Overrated/Underrated Players-Ryan’s 2013 Fantasy Football Preview Series

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Overrated/Underrated Players-Ryan’s 2013 Fantasy Football Preview Series
You could say that every single NFL player can be subjected to an underrated or overrated status. That status only depends on one thing. Where in your draft you take that player. It’s never fun to look back during the season and realize you made one or multiple bad picks during the draft. Here’s some players to re-think about before your big draft day.
Matt Forte: Matt’s gonna have to do a lot more to prove he’s worth the 4year/$32Million contract the Bears gave him last year. He’ll have to do the same for fantasy owners considering his average draft position is 17.8. Is he really the 17th most valuable player in the NFL? Judging by his numbers, I would think not. He’s only rushed for more than 1,100 yards once in his 5-year career. He’s also never post double-digit touchdown numbers. His real value is with his hands. Forte averages 53.4 receptions 465 passing yards over his past 5 seasons.  That indicates he might only be worth a pick this high in PPR leagues, but 17.8 is still stretching it a little. Another reason I don’t like Forte that much in standard leagues is the dismal performance of the Bears offensive line last year. They did go out and spend a first round pick on Kyle Long out of Oregon and make a big free-agent signing in Jermon Bushrod to play LT. Long has looked great so far in preseason play, but that’s doesn’t mean much. They are starting two rookies on the right side of the line. The Bears line has definitely has more questions that answers. Speaking of rookies, Forte will be playing for first year coach Marc Trestman also. We have yet to see how Trestman will effect Cutler and the rest of the pass-happy offense in 2013. I wouldn’t draft Forte before the third round in 10-man standard leagues. I consider guys like Maurice-Jones Drew, Stevan Ridley and Trent Richardson to be sliglhtly better options than Forte this season. One or two of those guys should still be around in the mid to second round. Draft any of those guys over Forte and you’ll thank me later.
Larry Fitzgerald: Does Fitzgerald still have some of the best hands in football? Sure he does. Is he still an elite fantasy WR? No way. I think the WR position this season is a dime a dozen. You can really wait until the middle or later part of the draft to find some undervalued wideouts. Right now Fitzgerald’s average draft position is 24.6. He’s being drafted ahead of guys like Roddy White, Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson and Marques Colston. I would take any of those guys over Fitzgerald in a heartbeat.  That is absoloutley astonishing consdering he had 798 yards and only 4 touchdowns last year. Does everyone think Carson Palmer will come in and save the day? Evidently so. I mean Palmer isn’t really that bad, he did throw for over 4,000 yards for the Raiders last season. I don’t think he has what it takes to make Fitzgerald a Top 7 fantasy WR by the end of the year. I wouldn’t have any idea how someone could draft him before the 4th round. Don’t pay retail price for a wholesale product. Let someone else make that mistake this season.

Dwayne Bowe: Many many people are buying into Bowe again this season with an average draft position 36.8. That might be the biggest head-scratcher of this whole write-up. Why would you take a WR in the middle of the 4th round who’s only had 8 TD’s the past 2 seasons combined? Like Palmer for Fitzgerald, I think everyone must be feeling that Alex Smith will help Bowe re-create his magical 15 touchdown 2010 season. In Alex Smith’s 7 year career, he’s never had more than 3,144 yards and 18 touchdowns. I don’t really care who the Chiefs bring in at quarterback, Bowe won’t be having any magical seasons like that the rest of his career. Alex Smith is a game manager, not a strong-armed QB who can throw the ball deep down the field. Look at how the X, or main WR has faired on Smith’s team the past couple season’s. Crabtree in 2010: 55 rec 741 yards 6 TD’s and 2011: 72 rec 874 yards 4 TD’s. Once Kaepernick became the 49er QB, Crabtree’s production doubled in touchdowns and nearly doubled in yards per game. Don’t let Bowe’s past success fool you into thinking he’s still a Top 12 WR.
Vernon Davis: I really hate to say this considering Davis is a good player and a great guy off the field. But he could be the most overrated player going into this year’s fantasy draft. Vernon’s recieving yards have decreased for 4 straight seasons. With an average draft positoin of 54.1, Davis is the third overall tight end being drafted so far. I think that indicates many things. It shows just how thin the TE position has become. It also shows people are still dreaming that Kaepernick’s passing abilities can help re-create his magical 13 touchdown season in 2009. Well sadly, that won’t be happening in 2013. It was weird, in Kaepernick’s first start, Davis had 6 catches for 83 yards and a score. Everyone started thinking all Davis needed was a better QB to throw him the football. For the next 6 games he combined for 6 catches 61 yards. That’s honestly embarassing. The Niners are getting more out of Davis blocking for Gore than they are him catching passes down the field. I would avoid Davis all together in your draft this season.

