Fantasy Football: Most overvalued players in Rounds 1-3 on Underdog Fantasy

2X5NHPA Arizona Cardinals rookie wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., left, warms up during an NFL rookie minicamp football practice as Cardinals assistant strength and conditioning coach Everrett Gathron, right, looks on Friday, May 10, 2024, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.: Arizona Cardinals rookie wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. faces a historical uphill battle to produce top-12 positional results in Year 1.

Houston Texans wide receiver Stefon Diggs: Wide receiver Stefon Diggs faces stiff target competition with the Houston Texans in his 10th NFL season.

Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta: A talented group of elite tight ends can be drafted up to three rounds later than Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta, making his third-round cost untenable.

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Best ball scoring formats have made fantasy football a year-round endeavor and enthusiastic Underdog Fantasy drafters are already pushing fan favorites into precarious average draft position (ADP) territory. The article below breaks down three overvalued NFL players whose current ADPs should be avoided on Underdog Fantasy’s half-points per reception (half-PPR) platform.

2.03, WR9 Marvin Harrison Jr., Arizona Cardinals

Underdog Fantasy drafters are drafting Arizona Cardinals rookie wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. via a 2.03, WR9 ADP, requiring Harrison to produce the third-best rookie wide receiver season in recent history to return value. Though Harrison’s 89.6 PFF receiving grade ranks fourth-best among 22 Power Five wide receivers with at least 100 targets in 2023 bodes positively and his No. 4 overall 2024 NFL draft capital necessitates year one contributions, drafting a rookie player at his ceiling fails to properly maximize fantasy draft pick value. 

Talented rookie wide receivers typically finish in the mid-WR2-to-mid-WR3 range although three players in the past three draft classes have lept that hurdle by finishing inside the top 20.

Rookie wide receiver half-PPR finishes among NFL rookie wide receivers to earn at least 65 targets in Year 1:
NFL Rookie WR Half-PPR Data Total Qualifying WRs
WR1-WR10 2
WR11-WR20 1
WR21-WR31 8
WR32-WR48 6
WR59+ 3

Aside from battling historical trends, Harrison will also compete with 2023 breakout tight end Trey McBride, who head coach Jonathan Gannon implemented as the offense’s primary pass catcher in Week 8. Among 31 NFL tight ends with at least 25 targets from Week 8-on, McBride ranks top five in both missed tackles forced (10) and explosive pass plays (15), third in yards per route run (YPRR, 2.08) and second in target rate (27.0%). 

McBride even held his own against elite NFL wide receivers as a first-read target. Among 31 NFL players with at least 55 first-read targets from Week 8-on, he ranks 11th in target rate (29.3%), 15th in YPRR (2.41) and 18th in explosive pass play rate (27.1%).

Harrison will undoubtedly lead the wide receiver corps in targets but it is not a given that he operates as his team’s passing-game alpha in year one. Fantasy managers would do well to pass on Harrison in a majority of drafts, instead opting for a proven veteran pass catcher. 

3.01, WR17 Stefon Diggs, Houston Texans

Veteran NFL wide receiver Stefon Diggs spent four years dominating his lesser Buffalo Bills counterparts but faces increased target competition as the Houston Texans’ newest member, entering his 10th NFL season on a new team. Diggs’ waning efficiency coupled with the worsening circumstances makes it difficult to justify his current 3.01, WR17 ADP. Underdog Fantasy drafters are likely selecting Diggs at his 2024 ceiling, rather than his potential median outcome. Diggs’ 79.0 PFF receiving grade ranks 24th among 74 NFL wide receivers with at least 60 targets in 2023, where he finished as the Weeks 1-17 WR11. 

During Diggs’ 2020-to-2023 Buffalo stint, there were 17 instances in which a Buffalo pass-catcher earned 60-plus targets in a season. Among those 17 Buffalo players, Diggs is the only player to produce a target rate over 21.5%, hitting 23.9% or better each year. This reflects both Diggs’ talent in his prime, as well as his lack of high-quality target competition. Diggs’ 2024 Houston squad produced two such players in 2023, X-wide receiver Nico Collins (26.8%) and breakout rookie wide receiver Tank Dell (23.1%). Houston tight end Dalton Schultz’s 19.7% target rate would qualify as the third-best non-Diggs target rate among qualifying Buffalo pass catchers

Among 74 NFL wide receivers with at least 60 targets in 2023, Collins’ 91.2 PFF receiving grade and Dell’s 83.3 PFF receiving grade tie for fourth and rank 15th, respectively. Among 23 NFL tight ends with at least 60 targets in 2023, Schultz’s 72.6 PFF receiving grade ranks 12th.

