Every NFL season there are fantasy players who are “Overrated” and fail to live up to their Average Draft Positions (ADP). Consistently spending up for these overpriced players won’t do you any favors on your road to fantasy glory. I’m here to help you avoid drafting overrated fantasy players in 2021. Using the ADP from 4for4.com, I will identify one player from each NFL team that will fail to live up to their hype and who you should avoid drafting at their current ADP.
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Most Overrated Fantasy Football Players on Each NFL Team
Arizona Cardinals – Chase Edmonds (RB24)
Redzone touches matter. Goal-line touches even more. In 2021 Chase Edmonds rushed 3 times inside the 10-yard line for 5 total yards and once inside the 5-yard line for -1 yard. He scored one rushing touchdown all year. One. Kyler Murray on the other hand scored 11 rushing touchdowns last season. Murray served as the team’s defacto goal-line rusher and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Edmonds will have a role, but he’s not a trustworthy weekly RB2. I’m comfortable heading into the season with Edmonds as my RB3, which means waiting on him, instead of paying up at his current ADP. Edmonds’ value took a big hit this year, but even at this ADP he is one of the more overrated fantasy players.
Atlanta Falcons – Mike Davis (RB21)
The Atlanta Falcons moved on from Todd Gurley this offseason and replaced him with journeyman Mike Davis. Davis is joining his fifth team since being drafted into the league in 2015. Last season was his best statistically speaking, as he filled in for Christian McCaffrey and finished the season as the RB12 in PPR leagues. Davis’s 70 targets were good for fifth in the NFL among running backs and his 59 receptions earned him fourth-best. Those expecting that production to follow him to Atlanta, might not like my next data point. The Falcons spread their running back targets around last season, with no one running back seeing more than 35 targets. Davis failed to score at least 12 points in half of his games in 2020, with six games under nine points. I’m drafting Kareem Hunt and Myles Gaskin before Davis every time given his inconsistency in 2020.
Baltimore Ravens – Marquise “Hollywood” Brown (WR43)
Marquise Brown, aka Hollywood, burst onto the NFL landscape in 2019 with a spectacular two-touchdown performance against the Miami Dolphins. It appeared that the sky was the limit, but in reality, the offensive scheme was the limit. The Ravens ran the football 555 times last season. In a passing league, they run the football, a lot! Drafting Rashod Bateman in the first round, a wide receiver whose Player Profiler comp is Stefon Diggs doesn’t fill me with the hope that Brown will live up to his WR4 ADP. Bateman on the other hand is a steal at WR59. I’ll have him everywhere.
Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen (QB02)
Josh Allen was the top-scoring player in all of fantasy football in 2020, scoring 396 points. Last year he was being drafted as a back-end QB1 in the latter half of most drafts, which made him a tremendous value. This season Allen’s ceiling is baked into his 3.06 ADP in 12-team leagues. It’s incredibly hard to repeat as the QB1 in fantasy football, just ask the last five QB1 finishers Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, and Cam Newton. I won’t be drafting Allen in any redraft leagues unless he falls dramatically, which I don’t see happening.
Carolina Panthers – D.J. Moore (WR21)
D.J. Moore is one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL, but he finished the 2020 campaign as the WR3 on his own team behind Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel. The good news, Samuel has moved on to Washington in the offseason. But the Panthers drafted LSU standout wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. in the second round and brought in a new quarterback. Out with Teddy Bridgewater and in with Jet’s cast-off Sam Darnold. WR21 is too steep a price to pay for someone who underperformed last season and who is guaranteed to be at best the WR2 behind Christian McCaffrey. I’ll gladly let someone in my league pay up for one of the more overrated fantasy players in Moore, while I snag Anderson (WR32) and Marshall Jr. (WR80).
Chicago Bears – Tarik Cohen (RB51)
In most seasons you can find Tarik Cohen‘s name being passed around ZeroRB lists of late running backs to target. Not this season. Field Yates from ESPN is reporting that Tarik Cohen will be sidelined to begin training camp as he recovers from his torn ACL suffered in 2020. The bears have a healthy David Montgomery who successfully shouldered the run game last year so there is no reason to rush him back from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list any time soon. He’s a fade for me and may be one of the more overrated fantasy players in 2021.
Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow (QB13)
As much as I wanted to fade Joe Mixon this year, the smart money is fading Joe Burrow’s QB13 ADP. Only six months removed from multi-ligament surgery, there’s too much uncertainty surrounding his health and Bengal’s ability to keep him healthy, to risk-taking him as your first quarterback. I’d much rather draft Ryan Tannehill or Matthew Stafford and know I had a true dependable weekly QB1 on my roster.
Cleveland Browns – Nick Chubb (RB09)
This one pains me. Nick Chubb is a freak who can run you over just as quickly as he can run by you. In Kevin Stefanski’s offensive scheme he thrived when healthy last year, averaging 5.6 yards per carry and 88.9 rush yards per game. His health is not my concern, it’s his clear lack of PPR upside. Last year he only had 18 targets and only a handful of those by design. Kareem Hunt is the clear 3rd down/PPR back, who also sees goal line carries/targets. He caught five touchdowns and rushed for six more in 2020. This powerhouse duo is here to stay and that frankly caps Chubb’s upside to where he is being drafted. For my money, I’ll pass on Chubb and take Hunt at his RB24.
Dallas Cowboys – Ezekiel Elliott (RB07)
Last season was Ezekiel Elliott’s worst season statistically. He failed to rush for 1,000 yards and averaged six fewer fantasy points (14.9) per game than his average (20.9). Drafting Zeke at RB7 assumes that he returns to full form with Dak Prescott back under center. Tony Pollard’s presence doesn’t concern me as much as Zeke’s poor performance last season after getting COVID-19 and getting paid. I can’t afford to spend my first-round draft pick on a player who has fumbled the football 15 times in the last three years. I’d rather have Austin Ekeler and Aaron Jones at their ADP and let someone else reach for Zeke.
Denver Broncos – Melvin Gordon (RB25)
Melvin Gordon’s days in Denver are numbered. His contract expires at the end of this season and the Broncos drafted Javonte Williams in the early 2nd round to replace him. Not encouraging for a running back who is currently being drafted as a fringe RB2. The only real question that remains to be answered is when does Williams take the job from him. According to Jon Heath from Broncos Wire/USA Today, “Sooner than later, though, Williams could end up being the RB1.” Melvin Gordon is a landmine waiting to go off, he’s a full fade for me this season.
Detroit Lions – D’Andre Swift (RB15)
D’Andre Swift has all the talent in the world and the potential to be an RB1 this season. Frankly, I am concerned with Dan Campbell and Anthony Lynn. They flat out cannot be trusted to provide Swift with week-to-week volume after signing and talking up Jamaal Williams. Lynn did a terrible job managing the Chargers’ running backs in 2020, and nothing he has done ever as a coach gives me faith that I can trust him with my high-end RB2. It’s just too risky given the potential ineptitude Swift will be up against from his own team sabotaging his weekly upside. If he falls past RB18, he’s worth taking a shot, but don’t be surprised to see Williams in the game more than anyone would like this season.
Green Bay Packers – AJ Dillon (RB39)
AJ Dillon was a non-factor in fantasy football in 2020. The departure of Jamaal Williams in free agency during the offseason delighted fantasy drafters and sent his 2021 ADP surging. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but last year Jamaal Williams only scored 127 fantasy points. And 60 of those points, or 47% of his production, came from his 35 receptions and 236 receiving yards. AJ Dillon is a power rusher who doesn’t project to be featured in the passing game very often this season.
Can his increased rushing attempts alone get him to 130 fantasy points? I’m skeptical he reaches his ADP potential this season given the return of Aaron Jones and Aaron Rodgers’ propensity to pass the football in the red zone. If Jones were to miss any playing time he has the potential to be a weekly RB2 with RB1 upside, but I’m not going to reach for him. Dillon is one of the most overrated players in fantasy this year thanks to his quads.
Houston Texans – David Johnson (RB37)
The Houston Texans are trying a unique approach at running back this season. It can best be described as, “spray and pray.” David Johnson, Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay, and Rex Burkhead will all have an opportunity to compete for touches. Sounds like a backfield you shouldn’t pay up for. Currently, Phillip Lindsay is being drafted as RB53, which makes much more sense than an aging veteran in Johnson, who turns 30 this season.
