Overvalued/ Undervalued Fantasy Draft Value: AFC North

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Robby Jeffries (@RobbyJeffries)


Today marks the beginning of a division by division series that will take a look at fantasy value when you’re drafting. Who is overvalued? Who is being undervalued? I will match each player’s Average Draft Position (ADP) and tell you where I think they SHOULD be going. All ADP data will be taken from fantasyfootballcalculator.com at the time the article is published. Please note that I will be looking at these players from a redraft perspective as opposed to a dynasty perspective and scoring will be PPR.

Baltimore Ravens

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Overvalued: Michael Crabtree (ADP: WR26)

Joe Flacco hasn’t supported a top-24 wide receiver since 2014 when he had a rejuvenated Steve Smith. Baltimore also ranked a lowly 29th in passing yards and 30th in passing touchdowns last year. While the Ravens have attempted to revamp their entire wide receiving corps with the likes of Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead, this group stills looks to be below average when looking at wide receiving corps across the NFL.

Crabtree has managed to be a top 20 receiver twice in his three seasons with the Raiders; however, both seasons he had at least 145 targets. Because he has only averaged 10.75 yards per catch over the past four seasons, Crabtree relies heavily on volume for his fantasy success. Since Joe Flacco became the starting quarterback for the Ravens 10 years ago, the Ravens top target getters have been:
Torrey Smith (’13) – 137
Steve Smith (’14) – 134
Derrick Mason (’09) – 134

A top-24 finish for Crabtree isn’t farfetched, but it is unlikely.

Undervalued: Joe Flacco (ADP: QB30)

Wait a second, Joe Flacco undervalued but his number one receiver, Crabtree, is overvalued?? Admittedly, Flacco did struggle throughout most of 2017. Part of those struggles were his fault; the other part was inferior talent at every skilled position around him. With new weapons, I do expect Flacco to have, not a stellar but, better options to throw to.

At QB30, Flacco simply has to play the entire season to get fantasy owners back their value. If the 33-year old plays like he did during the final 5 games of the season where he was QB6 during that span,  you can expect huge dividends paid off with such a simple investment. Flacco will be a late round selection in Superflex leagues and one of the last picks (if picked at all) in single QB leagues. Sign me up.

Cincinnati Bengals

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Overvalued: Tyler Eifert (ADP: TE12)

It’s rare to find a player ranked this high that hasn’t played more than 10 games in the past two seasons. Even more, it’s rare to find a tight end ranked this high with just one season over 39 receptions and 445 receiving yards. After having a breakout season in his third year, Tyler Eifert has struggled mightily with injuries. If you don’t count his head, neck, shoulder, elbow, back, both knees, and ankle injuries (did I miss anything?), Eifert has stayed relatively healthy! While it’s true he has produced when healthy, the fact remains that he is a huge injury risk and isn’t exactly the focal point on a subpar passing offense. His ADP is too high for me at its current price.

Undervalued: Joe Mixon (ADP: RB15)

I’ll admit it. This one is biased, but I’ll be damned if I can’t will Mixon to an RB1 finish this season. The guy is uber talented, a more talented all-around running back than players like Alvin Kamara, Leonard Fournette, or Dalvin Cook if I’m asked. Add bonus points for the Bengals attempting to improve their dreadful offensive line and a few more points for letting Jeremy Hill move on to the Patriots. The backfield is Mixon’s now for the most part with passing catching back, Giovanni Bernard, mixing in here and there. I believe Mixon will be a RB1 at season’s end as he should be a force in his second year. Get a top-12 running back with your second, third, or sometimes even fourth pick by taking Mixon.

Cleveland

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Overvalued: Josh Gordon (ADP: WR13)

Oh boy, fire up the war cannons! There’s going to be some angry people after I get done with deflating the Josh Gordon parade balloon. Let’s start off with the positives for Josh Gordon.

  1. He is a freak athlete.
  2. He has the best quarterback he has ever had throwing him the ball.
  3. Did I mention he is a freak athlete?

Now let’s look at some reasons he might be overvalued…

  1. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has never thrown enough to support a WR1.
  2. Jarvis Landry & Duke Johnson received a combined 254 targets last year.
  3. The Browns just gave three good running backs new contracts, they are definitely going to pound the rock this year early and often.

Obviously, the targets for Landry & Johnson will go down, but these two are no slouches and will likely be around the 200 threshold. There is a definite emphasis for the run game from former running back’s coach turned head coach Hue Jackson.  Do I like Josh Gordon? Absolutely. Do I like Josh Gordon to finish as a WR1? Absolutely NOT. Twitter handle is @robbyjeffries for the Flash Gordon truthers.

Undervalued: Tyrod Taylor (ADP: QB25)

Whoever is slinging it for the Browns is going to be fantasy relevant. I can’t believe I just typed that sentence but, it’s true folks. Tell a friend, tell Aunt Jean, tell that to the guy in your fantasy league who hasn’t followed NFL football since Trey Burton threw a touchdown to Nick Foles. Tell them that  the Browns’ quarterback will be fantasy relevant in 2018. The trio of Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, and Duke Johnson are just the main names of an entire offense of talented pass catchers. While Taylor’s ADP is probably affected by the threat of Baker taking over the starting job at some point, I think you’re fine to roll him out the first four weeks and see what happens. Whoever is under center for Cleveland will finish higher than QB25 on a weekly basis. You can take that to the bank.

Pittsburgh

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Overvalued: Juju Smith-Schuster (ADP: 19)

Going through all the fantasy options in a Steelers’ uniform, you’ll find a lot of playmakers. You’ll also find that they are drafted early and often throughout fantasy drafts that have been going on. Whether it be Antonio Brown going as the first WR off the board or Le’Veon Bell going as the third RB, the Steelers’ studs have the play-making ability to back up their high draft pedigree.

If I had to pick a guy, I have to say JuJu Smith-Schuster is closest to being overvalued. The kid balled out all year during his rookie season in 2017, but Big Ben does not consistently support two wideouts in the top-24. Courtesy of #TheFFFRanchise, Big Ben has only had his second wide receiver finish in the top 24 a grand total of three times in 14 seasons. I find it hard to believe that Juju returns to that standard given the emergence of Vance McDonald and the drafting of James Washington. Juju will be good, just temper expectations.

Undervalued: Ben Roethlisberger (QB15)

Health. That’s what it all boils down to with Big Ben. The 35-year-old has only completed a 16-game season three times in a 14-year career and has dealt with various injuries over the past three seasons. When playing, there is no denying he is a top end option for fantasy teams. No one had more fantasy points from Weeks 10-16 (sat Week 17) than Roethlisberger last season and I fully expect that to continue with a plethora of offensive weapons. This is the year to wait on QB. Big Ben is one of those guys you will happily grab later and get QB1 production and a discount of a price.

Be sure to stay tuned for the overvalued/undervalued in the AFC East that should be out later next week. In the meantime, head over to The FF Franchise and check out the latest rankings and articles we are putting out. If you have any comments or thoughts on this article, you can reach out to me via Twitter at @robbyjeffries.

RJeffries