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Auction Drafting 2009: Overpriced Players

If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s overpaying for something, and players in an auction draft are no exception. Doing this for top players in particular can be brutal if they bust (or are at least a big disappointment), since you count them to be the heart and soul of your team – or more to the point, have already made sacrifices elsewhere during your draft to afford them.

So from top players to retreads, I present the following short list of players who I think are best bets to cost too much and therefore avoid. Buyer beware. Note: since auction caps vary, I’ve included their expected or going price range as percentages vs. dollar amounts. The low end is the most you should probably pay, and even then might be a bit high.

RB Adrian Peterson, MIN (30% +): You heard me. Yeah I know, he’s great, he had a great year, blah blah blah. I’m not saying he’ll bust. But we’re talking about overpaying, and he’s all but guaranteed to be the priciest player in almost all auction drafts, costing at least 30% and often upwards of 35% or more. First of all, nobody is worth that much. Period. As for Peterson himself, don’t make the common mistake of chasing last year; the odds of him (or any RB) even sniffing 1,700+ yards rushing  two years in a row are slight. Second, he only totaled 10 TDs. For top dollar, you should certainly get more. Third, he’s even less valuable in PPR leagues, with only 40 grabs and 1 TD combined the last two years. Fourth, he’s generally known to get nicked up and miss time; call it a hunch, but I don’t like the odds of him going all 16 games again. Bottom line: let someone else commit all that money and start out the draft severely cash-strapped for a guy who probably won’t do what the owner is expecting. He’ll pay for it in more ways than one.

RB Steven Jackson, STL (25-28%): Two words: injury risk. This guy simply cannot be counted on, yet is still going for 25% or better, even though – just like Big Ben – he has had ONE big year. Yet, like greedy miners panning for gold and ending up with mostly gravel, owners keep buying into that promise of a big payoff – and keep ending up with a lot of gravel on those zero point weeks. I’m not saying it’s all his fault; the Rams’ offense has been a mess lately. But it doesn’t matter; the point is this is a very risky play to make. If you’re in a gambling mood, this guy might be for you – but that’s a dangerous strategy, and the odds aren’t in your favor. 

has burned a lot of FF teams over the last few years who rolled those dice. Don’t be one of them.

RB Brian Westbrook, PHI (18-22%): See

. Previous Westbrook owners should be nodding their heads. He doesn’t appear quite as over-valued as

, maybe since he’s (already!) injured, but the logic is the same. You just can’t afford that many weeks of low-to-no-show production from your top player. Bypass him unless he really slides.

WR Marques Colston, NO (13-16%): Call it a hunch. His knee surgery wasn’t severe and players are bouncing back from such things better than ever, but I’m always leery of guys with injury issues (if you didn’t already notice). This isn’t just about injury concerns though; Drew Brees has a ton of weapons and obviously did extremely well spreading it around last year. Guys like Moore and Henderson showed they can do the job very nicely, and the Saints have great overall depth at WR. Oh and don’t forget they have not one, but two TEs who you need to keep an eye on, and Reggie Bush is known to catch a few balls as well. I seriously doubt the Saints will change an approach that had so much success, especially if there’s even the smallest lingering concern about Colston’s knee. Bottom line: I think the guy will be sharing too much – and cost too much – to merit your precious draft dollars.

TE Tony Gonzalez, ATL (7-10%): As with Peterson, I expect a lot of head shaking here. Yes, another top talent. And like Peterson, I would not be shocked if he had another great year. But Gonzo is getting very long in the tooth, is on a new team (generally not a good thing for older vets), and is no longer the primary receiver.  He’ll probably be solid and worthy of your team, but I think there’s a bit too much risk and downside here to pay the top TE money he will probably go for. If you insist on a top TE, target Jason Witten, Antonio Gates or maybe Dallas Clark, or perhaps downshift to a guy like John Owens or Greg Olsen and use that money elsewhere.

QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (5-8%): True, he won’t cost a lot, but he’s still often going before the likes of guys like Carson Palmer, Kyle Orton, David Garrard … I could go on. Why? Why do people keep overrating this guy? Upside? Yeah right; he had exactly one good (not amazing) year when he put up 32 TDs … and hasn’t done much of anything since, putting up mostly modest yardage and pathetic TD/INT statistics the rest of his career. People look at last year like it was some aberration, but it’s actually a typical Big Ben year. If you pay more than your league’s “minimum wage” for him, guess what: you overpaid. A guy who wins Super Bowls and is on a good team isn’t necessarily a good FF prospect – or am I the only one who remembers Troy Aikman?

WR Roy Williams, DAL (5-8%): Again, see

. This is another “one-year wonder” with a promise of big points that people keep chasing in vain. True, he’s on a much better team/offense than
Detroit, but this guy makes

look like an iron man. He just cannot stay on the field. Given that, I wouldn’t even want him as my WR2 unless he came cheaper than the 9-10%ish range I’m seeing him at, since I could beef up elsewhere and probably get a better payoff. Avoid him like the plague unless he drops to at least half that, preferably less.

D/ST Steelers (3-6%): In my opinion, D/STs are too hard to predict and so not worth spending much on. PIT seems to be a trendy D/ST favorite this year – I see people spending upwards of 5-6% or more. Don’t do it. I like this D just fine, especially given their division, but that money is better spent elsewhere.

K – pick a K, any K (minimum % +): If you pay more than minimum bid for any K, you probably overpaid. They are even more unpredictable than D/STs and generally score too similarly to do so. Let others waste extra $ on one. You can get someone who may just as easily be the top guy with your spare chump change.

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