Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, Michael Vick. Just a few of the names of players who destroyed some Fantasy Football teams. You’ve heard it a million times before, you can’t win your draft with your first few picks, but you certainly can lose it. Try and avoid these players on draft day unless they slip too far, it could potentially ruin your draft. If you are unfortunate enough to already have one of these players on your team, convert their high draft value into trade value to get them off your team. Here’s my top 10 most overvalued Fantasy Football players heading into 2012.
10. Larry Fitzgerald(Yahoo ADP:12, ESPN ADP:14)
This is meant in no disrespect to Larry Fitzgerald. Unfortunately, Fantasy Football isn’t always about being a great player. He’s a fantastic player who just happens to be in a horrible situation. Neither John Skelton nor Kevin Kolb should be a starting QB in the NFL, and will keep Larry Fitzgerald from posting stats neccessary to justify his early second round draft position. We do still expect Fitzgerald to post elite numbers as we have him as our # 2 WR coming into this year. Still, WR is extremely deep this year. There are a ton of WR1s that will put up similar numbers to Larry Fitzgerald, one will almost certainly slip to the fourth round. Fitzgerald isn’t on this list because he is going to have a poor year, he is on it as a symbol that you should be trying to avoid taking any WR not named Calvin Johnson in the first three rounds.
9. Michael Turner(Yahoo ADP:41, ESPN ADP:35)
Every site that you go to will have Michael Turner on either the Most Overvalued Fantasy Football players in 2012, or the undervalued list. Last year, superficially his numbers were fantastic. However, when you look at them in-depth, you realize he didn’t really have a great year. Take away the Tampa Bay game where he beat up on a Buccaneers team with absolutely no motivation and in a week that most Fantasy Football leagues were over, he had a very poor end of the season. He never reached 80 yards from weeks 12-16 and only had 1 TD in that span. Remember that his hands are made of pure stone, so also don’t expect him to add much on to those rushing yards like other RBs will. Now he’s 30 years old, and has had a huge workload the past few years which tends to come back to bite running backs in their later years. Jacquizz Rodgers is a much better fit for the the Falcons passing heavy offense and should eventually replace Turner as the feature back, making him a fantastic sleeper pick.
8. Wes Welker(Yahoo ADP:30, ESPN ADP:23)
Through the first 6 games last year, Wes Welker was having a once in a lifetime type of year. He definitely slowed down in the second half, but was still a very productive Fantasy Football player. So why is he on this list? Competition. I have Tom Brady as my number 1 QB coming into the year, and fully expect him to put up huge numbers. That said, someone on the Patriots team has to dissapoint. The Patriots, including Welker, have four studs catching balls from Tom Brady. There’s no way that all of Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker, and Brandon Lloyd can put up the elite numbers they are projected. With us expecting Lloyd, Gronkowski, and Hernandez to all have huge years, it would be foolish to expect the same from Welker. He still should be a solid receiver, and a stud in PPR. Just don’t expect 1500+ yards, 9 TDs, but a much more likely 1200 yards, 4 TD campaign out of him.
7. Vernon Davis(Yahoo ADP:54, ESPN ADP:52)
Almost every year, a player gets drafted because of a great postseason. This year, it’s Vernon Davis. Davis had a very poor year in 2011, surpassing 80 yards just twice. Now the 49ers have added new weapons to their receiving core with Mario Manningham and Randy Moss. Don’t draft a guy based on postseason performance, Fantasy Football is played in the regular season. Vernon Davis has been a frustratingly inconsistent player his entire career and always has the potential to put up a big donut every time he plays. There’s plenty of really solid players that will be available in the early 6th round. Take them, pass on Vernon Davis.
