Over-valued fantasy football players are not necessarily players that will struggle this season. They are players that are being drafted too high in the draft compared to their predicted output versus players at the same position being drafted much lower. Successful fantasy football team owners are the owners that recognize value in each round and draft accordingly. There is no set methodology on what position to draft in each round or what players should be drafted in each round. As always, KNOW YOUR SCORING system and let that dictate your drafting strategy and be flexible about your strategy so you can make adjustments on the fly based on how the draft is unfolding so you can recognize Value in the players still available.
Assuming a standard fantasy football scoring system, we are going to cite players that we are seeing drafted too high compared to other players at their position. Currently, the most over-valued fantasy football players thus far, according to their Average Draft Position, are as follows.
QB: Peyton Manning (Denver) – Peyton began showing his age towards the end of 2014. He was still the third highest scoring QB last season, but that won’t happen this year and he is being drafted as the third QB. Manning is a bit slower, throws more INTs, the Broncos are relying much more on their running game and Peyton has lost a few weapons. Wes Welker and Julian Thomas are gone and RB C.J. Anderson is breaking out. I still expect 4000 yards and 30 TDs from Peyton, but you can get that kind of production later in the draft from numerous other QBs…QBs that are much younger and more mobile than the 39-year old Manning.
RB: Jonathan Stewart (Carolina) – There are many people that felt that Stewart cane into his own last season and it will springboard him into a successful 2015. Sure, he averaged 100 ypg in his last 4 and the Panthers did let RB DeAngelo Williams go, but I don’t buy it. He has only had one season of over 200 carries due to injuries and has already tweaked his ankle this summer. If you decide that he is worth the risk, make sure to also grab Cameron Artis-Payne to plug in the day the switchover happens.
WR Sammy Watkins (Buffalo) – Sammy Watkins is as talented as a receiver gets in the AFC East, but you won’t notice this season. Kyle Orton was a serviceable QB, but he has retired and the list of QBs now in Buffalo makes a person cringe; Matt Cassel, E.J. Manuel and Tyrod Taylor. Coach Rex Ryan has faced this situation before and I can guarantee you that he is going to try to win by running the ball and letting his defense do the bulk of the work. Also, Sammy is coming off hip surgery which is definitely not going to help. The NFL is chocked full of quality WRs so don’t spend a pick on Watkins as it could just be a wasted pick.
TE Julius Thomas (Jacksonville) – Julius is very talented but he may never see the production that he had in Denver again. Of course, he has 46 million reasons not to be too upset about it. Thomas’ greatest value has always come in the form of TDs. Because Denver had so much talent, he was never relied upon to be a catch/yardage-heavy option. Now, Jacksonville is largely devoid of receiving talent, so it could mean that Thomas will compensate for his drop in TD receptions with more catches and yards, but it could also mean that he will face double-teams. He is far too risky to consider taking him in single-digit rounds when there could be a half-dozen tight ends that end up with the same, or better, numbers that are drafted in double-digit rounds.
K Stephen Gostkowski (New England) – Gostkowski was the highest scoring kicker in the NFL last season so he should be the highest drafted kicker, correct? Well, I would agree, but why take ANY kicker before your last or second-to-last round? Philly K Cody Parker was a mere 2 field goals behind Gostkowski in points and no one is thinking about taking him over a WR4 or RB4. Fill your bench before taking a kicker.
D Seattle – Along the same lines as a kicker, WAIT on your defense. Unless you have a robust scoring system that rewards defenses heavily, the difference in points between the top dozen defenses is too small to think about taking a defense in single-digit rounds. Seattle gets a LOT of press and has been to two straight Super Bowls, but they were not the top-scoring defense in fantasy last year even after having an ADP in single-digit rounds. As a matter of fact, in some formats, they were the 7-9th highest scoring defense in 2014. Before I take a kicker, I always start two rounds before and grab my first defense then grab my second defense. The top defenses fluctuate every year. Who would have figured that Philly would have had the highest-scoring fantasy defense last season?