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Overvalued Players: Wide Receivers

Footballguys staff members examine the wide receiver position for overvalued players

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 6 Votes

Randall Cobb, Packers

Heath Cummings: Cobb was outstanding last year and finished right about where he belongs and a mid-level WR2. Don't think that the absence of Greg Jennings is going to have a great effect on Cobb because Jennings missed most of last season anyway. If anything, I'm more concerned about the team drafting two running backs than I am excited about the team losing Jennings. Cobb is a talented young playmaker, but I don't believe he's a WR1 in 2013.

Andrew Garda: Randall Cobb is a great playmaker, but it's hard to imagine him out-performing Jordy Nelson. Cobb will be a big part of this offense, but will more likely have more value in PPR leagues. He's going to do well in standard format leagues, but not this well as he has not just Nelson, but James Jones and Jermichael Finley looking for targets.

Andy Hicks: Randall Cobb is a tough proposition to gauge this year. Can he improve on last years WR17 ranking, which saw him gather 80 receptions and 8 touchdowns? The lengthy absences of Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings made sure Cobb was at the forefront of the Green Bay offense last year. This year we have 2 running backs drafted, indicating the days of approaching 40 passing touchdowns may be at an end. Even if Green Bay do continue to dominate aerially, there is no guarantee that Cobb will be the primary focus, making a WR1 ranking difficult to achieve otherwise.

Stephen Holloway: Randall Cobb took advantage of the opportunities he was given last season when Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson missed games and were slowed by injuries. He had a career high 104 targets and had 80 receptions for 954 yards and scored 8 touchdowns. His targets could slip somewhat with Nelson, Jones, and Finley all being available for Rodgers. Another factor in the number of targets should be that the team will run more often and possibly more effectively. The running backs (Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin) are both more capable receivers than their recent running backs and should also steal some wide receiver targets.

Jeff Pasquino: Green Bay is a tough team to gauge this year. They drafted two running backs (Eddie Lacy, Jonathan Franklin) and let Greg Jennings leave in free agency to Minnesota. So the questions are these: will they run the ball more, or will the passing game continue to be the dominant part of the offense? If so, then who will get the bulk of the workload? Will it be Jordy Nelson, who racked up over 1,200 yards and 15 scores in 2011, but lost significant time to injury last year? Or will it be James Jones, who had 14 TDs last year despite only 64 catches? Or could it be Randall Cobb, the offseason favorite to emerge as the new Greg Jennings after Cobb pulled in 80 catches, eight scores and over 1,000 rushing and passing yards combined last year? I believe that the pecking order will be Nelson, then Cobb, and then Jones in a passing game that will see an overall slight downgrade as the Packers build a rushing attack with the two new rookies, but only time will tell. Taking Cobb at his current ADP as a WR1 offers next to no upside and too much downside risk for me.

Mark Wimer: Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson are overvalued this year. There's this guy named James Jones who caught a league-best 14 receiving TDs from Aaron Rodgers during 2012, and Jones hasn't left town. With a renewed emphasis on running the football by Eddie Lacy and/or Johnathan Franklin and a three-way worksharing arrangement between Cobb, Nelson and Jones, I don't see both Cobb and Nelson among the top-20 at their position. In fact, I think neither one may finish in the top 20, while all three of Cobb, Nelson and Jones are likely among the top 40 wide receivers in the league by years' end.

Player with 5 Votes

Percy Harvin, Seahawks

Sigmund Bloom: It is exciting to picture Percy Harvin in an offense with Russell Wilson and Sidney Rice instead of the passing game wasteland he resided in during his time in Minnesota, but not enough to justify a top 25 pick as your WR1. Harvin won't be the only game in town, so his target rate is going to take a big hit from his rate of nearly 10 a game in 2012. Harvin could break off enough big plays to make him a WR1 in hindsight, but the odds are against him.

Will Grant: Percy Harvin was a stud in Minnesota, when he was really the only receiving and return option that the Vikings had. Aside from Adrian Peterson, Harvin was their only real threat on offense. In Seattle, he'll be one of several pass catchers, and he may not even finish the season as their top receiver. Spending a second, or even a third round pick on Harvin is over-paying for him in a big way.

