When someone teaches you how to play blackjack, they tell you the point of the game is to get your cards to equal 21. That’s not entirely true, although it helps. The point of blackjack is to get your cards to equal more than the dealer’s or for the dealer to bust. The same is sort of true in fantasy football. The way to win your fantasy football league isn’t to get the players that score the most points (although that helps). The way you win your fantasy football league is by drafting guys that outplay their draft position. If all or most of your players outplay their draft positions, you have a very good chance of winning. In order to do this you need to stay away from the guys who don’t play up to their draft position. The overvalued players. Here’s the Top 10 guys that won’t play up to their average draft position (ADP). These are the guys I’m staying away from, and I think you should to. I’ve included where I’d take them if they fall down the draft board and become a good value. This is what I think their actual value is.
Current ADP: High 2nd round
“But look what Peyton Hillis did in Cleveland …” Ah, yes, the line from everyone who wants to draft Richardson. Hillis’ big season was two years ago and the team has changed a lot since then. The Browns will be starting a rookie right tackle (Mitchell Schwartz), a rookie quarterback (Brandon Weeden), a rookie wide receiver (Josh Gordon), a second-year full back (Owen Marecic), and a second-year wide receiver (Greg Little). Still think it’s the same team Peyton Hillis had? Rookie running backs hardly ever breakout in their first year. The very early second-round pick you’d have to spend to get him is just too high for a guy who has never played in an NFL game yet, no matter how much upside and opportunity he has.
Where I’d draft him: Late 3rd round
Current ADP: Mid-2nd round
A lot of people are looking at Cam Newton’s performance from last year and drafting him simply based on that. Those people would be making a mistake. Newton set the all-time record for rushing touchdowns in a season by a quarterback last year (14). Anyone who has come close to that mark averages around half as many touchdowns the following year, so I’ve got him penciled in for seven, and that will drop his value by at least 42 points, plus yards. Carolina also added Mike Tolbert to the backfield this year. I’m guessing this move is so Cam Newton doesn’t have to take as many goal line dives as he did last year. Carolina wants to protect its overall No. 1 pick, not have him diving over the line for a touchdown when a much cheaper and less important running back can do that. I have a hard time drafting Newton when proven guys like Eli Manning, Tony Romo and Matt Ryan are still on the board.
Where I’d draft him: 5th round
Current ADP: 3rd round
Fred Jackson was in beast mode for the first 10 weeks of the season before he went down in Week 11 on his seventh carry of the game. Then C.J. Spiller got his chance and showed us that Jackson’s production was more a product of the system and not as much his talent. Now, head coach Chan Gailey knows that he has two solid running backs. So who do you think he’s going to be going with? A 31-year old runner with some mileage, a 24-year old pass catching back, or a combination of the two? If I’m the head coach, I just learned at the end of last year that I have two running backs that can get the work done, and I’m going to be splitting their time to keep them fresh. What that means for us fantasy footballers is that Fred Jackson is now part of a committee backfield, and he’s no longer a primary runner. The third round is too early to take a running back that’s part of a running back by committee. I think I’d just draft C.J. Spiller, who’s being drafted at the end of the sixth round, and will probably get around the same workload.
Where I’d draft him: 5th round
Current ADP: 5th round
Why does this guy keep getting drafted so high every year? This year he’s going as the fifth-best tight end and being drafted in the fifth round. Finley has never finished higher than the ninth-best tight end. Last year he even played all 16 games and he still didn’t turn in those stud numbers he was expected to. Do people think that because his quarterback is Aaron Rodgers he’s magically going to break into the upper tier of tight ends? Finley is a solid, startable, but low-end tight end. He should be drafted in the range of guys like Brandon Pettigrew, Fred Davis and Jermaine Gresham, not before proven guys like Vernon Davis and Jason Witten.
Where I’d draft him: Late 8th round
Current ADP: Early 6th round
A 31-year-old journeyman wide receiver on a new team with an already proven set of offensive weapons doesn’t interest me in the sixth round. Not when the guys being drafted around him are Jeremy Maclin, Dwayne Bowe and Stevie Johnson. I’d much rather take one of these other guys in that area to be my WR2 or WR3. Lloyd does have a few things going for him. He knows offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ playbook really well, and the New England Patriots love to pass the ball, but he’s missing a couple of things. First, he’s missing the WR1 status he had in Denver in 2010. With Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez already getting looks, Lloyd is the fourth option on this team. While it will make him fantasy worthy of being drafted, the early sixth round is just too high for me. Second, he’s missing the talent that goes with being a stud wide receiver. Lloyd has had one great season and a ton of mediocre ones. If we throw out his 2010 season as a fluke, his second best season is 48 catches for 733 yards and five touchdowns. Dwayne Bowe averages more than 1,000 yards in a healthy season (four out of five he’s played in), and Lloyd has only gone above that once. Sorry not good enough.
Where I’d draft him: Ninth round as a WR4/bye week filler