There comes a point in drafting when you’re faced with tough decisions. The next name on your cheatsheet says one thing, but your heart and head say something different. Maybe you’ve been burned by that player in the past, or maybe you feel that he’s overvalued. Whatever it is, there are certain players your drafting philosophy just won’t allow you to take. Here are a few players I’ll be avoiding on draft day like they had airborne super-herpes.
Michael Vick: Whatever Fantasy god or gods you pray to before your head hits the pillow every night will tell you the same thing in your dreams: NEVER TAKE A QB IN ROUND ONE. He’s currently going at No. 5 overall in ADP at NFL.com, which is a blasphemous offense to those deities. Vick will score tons of Fantasy points with his (admittedly) impressive skills. That is not in dispute. The issue is that you leave yourself without an elite running back or wide receiver coming out of the first round, and the draft allows no forgiveness for that. Besides, you can get a solid QB1as late as the fourth round. There is also the universal truth that Vick will miss games due to his running often and playing behind Philadelphia’s sub-par offensive line.
|They mysterious ways Megatron are among the reasons why
he won’t be on any of my Fantasy teams.—Photo Credit: Icon SMI
Calvin Johnson: When drafting in the first four rounds, look to a player’s floor, not his ceiling. All players taken that early should be good, but the Fantasy teams that minimize risk early will likely be the ones competing for a playoff slot. There are just too many issues with Johnson. He’s only played a full season once in his four-year career. The QB situation is sketchy with injuries and competence issues, as well. While he will have some spectacular games, there are too many times where Johnson doesn’t put up numbers worthy of a second-rounder due to surrounding circumstances. His talent is undeniable, but his output isn’t consistent enough for a second-round pick.
Daniel Thomas: Normally I’m all about rookie RBs. They have fresh legs and their tiny minds aren’t asked to perform complex tasks like pass blocking. The coach’s instructions to rooks are pretty simple: hit the hole. Unfortunately for Thomas, he has a problem doing that. The news coming from Dolphins camp is not good. Teams happy with their RB options don’t sign Larry Johnson. Thomas is struggling to pick up the offense and tiptoeing through holes. Those are never things you want to hear about your alleged answer at RB. While the morphing of Reggie Bush into a No. 1 RB is so much wishful thinking, it’s clear at this point that Bush is the better option for the team, and will get far more touches until his inevitable injury (he last played a full season in 2006). Thomas’ ADP of 74 (Round 8) sounds a bit low from what I’m seeing in drafts. Even if it’s realistic, I’m still not buying. Pussyfooting through holes is a career-killer for RBs. It’s not something a few weeks of coaching will clear up. The more I hear about Thomas, the more like a bust he seems.
DeSean Jackson: Not to harp on the Eagles here – they’re the Dream Team after all – but there’s a thread of overvaluing that runs everywhere through this team’s players. Vick is the most overvalued, but Jackson isn’t far behind. His NFL.com ADP is 27 (Round 3), which is sheer madness. There is absolutely no way that Jackson is the seventh best Fantasy receiver, ahead of guys like Mike Wallace, Reggie Wayne, and Miles Austin. We’ll gloss over the injury factor, as that angle has been done to death for the notoriously lightweight Jackson. Instead, let’s focus on the lesser attributes of his actual production. In three years, Jackson’s season catch totals are 62, 62, and 47. In a PPR league, those aren’t the number of a Round 3 receiver. In terms of yards, Jackson had six games with fewer than 35 receiving yards in 2010, and that doesn’t include the two games he missed. Consistency ain’t his bag, baby. With Jeremy Maclin not up to full speed, Jackson will get much more attention from opposing defenses this season. None of these things bode well for Top 10 receiving numbers.
Knowshon Moreno: I thought we all were past what Moreno is selling, but apparently not. His ADP is 42 (Round 5), which is only okay if you play in leagues larger than 12 teams. Moreno has yet to prove a blessed thing in the NFL, and the guy that drafted him in the first round is gone. His career 4.0 yards per carry looks decent at first, but when you see that he hasn’t topped 250 carries in a season, that stat loses some of its luster. Moreno also hasn’t topped 1,000 rushing yards in a season, which is arguably the baseline for RB2 status. Moreno supporters also have to worry about the presence of the NFL’s greatest TD vulture, Willis McGahee. Moreno has seven fumbles in the last two seasons, and conservative coach John Fox is more likely to trust the sure-handed McGahee when the touches count. I’m not totally devaluing Moreno, but he’s a RB3/Flex player. Don’t value him as anything more.
