All the big hedge funds know how to invest in a company at its lowest point, just before the bullish turn. This is how you get the best return on your investment. Likewise, fantasy editors can gauge the audience’s interest in a player and spot values by identifying inefficiencies in the expectations of the average fantasy manager versus the thoughts of experts.
The Top 10 ECR Workbooks are the experts for our purposes, while the Best Ball ADP (made up mostly of average skilled fantasy players) is the public opinion of the players. Trusting the experts rather than the public usually pays off, especially at the start of the draft season when the market is still stabilizing. Try to find values and avoid overpriced players.
Below you’ll find two first-round players, two mid-round picks, and two rookies that editors overpay or find value for.
All referenced draft average position data is from Underdog Fantasy to May 23, 2021. The best ball rankings are compiled using FantasyPros expert consensus rankings.
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First round overpayment
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC) ADP 21.8 | ECR 32
Last year’s draft steamer has cooled down a bit, but CEH still sits comfortably in the first two laps of the best drafts. Edwards-Helaire rode 1,100 yards from the scrum last year, finding the end zone five times. For a first-round investment, he was on the wrong side of the boom or the recession. Now, Kansas City has lightened its backfield competition, with the departure of Damien Williams. They also improved the line in front of him by adding Orlando Brown. Pundits and audiences alike are pretty much off their assessment of Edwards-Helaire’s second-season promise. It seems his most loyal supporters are still pushing his ADP. Although ECR thinks it’s better to pay a third round price than a second round.
First round value
DK Metcalf (WR – SEA) ADP 26.4 | ECR 20
Metcalf was a fantastic stud for the first 13 weeks of last season, but struggled when it mattered most: the fantasy football playoffs. Perhaps that explains the almost one-turn gap between pundits and public opinion on the Seahawks’ all-star range. However, it was not all his fault – DK had to contend with strong defenses during this mediocre period. Washington, Rams and San Francisco held him to 123 total yards and zero touchdowns. All three teams finished the season in the top five for receiving yards allowed. In 2021, he will face the Bears, Lions and Cardinals all the way down the straight. Only Arizona landed in the top 10 for group receivers defenses, and Detroit was 30th. There are much brighter days ahead for those who take Metcalf as he falls into the third round of the best ball drafts.
Chase Edmonds (RB – ARI) ADP 60.3 | ECR 70
Edmonds’ ability to contribute fantastic scoring via passing play is appealing. However, he hasn’t proven himself capable of doing the job in the field. He’s gone over 50 yards rushing just twice in 2020. Combine that with the Cardinals signing 26-year-old veteran James Conner, and the path to a monster season in 2021 is hard to see. It’s still too early to guess how Arizona will divide the keys, but one part is definitely in the cards (ugh, I had to make a pun). Experts aren’t spending their fifth pick on an uncertain timeshare, and neither should you.
Noah Fant (TE – DEN) ADP 93.3 | ECR 77
I recently wrote an article, “Tight ends to avoid,Who was discussing some tight end-of-round ends that have played out in the past but shouldn’t be on your radar anymore. Conversely, Noah Fant adapts to the mold of tight ends to the target. On the FantasyPros Dynasty Football Podcast, Kyle Yates and Ray Garvin often refer to the “capital project” when talking about recruits. The Broncos spent a lot on Fant in 2019 taking him 20th overall. Tight ends tend to go slower than other skill positions, and Noah Fant’s numbers show a steady upward progression. He increased his catch and yardage totals from 2019 to 2020, but more importantly his goal count increased from 66 to 93. Fant (with or without an Aaron Rodgers trade) is set to command at least 100 targets in 2021. In Best Ball, volume is king, and Noah Fant will win this crown. The public is lagging behind the experts here, so take advantage and grab the tight end of the Broncos wherever you can.
2021 rookie overpayment
Trey Sermon (RB – SF) ADP 72.8 | ECR 107
Sermon landed in running back heaven after finishing 88th overall in the 49ers in the 2021 NFL Draft. He could thrive under the San Francisco coaches, but Best Ball helium has taken off. Trey Sermon came off the board one lap ahead of his backfield partner Raheem Mostert, two laps ahead of Melvin Gordon and three laps ahead of Leonard Fournette! The Niners are known to have taken a “hot hand” approach, and there are still some familiar mittens in the mix to limit Sermon’s benefits. Swinging for the fences is fine, but round 6 might not be a good time to do it. Experts have Sermon closer to AJ Dillon and Zack Moss. It seems much more tolerable.
Rookie value 2021
Kenneth Gainwell (RB – PHI) ADP 189 | ECR 165
Philadelphia won Gainwell in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, further than most expected to slip. The Eagles have a solid lead at Miles Sanders, but he missed a few games last season and showed some inconsistency in the middle of the weeks. The call for Kenneth Gainwell comes with the risk of injury to Sanders. The Eagles recognized that as well and brought in Kerryon Johnson for depth. Despite the former Lion’s presence, Gainwell could find himself as the leader when Sanders’ ankle, hamstrings or knee eventually balks. Experts are anticipating this, and you should be too.
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Aaron Pagliaro is a star writer for FantasyPros. To learn more about Aaron, check out his archive and follow it @FantasyTriage.