One of the biggest things you can do to hurt your chances for a successful fantasy football season is to reach for guys that are overvalued in the early rounds. So, with that in mind, I give you my list of the biggest reaches in each of the Top 5 rounds based on ESPN’s average draft position.
Arian Foster (No. 2 overall)
Don’t get me wrong, I think
Arian Foster will still be a top 10 runner this year and worth a first-round draft pick. But with him being drafted No. 2 overall on average, and guys like Michael Fabiano from nfl.com, saying he’s even No. 1 overall, that is just too high for a guy who’s rushing average has gone from 4.95 per carry in 2010 to 4.02 per carry in 2012. His receptions have also declined from 66 in 2010 to 53 in 2011 to 40 in 2012. Also, let’s not forget he has a very talented backup running back in
Ben Tate who averaged almost 5.4 yards per carry when he was healthy and had an opportunity in 2011. For me,
Adrian Peterson and
Doug Martin are clearly ranked ahead of Foster. I’d also take the bigger upside of C.J. Spiller, Jamaal Charles and
Trent Richardson over Foster. The highest I could take him is at the sixth pick overall.
Tom Brady (No. 19 overall)
Like Foster, I don’t think Brady will fall out of the top 10 at his position, but I also don’t believe he’s still in the elite tier of quarterbacks based on the team around him. To start, we’ll set aside the fact that I don’t think any quarterback is worth a second-round selection based on the depth of talent in 2013, but I don’t see Brady even hitting the top five at the position.
Brady goes into 2013 with his most unproven and possibly worst outside receiving corps ever and a slot guy that can’t stay on the field. Both tight ends have injury concerns as well and if a couple of his key weapons go down at the same time I think coach Bill Belichick will just run the ball more and play good defense. (The Patriots defense is a nice sleeper pick this year). By the end of the season I see Brady ending up between the sixth-10th best quarterback in fantasy and I have him currently ranked No. 9 behind
Colin Kaepernick and
Keep in mind you can get the likes of Luck, Ryan, Kaepernick and Wilson in the fifth round or later according to ESPN rankings which will get you at worst a comparable quarterback to Brady three rounds later allowing you to grab an elite wide receiver or solid No. 2 RB in Round 2 instead.
Round 3: Maurice Jones-Drew (No. 27 overall)
While many people have Jones-Drew listed as a sleeper or comeback player this year, I just don’t see it. At 28 years old, he is seventh among active running backs with 1,570 rushing attempts. Before his injury in 2012, he only scored one touchdown in seven games. In Week 7, he suffered a
injury, which is worse than a blown ACL these days, especially for a running back. Because of that injury, there were reports that Jones-Drew was out of shape in organized team activities and even he admits he’s not sure if he’ll be ready for training camp.
The other concern for Jones-Drew’s fantasy value is the emergence of
Denard Robinson. I read a tweet from Alex Marvez saying that David Caldwell praised Robinson for his burst and the plan is to get him 10-15 touches per game.
On top of all that, we have an off-the-field altercation which has yet to be resolved. While I don’t think it’s likely he’ll face a suspension at this point, the issue is clearly unresolved and needs to be kept in mind. Off-the-field issue aside, I still don’t like him in the third round. I’d much rather take a running back like
Montee Ball or
Chris Johnson or a wide receiver like
Demaryius Thomas or
Percy Harvin with my third-round pick.
Wes Welker (No. 38 overall)
Wes Welker’s case, it’s not his ability that has him on this list, but simply the fact he goes to a loaded offense which is sure to take away some of the opportunities he had in New England. Welker even told
The Denver Post that “if I have to catch 112 balls that probably means we’re in trouble.” In New England he averaged 112 catches, 11.2 yards per catch and six touchdowns per season. The last three years New England didn’t have quality wide receivers on the outside of Welker and the three years Welker played with Randy Moss his average-per-catch and touchdowns were less.
Now he’s in Denver with two legit wide receivers and a fresh new running game. When you look at the numbers, I see Welker still getting a respectable 85 catches, and if you give him his career average per catch, that has him getting about 950 yards. The biggest problems for his fantasy points are the loss of 30-or-so catches and a much lower touchdown total. I only see him getting about three or four touchdowns in this loaded offense where guys like Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker will be Peyton Manning’s primary red zone options along with the tight ends getting some red zone looks.
Montee Ball will give them a nice rushing attack as well, which could mean a few less touchdowns overall in the passing gamel. In the fourth round I’d rather have a running back like
David Wilson or a wide receiver like
Hakeem Nicks with a ton of upside in a contract year, or even a guy like
Jordy Nelson who is also in a crowded offense but has more touchdown potential.
DeMarco Murray (No. 45 overall)
I realize at some point you’ve got to take your chances on the oft-injured running backs who are still featured runners when healthy, but for me,
DeMarco Murray is not that guy. He’s been injured in every season of football he’s played, including college. So to hope and pray that he’s miraculously going to have a magical 16-game season is nuts. In his two pro seasons, he’s played in 13 games in 2011 and 10 in 2012. But his 13 games as a rookie are misleading as he only started seven, as he wasn’t “discovered” until later in the year.
I get it, if you’re like me and got Murray off the waiver wire in 2011 and he helped you win some key games, but he’s just not worthy of that fifth-round pick. I’d rather grab running backs with upside like
Reggie Bush or
Chris Ivory with my fifth-round pick, or better yet, get that top tier quarterback that has likely slid to this round due to the amazing depth at quarterback this season!
So make sure when you have your fantasy football drafts this season, you aren’t the one that’s reaching too early for those first key starters.