The flip side of succeeding with value players is failing with overvalued players. These are players that will not put up stats commensurate to their draft spot, and avoiding them is another of the important keys to a successful fantasy team. In an attempt to point out these players, we asked our staff to look through the top 150 players and identify players that should under perform their draft position.
Players with 7 Votes
Tom Brady, Patriots
Sigmund Bloom: Brady has been extremely reliable, but this year, his targets may not be. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are both out of commission until at least the beginning of camp. Gronkowski could easily be on the PUP list to start the season, and neither of Hernandez (who is also embroiled with legal troubles) and Welker-replacement Danny Amendola have been able to stay healthy for long during their careers. Brady is precariously close to having to rely on the likes of Jake Ballard and rookies Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce to fuel the passing game, and that's way too risky for a QB3.
James Brimacombe: You hate to call one of the best QB’s of all time, an overvalued player, but for the 2013 season it is hard to draft Brady near where he has been taken in previous seasons. He is losing receiving weapons and in 2012 the offense was shifting to more of a running attack approach. Brady certainly has the name recognition and will be drafted higher then he should just for that alone.
Heath Cummings: Of the three aging quarterbacks that occupy the top five in quarterback ADP, Brady is the most likely to see a regression in 2013. His only proven receiver is Danny Amendola, who has played 12 games in the past two seasons. One of his elite tight ends is in jail and no longer on the team while the other can't seem to stop having surgeries. Even if Rob Gronkowski is fine in week one, Brady himself will be 36 when the season starts. I smell another philosophical change in New England and wouldn't be surprised at all if Brady dropped well below the 625 attempts he's averaged the past two seasons.
Ryan Hester: It seems impossible to suggest that Brady could ever disappoint. But let’s strip away the names on the back and the front of the jersey and evaluate facts here. Brady’s top wide receiver has never played a snap with him; his two top threats are both tight ends that have injury histories; he’ll be 36 years old this season; two of his top four receivers are rookies, and rookies and newcomers tend to struggle in New England’s offense. I have Brady as low as a fringe QB1, but I’d rather select a player from another position at this point in my draft and take my chances with the likes of Matt Ryan, Colin Kaepernick, Matthew Stafford, or Russell Wilson – all of whom are being drafted later.
Chad Parsons: It is tough to earmark Brady for the same impressive numbers from years past in 2013. Both of his talented tight ends are dealing with injuries (and Hernandez is facing huge legal issues), which could linger into the season and his long-lived security blanket, Wes Welker, has moved on to Denver. Danny Amendola has the potential to replace Welker in that role, but he has struggled to stay healthy and lacks that innate chemistry of Brady-to-Welker that was built over the years. The outside receiver spot could be in worse shape than a year ago when Brandon Lloyd was disappointing fantasy owners. All of those uncertainties combined with the depth of the quarterback position are enough to downgrade Brady from previous levels. The Thunder-and-Lightning pairing of Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen fueling a potentially dominant ground game is yet another reason to think Tom Brady will not be in a position to attempt over 625 passes like a season ago.
Jeff Tefertiller: I am not sold on Tom Brady to be able to duplicate the numbers of the past with Wes Welker departed, Aaron Hernandez's legal doubts, and the injury concerns of Rob Gronkowski. He is not worth the QB3 status and could have some growing pains with all an all new receiving corps.
Mark Wimer: Tom Brady is being drafted as the third-best fantasy quarterback in the land despite: 1) Losing his favorite target for years, Wes Welker, to Denver in free agency 2) Losing utility back/receiving back Danny Woodhead to San Diego 3) Watching both of his star tight ends struggle with injuries/rehab during the offseason. Rob Gronkowski (forearm, back) is iffy for the start of training camp, ditto for Aaron Hernandez (legal trouble and shoulder surgery). Both tight ends are likely to miss the summer OTA sessions, and Hernandez's season (and perhaps his career) may be in jeopardy due to the Odin Lloyd homicide investigation. Even Brady is going to have trouble transforming Danny Amendola and Donald Jones into a feared passing attack - the surrounding talent in New England just isn't good enough for Brady to remain an elite fantasy quarterback, folks.
Players with 6 Votes
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
Sigmund Bloom: The 2013 season could see a step forward in Kaepernick's game as a passer, but it is important to keep in mind that the 49ers prefer to only pass about 25 times a game. Kaepernick has enough punch as a runner to easily be a QB1 for fantasy, but QB7 is a little rich for a player piloting a somewhat conservative offense. If the loss of top target Michael Crabtree for most or all of the season pushes Kaepernick's ADP to QB10-QB12 range, the price will be right.
