Rookies of the 2014 NFL Draft Class
Overvalued and Undervalued
By Wesley Wood
With rookie drafts currently in full force I decided that now is the best time to tell you who is being overvalued and undervalued based on the post-NFL Draft average draft position (ADP) data here at DFW. I wrote this article for last year’s draft class and it was one of our most viewed pieces. I asked myself, why not do the same this year? The answer I arrived at is obvious since you are now reading it fresh off the press!
I wonder if any of you have skipped right past the opening paragraph and skimmed straight down to the “overvalued” and “undervalued” players listed below. For those of you who haven’t, here’s a bit of unrelated and random information you may not know: The more you visit and revisit a website that sells plane tickets, the more highly listed the prices shown to you become. To work around this, simply delete the ‘cookies’ in your browser. Why travel sites do this, I personally do not know. If I had, do you think I’d be here at DFW or experiencing a real life season of “24?”
Okay, now lets get back to addressing those overvalued and undervalued players I was talking about.
The top three quarterbacks in rookie drafts (Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, and Blake Bortles) are all hanging around the mid-2nd to mid-3rd round range. Therefore, in my mind, none of the quarterbacks are being over-valued based upon the rookie ADP data compiled here at the Dynasty Football Warehouse.
Devonta Freeman (ADP 2.02) – Freeman landed in a favorable situation with the Falcons. He has only Steven Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers to compete with. Prior to the draft, however, I had Freeman ranked outside of my top ten at the position. And I also can’t help shake the feeling that Atlanta is going to turn around and draft a much better back in next year’s draft. The 2.02 is simply too high of a price to pay for a running back likely to be challenged for top billing on the depth chart by another pair of fresh legs in 2015.
Storm Johnson (ADP 3.01) – While a third-round round pick isn’t exactly a high price to pay for a running back with a chance to start, it is a maneuver which has been shown to have a low success rate. Only 10% of running backs taken in the fifth-round or later since 2009 have been worthy of starting in at least the flex spot for one whole season (*scroll down for more info).
Isaiah Crowell (ADP 3.02) – The 3.02 is simply too high of a price to pay for an undrafted running back regarded as a complete knucklehead. Crowell has skills, but given the baggage that accompanies him you’d have better luck gambling in Vegas than Crowell coming through as a worthwhile commodity for your fantasy team. If you thought a 10% success rate for running backs drafted after the fifth-round was bad try and name an undrafted one aside from Arian Foster who has been proven to be successful within the NFL ranks.
Martavis Bryant (ADP 2.09) – I like Martavis Bryant’s upside. I really do. He was only my fifteenth-ranked predraft wide receiver, however, and there are too many better options being drafted behind him. This includes Jarvis Landry, Paul Richardson, and Bruce Ellington. Heck! Jarvis Landry and Paul Richardson are in equal if not better situations than that of Martavis Bryant. For a receiver who never lived up to his skills, has had off-field issues, and is the third wide receiver on his own team the 2.09 is a high price to pay.
No tight end is being taken so high that I would label them as overvalued.
Zach Mettenberger (ADP 4.12) – Zach Mettenberger was my fourth-ranked predraft quarterback. And I am still fairly certain that he can be a successful starter in the league. I must admit though, this belief has been dampened a bit after witnessing Mettenberger fall into the sixth-round of the NFL Draft. The team that selected him, however, was the Tennessee Titans! And who is standing in Mettenberger’s way there? Jake Locker and Tyler Wilson.
Mettenberger’s ADP here at DFW is 4.12. And it hasn’t been uncommon for him to go entirely undrafted. For a quarterback that might get the chance to start sometime in 2014 what’s the harm in taking a late round flier on him? This is especially so when taking the Titans strong offensive line and promising wide receiving corps into consideration (Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter, and Nate Washington).
