The flip side of succeeding with value players is failing with overvalued players. These are players that will not put up stats commensurate to their draft spot, and avoiding them is another of the important keys to a successful fantasy team. In an attempt to point out these players, we asked our staff to look through the Top 150 and identify players that should underperform their draft position.
Players Receiving 3 Votes
Jared Cook, New Orleans
Drew Davenport: Cook's season was, believe it or not, a fairly typical Jared Cook season despite posting career highs across the board. He was explosive at times, and at others, he disappeared. He scored 193.6 PPR points on the year, but consider that 41.8% of his points on the year came in just three games against three of the worst tight end defenses in football. In his other 13 games, he topped 52 yards receiving just twice, had fewer than 4 catches 7 times, and fewer than 32 yards receiving in 9 of those games! While Cook certainly has upside based on talent and having Drew Brees as your quarterback, there is no evidence to suggest that the Saints will focus enough on Cook to make him a good pick at his current ADP.
Andy Hicks: Jared Cook continues his NFL tour of every franchise and at age 32, on his fourth team in five years he has the expectation of being a starting fantasy tight end. After his best season to date in Oakland, where he finally looked as good in the box score as he does on paper, he takes a risk in moving to New Orleans as Drew Brees career winds down. It will be difficult for Cook to achieve his draft slot, let alone approach it or even exceed it making him a hard guy to draft. No value and a high chance to disappoint means you should look elsewhere.
Justin Howe: Cook enjoyed his best season as a pro in 2018, catching a team-high 68 balls for 896 yards. Still, there’s a reason that happened on his fourth NFL roster, and that he wasn’t prioritized by a cap-rich Raiders team before leaving town. Cook has always been long on speed and athleticism, but short on consistency. Prior to 2018, he’d never caught 55 passes in a season, and he hadn’t topped 700 yards since 2011. Moving to New Orleans brings a quarterback boost, for sure, but it’s no longer the fantasy-friendly move it once was. Drew Brees has dropped back just 34.3 times over the past 2 years, fifth-fewest in football, as he’s leaned more heavily than ever on the Saints ground game and defense. Besides, Brees hasn’t targeted any of his tight ends much since Jimmy Graham left town. Since 2016, the team’s starter hasn’t topped 12.0% of team targets or 40 yards a game. Even when Ben Watson erupted in 2015, he drew just a 16.5% target share. His big fantasy line was a product of the Saints throwing the ball 667 times. Cook won’t enjoy anything close to that kind of volume in 2019, so even if he’s mega-efficient again, his upside is capped tightly.
Eric Ebron, Indianapolis
Phil Alexander: Jack Doyle is only one year removed from a cumulative TE6 finish in PPR leagues, and when he was active last season, Ebron exceeded four targets just twice in six games. The red zone chemistry between Ebron and Andrew Luck is real but Doyle and 6'4'', 236-pound free-agent signee Devin Funchess will cut into his workload when Indianapolis gets within striking distance. Ebron profiles as a high-volatility option you won't be happy to have in your starting lineup in the ~10 games he fails to score a touchdown. His upside is linked to Doyle missing significant time again and Ebron might even lose snaps to an improved Mo Alie-Cox this year.
Will Grant: It pains me to list Ebron as over-valued because I felt like he was a great value pick earlier this year. But the news on Andrew Luck isn't good, and it looks more and more like he may miss some time this season. That immediately bumps Ebron down toward the bottom of the TE1 group. Add in the return of Jack Doyle and more involvement from Mo Alie-Cox and it looks like Ebron is going from a sure thing to a possible backup as a fantasy tight end.
Ryan Hester: The anti-Ebron argument is an easy one: touchdown regression. Not only did he score at an incredible clip last season, but he now has more red zone competition and target competition on his team. Indianapolis acquired Devin Funchess this offseason, and Funchess is no slouch in the red zone with his huge frame. Jack Doyle had offseason hip surgery but should play more in 2019 than he did in 2018, where long stretches missed allowed Ebron to dominate tight end snaps and targets for the Colts. Similar production can be had later in drafts.
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia