Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: 10 players to fade/target at their current ADP in dynasty superflex leagues

2K8H0NA Jacksonville, United States. 23rd Oct, 2022. Jaguars Travis Etienne Jr runs in the forst half as the Giants take on the Jaguars at the TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida on Sunday, October23, 2022. The Giants defeated the Jaguars 23-17. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI. Credit: UPI/Alamy Live News

  • Fading the hype: Wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and tight end Dalton Kincaid are both tantalizing rookie assets, but are they already being drafted at their ceiling?
  • A new WR1 in Chicago: With a clear path to a large target share, D.J. Moore looks to build off strong summer with his ascending new quarterback.
  • Cheaper alternatives: Running back D'Andre Swift offers an appealing skillset at RB16, but don't count out his running mate Rashaad Penny.
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Startup season is well underway in fantasy football, and finding value is the name of the game as dynasty managers attempt to create an edge over their leaguemates. Over the course of a draft, many names fall below their perceived value as others are propped up by a manager or two that buy into a player's profile and are willing to overspend to get their guy. There are certainly others worthy of mention on this list, but below are 10 players whose values are tough to pin down, and upon closer examination cases can be made to either fade or target them at their current ADP.

Editor's note: ADP and Positional Rankings sourced from Dynasty League Football’s May Superflex ADP.

Players to fade

RB Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Overall ADP: 37.25
  • Position Ranking: RB7

One of the most explosive playmakers in the NFL, Etienne saw a promising uptick in usage in his first year under Doug Pederson and for the most part, he delivered. However, Pederson’s reputation for committee approaches to the position should give managers a reason for pause when targeting Etienne this highly. The Jags clearly saw RB as a position that needed some work, spending a second-round pick on Tank Bigsby to presumably provide a more physical aspect to the offense and could very well see early goal-line work after Etienne saw 25 touches inside the 10-yard line, converting just five into scores. The Jags also brought in dynasty fan favorite D’Ernest Johnson for depth and brought back JaMycal Hasty, who established himself as a reliable third-down option the stretch in 2022. There is no question Etienne could push for RB1 numbers in 2023, if healthy, due to his breakaway potential, receiving floor and the general upward trend of that offense, but a landing spot closer to Najee Harris (RB9) and Rhamondre Stevenson (RB12), both of whom appear to be in line for significant workloads, feels more appropriate.

WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Seattle Seahawks

  • Overall ADP: 46.25
  • Position Ranking: WR16

The first of two rookies to appear on this list, Smith-Njigba's inclusion might be polarizing. There is no arguing JSN is a great fit as the long sought-after third option in Seattle, and his insane talent as a separator in college (4.01 yards per routerRun and 91.9 receiving grade in 2021) should translate early against opposing slot defenders. The context here is at WR16, JSN is being drafted on the heels of his teammate D.K. Metcalf (WR13), who has seen 130-plus targets in each of the last three seasons, including 151 in 2022. He produced well on those targets, never finishing beneath WR16 in that time. Meanwhile, their counterpart, Tyler Lockett (WR47), has commanded over 110 targets each season in the same time frame and far exceeded expectations in 2022, scoring 43.1 fantasy points over expected. While it is fair to expect some regression from Lockett, it is unfair to assume that Smith-Njigba will seize WR2 work in Year 1 or even Year 2, and his price should reflect this with an ADP closer to his fellow rookie WRs, such as Jordan Addison and Zay Flowers. 

RB Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings

In six games without Cook, Mattison averaged over 4.4 yards per carry and caught over three passes per game, providing a solid PPR floor when given a chance to handle the bulk of RB snaps. To be clear, at his listed 129 ADP, Mattison is a sure value, but following the Vikings releasing Dalvin Cook, his ADP is sure to spike into mid-RB2 territory. His “Keep, Trade, Cut” value has already climbed to RB18. Mattison’s place on this list has less to do with his talent and more to do with his limited sample size, regressed efficiency across 2021 and 2022, and question marks around the Vikes’ interior OL and the offense as a whole.  Following the integration of T.J. Hockenson and rookie Jordan Addison, the offense has the potential to lean more balanced to pass heavy moving forward, and the RB room behind Mattison includes talented backs with a multitude of skill sets, such as DeWayne McBride, Ty Chandler, and Kene Nwangwu all of whom could push for snaps. In the late RB2/early RB3 range, Mattison is a fine dart throw but drafting him with expectations to be a bell cow could end in frustration for dynasty owners.

WR George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Overall ADP: 73.75
  • Position Ranking: WR26

Pickens announced his presence early in his NFL career with a series of jaw-dropping downfield catches while establishing a legitimate connection with QB Kenny Pickett, but he also showed some serious flaws in his all-around game with a very limited route tree and target distribution. Of his 96 targets, 50 came on go, fade or hitch routes, as just 13 came from in-breaking routes, such as in routes and slants.  Ask five people what they think of Pickens, and you will likely get five different answers, as some believe he can ascend to WR1 status sooner than later while others are not buying into his profile or the Steelers offense as a whole. While there is no doubt Pickens has loads of talent, being drafted several slots ahead of his teammate Diontae Johnson (WR29) defies logic, as Johnson has commanded over 140 targets in each of the last three seasons while TE Pat Freiermuth and RB Najee Harris both look poised to grow their passing game impact.

