It happens every year in fantasy football — guys get over hyped and then naturally get overdrafted… followed by the bitter disappointment and failure to reach lofty expectations. We saw it with greater frequency than we wanted to in 2013. Obviously guys like Aaron Rodgers, Julio Jones, Doug Martin and others were disappointments, but that had everything to do with bad luck and injury.
Others were straight up disappointments without legit rationalization. The likes of Zach Sudfeld, David Wilson and Lamar Miller (just to name three) that fantasy owners won’t soon forget (or forgive), were disgustingly overdrafted in hindsight.
Looking back, we all probably should have known better. However, predicting fantasy success and failure is sometimes easier said than done. We got to lick our wounds and get over it, while finding a way to move on into next season a superior fantasy owner. We must attempt to find a way to avoid making the same painful mistakes.
Mistakes will happen; we just need to try to minimize them. Staying away from insanely overhyped players might be a good place to start. In an effort to do just that, let’s break down five fantasy options that are probably going a tad too early in 2014 fantasy football drafts:
Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
Yes, Manning broke records and crushed skulls a year ago. He put up 55 touchdowns and left your opponents begging for mercy. But that was last year and we need to remember that quarterbacks don’t often put up career years in back to back seasons. Even Manning hasn’t done it, while the last three guys to break the single-season touchdown record regressed quite a bit statistically the year after (see: Tom Brady, Manning and Dan Marino).
That doesn’t mean Manning won’t be a stud again, far from it. He’s still probably going to vie for the #1 quarterback spot across fantasy leagues, but the numbers will definitely drop. Also, quarterback is easily the deepest position in fantasy football. You don’t need to spend a first round pick on Manning to win your league.
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Who’s the only quarterback other than Manning to put up seven touchdowns in a game… since… forever? That would be Nick Foles. His second NFL season was magical — 27 touchdowns against just two picks — but can we really expect him to be an insane fantasy machine again without DeSean Jackson? Perhaps, but even a sixth round ADP (Average Draft Position) feels a bit steep for a guy entering just his third NFL season with oddly still a lot to prove. When you can get guys like Tom Brady, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III after him, it’s safe to say he’s being overdrafted.
Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos
I loved Ball as a fantasy sleeper in 2013 — then he wasted into nothingness and let Knowshon Moreno rule the world as the #5 fantasy running back. Naturally, with Moreno taking his talents to South Beach this year, Ball is a lock to take over as Denver’s lead back and post the same exact numbers as Moreno did a year ago, right?
That’s crazy talk if I’ve ever heard it, even for hypothesizing fantasy gurus. Sure, Ball is going to have some serious value if he holds down the starting gig, but placing a value on his approximate production is a difficult task. Automatically shooting him up into round one feels like a bit of a stretch for a guy that has so far proven effectiveness in only small doses.
Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
Allen wildly topped expectations as a rookie in 2013, as he put up over 1,000 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. He even further crushed it in the playoffs, leading many to believe he’s a locked and loaded top-10 wide receiver in 2014. That might be true, but it’s also important to note that Malcom Floyd should be returning. Additionally, Allen just isn’t your typical elite physical weapon at WR1. He’ll be San Diego’s top passing option and should come close to the production we saw out of him last year, but even that crazy season wasn’t good enough to get him into the top-15.
With guys like Julio Jones, Roddy White, Percy Harvin, Randall Cobb and Victor Cruz returning to full health and Cordarrelle Patterson seemingly ready to bust out, there’s going to be even more competition for that top-10 rank. Allen will be good, but is he worth a third round pick? I would venture to say he’s not.
Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints
Graham is a beast. That can’t be argued against intelligently. He scored 16 touchdowns last year and hasn’t had less than 85 catches, 980 yards or nine scores in either of the last three years. However, defenses adjust and players don’t normally tend to put up mammoth numbers, like he did in 2013, in back to back campaigns. Even the greats like Jerry Rice and Randy Moss weren’t immune to the occasional reality check.
The former U of M hoopster will still be awesome and you’d love to own him, but having to spend a first round pick on a tight end is pretty crazy. The first round needs to be for elite running backs and wide receivers, not one tight end that probably won’t live up to the gaudy expectations set by a career year. If you can get him in round two, you can consider it, but round one is too steep.