NFL Fantasy Draft season is here and it’s time to plan your draft accordingly. If you are a seasoned vet, you know the importance of draft position but also draft value. The goal is maximum value at the position you draft the player in. The trick is to avoid drafting certain players too early and not get the return in value. There have been many times where I drafted players because their average draft position (ADP) was right on par to my position, but they end up not returning that same value. So with that in mind, I have come up with “fades” or players to not completely avoid, but draft later than the pre-draft kits suggest you to draft.
Cam Akers, RB, Rams
Yahoo Fantasy Football Position Ranking - 20
Photo Credit: CBS Sports
I feel like Cam Akers is the classic case of overvalue in average draft position (ADP). Akers showed flashes of potential in his rookie season. Over his final six games (708 combined yards with three touchdowns and 11 catches), Akers has had a rising stock. I’ve scanned mock drafts and seen him taken with some of the elite RBs and fantasy owners will draft him too early to secure him. The Rams will most likely use multiple backs, so Akers can’t pad his stats. I need to see more from him in a full season before drafting Akers in the top 10. Fade him as a RB3 and reserve as a FLEX option at least, don’t draft too high unless you’re in a 12-manager league.
Tom Brady, QB, Buccaneers
Yahoo Fantasy Football Position Ranking - 8
Photo Credit: The Athletic
Before I get all the hate, hear me out! Tom Brady had one of his best seasons as he set career highs in passing attempts (719 attempts), completions (485 completions) and passing yards (5,316 passing yards). The “Cliff” is a myth, but he will be dealing with more losses than gains this season. He’ll be without Rob Gronkowski, the offensive line has been ravaged with injuries already and Chris Godwin is slowly working back from his ACL injury. Brady will almost certainly pass for over 4,000 yards with 30+ TDs, but I think it’ll be a struggle and he’ll be the 8-12th best QB in the league. I won’t draft him in the top 10 for QBs unless you have built a solid fantasy roster around him.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys
Yahoo Fantasy Football Position Ranking - 15
Photo Credit: USA Today
Would I draft Elliott, absolutely. But would I draft him in the first round? This will be the question fantasy drafters need to answer when on the clock in the first round, especially in 10-12 manager leagues. He’s a good grab as a RB3, but Elliott just isn’t an elite bank anymore (but is paid like one). Since signing that massive deal, his play has been on the decline. Tony Pollard is more exciting and does more with less touches. Pollard will take touches away from Elliott this year and drafting him in the first 2 rounds could be a mistake.
Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks
Yahoo Fantasy Football Position Ranking - 26
Photo Credit: USA Today
Rashaad Penny is the lead back in Seattle, but there’s two issues that worry me. He has never handled the workload that comes with being a lead back and he will have either Drew Lock or Geno Smith as his QB. An even worse case scenario is a quarterback rotation, but the passing game will suffer. That means Penny will be running with 8 men in the box and that lowers his value. I expect 8-man boxes and Seattle to be playing from behind a lot. Penny isd also facing serious competition from rookie RB Ken Walker III. Penny will have lead back workload status but a RB2 in a 10-12 manager league is a major mistake.
A.J. Brown, WR, Eagles
Yahoo Fantasy Football Position Ranking - 13
Photo Credit: NBC Sports
When I looked at APD for Brown, Yahoo had him at #13. At first I wouldn’t think that’s wrong, but looking at the player behind him I’m at a loss (Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Allen Robinson and Terry McLaurin). Brown is a scoring machine, but Philadelphia is a run-first team with Hurts/Sanders. Brown came from a run-first team in the Titans, but Hurts isn’t as good of a passer as Tannehill. I honestly think he’ll be a matchup buster, taking advantage of weak secondaries (see New York Giants) and a 7-9 point game performer against good defenses (see Dallas Cowboys). That type of production makes him a backend WR2 in 10-manager leagues than true WR1.
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Cowboys
Yahoo Fantasy Football Position Ranking - 5
Photo Credit: USA Today
When I saw Lamb at #5 in APD, I was shocked. To see him ahead of Davante Adams, Mike Evans, Tyreek Hill and Deebo Samuel was insane. Lamb is now the WR1 for the Cowboys heading into year 3. Amari Cooper was traded to the Cleveland Browns and I think Lamb is better than Cooper. Michael Gallup and rookie Jalen Tolbert are the other WRs for Dak Presscot to work with, but Gallup is coming off injuries. Lamb had Cooper draw double teams, now Lamb will see coverages he’s never seen before. Lamb was WR18 with all the drops he had last year. Double coverage, drops, weak offensive line, weaker supporting cast equals Lamb being drafted as the WR5? Don’t fall for it!
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