TE Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills

  • Overall ADP: 93.5
  • Position Ranking: TE7

The rookie hype train has been in full effect surrounding Kincaid after receiving first-round draft capital from one of the most potent offenses in the NFL, but already putting Kincaid in the same breath as George Kittle (TE5), Dallas Goedert (TE6) and Pat Freiermuth (TE8) feels a bit too pricy. His fellow rookie tight ends Michael Mayer and Sam LaPorta both appear to have comparable opportunities in the early stages of their career. You can’t argue that Kincaid is attached to the best QB of the bunch, but Kincaid is going nearly 40 picks earlier than any of these TEs listed on average. While Kincaid very well may develop into a perennial TE1, the Bills' recent TE usage (13.1% target share in 2022) and his baked-in price are reasons for hesitation when targeting a TE this high.

Others to fade

  • RB Kenneth Walker III – Overall ADP: 39.25 – Position Ranking: RB8
  • QB Trey Lance – Overall ADP: 70 – Position Ranking: QB25
  • TE Evan Engram – Overall ADP: 122.75 – Position Ranking: TE9

Players to target

WR D.J. Moore, Chicago Bears

  • Overall ADP: 70
  • Position Ranking: WR23

The centerpiece of the Panthers trade-up for Bryce Young, Moore has actually seen his startup ADP drop since March, a trend that doesn’t make a lot of sense for several reasons, starting with the fact that he has not finished a season lower than WR24 in PPR since his rookie campaign in 2018. While the jury is still out on Justin Fields, the Bears clearly believe they can elevate each other, and there is no reason to think that Moore can’t get 130-plus targets per season for the next several years due to his success as a creator after posting 1.94 yards per route run and 4.6 YAC (yards after the catch) per reception from 2020-2022 with QBs such as Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, P.J. Walker and an over the hill Cam Newton feeding him targets.

WR Jameson Williams, Detroit Lions

  • Overall ADP: 98.25
  • Position Ranking: WR37

A polarizing player thus far, we have been unable to really see Williams' potential on an NFL field aside from a few flashes, as he was limited to just 40 receiving snaps in 2022. His two NFL touches both went for 40-plus yards and a third went for 66 before being called back due to a penalty, showcasing the explosiveness that made him the 12th overall pick in 2022. Entering Year 2, Williams looked poised to break out over a year removed from his torn ACL until his involvement in a college football gambling incident led to a suspension for the first six games of 2023. This should not faze dynasty players, as Williams is still only 22 years old and possesses a much more appealing ceiling compared to other WRs going in this range, such as Christian Kirk, Zay Flowers, Calvin Ridley and Courtland Sutton

RB Antonio Gibson, Washington Commanders

  • Overall ADP: 132.5
  • Position Ranking: RB38

Following two productive seasons in which Gibson posted RB13 and RB12 numbers, his production took a hit in 2022 due to the Brian Robinson addition and the coaching staff’s inability to utilize Gibson to his full potential. Despite these tribulations, Gibson recorded at least two receptions in every game he appeared in last season outside of Week 3, posting a very respectable 26.2% adjusted target rate that was top five amongst RBs with at least 50 targets. With J.D. McKissic no longer in the mix for receiving down work and Ron Rivera once again reiterating the desire to get Gibson more touches, it is certainly feasible for him to well outperform his RB38 ADP for the foreseeable future as he and Brian Robinson form a formidable 1-2 punch.  

TE Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos

  • Overall ADP: 145.5
  • Position Ranking: TE16

After missing the first five weeks of the 2022 season, Dulcich got off to a slow start but showed flashes of brilliance through the mess that was the 2022 Broncos season, leading all TEs (minimum 250 snaps) with a 12.2 average depth of target and 1.3 yards per route run (15th among qualifying TEs). Dulcich has received some offseason hype this summer as the Broncos' new head coach Sean Payton has sung his praises. At TE16, Dulcich is being drafted behind Juwan Johnson and the rookie trio of Kincaid, Mayer and LaPorta while sitting the same bucket as Cole Kmet (TE17) and Trey McBride (TE18). Due to his profile as a seam stretcher with mismatch potential, Dulcich has a clear path to outperform his TE16 ADP starting this season.

RB Rashaad Penny, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Overall ADP: 171.75
  • Position Ranking: RB51

While D’Andre Swift has been receiving the headlines in the Philly backfield following his draft weekend trade, Penny should not be slept on, and with the risk already baked into the price, he is an appealing pick in the double-digit rounds. Both he and Swift have struggled to stay on the field the last few seasons, and both have contracts that expire after 2023, yet Penny is being drafted as a clear handcuff while Swift has an ADP over 100 picks earlier. Swift is a few years younger and is an immensely talented back, so he should rightfully have a big role in the Philly backfield moving forward, but Penny has been an absolute force when on the field, averaging 4.3 yards after contact in 2021 and 2022, second only to Deebo Samuel among players with over 100 carries the last two seasons. Running back shelf lives in dynasty leagues are short, and Penny’s may be nearing the end, but if he can stay on the field, he could be a steal at his current ADP.  

Others to target

  • WR Brandon Aiyuk – Overall ADP: 81.25 – Position Ranking: WR28
  • WR Elijah Moore – Overall ADP: 128 – Position Ranking: WR49
  • TE Pat Freiermuth – Overall ADP: 113.5 – Position Ranking: TE8

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