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The Perception/Production Gap in Fantasy Football 2024: WR/TE

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As a community, fantasy football drafters are very good at valuing Derrick Henry. His ADP the last four years was, in order, RB6, RB4, RB4 and RB7, and he’s finished as the RB3, RB22 (injury year), RB4 and RB8. If we could get draft every player as well as we have drafted Henry, we could more or less announce the winner of each league at the end of draft night.

Obviously, we can’t do that, and we aren’t as good at drafting everyone as we’ve proven to be with King Henry. That’s fine — it’s part of the fun of this game, in fact. The thing is, if we just get a pick wrong generally, it doesn’t tell us much. We were just wrong. But if there is a player or type of player we get wrong consistently, that tells us something. Is there someone the drafting community always overrated? Underrates? And what does it mean if there is?

That’s the idea here. The perception/production gap. Which players do we get wrong most often, and can we learn anything from that? That’s what I’m exploring Tuesday and today (quarterbacks and running backs Tuesday; wide receivers and tight ends today). All ADP and fantasy finish information is PPR and per FantasyPros.

Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Detroit Lions

2023 2022 2021
Positional ADP WR7 WR21 WR72
Positional Finish WR3 WR7 WR21

Amon-Ra St. Brown finished his rookie year as the WR21. The next year, we believed in him as a factor but not as a sure thing (“How much of his production was based on being the only available target in Detroit?”), and so we drafted him right where he had finished, WR21. He proved us wrong and finished that year at WR7. We bought in for 2023 and believed in that, drafting him at WR7. He … beat us again, coming in as the WR3 last year. We have broken the trend, though, with early ADP having him at WR5. If he can beat us again, this dude might be WR1 in drafts next year.

Davante Adams, WR, Las Vegas Raiders

2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
Positional ADP WR8 WR4 WR1 WR2 WR2 WR7 WR18 WR77
Positional Finish WR10 WR3 WR2 WR1 WR23 WR2 WR14 WR9
Davante Adams
LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 23: Las Vegas Raiders WR Davante Adams (17) stiff arms Houston Texans CB Derek Stingley Jr. (24) during the game featuring the Houston Texans and the Las Vegas Raiders on October 23, 2022 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire)

Since his 2016 breakout, we’ve been really good at drafting Davante Adams. The only year we’ve gotten him really wrong since he became relevant was 2019, when we drafted him as WR2 and he finished as WR23 … because he missed four games. He finished as WR6 on a per-game basis that year. We’ve started to drop him a little for 2024, based on both age (he’s 31) and quarterback situation (Gardner Minshew and Aidan O’Connell? Really?), but even with that he’s going as WR11, so … I guess he’ll be somewhere between WR8 and WR15 this year.

DJ Moore, WR, Chicago Bears

2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018
Positional ADP WR20 WR14 WR22 WR9 WR23 WR50
Positional Finish WR6 WR24 WR18 WR25 WR16 WR36

DJ Moore does well, we buy in. He disappoints a little, we drop out. He re-impresses, and we’re back. We’re on a five-year trend of that being more predictable for Moore than for just about anyone else. The upheaval in Chicago this offseason (bye, Justin Fields and Darnell Mooney; hello, Caleb Williams and Keenan Allen and Rome Odunze and Gerald Everett and D’Andre Swift and man, the Bears have been busy) kind of broke this trend for 2024, but Moore has seen his ADP improve a little, currently at WR18. If trends continue, he’ll be more like WR25 this year.

Evan Engram, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars

2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
Positional ADP TE8 TE20 TE16 TE6 TE4 TE6 TE18
Positional Finish TE2 TE5 TE23 TE15 TE18 TE13 TE5

Inertia has been very powerful on Evan Engram’s draft stock in his career. He blew us away as a rookie in New York, finishing at TE5. We were sold. We drafted him as a top-six three years in a row despite him disappointing every year. We finally stopped overrating him in 2023, but then when he re-broke out in 2022, we didn’t increase him right away. Even now, he’s off back-to-back top-five seasons and we’re only drafting him as TE7.

Taysom Hill, TE, New Orleans Saints

2023 2022 2021 2020 2019
Positional ADP TE18 TE25 QB34 QB38 QB38
Positional Finish TE12 TE9 QB32 QB29 QB36
ATLANTA, GA – NOVEMBER 28: New Orleans Saints Quarterback Taysom Hill (7) rushes for a touchdown during the NFL game between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons on November 28, 2019, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA.(Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire)

I blame absolutely no one for not buying all the way in on Taysom Hill’s profile as a fantasy option, but … the dude has steadfastly refused to go away. Yes, finishing as QB36, QB29 and QB32 doesn’t mean he was a dominant fantasy factor early in his career, but this was a dude who was a versatile flex option for his team and he was still finishing as a fringe top-32 quarterback. And then we started considering him a tight end in fantasy, and he’s had back-to-back “TE starter” seasons despite us not believing. For 2024, now he’s being drafted as TE34. We still don’t believe.

Tyler Conklin, TE, New York Jets

2023 2022 2021
Positional ADP TE23 Undrafted TE40
Positional Finish TE18 TE16 TE16

Tyler Conklin has been very consistent the last three years:

  • 2021: 87 targets, 61 receptions, 593 yards, 3 touchdowns
  • 2022: 87 targets, 58 receptions, 552 yards, 3 touchdowns
  • 2023: 87 targets, 61 receptions, 621 yards, 0 touchdowns

Other than going scoreless in 2023, he’s exactly who he is, right down to the 87 targets every year. It would be tempting to dismiss that profile as “Eh, he’s just a guy,” especially as he reaches 29 years old in July and only has 7 touchdowns in six seasons. Except for the fact that his team is so interesting. The Jets only added Mike Williams and Malachi Corley as relevant options to the offense this offseason, and that’s one guy who has missed a lot of games to injury and one who is a Day 3 rookie. If Aaron Rodgers — who famously likes his veterans and guys he knows — is back to full health, Conklin could get a lot of work in 2024 given the paucity of weapons around him, and he’s going as TE24 in current drafts. If you’re dumpster diving at tight end, that’s a name to watch.

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