Identifying overvalued players is a key to Fantasy football success. SportsLine expert Jacob Gibbs, the seventh most accurate draft ranker of 2019 according to FantasyPros, nailed Le'Veon Bell, Adam Thielen, Ben Roethlisberger, and Eric Ebron as easily identifiable bust candidates last year. All four players finished significantly lower than where they were drafted. Avoiding them may have been the difference in winning your Fantasy title or going home with nothing.
For 2020, we can tell you that Gibbs is not a fan of Green Bay running back Aaron Jones. He finished as the RB2 in 2019 and is going off the board as the RB10 on average in 2020 drafts. Gibbs suggests that you proceed with caution. Jones could see a drop in TD production, and he may lose short-yardage touches to a rookie.
"Jones is nearly guaranteed touchdown regression in 2020 after his RB2 Fantasy finish was inflated by a league-leading 19 touchdowns," Gibbs said. "Jones combined to score 13 touchdowns in the two years prior, and he ranked just 15th in red-zone carries in 2019. Sixteen of his 19 touchdowns came from within the red zone, so it wasn't as if Jones was reliant on big plays for touchdowns. He just converted on his red zone touches at an unprecedented rate."
Gibbs provides detailed analysis on four other busts, including a pair of tight ends that won't meet expectations. Also, he pinpoints a running back who scored 15 times last year but may not be worthy of a starting slot in 2020.
Which five players are being severely overvalued? And which big-name tight end should you avoid at all costs? ... Join SportsLine right now to see Jacob Gibbs' 2020 Fantasy football busts, plus get the entire Fantasy Football Draft Bible for 2020, all from the Fantasy guru who called Le'Veon Bell and Adam Thielen as busts in 2019!
Looking ahead to the 2020 Fantasy season, Gibbs has identified five players who are overvalued according to current average draft position (ADP) data.
Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
Average Draft Position: 16.1 (RB10)
Jones was one of the most obvious Fantasy losers following the NFL Draft, and there is a ton of risk associated with using a second-round Fantasy draft pick on him heading into the 2020 season. Jones is nearly guaranteed touchdown regression in 2020 after his RB2 Fantasy finish was inflated by a league-leading 19 touchdowns. Jones combined to score 13 touchdowns in the two years prior, and he ranked just 15th in red zone carries in 2019. 16 of his 19 touchdowns came from within the red zone, so it wasn't as if Jones was reliant on big plays for touchdowns. He just converted on his red zone touches at an unprecedented rate.
A large decrease in his touchdown totals isn't the only thing Jones has to worry about in 2020, though. Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur had already shown a propensity for using multiple backs -- affording Jones just a 56.6 percent snap rate when Jamaal Williams was healthy in 2019. In the 12 games that Williams was healthy for, Jones averaged just 13 carries and 3.7 targets, as opposed to 20 carries and 6 targets per game in the four he played without a healthy counterpart in the backfield.
So, like, that in itself is troublesome. If investing a top pick into a Fantasy RB, I want at least some assuredness that he's going to see a large workload. To warrant a top-20 Fantasy pick while playing fewer than 60 percent of the offensive snaps and receiving fewer than 15 touches per game, a running back would have to be otherworldly levels of efficient. And to his credit, Jones was in 2019.
But what happens if his per-touch efficiency returns to its usual level in 2020? And what happens if Green Bay's second-round selection A.J. Dillon further complicates the backfield playing time breakdown?
If there is a role for Dillon in year one, what makes the most sense intuitively is to use him as a short-yardage back. He scored double-digit rushing touchdowns in all three years at Boston College, and he has a 40-pound advantage over Jones. Of course, Jones never should have been expected to repeat the 19 touchdowns he scored in 2019, but it's possible he doesn't even reach double digits if Dillon cuts into his goal line work.
All things considered, Jones projects as a borderline top-30 Fantasy selection at best in 2020. I'd happily take Nick Chubb, Chris Carson, Miles Sanders, Austin Ekeler, and Kenyan Drake rather than deal with the likely Fantasy headache that Jones will present on a week-to-week basis. The upside is there for a top-10 Fantasy finish, but the risk far outweighs the reward at his current ADP.
Mark Ingram, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Average Draft Position: 41.6 (RB19)
Like Jones, Ingram's 2019 Fantasy viability was buoyed by unsustainable touchdown numbers. He scored 15 touchdowns in his first season with the Ravens, after topping 10 just once in his eight-year stint with the Saints. And again like Jones, Ingram wasn't among the league's most involved backs in the red zone. He ranked 12th in red zone carries, but joined Jones as one of just seven backs to scored double-digit red zone rushing touchdowns. He also found the end zone five times as a receiver, which equaled his career total from the eight previous seasons combined. If I had to wager, I'd take the under on Ingram accounting for 14 percent of Lamar Jackson's passing touchdowns again in 2020.
The similarities to Jones don't stop there, as Ingram's huge touchdown totals masked a workload that was surprisingly light for a back who finished 11th in Fantasy scoring. 32 running backs had a higher snap rate than Ingram (48 percent) in 2019. Ingram's 2.7 targets per game was his lowest mark since 2013, and he finished with more than 16 carries just once all season.
