ADP watch - overvalued
Overpaying for the past is no way to win at fantasy football. In this article, we profile a few players likely selected a bit early in your league. Some owners are expecting a repeat performance of a stellar 2012 season when the 2013 projections say not so fast. There are wide receivers that changed zip codes or are fighting father time. There are pass catchers that can't stay healthy. There is a quarterback missing his top target. As for the new guys, rookies usually undergo an adjustment period, thus increasing their risk. Because last year's crop of runners rocked - led by Doug Martin and Alfred Morris - this year's class is overvalued (at least in some cases). That is not the case with this article, which comes at no cost. Read on and heed the advice, it could save owners big time come draft day.
Talk of the former University of Wisconsin product as "vertically challenged" seems comical in hindsight. The 5-foot-11 rookie impressed after replacing the overpaid Matt Flynn, leading the Seahawks into the second round of the NFC playoffs. All Wilson did was complete 64 percent of his passes while totaling 3,118 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. The dual threat and late-season fantasy gem also added 489 yards and four rushing scores. However, despite the strong start, imagining a statistical regression as a sophomore is no stretch.
Wilson didn't have a single 300-yard passing game last season. In that content, he's not likely to enter Beast Mode considering Seattle remains a run-heavy attack with Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks are not likely to play in many fantasy-friendly shootouts with a defense that allowed a league low 15 points per game. Also, forward-looking owners will note Seattle is projected to have multiple difficult passing matchups during the playoff (14-16) weeks.
The potential season-ending loss of high priced free agent Percy Harvin hurts Wilson's upside, though he threw 26 touchdowns without the ex-Viking. Golden Tate's potential intrigues, but he's not a proven star, not yet anyway. Sidney Rice, the Seahawks' leading wide out last season, struggled with injuries in recent seasons and recently flew to Switzerland for treatment on his knee.
Even though his ADP suggest a fantasy starter (and FFToolbox ranks him in the middle of the QB1 options), I would not feel comfortable with Wilson in that position for my team. For my taste, Tony Romo and Eli Manning are safer bets, yet are falling in the same range or after Wilson.
There may be no more Shanahanigans in the Mile High City, but Broncos head coach John Fox has been known to favor the dreaded RBBC (just asked J-Stew and Deangelo owners). His third year in Denver figures to be much of the same as the rugged Ball joins second-year back Ronnie Hillman and veteran Knowshon Moreno. College football's leading rusher in 2011, the workhorse runner amassed 697 carries over his final two seasons with the Badgers. It is hard imagining the second round selection sniffing those levels this season considering the crowded backfield and the vaunted passing attack led by Peyton Manning. Ball won't help his cause as a receiver; he never caught more than 25 passes in any season at Wisconsin and won't receive many passing down snaps with Hillman and Moreno around. There is certainly upside, especially since Ball is Denver's best goal line threat. However, his current ADP (RB24) puts him into low RB2 range. Unless he clearly outpaces his competitors during camp, Ball is better suited as an upside RB3.
Despite reports that he has been the best player on the field in training camp, Lacy has a short resume and a long injury history (enough to warrant concern about the power back living up to the hype). His only productive season at Alabama was 2012 when Lacy rushed for 1322 yards on 204 carries and reached the end zone 17 times. Not much of a factor in the passing game, means third-down duties could fall to one of the other Packer backs, including fellow rookie Johnathan Franklin. At 5-foot-11, 231 pounds, Lacy has the size to emerge as a goal line back. Of course, Aaron Rodgers likes to jog in a few TDs each season in the red zone. Speaking of the Pro Bowl quarterback, Lacy is also a question mark when it comes to pass protection. The recent loss of LT Bryan Bulaga could put a greater emphasis on having reliable blockers in the backfield to keep Rodgers upright. That was a challenge last year as the Packers allowed 51 sacks. Lacy battled a hamstring injury early in camp and a lingering toe issue dogged him in college which led to him sliding out of the NFL Draft's first round. As a final reason to slow your roll on the the rebirth of the Packer run game, they face one of the more difficult fantasy RB schedules this coming season. Interesting as a RB3, but drafting Lacy as a fantasy starter is a risky proposition.
The Dolphins made one of the splashiest moves in free agency by signing Wallace to a hefty five-year, $60 million contract. The rationale is rather simple: provide rising second-year QB Ryan Tannehill with a legitimate deep threat. We'll see if that's the case. Actually, we know the 27-year-old Wallace can make plays downfield. However, that payday signifies Wallace is a legitimate top receiver who can run all needed routes. His receiving yards have declined over the last three seasons - just 836 in his final season with Pittsburgh - and the Dolphins aren't exactly a pass-happy offense. Also, Tannehill isn't Ben Roethlisberger, meaning Wallace's already inconsistent production should linger. Though a solid target as a WR3, Wallace's current price is in the WR2 range (latest ADP figures show him as the 24th receiver). There have been reports of limited on-field chemistry with Tannehill (who will most likely make a decent leap in performance this season) and Wallace has battled a groin injury. Speaking of pain, expect the growing kind with the Dolphins offense in 2013, making Wallace an overvalued commodity if fantasy owners value him based on his touchdown-heavy years in Pittsburgh.
Since Wayne has been a fantasy darling for years, let's start with the positives. He matched a career-high with 1,355 yards last season on 106 receptions, marking the third time in four seasons he has topped the century mark. However, we caution fantasy owners not to pay for the past. With Bruce Arians taking his vertical passing game to Arizona, coming close to his 2012 production represents a significant challenge for Wayne.
Andrew Luck's former Stanford offensive coordinator (Pep Hamilton) takes over in the same role with the Colts, bringing a West Coast offense with him. Look for more throws to tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, plus Indy added deep threat Darrius Heyward-Bey.
As for Wayne, he faded down the stretch last season, averaging just four catches for 50 yards over the final five weeks of the season. Over the past three seasons, he's averaging only five touchdowns per campaign. Those numbers combined with the new schemes and the addition of Ahmad Bradshaw makes it hard projecting another equally robust year for Wayne, who turns 35 in November.