Andy Hicks: Percy Harvin is the only receiver with a WR1 ADP to move teams in the off season. That alone casts some doubt on him achieving his expectations this year, but if we add in the fact that the Seahawks have a quality offense already in conjuction with a dominating defense, it makes high octane production difficult. I first of all want to see how Seattle useHarvin before deeming him worthy of that rating. Add in Harvin's injury history and he'll be one guy I'd be cautious of drafting too high.

Jeff Tefertiller: Percy Harvin saw a huge number of pass targets last season in Minnesota. There is little chance he will be targeted enough to warrant the ADP of WR7 late in the second round this season. Yes, he gets a huge quarterback upgrade, but the Seahawks have many more weapons to spread the ball.

Mark Wimer: Percy Harvin is overvalued at seventh wide receiver selected this season. Sidney Rice is still on the Seahawks, and this is a run-first, run-second team that won't put up a ton of passes. With Harvin sharing receptons with Rice and a limited pool of passes to go around, I don't see either guy landing among the top-12 at his position. I like Harvin as a solid fantasy WR #2 this year, but not as an elite top-10 type guy.

PlayerS with 4 Votes

James Jones, Packers

Sigmund Bloom: It's an old fantasy football canard that touchdowns are the hardest statistic to predict from year-to-year. James Jones' value is especially vulnerable here, as he caught 14 scores with only 64 receptions and 784 yards last year. Greg Jennings is gone, but he wasn't much of a factor last year anyway. Jordy Nelson, who produced 15 touchdowns in 2011, will be back and healthy after an injury-riddled 2012. Jones' prospects are too shaky to be counted on as a starting WR3, which is what he needs to be at his current sixth-round ADP.

Jeff Haseley: I am not sold on James Jones being a consistent fantasy commodity for the Packers in 2013, despite the departure of Greg Jennings. Jones was very efficient with his catches, especially those in the end zone. His end of season numbers were huge, but a lot of that came in three or four big games. He benefited from Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings being injured or hurt. I think the offense will run through Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson and not so much James Jones.

Ryan Hester: I'm always wary of the receiver whose value in the previous year was highly touchdown-dependent. With 14 scores on just 64 receptions, Jones fits that bill. Even when considering the slight bump in value he gets from the departure of Greg Jennings, Jones should still have a difficult time finishing in the same neighborhood as he did in 2012 among fantasy receivers. I'd rather try my luck with Steve Johnson or Tavon Austin.

Jason Wood: Jones caught a league-leading 14 touchdowns last year on 64 receptions, which allowed him to finish as the 16th best fantasy receiver. In five other seasons, he's never ranked higher than 38th, and yet fantasy owners are drafting Jones as though he's a quality fantasy WR2. Makes no sense, especially when his "breakout" season was tied entirely to a statistically shocking number of TD catches; and TDs are the most volatile and unpredictable aspect of a receiver's fantasy value year to year.

Wes Welker, Broncos

Sigmund Bloom: Welker will be productive with Peyton Manning, but probably not enough to make him worth a high fourth round pick. A number like 120 catches is basically an attainable level in the Broncos stacked passing offense. Ninety is a more likely outcome, and with Welker's exclusive use in the short passing game and lack of great red zone prowess, that is not a recipe for a top 15 pick at the wide receiver position.

James Brimacombe: There is no denying Welker’s talent and skill set, but it just seems to be too many wide receivers for Manning to feed the ball to in 2013.  The WR position is deep this year and letting someone else take a chance on Welker putting up the numbers he is accustomed to seems like a much better option.

Andy Hicks: Wes Welker is one of the more intriguing fantasy options this year. Can he continue his high production from his Patriot days or will he play third fiddle to Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, or something in between? At his age and his initial lack of familiarity with his surroundings make it hard to have confidence in Welker getting near a WR1 ranking, especially given the fact that only once in his career has he finished higher than the 11th ranked receiver. Welker will be drafted on reputation. Don't be the guy that does it.

Jason Wood: Fantasy owners need to come to terms with Wes Welker's new role. He has always been a possession guy (11.2 career yards per reception) but has benefited from an ungodly target rate that's fostered 100+ reception seasons as a rule. In Denver, he will share time with two other high quality receivers, and even Welker understands his role is going to decrease. Even if Welker manages 80-85 receptions as the team's slot guy, that's not enough to justify his ADP because it'll equate to 800-900 yards.

Players with 3 Votes

Danario Alexander, Chargers

Heath Cummings: At this point don't you have to make Alexander's projections on a ten game basis? He's an absolute stud when healthy, but having missed 20 games in his first three years in the league I would have a very difficult time drafting him as any more than a WR4.

Andrew Garda: veryone is excited by the string of successful games Alexander had in 2012, but with Vincent Brown and Malcom Floyd back in the fold, as well as rookie Keenan Allen there are just far better receivers in house than there were last year. Alexander's long history of injuries also makes him a fair bet to not be available for a chunk of games this year.

Will Grant: The entire San Diego offense scares the hell out of me this season. They dropped from 4600 yards passing in 2011 to 3600 last year. There is no clear stand-out receiver and the fountain of youth that Antonio Gates has been using looks like it has run dry. Vincent Brown is entering his second season and needs to take a step forward. Keenan Allen is a talented rookie who will be pushing for an impact and Malcom Floyd has been putting up WR3 numbers for the last three years. Alexander could very easily be the #1 guy on the team or fall down to the #3. My bet is that they all split the receptions evenly and Alexander proves to be a poor fantasy prospect this season.

Eric Decker, Broncos

Adam Harstad: With the addition of Wes Welker, something has to give in Denver. My money is on Eric Decker seeing the biggest hit to his value. His production last year was heavily dependent on touchdowns, which are always prime candidates for regression, and I think he's the least talented (and therefore likely the least targeted) of Denver's three receivers.

Ryan Hester: Despite having a breakout season receiving passes from Peyton Manning (13 touchdowns in 2012), Decker could see himself being the forgotten man in Denver's passing game in 2013. Demaryius Thomas will still be the team's big-play threat and go-to guy on the perimeter of the field, and newly acquired Wes Welker will get a large share of targets and catches on the interior part of the field. Decker made plays both inside and out in 2012, but he'll lose targets both inside and out in 2013. At an ADP of WR21, it would appear that Decker is being drafted as Manning's second-best target, but I believe he'll be the third-most effective in 2013. I'd rather take my chances with guys who are their teams' number one options like Pierre Garcon, Mike Wallace, and Antonio Brown.

Jeff Tefertiller: Eric Decker should see his targets, especially in the red zone, decrease with Wes Welker now in Denver. He is currently drafted as the WR20 off the board. There is little chance, outside of a Demaryius Thomas or Welker injury that Decker can warrant this draft status.

Pierre Garcon, Redskins

Stephen Holloway: Pierre Garcon has had only one year where he played in all 16 games in his five years in the NFL. He is still healing from a foot injury early last season and had shoulder surgery in the off-season. He could be the favorite receiver of second year quarterback Robert Griffin III, but Griffin is also recovering from a knee surgery after the playoff loss in January. Sustained success and Pierre Garcon do not seem to be compatible this year.

Jeff Pasquino: Pierre Garcon is in the classic model of what I call the "Alvin Harper Syndrome" - which is where a former second receiver on a good passing team moves to another team and tries to be the top target. That usually does not work well for a player who needs that other receiver on the team to take pressure (and coverage) away, plus the typical drop in quarterback play with the move to the new team lowers his fantasy value. Garcon does get more value with Robert Griffin III, but until Garcon gets himself 100% healthy his upside is limited and he remains just an average fantasy WR3.

Matt Waldman: I'm concerned about Garcon's health. He played well with his foot injury when he finally returned, but how long can he do it? That's the question Dr. Jene Bramel is asking and I'm standing in line behind him to see it answered before I make an investment.

Reggie Wayne, Colts

Sigmund Bloom: Wayne's resurgence in 2012 with Andrew Luck at quarterback was a fantasy revelation, but most of us tuned out when Wayne became more mortal as the season went on. Wayne's second half split only projects out to a 94-1050-4 line, which could be eaten into even more with the progress of the '12 rookie crop of TY Hilton, Dwyane Allen, Coby Fleener, Vick Ballard, and LaVon Brazill. Even more disturbing is Wayne's minuscule 22-250-2 line over the season's last five regular season games. The arrow is pointing down for this wide receiver that will turn 35 during this season.

Will Grant: Andrew Luck was Reggie Wayne's fountain of youth last season, and Wayne surprised a lot of people with 1350 yards receiving and five receiving TDS. However, this year is going to be different, and Wayne's stats are likely to fall back to earth. At 45 overall, fantasy owners are expecting a repeat of last season. Let someone else take Wayne that high.

Adam Harstad: Wayne finished as WR15 last year at age 34. It's hard to see him improving on that at age 35. His current ADP, to me, represents all downside with no upside.

Players with 2 Votes

Danny Amendola, Patriots

Stephen Holloway: Danny Amendola was signed by the Patriots immediately after the team lost Wes Welker in free agency to the Broncos. Amendola has had some success in the NFL with a career high of 85 catches in 2010, but only for 689 yards. He has a career 8.8 ypr and has scored only 7 touchdowns in four seasons. In addition to the limited production, he is a smallish receiver at only 5'8” and 183 pounds and has missed a total of 22 games over those four years. He is expected to step into Walker's role and equal his production, but I will be surprised if he can stay healthy. If he remains healthy, he will have abundant opportunity to produce and likely will be the top wide receiver on the team.

Jason Wood: Lightning doesn't strike twice in the same spot. It's just too trite a concept to think that a younger, undersized possession guy from Texas Tech could magically step into Wes Welker's role and match his production. In fact, it's fairly insulting to Welker and his legacy. Amendola has only managed to start 17 games in four seasons because of his checkered injury history, there's no way I'm buying into the hype and drafting him as a WR2.

Players with 1 Votes

Justin Blackmon, Jaguars

Jeff Pasquino: Justin Blackmon has great talent, but he has two major strikes against him before Week 1 - a four-game suspension that he must serve plus a terrible offensive team and quarterback in Jacksonville. With most fantasy leagues playing 13 regular season games or fewer, if you draft Blackmon you will be without him for at least a third of your games plus a bye week. I cannot recommend drafting any wide receiver with those issues before my WR5, so that makes him almost undraftable in redraft leagues for me.

Kenny Britt, Titans

Jason Wood: Last year I begged people not to draft Kenny Britt, even though most argued he was a “value pick” given his injury shortened 2011 season. Yet Britt was a disaster last year, catching just 45 passes in spite of being on the active roster for most of the season (14 games). He showed no glimpse of the explosiveness we saw back in 2010, and I have no reason to bet he'll ever be the same player.

Antonio Brown, Steelers

Stephen Holloway: Antonio Brown caught a career high 69 passes in 2011 for 1,108 yards, averaging 16.1 ypc. However, last year he slipped considerably catching only 66 passes for 787 yards. The Steelers lost Mike Wallace in free agency to the Dolphins, so Brown should get more targets, but he has never been the top wide receiver and therefore should see more coverage this season. In addition, Heath Miller is coming off knee surgery so there may not be enough skill players to produce sustained results in the passing game.

Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals

Mark Wimer: Larry Fitzgerald is overvalued right now. Once we see IF the rebuilt Arizona offensive line can pass block well enough to keep Carson Palmer vertical this year, then I may revisit my feelings about Fitzgerald. If Palmer has to absorb the sort of punishment that Kevin Kolb got over the past two years, though, all bets are off and Fitzgerald will be stuck with another parade of backup-caliber quarterbacks while Palmer is injured and on the sidelines (or in the hospital).

Stephen Hill, Jets

Will Grant: I get it. Looking the offense in New York, you have to wonder if any of these guys are worth spending a draft pick on. But Hill was an interesting prospect last season, and he had a couple games where it looked like he might be a solid fantasy performer. They downside of course is that he needs to stay healthy and the Jets need to figure out if Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith are running the offense. I think this season, Hill takes over as the top receiver. For whatever that's worth anyway.

T.Y. Hilton, Colts

James Brimacombe: I get it that Wayne is getting up there in age and that Hilton had a very good rookie campaign. It is just hard for me to justify Hilton’s draft position at this point, as both the TE’s in Fleener and Allen are going to headed into their second season as well and demanding more targets.

Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers

Jeff Haseley: The Buccaneers spent a lot of money on defensive free agents in the offseason, most notably Darrelle Revis and Dashon Golson. Their defense needed a big time adjustment and they got it. The changes will probably mean more of an emphasis on controlling the clock and running the ball, which will have a trickle down effect on the passing game, as well as Vincent Jackson's numbers. The Bucs won't be in shootouts as often as they were in 2012, which will limit Jackson's production. I still like Jackson as a receiver, but not at the spot where he's being drafted.