Heath Cummings: If you project Colin Kaepernick's 2012 over a full season it's very easy to justify this ranking. Unfortunately, it's highly unlikely Kaepernick matches that production over a full season. Sophomore quarterbacks that rely so heavily on the run generally regress, and Kaepernick relies as much on the run as anyone has. I felt this way before Michael Crabtree's injury, although it's important to note how heavily Kaepernick leaned on Crabtree in 2012. AnquanBoldin is now likely the team's #1 receiver, I have serious doubts about Kaepernick's ability to squeeze the football into the small windows of separation Boldin creates.
Stephen Holloway: Kaepernick had an awesome first season starting for the 49ers completing 64.7% of his passes for a league leading 8.3 ypa. There are a few caution flags up for the 2013 season though. The 49ers ranked 31st last season in pass attempts and have lost Michael Crabtree, their most targeted receiver for a long period and possibly the season. They have a solid defense and like to run the ball, so this pattern is likely to continue. In addition to the potential shortage of passing attempts, there is little doubt that Kaepernick will throw for less than the 8.3 ypa from last year again this season. Kaepernick's passing statistics should fall off last year's pace, and he will need to continue his running production to match expectations. Defenses should be geared up across the league to limit the running quarterbacks.
Matt Waldman: I had a great laugh the other day when one of our Shark Pool posters wrote that I must be smoking something and compared the 49ers quarterback to “bad Michael Vick.” Kaepernick had some incredible performances and was on track for 299.6 fantasy points if you combine his regular season and playoff starts and project a 16-game season – good for QB12 numbers last year and nice for a first-year starter. It doesn't change that Kaepernick lacks refined touch on the football, lacks the receiving talent on the perimeter to help him, and plays in a run-heavy system. I think it means Kapernick is going a little high as the No.7 QB. It's a reasonable projection if you're optimistic about him improving and the 49ers finding a good outside receiver and not “tight end-light” Anquan Boldin. I love Boldin and Davis, but not enough to make their quarterback the No.7 fantasy passer in 2013.
Mark Wimer: Colin Kaepernick is over-valued as the seventh quarterback coming off the board. He lost his #1 wide receiver for the season when Michael Crabtree blew out his Achilles' tendon, and this year Kaepernick won't take any defensive coordinators by surprise. He's outside starting fantasy quarterback on my board, and I plan to avoid Kaepernick in all my drafts this year.
Jason Wood: In mid-May, I might have argued Kaepernick was undervalued, but then Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon, essentially ending his season. Crabtree was not only Kaepernick's favorite target last season, Kaepernick's numbers ex-Crabtree were downright awful. The addition of Anquan Boldin will help offset Crabtree's absence to an extent, but not enough to justify using a 4th or 5th round choice on the young San Francisco quarterback. The other issue to consider is the 49ers blueprint for success -- Kaepernick will not be asked to throw the ball a lot if the game script goes according to plan.
Player with 5 Votes
Michael Vick, Eagles
Andrew Garda: First of all, is anyone sold he'll even win this job? And if he does, can he stay healthy? Vick can be a dynamic player but he's also been a guy who is inconsistent and I don't trust him even if he ekes out the starting job here.
Will Grant: Vick is going to play this entire season looking over his shoulder. If it isn't the grim reaper catching up to his 33 year old body, it will be second year QB Nick Foles or rookie Matt Barkley pushing for more playing time. Vick may start the season as the team's #1, but the second he falters, people will be demanding a switch. In the 10th round, you're still looking for a guy that can carry your team as part of a QBBC or a bye week fill in. There are plenty of other guys that are more stable than Vick at that point.
Stephen Holloway: After passing for over 300 yards against both Cleveland and Baltimore in the first two weeks of 2012, Vick only topped that mark once the rest of the season. He also had a serious concussion and missed six games. Even more importantly, his completion percentage which hit a career high in 2010 at 62.6% fell for the second straight year to 58.1%. He turns 33 this summer and although he still can run well, his concussion should keep him from being a consistent factor running the ball. His lack of accuracy seems to be a poor fit for the fast-paced quick read offense that Philadelphia is planning to run. I will not be surprised for Vick to be replaced either before the season or early on.
Mark Wimer: Michael Vick is currently in the middle of the backup fantasy quarterback ranks (#16 ADP at his position), and that is still too high. Nick Foles is a legitimate challenge to Vicks' position as the starter here, and the team feels so as well. Note the renegotiated contract that Vick signed this past offseason (to avoid getting cut) - Vick is scheduled to receive $3.5 million base salary, a $3.5 million signing bonus and a $500,000 roster bonus according to the one-year contract he agreed to on February 11, 2013. Even if Vick wins the starting job to begin the season, his problems with turnovers will keep him on a short leash. I wouldn't want to have him on my roster this year.