Indianapolis Colts – Jonathan Taylor (RB06)
Jonathan Taylor (JT) was electric at the end of last season, averaging close to 25 fantasy points per game in weeks 11-17. But that’s not how fantasy football or even real football works. Each season is unique. Marlon Mack is back and we saw last season that even Jordan Wilkins was given steady touches throughout the season. The Colts also benefitted from Phillip Rivers’s keen ability to dump the ball off, racking up 132 running back targets. Nyheim Hines was targetted 76 times last season, which was third-highest in the NFL. All that being said, I currently have JT ranked at RB08 behind Austin Ekeler.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence (QB14)
Trevor Lawrence was locked in as the first pick in the 2021 draft at the end of the 2019 season. Middle linebacker Joe Schobert told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “Trevor’s got an arm — a once-in-a-generation arm” The hype is real! So real that Trevor is currently being drafted at his ceiling as a top-end QB2. He’s flying off draft boards before consistent veteran quarterbacks like Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan, and DeShaun Watson. I’m comfortable drafting Lawrence as my QB2, but I’m not reaching for a QB2 in the 10th round. If he slips past round 10, his weekly upside is intriguing, but he’s not a player I’m targeting at his current inflated ADP.
Kansas City Chiefs – Tyreek Hill (WR01)
To quote the late great Ricky Bobby, “If you’re not first, you’re last.” And in Tyreek Hill’s case, if he doesn’t finish the season as the WR1, then he hasn’t lived up to his ADP. I don’t like it one bit either, but them’s the rules of ADP racing. Honestly, I currently have Hill projected to finish the season as a top-five wide receiver. I am comfortable taking him anywhere in round two, but I will not be reaching for him at his current 1.09 ADP. Hill may produce results, but overrated players are not a fantasy value at their present ADP and Hill is no exception.
Las Vegas Raiders – Kenyan Drake (RB39)
Last year Josh Jacobs rushed for over 1,000 yards and finished eighth in rushing yards. So as expected the Las Vegas Raiders did the most Raiders’ thing ever this offseason and signed free-agent running back Kenyan Drake. Stop me if your head hurts, because mine does. They are very similar players and with Jalen Richard still expected to be used in the passing game, it’s hard for me to draft Drake with Gus Edwards and Tony Pollard being drafted after him.
Drake will not provide enough consistency to start each week, so he’s likely to serve as a potential weekly flex play. On top of this, Drake started training camp in the Non-Football Injury (NFI) lists and has yet to take the field yet. Jacobs is the back to draft at his ADP of RB20 while Drake remains one of the more overrated players as far as fantasy goes.
Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert (QB06)
Justin Herbert’s ascension as greatest rookie touchdown passer of all time wouldn’t have happened if not for an ill-fated oft-troubled doctor’s misplaced needle into Tyrod Taylor’s lungs. Just wild! I really like Justin Herbert, but you are drafting him at his complete ceiling ahead of players like Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, who have both finished as the QB1 in the last 5 years, Rodgers finishing as the QB2 just last season. If we are going to pay up for a quarterback, I need more upside from my 5.06 pick. Herbert is a top 10 quarterback, but I’m not paying full price this season when he was free last year. Herbert may elevate his game, but he is far more likely to take a step back like second-year players do making him an overrated fantasy asset.
Los Angeles Rams – Tyler Higbee (TE11)
Tyler Higbee waived goodbye to Gerald Everett and then waived hello to Jacob Harris, the 6’5 athletic former wide receiver, who is now converting into a tight end. Higbee truthers can’t catch a break. I’m not saying that Harris takes over Everett’s role, but he’s a nightmare to match up against linebackers and safeties, so don’t look to see him doing a tremendous amount of blocking work. It limits what could have been a 90-100 target season to more like a 70 max target season, which was good enough for TE14 last year. Higbee was supposed to break out in 2020, but only saw 60 targets in an overall disappointing season. I’m not buying the consistency that is needed to be a TE1 all season long. Higbee may hit some highs, but he will have his lows making him a bad value and an overrated fantasy player when there are players just as good at a lower ADP.
