Welcome to week 5 of the dynasty divisional outlooks! This week the AFC North is being examined to find the most undervalued and overvalued players as well as a deep sleeper from each team.
When I write these divisional outlooks, I often have a good feel for who will end up as my undervalued and overvalued players for each team before I write the article. But after doing my research, things don’t always work out that way. If you had asked me a week ago what the Bengals writeup would look like I likely would have told you that AJ Green is undervalued and Joe Mixon overvalued. But that just goes to show why it’s always important to question our beliefs and constantly update our player values.
Things change and its easy to fall in love with a player and never question that affection. Don’t fall into the rut of assuming a player is undervalued now just because he was undervalued 6 months ago. Players and circumstances change, and a fresh look at the data can reveal things we may never have noticed before.
Undervalued – Lamar Jackson, QB
It’s been said a million times, but running the ball as a quarterback cannot be overrated. Michael Vick rushed for 60 yards a game twice, 50 yards a game 5 times, and 43 yards a game 7 times in his career. Jackson is the first player since Vick to have a reasonable chance of replicating Vicks escapability and explosiveness at the QB position. If he can manage 50 yards rushing a game that’s a free 5 points tacked onto any Jackson start. For as long as Jackson is a starting QB (and he will certainly have his chance) he will be a lock to be a decent fantasy QB at worst. At best Jackson could reach Vick’s 2010 season with the Eagles when Vick single-handedly won countless fantasy championships for his owners. No other young QB in the league has as high an upside as Jackson from a fantasy perspective.
Overvalued – Joe Flacco, QB
Staying in the quarterback room we have Joe Flacco. The former Super Bowl MVP has fallen a long way. Last season he finished as QB32 in fantasy PPG and the Ravens have apparently had enough as they selected Jackson with the last pick of the first round this past spring. Flacco may have a year or two left as the starter if he’s lucky but hoping he produces at a level to make him rosterable in 1QB leagues isn’t realistic.
Deep Sleeper – John Brown, WR
I have never been one to heap praise on Flacco, but he does at least have a strong arm. Brown can fly when healthy and could find himself on the same page as Flacco and the receiving end of a few deep targets each week. And Brown was a legitimately good WR not long ago making him one of my favorite deep sleeper targets in dynasty leagues this offseason.
Undervalued – Joe Mixon, RB
Mixon’s owners are likely huge believers in his talent and will never sell at market value which makes him the odd case of a player I feel is undervalued as a whole, but a poor buy-low candidate at the moment. And it’s fair to say Mixon has elite potential. But he also produced poorly last season and was less effective than Gio Bernard running the ball. So how is he undervalued? Simply because it will be hard for him to not be a very solid fantasy option next season. He should comfortably hit 250 carries and 50 receptions and there aren’t a ton of backs who you can safely say that about. So even if he isn’t all that efficient with those touches he’ll still be solid. And if he’s as good as his fans think he is? Look out.
Overvalued – AJ Green, WR
This hurts me a bit to say, as I’m a huge AJ Green fan and feel he gets a bit overlooked in Cincinnati, but I’m not excited to buy Green at his current value. Just about everything went wrong in Cincy last season so its hard to blame Green for his slip in production, but the reality is Green needs to be a top end WR1 to justify his current price at age 30. We simply haven’t seen Green play at that level since tearing his hamstring. And even though nobody would be surprised if he did return to that level, players like Tyreek Hill, Juju Smith-Schuster, and Allen Robinson appear to be cheaper while offering similar upside and significant age advantages.
Deep Sleeper – John Ross, WR
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that the odds of Ross becoming a legit fantasy producer are good after he improbably posted negative fantasy points last year as a rookie, but I will tell you that the odds Ross is undervalued now are extremely high. According to Dynasty League Football ADP Ross is the 137th most valuable player in dynasty leagues right now. That places him behind players like Kalen Ballage and Nyheim Hines. I refuse to believe that a top 10 pick from a year ago with an immediate path to a starting job is less valuable than a mid-round pick from this year set to be a backup. That makes no sense whatsoever.
Undervalued – Nick Chubb, RB
The Duke Johnson extension seems to hurt my dreams of a future in which Nick Chubb was a 3 down workhorse but I still love Chubb’s talent. Hyde is not a long-term solution on early downs for Cleveland and Johnson won’t be a workhorse between the tackles. Chubb is explosive, big, and strong with great vision and contact balance. I believe in talent winning out in the end and Chubb is simply a more talented prospect than many of his fellow rookies like Ronald Jones and Royce Freeman.
Overvalued – Josh Gordon, WR
Gordon hasn’t played a full season of football since 2013 (when he admittedly dominated the league) and is one puff of smoke away from never playing again. There’s also plenty of other mouths to feed in the Cleveland offense which limits his odds of being a true target hog. But my real problem with Gordon is that even if he returns to WR1 status and posts an 80 catch 1400 yard season – he’s still one puff of smoke away from leaving the league for good. I’m rooting for Gordon as much as anybody but the reality is as long as he’s on your roster you risk waking up to find out that one of your most valuable assets won’t ever play again. And his value is already high! He has little room to improve his dynasty value despite it being years since his dominance and he has a limitless downward risk. I’ll be rooting for Gordon next season while owning exactly 0 shares of him in any league.
Deep Sleeper – Duke Johnson, RB
I’m just kidding. I honestly don’t have an interesting deep sleeper to offer for the Browns. Their RB room is made up of high-profile names and the obvious choice for sleeper, Antonio Calloway, has quite a hype train building already. So I’m going to offer a 2nd overvalued Brown!
Overvalued #2 – Duke Johnson, RB
Fun fact: Duke Johnson has never rushed for 400 yards in a season despite never missing a game. His value comes almost exclusively from pass catching. That’s fine if your role in your offense is secure, but Duke’s is anything but. Cleveland invested heavily in Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb this offseason meaning there’s virtually no chance of Johnson ever carrying the ball more. On top of that Cleveland now has multiple potential target monsters at WR (Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry), a breakout candidate TE (David Njoku), and young high upside WR depth (Corey Coleman and Antonio Callaway). The Landry addition may be especially damaging to Johnson as Landry could easily steal many of Johnson’s underneath looks and tank his value in the process.
Undervalued – Ben Roethlisberger
Does Ben want to play 5 more years? 3? 1? I have no idea. But thanks to the uncertainty, dynasty owners seem to be treating him like he has the plague instead of as what he is – a decent starting QB option who leads an explosive offense. Ben is a perfectly good QB to spot start if you don’t have one of the elite options and he’s become dirt cheap of late. If he plays 5 or even 3 more years at this point, he’ll be an absolute steal.
Overvalued – LeVeon Bell
Bell is a stud. Over the past 4 seasons, Bell has AVERAGED more than 23 PPR points per game and that’s including multiple games he had to leave early due to injury. Bell is a consistent star in fantasy lineups. However, his future in Pittsburgh is a bit in doubt and he is coming off a 400 touch season. It’s possible that his production takes a solid hit in a year or two if Pittsburgh milks him for everything he’s worth and then casts him aside. If you’re in contention I’d hang on, but for a rebuilding team, Bell might be the most overvalued asset in a loaded Pittsburgh offense.
Deep Sleeper – Jaylen Samuels
Samuels is an interesting player who could move around a bit in Pittsburgh’s offense. He may line up at runningback, full back, or tight end depending on the situation and he’s a capable route runner and pass catcher from all positions. Considering Pittsburgh lack of dominant tight end talent and their propensity to throw the ball to players out of the backfield, Samuels could wind up a sneaky PPR pick.