Lamar Miller (MIA): Suprisingly, the 2nd year running back out of Miami has an average draft position of 59. He’s being drafted in front of guys like David Wilson, Darren McFadden and Ryan Matthews. One good thing about Miller is he did average 4.9 yards a carry in his small role for the Dolphins last season. But most those carries came at the end of game, when defenses were tired, or second string had come in. I don’t think the Dolphins will give Miller the amount of chances in the redzone he needs to be a top back. I also think Daniel Thomas will be more involved in the running game than people first thought. During training camp, offensive cordinator Mike Sherman was quoted to saying they are “neck-and -neck” for the starting job. Miller hasn’t done anything in the preseason to make us think otherwise. It’s ok to draft Miller to your team this season, just make sure you don’t overpay.

Chris Johnson (TEN): This is more of a warning not to overpay for Johnson again this year. I think a number of us have made that mistake the past 2 years. Johnson is no longer the touchdown threat he was his first 3 seasons in the NFL. He had 34 touchdowns during 2008-2010. He’s slowed down quite a bit, only put up a total of 10 touchdowns his past 2 years. Johnson is being drafted in front of guys like Frank Gore and David Wilson. I think both those RB’s will have a better season than Johnson. Chris can still put up a decent amount of rushing yards, but the Titans offense won’t be making it any easier for him in 2013. You can kiss those double digit touchdown 2,000 yard seasons good-bye. This is not the same Chris Johnson from 4 years ago.

Matt Ryan: I have no idea why, but I’m seeing Matt Ryan fall all the way down to round 7 or 8 in 10-man league’s. Ryan was Top 5 in completions, yards and touchdowns last season. Look for Ryan to have another really solid season. His average draft position at this moment is 48.8. Kaepernick’s is 38.9, RG3 47.1 and Wilson is 48.1. I would take Matt Ryan over all these QB’s. Ryan has arguably the best WR and TE combo of weapons in the NFL. Weather can effect some QB’s peformance, especially at the end of the season with all the snow and freezing rain. At least for 8 games a season, Matt Ryan doesn’t have to worry about that. I also think the Falcons have a pretty favorable schedule this season. Ryan went crazy in the most important time in fantasy weeks, 14-17. During that time he had averaged a 116.1 QB Rating, 282 yards passing a game and had 10 TD’s to only 1 interception. Their’s nothing worse than an elite QB who gets pulled or benched towards the end of the season to avoid injury. The Falcons will either be fighting for a playoff spot or trying to clinch home-field advantage during fantasy playoffs. Don’t make the mistake of letting Ryan get drafted by someone else in mid to later rounds.
Ryan Matthews: Matthews has been more of a dissapointment than a blessing since he came into the league 3 years ago. He’s struggled with holding on to the football and staying fully healthy. He’ still yet to play a full 16-game season. But I think you can really get your money’s worth out of him this season. He has an average draft position of 89. Fantasy leaguers are drafting players like Le’Veon Bell and Lamar Miller in front of Matthews. I’m not ready to invest in either one of those players before I would Matthews. The good thing about Matthews is I know he’s got the talent to put up a great season this year. He’s only one year removed from having 1,546 total yards with 6 touchdowns. Matthews also proved that year he can catch the football with 50 receptions averaging 9.1 yards per catch. I think Rivers has lost a little arm strength which leads me to believe he will be checking down to Matthews all season long. I think the Chargers offense won’t struggle nearly as bad as they did in 2012, and they don’t have a very tough schedule. I think that team kind of gave up on playing for Norv Turner last year. If Matthews can stay healthy and eliminate his fumbles, you’ll get a high return on your investment in 2013.
Anquan Boldin: I have always thought playoff performances can heavily effect the way we view players fantasy value the following season. That doesn’t seem to be the case for the way people feel about Anquan so far. I’m still having issues believing Boldin’s average draft position is 97.8. Even though he turns 33 this season, I think Boldin is a better overall WR than Crabtree. He won’t fill Crabtree’s shoe’s because the Boldin’s feet will be to big. (That was an awful attempt at a pun indicating Boldin is gonna have a really good season). Boldin showed last season that a big part of his game is his outstanding ability to get open deep down the field. Boldin needs his QB to have a really strong arm (like Flacco) to maximize his potential. I couldn’t think of a better pairing than Collin Kaepernick. Kaepernick grabbed everyone’s attention with the way he ran the football last season. His arm strength, especially in the playoff’s is what I noticed. Their are only 2 negative things I can think of about Boldin. He hasn’t had a season over 1,000 yards since he last played for the Cardinals in 2009. He’s also only had double digit touchdown numbers once in his 10-year career. I wouldn’t let that scare you away. If you could get Boldin anywhere between anywhere after round 7, you’ll get your money’s worth.

T.Y. Hilton: Hilton’s average draft position in league’s so far is 101.1. Which is oddly enough the spot directly behind Boldin as far as WR’s go. The Colts 3rd round pick out of Florida Atlantic had 50 rec 861 yards 7 TD’s in 15 games in 2012. Hilton showed flashes during his rookie season last year of why he could be Andrew Luck’s future No. 1 WR. He had 5 games of 100+ yards last season. His also slated in to be the Colts punt returner again this year. He took one punt return to the house last year too. If your league counts return yards, that’s just another reason why you should bump up Hilton on your draft board. I never did understand why more league’s didn’t count return yards. Special teams impact the game so much more than people realize. The Colt’s looked to be trying out new formation’s during training camp and preseason which include having T.Y. Hilton lined up in different areas of the line of scrimmage. He can be your slot WR for a quick 3rd down catch across the middle, or your deep bomb threat down-field. Expect Hilton to have an outstanding year.

Martellus Bennett (CHI): I think you can really get your money’s worth out of Bennett this season. The Cowboys had high hopes when they drafted Bennett in the 2nd round in 2008. Discipline issues and inconsistent play were the main reasons why Bennett found himself in a Giants uniform at the beginning of the 2012 season. Bennett suprisingly had a career season with Eli putting up 55 rec 626 yards and 5 touchdowns. Owners must not be buying into Martellus repeating that kind of season considering he’s average draft position is 117.6. That transfers for 14th highest TE drafted in fantasy this season. Bennett finds himself on another new team this season, the Chicago Bears. Cutler has shown in the past he can be successfull throwing to his tight end. The Bears being a pass first offense is another good reason to invest in Bennett this season. The TE position in the NFL just seems to be getting thinner and thinner every year. Whether you play in a deep league or need a back-up TE, Bennett looks like a late-round steal this season.

Lance Moore (NO): It always helps to be one of the most productive WR’s on Drew Brees team. But now that Devery Henderson is gone, the Saints expect Moore to take on even more targets this season. Moore has an average draft position if 106.1. I think the second best WR on the Saints deserves to be at a higher draft position than that. Owners are taking WR’s like Kenny Brit and Tavon Austin above him. I would take Lance Moore in a heartbeat over those two. Givens will be getting most the targets from Bradford and Britt is already having knee problems this season. Moore missed a game last season due to injury and was still able to put up 1,041 yards and 6 TD’s. He’s shown in the past that he is one of Brees favorite redzone targets. He’s had an impressive 34 touchdown’s since 2008.

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