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 underperform their draft position.
Player with 6 Votes
Tom Brady, NE
Note: These blurbs were written before Brady's injury scare on August 14. His minor injury does not appear to have altered his 2013 outlook.
James Brimacombe: You hate to call one of the best QBs 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 (which is looking less and less likely), 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 tight ends from 2012 may begin the season on the PUP list and in jail, respectively; and he’ll be 36 years old this season. Going further, newcomers and rookies tend to struggle in New England’s offense. With Danny Amendola fitting the former description and Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, Josh Boyce, and tight end Zach Sudfeld fitting the latter, the offense is littered with players who are unlikely to hit the ground running and may not be able to grasp the offense until late in the season (if at all). 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, Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson, or Tony Romo – 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, 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.
Aaron Rudnicki: Brady used to be about as safe of a pick you could make, but there has been a lot of turnover in the Patriots passing game this year and it feels like he could ripe for a fall. He has lost his security blanket in Wes Welker and another key piece of the offense is fighting a murder charge. Amendola should help, but he’s also been rather injury prone and it wouldn’t be a shock if both him and Gronkowski missed time to injuries this year. The QB position is very deep this year so I’d pass on Brady at this ADP and look for a guy like Romo later on.
Mark Wimer: Tom Brady is being drafted as the sixth-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 veteran tight ends struggle with injuries/rehab during training camp. Rob Gronkowski (forearm, back) is iffy for the start of regular season and walking around in street clothes at practice, while Jake Ballard's knee hasn't recovered from reconstructive surgery (he's rumored to be on the roster bubble) - not to mention ex-Patriot Aaron Hernandez's absence. Right now the team is staring at starting rookie tight end Zach Sudfield on opening day. Even Brady is going to have trouble transforming Danny Amendola and Sudfield 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 4 Votes
Aaron Rodgers, GB
Sigmund Bloom: Rodgers has potentially the best running game he has had in years, a fourth-round rookie offensive tackle, and a coach who does not seem committed to an aggressive offensive attack that puts a lot of points on the board. I wouldn’t take quarterback early this year, and I especially wouldn’t take Rodgers as QB1.
Jeff Haseley: Aaron Rodgers is the top quarterback in terms of ADP. When the position is so deep, you should not be selecting the first quarterback unless the value is way too good to pass up. There's an argument that Rodgers' passing numbers will drop this year with the addition of a more robust running game. It took Rodgers a few games last year to become a relevant fantasy QB1. Ironically it was the same time Cedric Benson got injured and was lost for the season. Rodgers has never finished lower than the 2nd ranked quarterback as a starter, but this year I won't be surprised to see that streak end.
Jeff Pasquino: I originally had Aaron Rodgers as my first quarterback taken in all draft formats, but I slid him down to second for several reasons. 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. Nelson's recent surgery certainly does not help, either.
Matt Waldman: I think the Packers’ desire to increase the emphasis of the ground game and the loss of Bryan Bulaga to an ACL tear will take some of the luster off Rodgers’ performance this year. I’d rather draft him as my fifth or sixth quarterback than one of the top three. If quarterbacks weren’t taken until the seventh or eighth round, this might not be a big deal. However, most of the elite quarterbacks are in play between rounds 2-4 and it means the quality of running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends I’m skipping to take Rodgers doesn’t jibe with my draft plans. I expect a 4000-yard, 30-TD season from Rodgers, but I’m expecting it to be on the lower end of this range.
Michael Vick, Phi
James Brimacombe: I get that Vick is a nice option for an upside QB2 but with so much uncertainty in Philadelphia these days it is still hard to roster him at all. The Eagles team has changed drastically over the year and with new coach Chip Kelly looking to make a name for himself early on, he might just have to go with some youth at QB and give Nick Foles a shot. Kelly wants this team to compete at every position possible and with keeping Vick on to battle Foles early in camp is only going to increase Foles confidence.
David Dodds: Call me crazy, but I prefer YOUNG running QBs. At age 32, Vick's electric days of scrambling could be coming to a close. Vick may start the year under center, but I expect Nick Foles finishes it. The fact that Vick has still not been named the starter (and the fact that the team drafted Matt Barkley) tells me all I need to know. The team wants to move on at this position.
Steve 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 make him 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 realm of the backup fantasy quarterback ranks (#22 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.
Player with 3 Votes
Colin Kaepernick, SF
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 and I have serious doubts about Kaepernick's ability to squeeze the football into the small windows of separation Boldin creates.
Will Grant: Everybody is in love with Kaepernick after what he did down the stretch last season. Yet we’ve seen time and again that taking a player’s stats from a partial season and projecting them out for a full year doesn’t always measure up to expectations. The 49ers have a lot of question marks at wide receiver this season, and counting on 11 year veteran AnquanBoldin to carry the load may not be enough. Kaepernick will be a solid fantasy QB this season, and will probably even finish in the top 10. Yet he seems to be over-drafted in many leagues this year, and he’s a guy I think is going to disappoint a lot of people this season.
Mark Wimer: Colin Kaepernick is over-valued as the 10th 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.
Players with 2 Votes
Sam Bradford, StL
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.
Aaron Rudnicki: I understand the Rams are talking all about opening up the offense this year and making Bradford more comfortable, but I just don’t see Jeff Fisher buying into that completely. This looks like a defense-oriented team to me so I think they’ll want to try and be more efficient on offense rather than throwing the ball all over. The receiving core is also very young and unproven at this point, so I’m expecting to see some signs of improvement but I think they are probably still a year away.
