After a long summer, training camp is finally just around the corner. A lot of fantasy leagues will be drafting in the coming days or weeks, but some have already taken that step. Yahoo keeps tabs on when each player is selected, so I’m going to be taking this opportunity to highlight some of the players I think are being overvalued based on their average draft position (ADP).
Please keep in mind that I’m not saying that these players are bad or that you shouldn’t take them, just that you might want to consider letting them slide below the average, even if you risk losing out on the player entirely in the process.
With that in mind, here is my list of players overvalued based on ADP:
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Auston Matthews (Tor) – C – Avg. pick 4.6
Full disclosure, while I was right about other players when I wrote this article last season, I was ultimately wrong to include Matthews on last year’s list. However, I still think that people are going to too far of an extreme when drafting Matthews this year as the only players going ahead of him right now are Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, and Patrick Kane. Matthews is coming off a 40-goal rookie season and clearly he’s immensely talented, but as a sophomore driven by a young core, there is an added element of risk here. I’m not saying that Matthews is going to choke, but should you be taking him ahead of Nikita Kucherov, Brad Marchand, or Vladimir Tarasenko? I don’t think you should. Personally if I were to bank on one of last season’s young stars, I’d sooner take Patrik Laine (15.3 ADP) or Leon Draisaitl (17.2 ADP) because I see them as just as likely to have massive seasons, but are falling somewhat lower.
Alex Ovechkin (WAS) – LW – Avg. pick 7.6
There are two points of concern when it comes to Ovechkin – at least if he’s expected to play up that mid-first round pick standard. The first issue is that he took substantially less shots last season – 313, down from 398 a season prior – and that resulted in him scoring 33 goals and 69 points in 82 contests, which is somewhat disappointing by his high standards and not ideal numbers from someone being picked that high. It’s certainly possible he’ll bounce right back, but that leads into the second concern with him: the Olympics. He wants to play, even if it means skipping out on part of the season and while he might not be allowed to participate, it is an added X-Factor.
Evgeni Malkin (PIT) – C – Avg. pick 11.1
It feels weird including a potential Art Ross Trophy contender on a list of overvalued players, but there’s a couple reasons why I wouldn’t be comfortable taking him towards the end of the first round. The first is his injury history. He hasn’t even reached the 70-game mark in a season since 2011-12 and you’d have to go back to 2008-09 to find the last time he played in at least 80 games, so while he’s an elite talent you never seem to get full value out of him. The other issue is that center is just a very deep position. If you want a potential Art Ross Trophy candidate with injury concerns then you could just as easily take Steven Stamkos (29.9) a couple rounds later. If you want a 70-80 point guy then you could consider Tyler Seguin (21.8), Artemi Panarin (31.2), or Joe Pavelski (31.7) to name a few. You don’t need to reach for Malkin.
Jake Allen (StL) – G – Avg. pick 33.7
Allen had a solid 2.42 GAA and .915 save percentage in 61 contests, but he was very streaky, which is somewhat concerning to me going forward. Mostly though, I’d just rather have John Gibson (44.5), Devan Dubnyk (45.8), Martin Jones (45.1), or Jonathan Quick (55.8) to name a handful, and they’re all being taken later than him.
Henrik Lundqvist (NYR) – G – Avg. pick 58.4
Relative to where other goalies are going, Lundqvist’s placement doesn’t seem totally unreasonable, but I’m just very low on him right now. He’s coming off a season where he had some nasty slumps that led to him posting a disappointing 2.74 GAA and .910 save percentage in 57 contests. He used to be one of the safest options in the league when it came to elite goaltending, but he’s 35-years-old now and I’m worried he’s in for a continued decline.
Jonathan Toews (CHI) – C – Avg. pick 76.1
Toews is one of those players that’s an elite talent, but a just okay fantasy option. He had 21 goals and 37 assists in 72 contests last season, making it his second straight 58-point campaign. That wouldn’t be so bad if he was playing in a position other than center, but there’s too much depth there to justify the mid-round pick. Keep in mind that Nazem Kadri had 32 goals, 61 points, and 95 PIM last season, but his ADP is 142.7 while Ryan O'Reilly is falling to 144.4, so you don’t really need to spend a seventh round pick (in a 12-team league) on Toews.
Sebastian Aho (CAR) – LW/RW – Avg. pick 93.1
Aho had 24 goals and 49 points in 82 games as a rookie, so it’s perfectly reasonable to be exciting about him. However, I think people are reaching when they take him this early in the hopes that he’s a breakout candidate. Consider that Jake Guentzel (102.9), Conor Sheary (107.0), and Matthew Tkachuk (116.5) are all slipping further and are just as probable breakout candidates for the 2017-18 campaign in my mind. Or if you want to dig deeper, Max Domi with his ADP of 160.0 is an appealing option. The point is that you don’t need to spend such a high pick gambling on Aho.
James Neal (VGK) – LW/RW – Avg. pick 107.5
Neal made a name for himself when he scored 40 goals and 81 points in 80 games with Pittsburgh in 2011-12, but he hasn’t been nearly as good since. He’s still a scoring threat, but last season he was limited to 23 goals and 41 points in 70 contests with Nashville. That obviously leaves a lot to be desired and while he will play a big role with Vegas, the expansion franchise is probably going to struggle and Neal won’t have a great deal to work with. It wouldn’t be surprising if Neal ends up recording similar numbers to 2016-17, so while taking him in the 10th round of a 12-team league wouldn’t be terrible, odds are there will be better options out there at that stage.
Marc-Andre Fleury (VGK) – G – Avg. pick 134.1
Somewhat tying in to Neal, I’m very low on Fleury this season. So much so that I’m putting him on this list despite the fact that your goalie options are typically very slim by this stage in the draft. Fleury will get you starts, but he had a 3.02 GAA and .909 save percentage last season with Pittsburgh in the regular season. Granted he did better in the playoffs, but if you’re looking for him to build off that then keep in mind the team in front of him will likely be very bad. This is more of a cautionary tale: Don’t neglect your goaltending to the point where you have to take Fleury for the sake of filling your quota of starts. And if you are looking for a late round goaltender, consider Thomas Greiss (162.3), James Reimer (173.3), or Jimmy Howard (177.3) as they all have more potential this season even if they likely will finish below Fleury in total starts.