Miami Dolphins – Mike Gesicki (TE12)
The Dolphins recognized in the offseason that Tua Tagovailoa needed more weapons in order to be successful. They signed speedster Will Fuller and drafted Alabama star Jaylen Waddle, practically putting Mike Gesicki on ice. I can’t trust Gesicki as my TE1, which is where he is currently being drafted. Last year he scored under 10 points in 10 games. That’s not good. Irv Smith and Blake Jarwin have just as much weekly upside at a much cheaper ADP cost.
Minnesota Vikings – Mattison (RB48)
Wasting late-round picks on handcuffs only handcuffs your fantasy team’s ability to maximize its scoring upside. Why would I draft Alexander Mattison to languish on my bench, under glass, fingers crossed that Dalvin Cook gets injured? No, please. I’ll let some other chump in my league light his pick on fire and I’ll snap up Jamaal Williams, who Anthony Lynn already signaled he has a significant role scoped out for, or J.D. McKissic, who led the NFL in targets with 110 last season. Think people! You are playing for keeps, not for handcuffs.
New England Patriots – Jonnu Smith (TE15) or Hunter Henry (TE16)
This one was a head-scratcher to watch unfold during the 2021 offseason. New England Patriots signed free-agent TE Jonnu Smith and then they doubled down. In a move, no one saw coming they, signed free-agent TE Hunter Henry. The Patriots have successfully supported two top 10 tight ends, but the self-appointed “Boston TE Party” isn’t setting sail on clam steady predictable fantasy seas helmed by the GOAT, Tom Brady. There is uncertainty at the quarterback position, as Cam Newton fights off Mac Jones for the starting job. Bill Belichick is always a wild card waiting to happen as well. Either draft them both and ride the weekly wave or just avoid the hassle of figuring out who to start.
Currently, Smith is being drafted as the TE15 and Henry as the TE16. This reflects the publics’ general uncertainty surrounding who will emerge as the TE1 on the team. Your guess is as good as mine and so if I had to choose, I would lean rostering Smith. He’s demonstrated that he can separate from defenders and is viable as a RedZone target, hauling in eight touchdowns in 2021 to Henry’s four.
New Orleans Saints – Michael Thomas (WR16)
Do not draft Michael Thomas in 2021. Please. I’m begging you. Last season he missed nine games and now he is slated to miss the first part of the regular season recovering from surgery to repair ligaments (multiple) in his ankle. According to Virginia Zakas of the Athletic, there’s a good chance Thomas misses at least the first six games of the season on the PUP, if not more. I’m not comfortable drafting any player that does not help me win my first six games.
New York Giants – Saquon Barkley (RB05)
By the time you read this Saquon Barkley’s ADP could be lower than RB5, as he’s publicly shared he doesn’t know when he will be 100% and is still “day-to-day.” The uncertainty surrounding his recovery from a torn ACL suffered in 2020 has Saquon quickly sliding down draft boards. Paying full price for a workhorse back coming off injury isn’t something that I am willing to take a risk on this season. Even if he has league-winning upside if you swing and miss with your first-round pick, your chances of winning plummet. Give me a healthy Austin Ekeler every time over Barkley who is as overrated and overvalued as any of the other players in fantasy football!
New York Jets – Corey Davis (WR55)
New York Jet’s first-time head coach Robert Saleh was brought in during the offseason and was tasked with rebuilding a Jet’s franchise that has won just 23 games in total the last five seasons. Obviously, no easy task. The Jets drafted Zach Wilson out of BYU with the second overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft in hopes of turning their misfortunes around. Enter free-agent wide receiver Corey Davis, whose fifth-year option was turned down by the Tennesse Titans after a lackluster four years of inconsistent production. I’m fully fading Davis this year. The “better” is the speedy slot receiver Elijah Moore that they drafted in the early second round from Ole Miss. His closest Player Profiler comp is Tyler Lockett and his sheer athleticism and speed are good enough reason for me to ignore Davis and go all-in on Moore at his affordable WR63 price.
Philadelphia Eagles – Jalen Hurts (QB10)
Last season Jalen Hurts started four games for the Philadelphia Eagles, averaging 23 fantasy points per game. For perspective, Deshaun Watson averaged 23.1 points last year and finished as the QB7. I understand the potential the fantasy community sees in Hurts. Last season was a small, but powerful sample size. The rushing upside is definitely there. But there are huge red flags as well. I’m just not sure how Eagles Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen plans to deploy him this season. And Jalen only completed 52% of his passes last season. So there needs to be marked improvement if he consistently returns QB1 value for a full season. Pick 7.07 is too early for me to reach for Hurts.
