As we enter waist deep into NFL preseason football, players are starting to show their true colors. Whether they are practicing better than anticipated or are floundering deeper down the depth chart, there is no doubt that there are several players fantasy football owners are giving too much love to. And because of this, their Average Draft Position is much higher than it should be.
Below are guys who I think are the 5 of the most overhyped fantasy football players in training camp so far. Keep in mind this is just a very small sample. There are many more, but these guys caught my eye the most. These are also guys you should either pass on early in your fantasy draft or let them fall to their REALISTIC value.
1. Cam Newton (ADP 6th Round)
Newton is a polarizing figure not only in the NFL, but the fantasy football world. You really don't know what you're going to expect from him. There are a few reasons why I disagree with his ranking as the 7th overall quarterback drafted. I've said before that his receiving corps might not be the worst in the league, but it's definitely one of the bottom feeders. WR Kelvin Benjamin is looking like a star. But with Benjamin and TE Greg Olsen as Newton's only legit targets, is he really a top 10 quarterback. There is the running game to think about. And now Newton is dealing with an injured ankle. It's not a big deal. However, if Newton is expected to make a lot more plays on the ground, he'll be more vulnerable. I would draft Newton, but not until a few rounds later than he is going right now. Falcons QB Matt Ryan, 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick and Cowboys QB Tony Romo are all being drafted behind Newton, but all 3 players have better weapons (Especially Ryan). All 3 are definitely a lot safer picks as well.
2. Arian Foster (ADP 3rd Round)
Once considered the best fantasy football option several years in a row, Foster's body is clearly starting to break down. Owners were struck a huge blow after Foster missed half of last season due to back problems. This year, Foster hasn't made much noise in training camp due to a hamstring injury. He's back at practice for now, but for how long? There is a chance he could make his debut this Saturday against the Falcons, but we likely won't see enough of him to get a true indication if he is fully healthy. And that's the biggest reason I don't like Foster this year: health. When 100%, he'll be the centerpiece of new HC Bill O'Brien's offense. Although, the staggering 1,115 touches Foster saw from 2010 to 2012 might finally be coming back to haunt him. As the 12th running back off the board in PPR leagues, that's too rich for my blood on a player who could miss even more games this season.
3. Doug Martin (ADP 2nd Round)
Martin is being drafted even earlier than Foster, but comes with many more question marks. First, what role Martin will have in the offense is anyone's guess. The Buccaneers continue to hammer the idea of a committee with Martin, RB Charles Sims and RB Bobby Rainey. When you hear a team wants to use a rotation at running back to keep the lead back "fresh," that's usually not a good sign that the lead back (Martin) will see a high volume of work. Martin won't be phased out completely, but he won't touch the ball enough to warrant being drafted as the 11th running back off the board either. Martin is, at best, a higher-end RB2 in PPR leagues, with his value sinking even more in non-reception leagues. Martin's touches should still shoot to the late teens, but that's not enough for me to rank him as a true RB1.
4. Cordarrelle Patterson (ADP 3rd Round)
As a Patterson owner in a dynasty league, I expect good things from him in 2014. I just don't believe he deserves a third-round grade. Patterson is expected to be one of the key focal points of the Vikings' offense. That showed when he put up a 3 catch performance (4 targets) for 38 yards against the Raiders last week. And that was just one quarter. However, there are too many other variables that make me cringe when I think of owners considering the guy a borderline WR1 (14 ranked receiver). First, the Vikings will continue to use the run and RB Adrian Peterson as their main source of yardage. OC Norv Turner will do wonders there. TE Kyle Rudolph should also take a step forward under Turner's tutelage. The biggest problem I have in regards to Patterson is who will be throwing him the ball. QB Matt Cassel isn't, and never has been, a franchise quarterback or a quarterback a team can lean on when they have to pass to get ahead. He's basically the best of a bad situation as rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater has had his ups and downs in training camp. Patterson will make noise. He's too talented not to, but he's bring drafted ahead of Texans WR Andre Johnson and Buccaneers QB Vincent Jackson, both of whom are much more stable options.
5. Rob Gronkowski (ADP 3rd Round)
With Saints TE Jimmy Graham in a world of his own as the top tight end drafted in all leagues, Gronk continues to be listed as the distant No. 2. All I have to ask is WHY? Gronk has missed several games over the last two years. He's undergone 4 surgeries on his left arm alone, and he's coming off a torn ACL/MCL injury that happened late last season. After a summer of optimism that he would be ready for Week One, it was announced that Gronk was "favoring his right knee," and running with a "decent but not terrible limp." There was initially a 50-50 chance that Gronkowski would be ready for Week One. Depending on how bad his current injury is, there now seems to be a higher percentage that he could miss Week One's game against the Dolphins. Personally, I'm not taking Gronkowski in any leagues this year. His inability to stay healthy is just one reason. The other reason is that there are more tight ends with higher upside than there has been in the past like Broncos TE Julius Thomas, Cowboys TE Jason Witten and Browns TE Jordan Cameron.