense. This is compounded by the fact that Etienne will especially eat into the receiving work, which is critical for running back success. 

Our experts' consensus rankings have Ettiene two spots AHEAD of Robinson. So why would you ever draft Robinson at RB22, when you could draft Ettiene at RB31?

Anyone drafting Robinson at his current price is clinging to the past, don’t make that mistake come draft season.

Noah Fant, TE, Denver Broncos (ADP 77 – TE7)

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Noah Fant is an excellent real-life football player and a freak athlete. Player Profiler compares his athletic profile to George Kittle and Kyle Pitts. But his situation for fantasy is about as bad as you can get for a tight end.

At the top of his list of problems is his quarterbacks. Drew Lock was rated as the worst starting QB entering the 2021 season by PFF. That is part of the reason why they acquired Teddy Bridgewater, but he doesn’t exactly inspire confidence either after throwing for just 15 touchdowns last year.

Of course, this also changes if Rodgers or Watson comes to town.

Furthermore, the competition for targets in Denver is going to be fierce. Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and K.J. Hamler will all demand their fair share of targets. Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon will certainly steal a few out of the backfield.

Not to mention second-year tight end Albert Okwuegbunam's role in the offense is likely to grow as well. It’s just hard to envision a scenario where Fant can receive enough work to truly break out.

Over the past three years, 82% of mid-round tight ends have finished worse than their ADP. So for Fant to be going in the seventh round when he has never finished better than the TE12 is a scary proposition. 

He still has a decent chance to finish as a top 12 tight end due to the bleak state of the position, but he simply is not worth it as there are much better players available in the seventh round I would target over him.

If you enjoyed my list of 2021 Fantasy Football Overrated Players, please check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers!

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