FANTASY PLAYS: Shifting values with average draft position

SCOTT ENGEL (RotoExperts)
The Associated Press

For many fantasy football players, average draft position, or ADP, give a good barometer of when certain players may be picked - a useful planning tool for draft day.

But ADP should be treated as a loose, not rigid, guide to what to fully expect. Every draft is different and ADP doesn't always fully reflect a player's true value, as many drafters in the mainstream are not as fully informed as more savvy players. Here are some players who are being overvalued or undervalued based on their current ADP as compiled by FantasyPros in point-per-reception leagues.

OVERDRAFTED

Jerick McKinnon, RB, San Francisco (25th overall): There are very high expectations for McKinnon in a 49ers offense that is stirring a lot of buzz. While he is versatile and fast, McKinnon may not be built for heavy featured-back duty at 5-9, 205. He already has a knee injury that will cost him the rest of the preseason, and when Matt Breida returns from a shoulder injury, he may cut into McKinnon's workload, too. Picking McKinnon early in the third round is not advised, even if you totally miss out on acquiring him.

Rex Burkhead, RB, New England (71): Experienced fantasy players know you can never fully trust a New England running back. Word recently came out that Burkhead is trying to play through a minor tear in his knee. Health and workload concerns lead to regular concerns and no upside, so avoid Burkhead this season.

Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver (41): The widespread assumption is that Case Keenum is going to revive the Denver passing game and that Thomas' numbers will rebound accordingly. But Keenum must prove he is no one-year wonder who may revert to looking like a journeyman after leaving Minnesota. The Broncos may also be concerned that Thomas' best days are behind him, as they drafted Courtland Sutton as their possible next big playmaker.

Brandin Cooks, WR, Los Angeles Rams (43): He was a minor disappointment last season in New England, as Cooks only caught 65 balls. Now he is with the Rams, where Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods are already established WR targets, plus Todd Gurley gets a lot of looks, as well. Cooks will still be relevant, but could also be very inconsistent and will be too frustrating for a guy with a fourth-round price tag.

Jordan Reed, TE, Washington (87): Fantasy players who still get lured in by Reed should simply stop chasing his 2015 season and the remaining shreds of it from 2016. Reed played in only six games last season, and has missed 16 games over the past three years. That's a full NFL season, of course. He is much too risky to be the ninth tight end off the board.

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans (63): His ADP is based more on reputation than recent trends that may continue going forward. Last season, the Saints morphed into a team with outstanding RB play and a good defense. Brees no longer had to constantly fling the ball all over the yard as in the past, and look for the same approach in 2018. You're not going to see 4,800 yards or 31-plus TDs again.

UNDERDRAFTED

Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago (82): He is going to be one of the true breakout performers of the 2018 season in PPR formats. New head coach Matt Nagy is going to unleash the explosive all-around talent of Cohen in an improving Bears offense. Cohen is a fine value selection who will truly emerge as an upside performer this year.

Peyton Barber, RB, Tampa Bay (134): Obviously, most fantasy owners do not buy into Barber as the team's current starter and expect rookie Ronald Jones to quickly emerge and soar past him. But Barber could hold onto the job for a while, as Jones is having trouble adjusting to the pro game. Barber can be a good flex player for an extensive stretch to open the season.

Robby Anderson, WR, New York Jets (95): Last year, Anderson averaged nearly 15 yards a catch and scored seven times, despite the Jets dealing with QB issues. This season, the quarterback position should have more stability, so you should expect Anderson to continue his emergence as an exciting playmaker. He'll go over 1,000 yards this time.

Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta (123): There should be more optimism surrounding what may be the best WR in this year's rookie class. Ridley is going to be an electric complement to Julio Jones; he's the No. 2 WR the Falcons have been seeking. If you nab Ridley in the double-digit rounds, you are really going to enjoy the returns when he has some impressive outings this year.

Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Arizona (226): He is going near the end of drafts, but Seals-Jones could vie for top 10 fantasy tight end status this season. He is a big, fluid target who will become a prime threat for Arizona near the goal line. RSJ flashed some brief promise last season and should become a quality fantasy starter in his second pro season.

Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers (108): He is the 15th QB off the board on average, and never seems to get the fantasy respect he deserves. Rivers was the eighth most productive QB in fantasy last season, and has been a top 10 QB in five of the past six seasons. If you wait on a QB, as is often recommended, you can get Rivers in the double-digit rounds and you'll strut, not walk, away from your draft table.

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