To complicate things further, Baltimore used the 55th overall pick on J.K. Dobbins out of Ohio State. Dobbins has excellent athleticism and is a decisive rusher that finished with over 2,000 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2019. He also compiled 71 catches over three seasons, so don't be surprised if Dobbins steals some third-down work from Ingram as a rookie.
If Ingram's snap rate falls any lower than the 48 percent mark we saw in 2019, it's going to be tough to trust him as a Fantasy starter, let alone someone worth investing a top-50 Fantasy pick into. If taking a chance on this backfield, I'd much rather select Dobbins, who isn't even being taken as a top-50 Fantasy RB as of this writing.
Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Average Draft Position: 44.7 (TE3)
I expected a big drop-off from Ertz in 2019, as his Fantasy production was propped up by what seemed like an unsustainably high target total (156) in 2018. And while that came to fruition to some extent in 2019 -- Ertz finished as the TE4, scoring 65 fewer Fantasy points than he did in 2018 -- his fall from the tier of elite Fantasy tight ends was cushioned due to the dearth of other viable pass-catching weapons in Philly as the year went on. Injuries to Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Dallas Goedert, Nelson Agholor, and Mack Hollins allowed Ertz to operate as not just the primary, but really the only capable pass-catcher for portions of the season.
Ertz played 91.6 percent of the offensive snaps in 2018, but his snap rate was down to 83.5 percent in games that both he and Goedert were healthy for last year. Ertz averaged 8.1 targets per game in the eight contests that both Jeffery and Goedert were healthy for, down from 10 targets per game in the other seven contests.
With Philly investing three 2020 draft picks into receivers, highlighted by 21st overall selection Jalen Reagor, both Ertz and DeSean Jackson are big Fantasy losers this offseason. I'd understand if you still consider Ertz the third-best TE for Fantasy purposes, but do not believe that he is anywhere near the George Kittle/Travis Kelce tier. I wouldn't use any pick inside the top-70 on Ertz, and if forced to choose between them, I'd prefer to take a shot on the upside of Mark Andrews.
Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Average Draft Position: 46.1 (RB21)
Mack has been solid for Indianapolis, but the writing is on the wall. He's in the final year of his contract, and Indy trading up in the second round to select Jonathan Taylor made Mack one of the most obvious draft day losers. Taylor is an early down back capable of wearing opposing defenses down over the course of a game or breaking loose for a long run on any given play. He displayed excellent patience and vision as a rusher at Wisconsin and is legitimately up there with Ezekiel Elliott, Nick Chubb, and Dalvin Cook among the best rushers to be drafted over the past few years.
It's unclear just how much Taylor will eat into Mack's workload in 2020, but it's clear that Mack won't have the backfield to himself anymore. He went from a borderline top-12 Fantasy RB to a fringe top-24 back following Indy's trade up for Taylor. I wouldn't select him anywhere near the top-50. Kenyan Drake, David Johnson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Todd Gurley, and David Montgomery are all going off the board after Mack, but I'd take any of that group over him at this point.
Austin Hooper, TE, Cleveland Browns
Average Draft Position: 60.2 (TE5)
The driving force behind Hooper's strong 2019 Fantasy season was high volume while playing in Atlanta's offense. The Falcons ranked first in the NFL in pass-to-rush ratio, and Hooper's 7.2 targets per game ranked fifth among tight ends. Hooper also ranked sixth in red zone targets and third in end zone targets, while logging an 80 percent snap rate for the Falcons.
He'll now move to a Cleveland team that ranked just 18th in pass-to-rush ratio and 29th in total targets thrown to the tight end position. Oh yeah, they also still have David Njoku at the tight end position. Njokju has struggled with injuries and inconsistency through the first two seasons of his pro career, but he has all the tools to be a strong contributor. If he is not traded despite his request to be dealt, Njoku will be on the roster this year and demand at least 30-40 percent of the snaps.
As if the role change wasn't enough, Hooper goes from a quarterback and offensive system that he has several years of familiarity with to a Browns offense that ranged from inconsistent to downright dysfunctional last year. He goes from Matt Ryan to Baker Mayfield. Among 27 tight ends who saw at least 50 targets last year, Hooper ranked second with an 82.8 percent catchable target rate. Only 69.1 percent of Baker Mayfield's throws to the tight end position were deemed catchable in 2019.
So, Hooper goes from the most pass-heavy offense in the NFL, where he had no competition for snaps, to a run-first offense, where he'll have to fend off a first-round pick for playing time and compete with several other options for targets from a less accurate quarterback. Not great, Bob!
Yet, Hooper is going off the board as a top-five tight end in Fantasy drafts as if nothing has changed. The Fantasy tight end you should be investing heavily in for 2020 is his replacement in Atlanta, Hayden Hurst. Let someone else chase points with Hooper -- he's no longer a top-10 tight end for Fantasy purposes.