Over/Under-Rated: Abdullah, 08July17

Jul 8, 2017

By: @SMich_5


Perhaps the only constant in Fantasy sports is change, and in fantasy football that change manifests itself especially fast. Players can see their ADP swing a round or two in a single day with what may ultimately turn out to be nothing more than a minor injury. Fantasy players as a whole love to try outsmarting one another by using anything to our advantage, but that also creates opportunities. Every year there are players that slip through the cracks and some that rise only to fall and bring our seasons down with them. I want to take some time and showcase players who I believe are being incorrectly valued, either overrated or underrated, and how you can take advantage.


Ameer Abdullah, RB, DET

Current Standard ADP:59


Going to say overrated on Ameer with where his current ADP resides. Right now he is being drafted as a borderline RB2 solid FLEX guy and I cannot understand why people are this high on him. Detroit finished last in rushing offense last year, has not had a very strong O-Line rating the last few years, and Pro Football Focus has that unit as being worse this year heading into the season. I’ll reference the O-line ranking graphic that @DFS_mathlete has written about elsewhere on this site:

O Line Rank.jpg

Abdullah might be the most talented RB on the roster, but not by a substantial margin. Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner are both still around and both have experience in the system, and Riddick in particular has shown flashes of ability on par to what Abdullah has shown thus far in his professional career. Abdullah has only once gone over 100 yards of offense in a game, has never had a 2 TD game, and has a career high of 16 carries in a game. He missed all but two games last year and still has lots of potential, but there are players being drafted around him that offer more potential and have more experience.

Looking deeper, his past experience doesn’t exactly show a guy on the verge of a breakout. Here are some of his numbers from Football Outsiders from his rookie year in 2015:

A Abdullah 2015.jpg

If you haven’t looked at these stats from Football Outsiders, give them a look. Basically, the DVOA stat is similar to many other sports’ “value over player” statistic in that it quantifies the performance of a given player versus an average player from that same position. It’s not a huge number, but Abdullah was roughly 9% worse than an average running back. You can also see a lower Effective Yards number than his actual yards gained, meaning due to various factors he somehow slightly over performed based on his statistical profile leaving the door open for some regression. Finally, if you look at his Success Rate, which on the surface looks good, and combine it with his DVOA it indicates that he never really exceeded the amount of yardage that an average back would have given the same play and outcome. The only other player that ranked in the top ten for success rate and finished with fewer Effective Yards than Actual Yards was Charles Sims. And looking at some of the other names around him on that list doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence either. There are a couple of vets that had down years (Gore and Murray in his disastrous year on the Eagles) but the other backs all look better as parts of a committee and don’t have the skill set to be feature backs.

So Abdullah has a low floor and ceiling and gives roughly the same amount of breakout potential as some of the rookie and second year runners around his ADP. Dalvin Cook, Tevin Coleman, Paul Perkins, and Derrick Henry are all being drafted after Abdullah and all have more potential. There are a bunch of reports from local reporters talking about how good Abdullah has looked in OTAs so the hype might continue to build. For now, I would rather let someone else take the risk.

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