2018 Fantasy Football Imploders!
Welcome to the annual “Imploders” article where I tell you who, at their current ADP, is not going to live up to their draft position in 2018. For the record I like some of these players but I just cannot invest the type of draft capital to roster them. Last year I hit the nail on the head with Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch, Allen Robinson and Brandon Marshall all drastically under performing based on their average draft position. I did however swing and miss on Lamar Miller and Jimmy Graham. ADP data is provided by fantasy football calculator and is based on points per reception scoring, 12 team league format as of 7/19/2018. Now let’s check out my 2018 Imploders!
Deshaun Watson: ADP 4.10, 47th overall (QB2)
I’m officially a member of the late round QB club so investing heavily in a QB early in my drafts is very unappealing. Investing significant draft capital in a QB coming off of a torn ACL is pretty risky but the riskiest part of that investment is drafting Watson and assuming he is going to be the same player last year that was scoring TD’s at a historic pace. Watson scored 21 touchdowns in just six games and was on pace for over 50 touchdowns before he injured his knee. I think it’s safe to say that as fun as that was to watch there is no way Watson can repeat his success of a 9.3% TD rate and at his ADP there is no profit to be made and that his ceiling is limited. Hard pass.
Jimmy Garoppolo ADP 9.01, 99th overall (QB8)
Is he a beautiful human being? Yes. Is he currently being over drafted? Absolutely! Jimmy G has yet to lose an NFL game that he has started and the buzz is at an all time high. I think we can all agree that Garoppolo has the skill set to eventually be an elite quarterback but I don’t think he’s quite there yet and the fantasy community has already crowned him. Much like Watson your’e paying for the upside the player may provide. In five starts Garoppolo threw only seven TD passes and five interceptions, not exactly awe inspiring. I do realize he was traded in the middle of the season and that Kyle Shanahan’s playbook can be difficult to learn so I see the case for Jimmy G making the leap but at his current ADP I would much rather invest in Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff, Big Ben, Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck. Let someone else select Jimmy GQ on draft day, I’ll gladly take a “boring” option a few rounds later.
Kareem Hunt: ADP 1.11, 11th overall (RB8)
The NFL’s leading rusher as a rookie, Hunt was one of the most pleasant surprises in 2017 and probably helped you make your playoffs and maybe even win you your league title. Soooooo why is he an imploder this year you say? Great question! Let me answer it for you! There is no doubt Kareem Hunt had an elite five game stretch to begin his career where he logged over 775 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns. Over the next seven games Hunt produced only 521 yards from scrimmage and ZERO touchdowns and frustrated owners everywhere. Fortunately, Hunt turned it around in weeks 13-15 where Hunt averaged a touchdown and over 120 yards from scrimmage on over 30 touches a game. Therein lies the rub. Spencer Ware is returning from injury and the Chiefs added veteran running backs Damien Williams and Kerwynn Williams in the off season. If Hunt is set to be a bell cow type of back why would the Chiefs make those moves? We all know Andy Reid likes to mix up his back field touches and with a new starting QB in Patrick Mahomes the offense is undergoing a revamp in style. They also spent big money signing Sammy Watkins in free agency which gives them another weapon. I would much rather draft Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook in Hunt’s spot this year. Too many red flags for me to invest that highly in Hunt in 2018.
Rashaad Penny: ADP 4.05, 42nd overall (RB20)
Speaking of red flags, Penny has more than a few. I like the player but hate the situation. Seattle has one of the least talented offensive lines in the NFL, they have lost numerous players on defense so they project to be playing from behind for the first time in many years which will result in more pass attempts. The Seahawks surprisingly spent a first round pick on Penny and early Pete Carroll comments are all sunshine and rainbows so far which is par for the course with him. Many have penciled in Penny for 250 touches or more in his rookie season and while that may happen I just have a hard time believing it. Chris Carson is still on the roster and I would not be surprised if he won the job coming out of training camp. Penny has only one year of elite college production and it was in the same system that made Donel Pumphrey the all-time NCAA Division I FBS leader in career rushing yards so that is somewhat concerning. At his fourth round ADP Penny is very much a boom or bust pick in my opinion. Buyer beware!
