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Most overvalued players in 2021 fantasy football drafts by round

Every NFL offseason players with high upside are hyped up to the point they are no longer a value at their average draft position once fantasy football drafts come around.

These are players who have put up fantasy production in the past but for whatever reason are unlikely to keep it up, along with rookies and other young players with talent but a long path to playing time. Whatever the reason, these players are being drafted too early.

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I went through this exercise last year, and the vast majority of players mentioned underperformed compared to their ADP. Repeating the process, I’ve found players worth avoiding in every round for similar reasons.

These ADPs are from Underdog Fantasy, and the list ends with Round 12 since the players in the last few rounds are all low-probability upside picks. This article has been updated to account for changes in rankings and ADP. Players like Dallas Goedert and Adam Trautman, who were overvalued, saw their ADPs drop by a few rounds, while Travis Etienne suffered a season-ending injury.

Round 1: RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys | ADP: 1.05

The Ohio State alum has a problem that other top-five fantasy running backs don’t have — a strong backup. Tony Pollard excelled as a rookie on a limited sample in 2019 and ended up with more playing time in his sophomore season. He played roughly half the snaps as Elliott in 2020 and again out-played him.

Pollard has racked up a full yard more after contact per carry than the sixth-year back over the last two seasons. The former Memphis Tiger also has a higher avoided tackle rate and explosive run rate with a lower fumble rate. These rates remain true regardless of the number of defenders in the box.

Elliott is still highly likely to retain the starting job for the Cowboys, but he should lose 30-40% of the offensive snaps to the younger back. This makes other running back options around this pick more attractive options.

Round 2: WR DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals | ADP: 2.05

This has less to do with Hopkins and more to do with his position. The All-Pro receiver is one of the most reliable players in fantasy drafts. He has finished in the top five in fantasy points at the position in each of the last four seasons. That streak is likely to extend to five. 

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