6. Steve Smith(Yahoo ADP:36, ESPN ADP:44)
Speaking of inconsistent players, it seems like Steve Smith has always had a stud or dud performance. There’s almost no inbetween. In his resurrective campaign, Steve Smith had 140 or more yards on four seperate occasions. All of them in the first half of the season. Defenses started to figure out Cam Newton and his vertical passing attack, but he wasn’t the one who got hurt the most. The main victim was Steve Smith who really slowed down in the second half of the season posting 100 or more yards just once. Expect Steve Smith’s 2012 season to reflect his second half numbers from last year.
5. 49ers D/ST(Yahoo ADP:59, ESPN ADP:71)
Have Fantasy Football owners learned absolutely nothing? Taking the defense that finished first the previous year doesn’t work. Matchups are the way to go, taking elite defenses early almost never pans out. Obviously, every year there will be an elite defense that’s better than the rest, but it is almost never the same defense that was drafted #1. Wait until the second to last round and play matchups. You can score almost as many points by picking up defenses on the wire with good matchups than by wasting a 6th-8th round pick on an “elite” defense.
4. Trent Richardson(Yahoo ADP:20, ESPN ADP 38)
Sigh, Trent was a guy who I was crazy high on coming into the season. That was until I heard he was going to have a second knee scope, and would miss the rest of the preseason. His ADP didn’t fall too far, but it should’ve. The Browns are going to play it very safe with him, and I’m still not convinced he will play week 1. What made Richardson such an intriguing pick heading into the season was that he was going to be to workhorse back for the Browns. The Browns are undoubtedly going to limit his early season workload and knee injuries always makes me question a player’s ability to stay healthy. I much prefer Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin in their first season as NFL players. Don’t be surprised if Richardson has a rookie year similar to Ryan Matthews, and dissapoints plenty of Fantasy Football players.
3. Maurice Jones-Drew(Yahoo ADP:13, ESPN ADP:10)
Don’t you just get a bad feeling about this one? It’s pretty much a sure thing at this point that MJD will not be starting week 1, and it is looking more and more likely that this holdout will carry into the regular season. This has Chris Johnson written all over it, and if he misses games it could be even worse. Don’t use your second round pick on a serious contender for this years biggest bust. Look elsewhere for a safer player that will be available in the second round. If you do take MJD, remember to take Rashad Jennings later in the draft who should play at a RB2 level if MJD were to miss time.
2. Frank Gore(Yahoo ADP:60, ESPN ADP:37)
Gore is going to have to contend with Kendall Hunter, Lamichael James, and Brandon Jacobs once he gets healthy for touches. Expect them to eat way into his workload. The 49ers know that they are likely a no-doubt playoff team and that Gore is getting older. They’re going to want to keep him fresh for the playoffs after seeing him slow down in the second half of last season. I consider Gore a mid-range Flex play at this point of his career, yet he’s still being drafted in the same range as some very strong RB2s such as Ryan Matthews, Steven Jackson, Ahmad Bradshaw, Darren Sproles and way ahead of Doug Martin. There’s absolutely no upside here, and plenty of downside. Where you’re going to have to be drafting him, he’s just not worth it.
1. Andre Johnson(Yahoo ADP:24, ESPN ADP:15)
This has nothing to do with my theory of waiting back on WR, this has everything to do with my theory of not drafting a guy to their upside. He plays in a run-first offense with two of the best running backs in football, and has never had a year that many of the WRs getting drafted way behind him have had. If everything went right for Andre Johnson this year, he would probably finish at his draft position or even slightly behind. There are more than just injury question marks that surround Andre Johnson, and people are continuing to draft him as if he is an injury prone version of Calvin Johnson, which is insane. As much as I respect Andre Johnson as a player he is not Calvin Johnson, even when healthy. Last year Megatron had 16 TDs, and Andre Johnson has never even reached double digits in TDs. Let others take on all of Andre Johnson’s risk and use your second or third round pick on an elite QB or RB.
Those were my Most Overvalued Fantasy Football players in 2012, try to do whatever you can to avoid drafting these guys at their current ADP. Remember to sign up for a FREE account, it only takes a minute.