Tyreek Hill: ADP 3.08, 32nd overall (WR14)
Another Kansas City Chief makes the list! Now don’t get me wrong, I love watching Tyreek Hill play football and I own him in a bunch of places in dynasty but his current third round ADP over players like Larry Fitzgerald, Amari Cooper and Stefon Diggs seems a little rich to me at the moment. All of Hill’s TD’s came from 30+ yards out last season and he saw virtually no red zone targets. The Chiefs signed Sammy Watkins to the largest WR deal in free agency and while I think they can coexist in a Pat Mahomes led offense along with Travis Kelce, Hill will be hard pressed to see the type of usage he did last year. I’d much rather select Watkins three to four rounds later and use the pick on any of the receivers I’ve listed above. Fitzgerald has the safest floor and both Cooper and Diggs have higher ceilings than Hill this year. Don’t pay for last years numbers this year.
Demaryius Thomas : ADP 4.04, 41st overall (WR18)
Good ole reliable DT. Hasn’t missed a game in the past six seasons, has averaged 90 catches, 1,100 yards and five touchdowns over his last three seasons and is no longer a “sexy” fantasy option. The Broncos upgraded the QB position with the signing of Case Keenum this off season and that has given DT a bit of a breath of fresh air, albeit thin, for fantasy owners in 2018. Thomas is no longer an explosive option in the passing game and is more of a possession receiver as his skills have started to erode the last couple of years and his numbers reflect this. I think some people think Thomas can all of a sudden have a jump in production with Keenum at the helm and that sounds nice and all but I think Thomas will decline again this year and not pay off at his early fourth round ADP. I’d gladly select him in the sixth round or later but that scenario most likely won’t happen. I’ll gladly take players like Allen Robinson and Juju Smith-Schuster who are currently being selected after Thomas as they provide a much higher ceiling.
Evan Engram ADP 6.06, 68th overall (TE6)
A topic of a heated debate on the last episode of Trophy Time between Joshua Trotta and I, Engram is a very polarizing player heading into the 2018 season. The argument for Engram is that he is an elite athlete at the position and a “cheat code” as he’s a TE in a WR’s body, all things I agree with actually. My argument for not drafting Engram at his current ADP revolves around target share and game script which as we know is hard to predict but bare with me. Let’s start with target share. Last year Engram saw 115 targets in his rookie season on a team that lost Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard for a combined 29 games last season. The Giants back field consisted of Orleans Darkwa, Wayne Gallman, Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen. Not exactly a murders row of talent behind Eli Manning needless to say. The Giants used the number two overall pick on Saquon Barkley and both OBJ and Sterling Shepard project to be 100% healthy going into the season so Engram just went from being the number one target for much of 2017 to the number four target in 2018. The hiring of Pat Shurmur and the signing of Rhett Ellison whom Shurmur coached in Minnesota might dig into Engram’s target share as well in a new spread offense. Now let’s talk about game script shall we? Only the Patriots and Steelers had more pass attempts per game than the Giants who logged 38 throws per contest. Much of this was due to the Giants playing from behind due to a disappointing team defense which was a strength the year prior and should right the ship this season. The Giants have worked on rebuilding their offensive line and by using the number two pick in the draft on Saquon Barkley it’s clear to me that they want to establish the run in 2018. Minnesota was 17th in the league in passes per game and 3rd in rushing attempts per game with 30.4 in Shurmur’s scheme in 2017. I expect something similar for the Giants. Engram is a good player, don’t get me wrong but I think his arrow points down in 2018 and I’d rather draft Delanie Walker or Kyle Rudolph a round or two later or completely punt the position all together.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my take on players who I don’t think will pay off their ADP this season! Make sure to tune in next week as I bring you my Exploders for the 2018 season! At the end of the season I will be recapping both Exploders and Imploders with a scorecard of how my predictions panned out as I like to be held accountable for my work!
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