Tre Mason (ADP 2.08) – I really like Tre Mason. He was my fourth ranked predraft player at his position. He lands in a spot where Zac Stacy is his only true competition and I believe Mason has a superior skill set to the second-year pro. In fact, if Stacy were to miss just a game or two due to injury, I fully expect Mason to supplant him as the starter. Worst case scenario in my opinion, and with the assumption Mason stays healthy, is that he’ll be splitting carries with Stacy by the end of the year.
The 2.08 for a potential starting RB? Sign me up! In fact, let’s petition the White House for Mason to be declared the immediate starter in St. Louis!
De’Anthony Thomas (ADP 4.10) – I knew leading up to the draft that Thomas, no matter where he was drafted, would not be a lead running back in the NFL. I understand that. So please, there is no need to leave threatening letters in my mailbox about how dumb I am for ranking him so high in my predraft running backs article. But before you skip down to the comment section to blast me, let me tell you why Thomas is undervalued.
Jamaal Charles handled a very heavy workload last season and Knile Davis suffered a season ending injury at the end of the year. In Andy Reid’s offense the running back is typically someone who catches a lot of passes. That makes Thomas a perfect fit within Reid’s offensive scheme and I can see him working in tandem with Charles. That would give Thomas flex-play potential and yet he is only being drafted at the tail end of the fourth round. That is value I plan on eating up!
Jarvis Landry (ADP 3.04) – I am going to make this as straight forward and simple as possible – Mike Wallace has underwhelmed. Ryan Tannehill, meanwhile, is a young and promising quarterback within the league. I ranked Landry as one of my ‘Top Ten’ rookie wide receiver prospects before the draft in what is considered one of the deepest classes at the position in quite some time. As a mid-third round pick I would snatch Landry up in a heartbeat.
As of now it appears all the tight ends this year are being drafted where they should. In my eyes, none of them are being under or overvalued.
*Here is a list of all running backs taken in the fifth-round or later since 2009 (excluding the 2014 draft class). There are fifty such players falling within that criteria listed below. Those which I consider to have been fantasy relevant for at least one season have their names written in bold type:
Chris Rainey, Vick Ballard, Alfred Morris, Cyrus Gray, Dan Herron, Terrance Ganaway, Michael Smith, Bryce Brown, Daryl Richardson, Edwin Baker, Johnny White, Jacquizz Rodgers, Evan Royster, Jordan Todman, Allen Bradford, Da’Rel Scott, Anthony Allen, Baron Batch, Jay Finley, Anthony Dixon, Deji Karim, Jonathan Dwyer, James Starks, Frank Summers, Javon Ringer, Cedric Peerman, Aaron Brown, James Davis, Benard Scott, Chris Ogbonnaya, Javarris Williams, Fui Vakapuna, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Rashad Jennings, Denard Robinson, Stepfan Taylor, Joseph Randle, Chris Thompson, Zac Stacy, Mike Gillislee, Latavius Murray, Kenjon Barner, Andre Ellington, Mike James, Rex Burkhead, Spencer Ware, Theo Riddick, Jawan Jamison, Kerwynn Williams, and Michael Cox.
NOTE: Arian Foster has been the only undrafted running back to possess noteworthy fantasy value within the past five years.
Also I’d like to mention that Joe Kilroy is back in the mix here at DFW. Welcome back Joe! He’ll be functioning as the dynasty content editor this time around as well as resuming his position as one of the senior writers here at DynastyFootballWarehouse.com.
Previously unbeknownst to all, here are some fun facts about “Kilroy”:
His name is in the Styx song “Mr. Roboto.” He also happens to be a BIG fan of the television show “Glee.” Many of the guys on our staff have been over to his house only to be scarred for life by his endless playing of “Glee” repeats.
Comments, questions, or concerns? Let me know in the comments section below!
Editor’s Note: While Wes’s ‘fun facts’ regarding my love of “Glee” aren’t entirely accurate (or accurate at all for that matter), I will confess to listening to Nirvana on a highly “irregular” basis. Enjoy!