Greg Jennings, Vikings

Ryan Hester: Receivers that change teams aren't players I typically go out of my way to get. Receivers who experience a quarterback downgrade from Aaron Rodgers to Christian Ponder are players that I avoid at almost any cost. Jennings is also an aging player who has experienced injury issues in recent years. I'd rather take my chances with a player who has yet to break out than one who already has in past years and is in the tail end of his career. Guys like Steve Johnson, Tavon Austin, and T.Y. Hilton are all intriguing young players going after Jennings. Steve Smith isn't a young player any more, but I'd prefer him over Jennings as well because he has a young, emerging quarterback throwing him the ball while Jennings' ceiling is lower because of the limitations of Christian Ponder and Matt Cassell.

Julio Jones, Falcons

Matt Waldman: The Falcons receiver was a top-10 fantasy player last year and ranked one spot behind Roddy White in PPR leagues last year. I think those projecting Jones as the No.5 receiver overall is the product of several points of ignorance about the way the Falcons play offense. First and foremost, as long as White continues plays as he has, Jones will not be the primary option to move the chains on short play action passes and third-down targets that require the precision with routes and great boundary awareness that he lacks but White has in abundance. Second, Tony Gonzalez was the top tight end in PPR leagues last year. I don't expect him to drop off a cliff. Third, Steven Jackson is an upgrade to Michael Turner. Where are all the new targets for Jones going to come from? I don't see it.

Greg Little, Browns

Will Grant: Greg Little was probably a little undervalued even before the news of Josh Gordon's suspension was released. Gordon is suspended for the first two games of the season, and his next drug offense will mean he'll miss the season. Greg Little is the guy that you want from the Cleveland receiving corps, at least at the beginning of the season. He could finish the season in a lot better position that he's currently being drafted.

Jeremy Maclin, Eagles

Andy Hicks: Jeremy Maclin faces a crucial year in his career. With off season rumors floating of a draft day trade by the Eagles to offloadMaclin, it makes it hard to believe the coaching staff has a lot of confidence in his abilities this year. Add in a new offense being installed by Chip Kelly and the uncertainty at quarterback and I find it difficult to see how Jeremy Maclin gets WR2 numbers this year, something he has only done once in 4 years anyway.

Jordy Nelson, Packers

Mark Wimer: Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson are overvalued this year. There's this guy named James Jones who caught a league-best 14 receiving TDs from Aaron Rodgers during 2012, and Jones hasn't left town. With a renewed emphasis on running the football by Eddie Lacy and/or Johnathan Franklin and a three-way worksharing arrangement between Cobb, Nelson and Jones, I don't see both Cobb and Nelson among the top-20 at their position. In fact, I think neither one may finish in the top 20, while all three of Cobb, Nelson and Jones are likely among the top 40 wide receivers in the league by years' end.

Cecil Shorts, Jaguars

Heath Cummings: People are assuming that Justin Blackmon's absence is a positive for Shorts and I just don't see it that way. Shorts came on strong in his sophomore season after Justin Blackmon established himself as a true #1. Don't be surprised at all if the third year receiver struggles out of the gate with all of the attention on him.

Demaryius Thomas, Broncos

Jeff Pasquino: Before Wes Welker was added to the Denver mix, Thomas was viewed as a lock for a Top 10 fantasy year entering 2013. That might have taken a slight dip downward, but in effect Welker will impact Eric Decker more than Thomas. Peyton Manning will spread the ball to all three receivers as the Broncos will use a 3-wide set as a base formation. Until Denver gets a solid ground game going, all three top targets should push for low WR1 and high WR2 fantasy contention – so taking Thomas any higher than WR12 would be risky and offer very little upside.

Mike Wallace, Dolphins

Jeff Haseley: The Dolphins will be disappointed if they are expecting elite WR numbers from Mike Wallace. I did not like this free agent hire from the beginning and I haven't seen much else to make me think otherwise. Wallace is a big play type of receiver, but he is not a possession receiver, which is what the team really needed. This situation seems too much in favor of Wallace than it does the team. I don't think it will be catastrophic like Robert Meachem landing in San Diego, but I strongly doubt he will provide better numbers than what Brandon Marshall did in his brief time in Miami.


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