Jason Wood: In spite of being an Eagles season ticket holder, I can't in good conscience advocate taking Vick at his current ADP. Sure, we know that if he plays 12-14 games in a season, his athleticism and the over weighted nature of rushing stats can deliver solid QB1 value, but this is a new era and we have absolutely no clue whether Chip Kelly plans on committing to Vick or going with one of his younger options. Vick is essentially playing on a one year deal so it wouldn't be at all surprising to see Matt Barkley or Nick Foles get serious playing time at some point this season. And this is to say nothing of Vick's checkered injury history.
Players with 3 Votes
Andrew Luck, Colts
Sigmund Bloom: Luck is the kind of player that will inspire someone to believe in him more than you do (or should). While he has upside to improve to an elite, top five fantasy quarterback this year, his solid numbers last year disguised a very uneven season that saw Luck get cold for stretches of games, if not entire games. He was mediocre during the fantasy playoffs and could see a small drop in value if new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton's offense doesn't emphasis as downfield passing as much as Bruce Arians did last year. Quarterback is so deep this year that it is hard to advocate taking Luck any earlier than the sixth round.
Ryan Hester: Many are talking about the team's new Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton and how he'll be good for Luck since he had the same position at Stanford during Luck's final collegiate season. Luck will be in an offense with shorter throws, quicker routes, and more rhythm. While that may suit him in the NFL world, I'm skeptical of fantasy players who will be in offenses that will, by design, give them fewer chances to make big splash plays. Added to that are the following questions: will one more year of mileage take its toll on Reggie Wayne? Will T.Y. Hilton be able to build on his surprisingly good year and be the team's starter opposite Wayne? Will new acquisition Darrius Heyward-Bey provide a viable deep threat? Will tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener figure into the offense at all. Luck has too many questions surrounding him. I'd rather take guys like Russell Wilson or Tony Romo with more certainty around them.
Andy Hicks: Andrew Luck is probably a future elite passer, but before I invest in him as a fantasy starter I want to see the high number of turnovers reduced and see if his high volume of rushing touchdowns is an anomaly or regular occurrence. Another major concern for me is the departure of former offensive coordinator/interim head coach Bruce Arians to Arizona. I am worried Luck is a prime candidate for a sophomore slump and will be happy to pass on him as my starter.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers
Jeff Haseley: Aaron Rodgers has finished in the Top 2 quarterbacks each year he has been starter, however I have a feeling that won't be the case in 2013. The Packers made an effort to draft two capable running backs this year in Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin with an emphasis on having a more balanced offense. If you recall, it wasn't until after the injury to Cedric Benson last year that Rodgers started his ascension back into the elite level. If the running game improves, it might be significant enough to drop him out of the Top 3.
Jeff Pasquino: Right now I have Aaron Rodgers as my first quarterback taken in all draft formats, but I am rapidly beginning to change my mind. The Packers have drafted two running backs in April (Eddie Lacy, Jonathan Franklin) and are looking to get more balance in their offense. While there are plenty of weapons in the passing game (Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jordy Nelson) for Green Bay, Rodgers could see reduced fantasy numbers if the Packers start to develop and encourage a bigger rushing attack.
Jeff Tefertiller: Aaron Rodgers is the top quarterback selected in fantasy leagues. While he is special, the two new rookie backs should squelch some of the rushing touchdowns, enough to lower Rodgers' ceiling. While still a star, Rodgers should slide to QB4 or QB5 this season.
Players with 2 Votes
Josh Freeman, Buccaneers
Andy Hicks: Josh Freeman is a guy who probably is in his last year for Tampa Bay. The coaching staff have sent way too many signals to indicate that they feel he is not the future for them. From not having his contract extended to drafting Mike Glennon in the 3rd round and the general lack of trust given to Freeman by the Schiano regime. I like Freeman and hope he proves me wrong or moves on to a team that wants him next year. This year, avoid like the plague.
Jason Wood: When your head coach – who didn't have a hand in drafting you – openly states that raw rookie Mike Glennon has a shot at competing for the starting job, you are on NOTICE. Josh Freeman flashes moments of brilliance, but has been maddeningly inconsistent and makes mistakes today that he should've long since corrected. Freeman could outperform his ADP if he remains the starter, but I would much rather opt for one of the younger, ascendant quarterbacks going several rounds later.
Robert Griffin III, Redskins
Stephen Holloway: Robert Griffin had a spectacular rookie season, completing 63.6% of his passes for 3,476 yards, 8.1 ypa, and 22 TDs, while also rushing for 833 yards and 7 TDs. Reports on his recovery from knee surgery have been positive, but will he be ready at the beginning of the season or not? I hope that he either runs less or gets down or out of bounds quicker. He is a pleasure to watch perform, so hope we can keep him healthy. Expectations remain high yet caution is advised, particularly early in the season.