The NFL expanded its regular season schedule to 18 games in 2021, thus expanding the fantasy football season from Week 1-to-16 to Week 1-to-17. Diggs’ 436 fantasy season targets from 2021-to-2023 are third-most among NFL wide receivers, making him one of just five NFL wide receivers to surpass 400 qualifying targets, masking his declining efficiency. In 2023 alone, Diggs produced his fifth-lowest yards after the catch per reception (3.9), fourth-lowest YPRR (1.89), third-lowest average depth of target (aDot, 10.6), catchable target catch rate (89.3%) and deep-target rate (14.9%) and second-lowest yards per reception (10.7), catch rate (66.9%), contested target catch rate (41.9%) and NFL passer rating when targeted (93.4).

Diggs remains a capable NFL wide receiver but his in-house target competition features two rising stars. He is likely being drafted at his ceiling as an early-third round, mid-tier WR2.

3.09, TE1 Sam LaPorta, Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions second-year tight end Sam LaPorta proved himself an elite starting tight end in year one; his 77.3 PFF offense grade ranks fifth among 33 NFL tight ends with at least 535 offensive snaps. LaPorta’s exorbitant 3.09, TE1 ADP is difficult to justify though, given the dearth of tight end talent available in the ensuing rounds and LaPorta’s likely inability to make up for the value lost by bypassing third-round wide receivers and running backs.

LaPorta already delivered TE1 results as a rookie but he was unable to hold his own against the best players at wide receiver and running back.

The top seven NFL tight ends per ADP with last year’s half-PPR scoring data:
NFL TE ADP Round.Pick – Positional Rank 2023: Total – PPG
Detroit Lions TE Sam LaPorta 3.09 – TE1 TE1 – TE1
Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce 4.03 – TE2 TE2 – TE2
Arizona Cardinals TE Trey McBride 5.01 – TE3 TE9 – T-TE11
Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews 5.06 – TE4 TE12 – TE4
Buffalo Bills TE Dalton Kincaid 5.06 – TE5 TE15 – TE16
Atlanta Falcons TE Kyle Pitts 6.03 – TE6 TE13 – TE17
San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle 6.08 – TE7 TE3 – TE5

LaPorta’s TE1 position is justifiable following his terrific rookie year but his 11.6 half-PPR points per game and 184.9 17-week total only modestly separate from the position’s elite and fail to stand out among NFL wide receivers and running backs. The latter point is particularly concerning. 

LaPorta’s per-game average is just 0.3 points better than the per-game TE4 and 1.6 points better than the TE6. His 17-week total fares somewhat better, separating from the TE5 by 24.2 points. 

Among NFL wide receivers, LaPorta’s per-game average ties for the WR22 while his 17-week total ranks WR19. Among NFL running backs, LaPorta’s per-game average ties for the RB24 while his 17-week total ranks RB16.

LaPorta will command an elite target share but is unlikely to surpass Detroit's No. 1 pass catcher Amon-Ra St. Brown, whose 91.3 PFF receiving grade ranks third among 33 NFL wide receivers with at least 105 targets. St. Brown’s 27.5% target rate ranks fifth and his 2.59 YPRR ranks sixth. Detroit’s second-year running back Jahmyr Gibbs will vie for the No. 2 pass-catching role in his first season as the team’s starter. Gibbs’ 67.4 PFF receiving grade and 22.3% target rate rank ninth and fifth, respectively, among 16 NFL running backs to earn at least 60 targets. Both players are talented target earners.

Detroit’s 2022 first-round draft pick, enigmatic wide receiver Jameson Williams enters a make-of-break year after averaging a 16.0% target rate through his first two seasons. Detroit head coach Dan Campbell will give him early-season opportunities to justify the 2022 draft capital invested in Williams. Should Williams succeed in making the leap, he would present a third obstacle to LaPorta returning third-round value, albeit a mild one.

LaPorta is an exceptionally skilled young player but fantasy managers are better off selecting their starting tight end in Rounds 4-6.


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