Sidney Rice: Coming into his fifth season in the league, Rice has exactly one good season under his belt. In 2009, during the Great Favre-ian Renaissance, Rice had 83 catches for 1,312 yards and eight TDs. In his other three seasons, catching passes from a combination of Broken Down Favre, Gus Frerotte, and Tarvaris Jackson, the best Rice could do was 31 catches for 396 yard and four TDs. Blame it on injuries, youth, rising food prices, or anything you want, but Rice hasn’t put up good numbers. Why anyone believes that a reunion with Jackson on a Seattle team that is falling apart will lead to a turnaround for Rice is beyond me. If Matt Hasselbeck was still the QB, I might buy it a little, but no way does Tarvaris Jackson (or Charlie Whitehurst) have it in him to make a WR he’s throwing to worthy of even a regular WR3 starting slot. With an ADP of 88 (Round 9), you’d want to put Rice in that position. Rice hasn’t proven he’s capable of regaining his 2009 form, and the odds are long that he’ll do it in Seattle’s incompetent offense.
Jahvid Best: The fears about Best’s fragility are well founded, and he really didn’t impress in his rookie season. In the first two weeks of the 2010 season, Best scored four TDs and had everyone thinking he was a human video game. After that, not so much. Best scored just once more, and failed to crack 100 combined yards of output in a game. The numbers weren’t terrible, but certainly not worthy of a player taken before Round 5 in most drafts. The 2011 season is off to an auspicious start for Best. He already suffered a concussion and is missing time. The season-ending injury to Mikel LeShoure forces Best back into a lead role, one for which he’s not built. Primary backup Maurice Morris is having injury problems of his own, and he’s the best of a sorry lot that include Jerome Harrison and Mike Bell. Suffice to say that Best will have to play as much as he’s able with this crew hanging around. That might be a good thing for a more robust RB, but our Best friend has a bit of trouble taking solid hits. His ADP is 63 (Round 7), which is higher than players I would much rather invest, like Steve Johnson, Felix Jones, and Mark Ingram.
Cedric Benson: Punchy Magoo, aka Cedric Benson, will miss practice this week so he can stand trial for a 2010 incident in which he busted up a bar employee. This would have never happened if Patrick Swayze was still working the door of the Roadhouse. He was also arrested in July for roughing up an ex-roommate. If only he ran with that authority, he’d be a fantastic Fantasy RB. He’ll get a week in jail for the former during the bye week, and a suspension from Emperor Goodell could be in the offing. Players with suspensions hanging over their heads are among my least favorite, particularly when they have averaged 3.7 YPC with their current team. Normally there is just nothing exciting about drafting Benson. Now the danger is that you’ll be wasting a mid-round draft pick on a suspendee. How do you know you’re having a bad draft? If your desperation for a RB leads you to Benson, you’re having a bad draft. My condolences.
Chad Ochocinco: He’s going as a ninth rounder (81 in ADP), but I wouldn’t even take him for that low price. In Cincinnati, Ochocinco’s numbers were predictable, barring injury and Terrell Owens coming in and throwing everything out of whack. Ochocinco has no defined role in the New England offense. Even if he does, it’s not one destined to be overly productive. Wes Welker gets the bulk of the catches, and that’s not going to change. He had 86 catches in 2010, far outpacing the team’s other pass-catchers. That group, consisting of Deion Branch, Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron Hernandez, were all lumped together in the 45-catch range. That’s not to mention Danny Woodhead’s 34 catches and a few here and there from every other eligible receiver on the roster. Ochocinco has to find his space in that 45-catch zone, if he can. Even if he puts up his career YPC average of 14.4, that’s only 648 yards. He also has no shot at double digit TDs. That puts him in the category of a WR6 or so, and one that won’t have consistency in an offense that spreads the ball around. There is very little upside for an 11th-year player on a new team. I’d rather take a shot with a younger player.
About to go H.A.M.
Peyton Hillis: I’m not on board, but seeing his big mug on the cover of Madden 12 is going to start swaying drafters to take him higher than he deserves. It’s the power of suggestion.
LeGarrette Blount: Dang! Dude can actually catch! If he can nab just two receptions per game, all of a sudden we’re looking at a borderline RB1/RB2.
Marques Colston: Either the knees are healthy or Oakland’s DeMarcus Van Dyke is the worst cornerback in the history of football.
Jamie Harper: For those of you in larger leagues, Harper is making a push for carries in Chris Johnson’s absence. He could see some action even when CJ2K comes back.
Johnny Knox: Roy Williams is not making friends or impressing people in Chicago, and Knox will likely keep his status as Chicago’s No. 1 WR.
Cry out, they’re trapped under ice.
Chris Johnson: Will he show up for the season opener? Fantasy owners are voting with their draft picks, and Johnson keeps falling.
Frank Gore: He has never been the sturdiest player. I’m noticing a trend this year that every person that drafts Gore makes a face like they are passing a kidney stone when announcing the pick.
Dallas Clark: If Peyton Manning’s going down, he’s taking everyone with him.
Ryan Mathews: He looks destined to be a between-the-20s RB, with Mike Tolbert getting the touches when they actually mean something.
Ryan Grant: Starting RBs do not accept $1 million pay cuts two weeks before the season.
Eli Manning: Coming off a wildly erratic season, and already he’s throwing too many interceptions.
Get the edge in your Fantasy Football league by signing up for the Xclusive Edge Package.
Compete against the best Fantasy Football players in the country and win TWO $100,000 grand prizes. Sign up TODAY at nffc.stats.com