2014 Auction Draft Ripoffs

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2014 Auction Draft Ripoffs

A list of fantasy football players to avoid in auction drafts due to their over-sized price tags. Profiled players include Nick Foles, Robert Griffin III, Johnny Manziel, Matthew Stafford, and Giovani Bernard.

Last week I wrote a piece covering players whose auction values are currently cheap relative to their fantasy value (aka 2014 Auction Draft Bargains), and therefore, they are who you should be targeting target in auction drafts. This week I'm going to give you the reverse of that – players who are being overvalued in fantasy auction drafts, whose price exceeds their value and risk. Bear in mind that a lot of players on this list are very hyped coming into this season. That means there's a lot of positive talk being thrown around about them which, of course, is what drives their price up. Keep in mind that I'm not saying I don't want these guys on my team – I'm saying I don't want them on my team for what it's going to cost me.

Note: Given values based on a $200 budget in a 12-team league. Check out our auction values here.

($19) Foles' story is the opposite of Stafford's. He had an incredible year once he took the reins of the Eagles' offense, and if you had the guts to start him, he might have carried you to the playoffs or even a championship last year. A lot of fantasy analysts think he's likely to give a repeat performance in 2014. But the loss of deep-threat WR DeSean Jackson to the Redskins certainly won't help him. And even those highest on Foles have to acknowledge that he's still somewhat of an unknown quantity. If you're paying top dollar for a fantasy quarterback, he needs to be a pillar of your team, proven, virtually risk-free guy. That's not Foles. To me, Foles is worth closer to $10 than $20. Beware the hype.

($18) Speaking of virtually risk-free guys – Griffin isn't one of them. Yes, the ceiling is high. Some of the stuff he showed that rookie year, we haven't seen in the NFL since Michael Vick's heyday. But there are major dependability questions here. Because of his playing style, Griffin is far more vulnerable to injury that traditional pocket-passers. The qualities that give him such great upside are the same ones that make him such a risky pick. But that serious risk isn't fully reflected at his current pricing. I think $10 to $12 is about where Griffin should be purchased. If you do draft him, make sure you have a solid number two option on your bench.

($8) After a short post-draft reprieve, the bad-news stories about Manziel have picked up right where they left off. At this point, it looks fairly certain that he won't be the starting quarterback for the Browns going into the season. Like Griffin, he seems like a guy with a lot of upside, given the play-making ability he showed at Texas A&M. But he won't be able to create any big plays from the bench. Take a flier on Manziel for a dollar or two, but don't spend starter-level money on him.

($24) Last week in the Bargains article, we saw several players whose values have been discounted because of the way they ended the season. Why hasn't this happened with Stafford? He averaged a miserable 7.75 points per game from weeks 14 to 17, which comprise the fantasy playoffs in most leagues. If you started him, he probably killed you. Now we're supposed to turn around and pay top five QB money for him? I don't think so. On top of his terrible finish, he lost pass-happy offensive coordinator Scott Linehan to Dallas, and newly-acquired Lions WR Golden Tate has been out of camp with an undisclosed injury, which will hamper his ability to assimilate into the Lions offense. I think Stafford's a good bet to return to top-ten QB status this year, but that's not worth $22, given the wealth of good QB options going into 2014. Don't pay this much for him.

($38) This price is a tough one for me, because I love Bernard. I was lucky enough to draft him in two leagues last season, and he was a tremendous value pick. But the tables have turned now. To justify this kind of valuation, Bernard needs to make a huge statistical leap. To do that, he needs more touches. This valuation assumes that Bernard is the every-down workhorse in the Bengals rushing attack. But it doesn't look like that's going to be the case, even with BenJarvus Green-Ellis' relevance fading away. That's because the Bengals spent a second round pick on RB Jeremy Hill, and it appears that Hill will get carries right away. Bernard's not 'the guy' in his offense the way more cheaply-valued backs Eddie Lacy and Adrian Peterson are in theirs. Promising as Bernard is, $37 is way too high a price. Snap him up in the mid-to-high $20s, and feel good about it.

($26) Even before the holdout announcement, there were concerns about Lynch's status as the lead running back heading into the 2014 season. He slowed down tremendously at the end of 2013, averaging just 3.4 YPC over the final six regular season games. And Seahawks RB Christine Michael is set to take more carries this year and has a lot of analysts excited over his potential. Lynch is 28 years old and has a whole bunch of mileage on his body over the past three years. He may have another 1,000-yard season in him, but there's an equal chance this is the year that the wear and tear catches up with him. You probably won't be able to buy him for less than the current $25 valuation, but there are many other, less risky options available for similar money, including Broncos RB Montee Ball and Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell.