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Top Quarterbacks, McKinnon Likely Overpriced Based on ADP

Last week we touched on a handful of players that appear to be underpriced according to the NFFC's ADP, and true to their nature, three of the five highlighted players have jumped up at least two spots in the rankings. Now it's time to go the other way, identifying a handful of players that could be overpriced based on their ADPs.

Jerick McKinnon

ADP: 20/ RB12

Maybe I'm pulling at hairs here, as McKinnon's standing in the RB position is relatively accurate. The next RBs projected to go off the board – Joe Mixon, Devonta Freeman, Jordan Howard – have their obvious blemishes as well. And a top-heavy slate of RBs means that by Rounds 3 and 4 in most drafts, fantasy owners who neglected to pick a tailback will be diving into the rookie halfback waters with names such as Sony Michel, Derrius Guice and Rashaad Penny acting as life rafts. Those aren't bad players by any means, but there comes a level of uncertainty with rookie running backs that the former Minnesota tailback isn't projected to reprise.

Despite McKinnon's insistence, I'm cautious to assume the Georgia Southern ball carrier will be able to handle a full starter's workload. There's no questioning the tailback's talent, as McKinnon's jitterbug style was electrifying in his first two years in the NFL, totaling 4.8 yards-per-carry and 5.2 yards-per-carry in 2014 and 2015, respectively. However, following a season-ending injury to Adrian Peterson in 2016, McKinnon struggled to run the ball effectively, recording a career-high 159 carries, but only averaging 3.4 yards-per-carry. To that point, McKinnon's 2016 rushing attempts nearly matched his totals in the prior two years combined (165) which would seem to suggest that he operated better as change-of-pace option. Hell, the Vikings were so disappointed with McKinnon they opted to split his workload with Matt Asiata, who has not made it on a regular season roster since, and then drafted Dalvin Cook in the first-round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Given I believe the Vikings are one of the better talent evaluators in the league, it's a bit jarring to see them pass over McKinnon time and time again.

A four-year, $36.9 million free agent deal suggests the 49ers view him differently, but given the deal comes with little guaranteed money, the contract is essentially a very flashy prove-it deal, and one that seems unreasonable given McKinnon's career norms compared to colleagues on a similar pay scale.His early ADP price is baked almost entirely into McKinnon's abilities as a receiver which I suppose is good news  considering the Kyle Shanahan-led 49ers targeted the RB position 166 times in 2017, the second most of any team in the NFL. While I expect Jimmy Garoppolo to progress in his first full offseason as a starting QB, it would be odd to see San Francisco deviate drastically from what appeared to be a successful strategy last year, meaning McKinnon should see a bevy of targets out of the backfield. But make no mistake, McKinnon's acumen as runner is still up for discussion, enough so where I would rather lean on the guaranteed production I will get out of a number of WRs in a similar range than hitch my wagon to a career change-of-pace RB.

Deshaun Watson/Russell Wilson/Tom Brady

ADP: Range from 54-64/QB2, QB3, QB4

Aaron Rodgers (ADP 37, QB 1) also belongs in this discussion, but the format would have looked hideous had I tried to squeeze him in, so he remains here as a one sentence tease. Look, all three are great quarterbacks – there's no debate about that. But it's a matter of who you would be giving up at this draft position compared to the bounty of quarterbacks you'd be able to draft later.

Let's try an experiment here, shall we? Jarvis Landry is the next WR to go off the board following Watson, who's RotoWire projected stats (89 receptions, 916 receiving yards, six touchdowns) would have him finish with 216.6 points in ESPN PPR standard scoring formats. Jump 50 ADP down and you'll find Nelson Agholor whose projected totals (67 receptions, 833 receiving yards, six touchdowns) would have him finish with 186 points, a 30-point difference between the two players. Now compare Brady (4,466 passing yards, 32 touchdowns, eight interceptions) to Philip Rivers (4,344 passing yards, 29 touchdowns 11 interceptions) who is a similar ADP drop. Their difference? 23 points.

Take a look at RB. I'm not a huge Lamar Miller fan, but the tailback's projected stats (813 rushing yards, 33 receptions, 288 receiving yards, six combined touchdowns) outperform that of 10th round RB C.J. Anderson (644 rushing yards, 29 receptions, 255 yards, six combined touchdowns). The 24.3 point differential between the two players isn't jarring, but when we are talking about reliability I feel far more certain in Rivers than I do in Anderson/Agholor.

I would try the exercise on TE as well but there's a lot more deviation at that position, particularly in the later rounds, something I expect the fantasy market will set as we approach the midway point of the preseason. It's not as obvious as some fantasy pundits make it out to believe, but there's enough of a difference between RB/WR later that waiting on QB is a smarter choice.

Tarik Cohen

ADP: 59/RB 29

Come on, I know we in the fantasy sphere are desperate for more RBs, but this isn't the way to go about it. Cohen's diminutive size suggests he'll never be a feature back, meaning defenses should be on high alert any time he touches the field. Yes, there's reason to believe part of his failure after an explosive first three games to begin his career was due to the gargoyle play-calling of the John Fox/Dowell Loggains tandem. The fact that he caught 53 passes for 353 yards last year is a testament to his talent, but there's no reason he should be going ahead of WR Sammy Watkins, WR Corey Davis or any number of other WR/TE getting drafted below the backup RB just based on the upside difference alone.