Jeff Pasquino: Ranking Robert Griffin III right now is difficult, especially for just the 2013 season. Griffin is coming off a major knee injury and is likely to miss all of the preseason and possibly the first few games of the regular season. With that in mind, and considering that he is just a second year player, I believe that Griffin should not be considered a Top 10 fantasy option for 2013 just for the risk, injury, and missed time factors. Once healthy and effective, I think he is a legitimate fantasy QB1 - but for now I have him as a higher end backup for this year with starter upside for the second half of 2013. Longer term - in Keeper and Dynasty formats - Griffin is certainly QB1 material - but the risk of injury is very high for the way he approaches the game.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
Heath Cummings: Roethlisberger is still a fine quarterback, but I hate his situation this season. Much of the Steelers problems in 2012 were blamed on injuries to the offensive line. While those injuries were significant, I'm still not sold on this unit being more than average if everyone is healthy. Average may look pretty good compared to the skill position players the Steelers have given Roethlisberger to work with. Neither Antonio Brown nor Emmanuel Sanders have elite talent at wide receiver, and Roethlisberger's security blanket from 2012, Heath Miller, likely will not be ready for the start of the season. 60% of Roethlisberger's touchdowns last year went to Miller or Mike Wallace, I struggle find anyone on the roster to make up that difference.
Matt Waldman: The loss of Mike Wallace may have some people downgrading Roethlisberger, but I'm every bit as concerned about Heath Miller's knee injury that might keep the veteran tight end out until November. Not only a fine receiver, but also a fine pass-protector and run blocker, Miller will be tough to replace and I think there might be too much youth for Roethlisberger's improvising strengths to remain strengths in 2013. I don't feel as confident about the Steelers quarterback providing that value as a late-round guy until I see how fast rookie Markus Wheaton transitions and how fast Mike Adams recovers from a recent stabbing.
Players with 1 Vote
Sam Bradford, Rams
James Brimacombe: It seems as though there are a million excuses for Bradford each and every season as to why he hasn’t took off into the top 10-15 QB range. He is a guy that is the classic “What If” when it comes to potential and how the offense will work. It is hard to trust him even as a bye week filler, at least until he can prove himself with some sort of consistency.
Joe Flacco, Ravens
Adam Harstad: Joe Flacco had a marvelous postseason last year, but his regular season numbers have been overwhelming for years. I'd much rather gamble on one of the higher-upside fantasy QBs in that range (say, Mike Vick or Josh Freeman), rather than settling for the known fantasy mediocrity.
Eli Manning, Giants
Adam Harstad: Eli Manning is an iron man, which means his season-long numbers always look respectable, but his per-game numbers reveal that he's generally a fantasy liability. Since 2006 (seven years), Eli Manning has only finished higher than 12th in points per game a single time. If you're forced to start him at QB, you're giving up an advantage at the position to every other team in the league.
Cam Newton, Panthers
Jeff Pasquino: There are several reasons why I am not very high on Cam Newton's fantasy prospects. First, he has just one real target in Steve Smith, as the Panthers seem to have a perennial hunt for a second (and third) wide receiver. Greg Olsen is a solid tight end, but at some point a quarterback needs more than just two options. Next, Newton plays for a team that loves to run the ball, and while that does help Newton when he decides to tuck it and run himself, both Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams are not known to be strong receivers. Newton had under 4,000 yards passing and just 19 touchdown passes last year - so too much of his fantasy worth relies on his rushing numbers (741 yards and eight scores in 2012). With the strength of the division lying elsewhere, Newton has an uphill battle every week just to post a solid fantasy starter score.
Matt Schaub, Texans
James Brimacombe: The Texans are a run first team that will work the clock and rely heavily on their defense. Sure Schaub has potential to have a couple of big games a year but to count on him for your fantasy team as more than just a backup QB is a lot to ask.
Matthew Stafford, Lions
Adam Harstad: Stafford's last two seasons both rank among the top 5 seasons of all time in terms of pass attempts. Unfortunately for Stafford, he hasn't been nearly as productive per attempt as those around him, finishing as QB11 last year despite shattering the single-season attempts record. If his attempts decline even the slightest bit, Stafford seems poised for a precipitous fall.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks
Andy Hicks: Russell Wilson is currently being taken near or ahead of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, which is ludicrous. Both of those guys have considerable upside. Given the way Seattle play on offense and defense, Wilson will be doing well to play to the level of his ADP. As a pure QB he may be as valuable as the other 2, but as a fantasy option he is going to disappoint people this year.
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Quick Guide: Dynasty Strategy - August 28
Finding the Most Desirable Rookie RB - August 28
Stud QB or QBBC? - August 24
Is It Okay to Take Jimmy Graham in the Top 6? - August 24
Discussing RB Handcuffs - August 24