Jay Cutler, Chi
David Dodds: The OL is improved and the pass catchers appear better, but I still am not excited about Cutler as a QB. So many better options (like Alex Smith) for me to waste a pick on a guy I doubt I would ever have confidence playing.
Steve Holloway: Since coming to Chicago, Cutler has finished as QB11, QB15, QB26, and QB23 in consecutive years. Even with the huge year in 2012 for Brandon Marshall and Cutler playing in 15 games, Cutler produced only one game with over 300 yards passing (week 1). He also had 10 games with only one TD or less passing. Expect Marshall and Forte to have success this season in the new offense, but don’t e surprised with another disappointing year for Cutler.
Joe Flacco, Bal
Cian Fahey: It's difficult to see how Joe Flacco isn't going to be the worst relevant quarterback this season. Guys like Carson Palmer and Michael Vick may be drafted after him, but both have much greater ceilings than the reigning Super Bowl MVP. That is because since that Super Bowl, he's lost his number one wide receiver, Anquan Boldin, and the player who was most likely to fill Boldin's role, Dennis Pitta. The Ravens haven't adequately replaced those players and the offense's greatest strength is still its running game.
Matt Waldman: I’ll warn you, there’s something in my gut telling me that I’m being too hard on Flacco. However, I just don’t see how Baltimore will overcome its injury to Dennis Pitta and loss of AnquanBoldin to free agency. Torrey Smith will need to transform his game from excellent perimeter threat to ultimate weapon anywhere on the field and that’s a tall order to ask for even a player as good as he has been thus far. I think if I’m faced with Flacco, Palmer, or Vick, I’d take the other two every time and some of the players not listed in the top 150 of this ADP list, such as Alex Smith.
Josh Freeman, TB
Andy Hicks: Freeman is likely to be playing his last year in Tampa Bay. There are way too many signals being sent by the coaching staff to indicate that he is not part of their future. 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 side 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.
Andrew Luck, Ind
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 two collegiate seasons. 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 a viable threat opposite Wayne? Will new acquisition Darrius Heyward-Bey provide a real deep threat? How will tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener figure into the offense? Luck has too many questions surrounding him. I’d rather take guys like Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, or Tony Romo with more certainty around them.
Andy Hicks: Luck is likely to be 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 aregular 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.
Eli Manning, NYG
Adam Harstad: Eli 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.
Kyle Wachtel: After finishing sixth among quarterbacks in total fantasy points during the 2011 season, Manning experienced a dip in production and failed to register as a QB1 in 2012. While I understand the thinking for him to find balance between the past two seasons, the Giants want to run the football and they have the pieces to do so. His efficiency should rebound, but the passing volume required for him to resurface as a QB1 may not be present.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pit
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.
Jason Wood: Roethlisberger worries me as a quarterback that could be on the ledge of relevance. He seems to show up to camp with a bigger belly each year, he has a clear disconnect with OC Todd Haley, and he lost his two best targets from last season – Heath Miller (going to miss at least a part of this season) and Mike Wallace (free agency). Combine that with a renewed emphasis on the ground game thanks to Le’Veon Bell AND a poor pass-blocking offensive line, and I want no part of Roethlisberger as my QB2 much less someone that you have to draft in the 8th or 9th round.
Matthew Stafford, Det
Sigmund Bloom: Stafford was terribly inconsistent and inefficient last year, and he is breaking in a new left tackle this year in a division with some good edge rushers. I don’t mind getting Stafford as one of the last two or three quarterbacks on the board, but I wouldn’t take him in the sixth round over some of the great wide receiver value available there.
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.
Players with 1 Vote
Drew Brees, NO
Sigmund Bloom: If you are thinking about taking Brees in the third round, ask yourself this: would you rather have Brees and a seventh round RB/WR/TE or Tony Romo/Russell Wilson and a third round RB/WR/Gronk? The answer seems obvious to me in leagues with 12 or fewer teams and quarterback scoring that isn’t on steroids.
Robert Griffin III, Was
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 could sit out the entire preseason, limiting looks at how strong he really is for Week 1. 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 lower QB1 with better 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.
Cam Newton, Car
Jeff Pasquino: There are several reasons why I am not exceptionally 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). If Stewart misses significant time, I like Newton to score more rushing touchdowns again this season, which should boost his overall fantasy value.
Carson Palmer, Ari
Jason Wood: I can understand the bull case for Palmer. He’s in a new city with an elite receiver (Larry Fitzgerald) along with a potential emerging receiver in Michal Floyd. He’s got Bruce Arians as his play-caller. Yet, he also has one of the few offensive lines that may be worse than the Raiders line he played with a season ago. I just don’t see 34-year old playing for his third team as a likely breakout candidate.
Philip Rivers, SD
David Dodds: Playing behind one of the worst OLs this season, I expect Rivers to struggle again this year. He has already lost WR Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd is now gimpy as well. About the only redeeming piece regarding Rivers is how bad this team is. They will likely playing from behind in most games and be forced into throwing the ball a lot trying to catch up.
Russell Wilson, Sea
Andy Hicks: Wilson is currently being taken just after 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 in the absence of Percy Harvin.