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Saturday, July 8, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL OVERRATED/UNDERRATED: CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY/DANNY WOODHEAD

The shiny new rookie toy is always the object of nearly every fantasy baseball or fantasy football participant when the annual drafts roll around.  These rookies carry with them what seems like unlimited potential and the chance to be the next big star.  Thus their draft prices tend to skyrocket, in particular among running backs who tend to have the most first-year impact in fantasy football.  Given the smashing instant success of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott a year ago, the hype will grow even more for the top rookies that include Jacksonville's Leonard Fournette and Carolina's Christian McCaffrey.  While Fournette is the clear top dog running back for the Jags as the season quickly approaches, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has already gone on record as saying that veteran Jonathan Stewart will start ahead of this season.  That of course is not good news for McCaffrey's fantasy football potential and this is especially true in standard leagues where Stewart will likely get the goal-line work.  However in PPR leagues the McCaffrey riddle is even more interesting which we will get into.

So obviously the top of this annual feature is to identify players will similar skill sets who are both overrated and underrated based on their expected ADP.  McCaffrey currently has an ADP in PPR formats of 33 which places him in the third round of 12-team leagues.  That is very high for someone who has yet to play an NFL down, already has been told he won't lead the team in carries, and has to answer questions about whether or not he can hold up to a high amount of pounding.  Meanwhile veteran PPR gem Danny Woodhead currently totes an ADP in PPR leagues of 63 which has him going three rounds later.  Now Woodhead arguably is the very best receiving back in the league not named David Johnson or Le'Veon Bell and he gets a golden chance with a Baltimore Ravens team who will be without suspended Kenneth Dixon the first four games of the season.  A healthy Woodhead can catch upwards of 70 passes and for over 600 yards; while also contributing a bit on the ground as well.  In other words, similar to what is expected of McCaffrey but three rounds cheaper.  Yes McCaffrey is expected to return kicks and punts but most leagues only count TD's there and so that is not a major difference-maker.  So when you break it all down, Woodhead is surely the better buy of the two and could easily catch more passes than McCaffrey if he stays healthy.

So while we are not saying to avoid Christian McCaffrey in drafts, we are saying to pay attention to ADP and skills sets of similar players.  Woodhead again is the much better buy and could easily produce better numbers then McCaffrey.  Keep this in mind during your drafts.


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