Pittsburgh Steelers – JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR30)
JuJu Smith-Schuster is being drafted as the WR30. Sounds reasonable on the surface. He finished last season as the WR16 in PPR leagues, so if anything he appears to be available at a discounted rate, no? No. The writing is on the wall that this season will be different for JuJu. The Steelers brought him back on a one-year deal after he tested the free agency waters and found them to be icy. The emergence of wide receivers Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool will mean fewer targets for the slot receiver. Also, expect the Steelers to future running back Najee Harris this season, as Pittsburgh seeks to balance its offensive attack.
San Francisco 49ers – George Kittle (TE03)
I freaking love George Kittle!! He’s a grown-ass man who plays every snap like it could be his last. You love to see it as a football fan, but not as a fantasy manager. Kittle’s range of outcomes includes finishing as a top 3 tight end, but also potential battling injuries and finishing as the TE19 like last season. It’s hard to ignore his upside, but his 2.12 price tag is just too high given the quarterback transition taking place between Jimmy Grappallo and Trey Lance. Let someone else reach for Kittle and draft Kyle Pitts instead.
Seattle Seahawks – Chris Carson (RB19)
Chris Carson had a down season in 2020, rushing for 80 yards only once in a game and averaging only 56.8 yards per game. In the previous two seasons, Carson had averaged 82 rushing yards per game and had rushed for back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. A foot injury derailed his 2020 campaign, causing him to miss four games. Carson finished with less than 700 yards rushing and as the RB19. At this point in his career, Carson is who he is. He’s a power runner who has missed time with injuries in all but his second season and who could miss time this season as well. I feel much more comfortable drafting Josh Jacobs or David Montgomery.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Leonard Fournette (RB29)
Super Bowl Lenny (AKA Leonard Fournette) is being way overvalued, riding the recency bias to an inflated ADP. Last year Ronald Jones and Fournette combined for 11 performances of over 11 fantasy points. Ronald Jones had seven to Fournette’s four. The addition of Giovanni Bernard as the third-down/two-minute drill back also limits Fournette’s weekly upside. According to Justin Edwards of 4for4.com, “For Leonard Fournette to produce consistent fantasy numbers, he will have to convert at an incredibly high rate at the goal line, a task that will be difficult unless Ronald Jones is forced to miss time.” Unfortunately, the deck is stacked against “Fantasy Lenny” becoming a thing in 2021. Ronald Jones is being taken six posts after him at RB35 and is a better season-long value for my money.
Tennessee Titans – Julio Jones (WR15)
Fading Julio Jones is like drinking the least deadly of the deadly poisons, I don’t want to drink it. But the other poisons are even deadlier. I mean, who wants to have “FADED KING HENRY” engraved on their tombstone, not me? I can’t fade the quarterback (Ryan Tannehill) who just added Julio Jones as their WR2. So in the end, it comes down to either Jones or A.J. Brown. Don’t overthink this one. A.J. Brown is a dynamic budding superstar and Jones Hall of Famer on the back end of his historic career who has battled injuries the last few years. I think that both produce this year, but A.J. Brown is the better wide receiver and should see more targets and red zone opportunities. Julio will hit some highs, but his lack of top-end guarantee lands him among the most overrated fantasy players this year.
Washington Football Team – Curtis Samuel (WR40)
This was a real challenge. The Washington Football team spent up in free agency to reunite Curtis Samuel with “River Boat” Ron Rivera for a reason. Washington appears to be on the verge of being a top contender for the NFC East crown with a plethora of weapons at Ryan Fitzpatricks’ disposal. Samuel will be a big part of the offense for sure. But he will miss the 41 carries he picked up last year in Carolina, filling it at times in the backfield for an injured Christian McCaffrey. I expect Samuel to be more boom or bust this season. So draft him knowing that you are chasing his ceiling instead of depending on his floor. Samuel could blow up, but the uncertainty makes him one of the most overrated fantasy players this year.