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Fantasy Football: 10 players to fade at ADP

Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) drops back to pass against the Tennessee Titans during the second half during a AFC Divisional playoff football game at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen and Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow currently have inflated ADPs.

• Several running backs, including the Cleveland BrownsNick Chubb, also have inflated ADPs.

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Don’t hate the player, hate the average draft position (ADP). Never commit to not drafting a player under any circumstances — everyone in the NFL can be a viable fantasy football option depending on the draft length and format.

That said, the rest of the PFF fantasy crew and I are naturally higher and lower on certain players relative to consensus. What follows are 10 players that are significantly lower in my rankings compared to their consensus ADP. Again, I’m not saying to never draft these players, but I’ve consistently found myself passing on them at their usual price while drafting throughout the offseason.

All scoring referenced is full point-per-reception (PPR) unless otherwise noted.

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QB Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

  • Ian’s rank: QB1, 37th player overall
  • ADP: QB1, 24th player overall

The man has become a borderline cheat code over the past two seasons, as Allen became the first signal-caller since 2003-04 Daunte Culpepper to post back-to-back overall QB1 finishes. Another season atop the leaderboard would land Allen in an exclusive club alongside only 1992-1994 Steve Young and 1995-1997 Brett Favre as the only signal-callers to post overall QB1 fantasy production in three consecutive seasons over the last 50 years.

There’s little debate that Allen deserves to be this year’s preseason QB1 but just be careful about spending a late second-round/early third-round pick to acquire his services. Tier-based drafting is all about enabling yourself to get the best value in every round, and selecting Allen this high leaves a lot of opportunity cost considering the plethora of high-end running backs and wide receivers still available.

My favorite range to draft a quarterback in a 12-team league comes in Rounds 5 and 6 thanks to the availability of fellow dual-threat studs — such as Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, and Kyler Murray — and the reality that this range of the draft consists of shaky WR3 types as well as dead-zone running backs. I’m out on Allen in Round 4 just like I am for any other quarterback thanks to similar player types being available later.

QB Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

  • Ian’s rank: QB9, 80th player overall
  • ADP: QB7, 60th player overall

Burrow was arguably the NFL’s most-efficient quarterback last season:

  • PFF passing grade: 91.2 (No. 1 among 44 quarterbacks with 100-plus dropbacks in 2021)
  • QB rating: 108.3 (No. 2)
  • Big-time throw rate: 6.4% (No. 5)
  • Turnover-worthy play rate: 2.4% (No. 5)
  • Yards per attempt: 8.9 (No. 1)
  • Adjusted completion rate: 79.4% (No. 3)

Burrow’s back-to-back overall QB1 finishes in Weeks 16 and 17 certainly helped many capture fantasy football championship glory, but the Bengals’ middling pass-play rate (62.3%, 13th) and snail-like pace (32.79 seconds per play, 30th) prevented him from putting up those sort of numbers throughout the season. Overall, Burrow had just one top-five finish in Weeks 1-15 last season. 

He still peeled off seven top-12 finishes during the first 15 weeks of last season but just realize he needs to be an incredible passer after his average rushing yards per game was cut in half from 2020 (14.2) to 2021 (7.4).

I don’t blame anyone for taking Burrow as the first true pocket passer off the board, but Tom Brady is going a full 30 picks later on average. Even Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins and Derek Carr are regularly available into the triple-digit overall picks despite each boasting a fantasy projection within 23 total points of Burrow. There’s no need to pay a premium on Burrow in the fifth round when higher-upside quarterbacks are still available with arbitrage versions of himself standing by far later.

RB Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

  • Ian’s rank: RB16, 30th player overall
  • ADP: RB10, 17th player overall

Arguably the single-best player at the position with the ball in his hands, Chubb has averaged 1,392 total yards and 9.8 touchdowns per season since entering the league in 2018 despite missing six games over the past two seasons with knee and calf injuries.

However, his 23 reception, 187.8 receiving yard, and 0.75 receiving touchdown per season averages have caused one of the NFL’s undisputed best real-life running backs to work as more of a borderline top-10 option in fantasy land:

  • 2018: 12.2 PPR points per game (RB24)
  • 2019: 16 (RB11)
  • 2020: 17.3 (RB7)
  • 2021: 15.4 (RB11)

It’s honestly been impressive that Chubb has managed to produce so much with his underwhelming workload. In 2021, he was just the RB21 in expected PPR points per game, and in 2020, he ranked 27th.

Chubb didn't see much of a difference in his snaps (51% vs. 60%) or carries and targets (17.5 vs. 17.6) with and without Kareem Hunt in the lineup. He's two injuries away from earning anything close to a fantasy-friendly target share due to D’Ernest Johnson‘s presence.

Perhaps Chubb is good enough to post another top-12 performance even without a larger workload, but it’s going to seemingly take a change in coaching philosophy and/or an even more superhuman performance from him in order to post the sort of league-winning top-five season that he’s being drafted at the Round 2 turn for. This point will be especially true if Jacoby Brissett winds up starting the majority of the season under center.


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