By JUSTIN DADE (@dade_justin)
Photo credit goes to nflspinzone.com, gamedayr.com and nbcwashington.com.
Every year before the preseason begins, it seems people like me look at the first few editions of fantasy football’s rankings and seem to scratch our heads a little bit. Obviously, as training camp and the four preseason games get under way, we start to form a better idea of where certain players should lie because of new reports and injuries.
If you are someone who likes to draft before the preseason even begins, however, or just someone who likes to monitor rankings at all times of the year, these are some players that are being overdrafted at this point in the year.
(Projections pulled from rankings created by ESPN)
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas (RB No. 4, No. 8 overall)
Rumors were swirling that the Dallas Cowboys might pull the trigger on Ezekiel Elliott with the No. 4 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, and those rumors came true on draft night. The first-year back will be heading into a very good situation with potentially the best offensive line in football.
We know the situation is good, and we know Elliott is a very talented running back, but going from the fourth overall pick in the draft to the fourth overall projected running back in fantasy seems like a stretch. Not only have we never even seen Elliot in an NFL game, but Dez Bryant and Tony Romo are both back and ready to revitalize the passing game.
I am also not buying the idea that Elliott will see close to 300 touches, especially with Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris and Lance Dunbar in town. Elliott will likely have a very good season in his rookie year, but be very careful about spending a first-round selection on him.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo (WR No. 6, No. 14 overall)
Anyone who knows football knows Sammy Watkins has all of the talent needed to be a top-10 fantasy wide receiver, but injuries and poor quarterback play always seem to hold him back. Watkins missed three games in 2015 due to injuries, as he finished as the 16th overall wide receiver, catching just 60 passes.
Odds are that in his third year -- and second with quarterback Tyrod Taylor -- Watkins can put it all together and perhaps finally crack that top-10 wide receiver nod at the end of the year. But don’t count on it.
Just like Elliott, I expect a good season from Watkins, but it’s hard for me to put him above receivers like A.J. Green, Alshon Jeffery and Allen Robinson. Think long and hard about spending an early second-round selection on the third-year Clemson product.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington (TE No. 2, No. 28 overall)
Jordan Reed was probably the hottest fantasy player down the stretch in 2015, and it was nice to see him stay healthy and produce like he did late in the year -- 29 catches, 378 yards, 4 TDs in Weeks 14-17. Reed is primarily a receiving tight end in the NFL, and that’s great news for fantasy owners.
Reed missed just two games in 2015, a career best. He has been known to be rather injury prone in years’ past, and he has now missed 14 games over his three-year career. With Kirk Cousins at the helm, the Redskins should be a pass-first offense in 2016, but there are quite a few mouths to feed in Washington, especially with the addition of Josh Doctson.
I don’t think it’s possible for Reed to replicate his 114 targets from a year ago with all of the talent on the Redskins’ offense combined with Reed’s tendency to find the injury report. If Reed can stay healthy, he should finish as the No. 2 fantasy tight end behind Rob Gronkowski, but being drafted where he currently is seems far too steep.