While many of us don’t participate in fantasy football drafts until August at the latest, we can use early drafts to gauge where a player’s average draft position stands. Looking at what players are being overvalued and undervalued is an excellent way to make our cheat sheets work for us in regards to finding better value than those players who won't live up to the hype attached to them right now.
I’ll cover those players who are being undervalued later, but lets take a look at the top five players who are being drafted too soon, in my opinion.
5. Robert Griffin - Redskins
Don't think I consider Griffin as an overvalued fantasy option due to talent. Far from it. But there are several things that worry me about his status for 2013. There are 3 big reasons why I don't see Griffin living up to his current ADP as the No. 9 overall fantasy quarterback:
- He's coming off a severe ACL injury. Players usually take at least a full year to come back from something so devastating. I know Adrian Peterson played like he never even tweaked a muscle. But he's the exception, not the norm. For a player who relies a lot on his legs, Griffin ran 119 times last year, it will take him some time to trust his knee again.
- The coaching staff wants to limit the designed run plays Griffin did in 2012. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it will take Griffin several weeks to start thinking like a passer and using his legs only in extreme cases. And since he is currently rehabbing, it will take even more time for him to come up to speed once he does play again.
- Was Griffin's injury a fluke, or is this the beginning of an injury-plagued career? I liken Griffin to Michael Vick, just with a better arm. Vick hasn't played a full year since 2006. Is Griffin destined for the same fate? Time will tell, but he's not off to a good start.
A full 16 game season from Griffin will eliminate all these question marks. But with guys like Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford and even Joe Flacco behind him in the rankings, I might pass for at least this year. None of these guys are a duel threat like Griffin, but they aren't as overvalued either.
Use Kurt's value based draft system to find the best value in your league.
4. Trent Richardson - Browns
When you're an every-down back, you are going to wear down eventually. Richardson played in all but one game in his rookie season. He'll be asked to be the bell cow again in 2013, but can he stay healthy? There are two warning signs owners should be keeping tabs on thus far:
- Browns insider Will Burge tweeted that Richardson will be out until August due to a strained muscle in his right shin. Not a good sign when your team is currently implementing a new offensive system.
- The Browns have been collecting running backs like a 13 year old collects baseball cards, trading for Dion Lewis, re-signing both Chris Ogbonnaya and Brandon Jackson, while also claiming Miguel Maysonet off waivers. And don't forget Montario Hardesty. That's a big collection and a huge warning sign that maybe Richardson's injury concerns are weighing heavily on the Browns' coaching staff.
As of right now, T-Rich is severely overvalued with his ADP currently ranking him as the No. 4 running back behind Peterson, Arian Foster and Doug Martin. The Browns will never admit it, but there is some subtle fear about Richardson's health right now.
3. Percy Harvin - Vikings
Harvin getting out of Minnesota and away from Christian Ponder was the best thing for his NFL value, but is he really worth being ranked as the No. 7 overall fantasy receiver in ALL league formats? Harvin was asked to do a lot of things in Minnesota. His best year came in 2011, where he racked up 1309 total yards. But if you look at his overall stats, he's being overvalued now that he is a Seahawk. While I think Russell Wilson is a much better overall talent than Ponder, I don't see anything in him that would make me think he can push Harvin into eclipsing 1000 receiving yards. Yes the Seahawks forked over a first rounder, but I believe owners are factoring that too much into what Seattle will plan on doing with Harvin in their offense. Wilson passed for a little over 3000 yards in his rookie year, but I would be surprised if he surpassed that total by leaps and bounds. And keep in mind that the Seahawks' bread-and-butter is their running game. Marshawn Lynch will reach 1200 yards this year. We also have to factor in Sidney Rice who never panned out as a No. 1 receiver, but fits right in as a No. 2. Golden Tate should also get more looks manning the slot. That doesn't leave a lot of looks going Harvin's way. At least not enough to justify such a high ranking. Harvin might match his 2011 numbers, but snatching him up over guys like Randall Cobb, Victor Cruz and Andre Johnson is a huge mistake.
2. Kyle Rudolph - Vikings
Did you own Rudolph last year in any of your leagues? If so, then you know what I went through with this guy on a weekly basis. Rudolph was off to a hot start at the beginning of last season, catching 13 passes, 138 total yards and 3 touchdowns. It was all downhill from there in a season that was filled with inconsistencies, which culminated in a mere 8 catches and only 1 score in the final 3 games. I blame a lot of it on Ponder, which is why Rudolph is my second overvalued player with a current ranking as the No. 6 tight end in all formats. The Vikings jettisoned Harvin, but brought in Greg Jennings as their new No. 1. They followed that up by drafting Cordarrelle Patterson to be their eventual No. 2, the spot Jerome Simpson mans now. Rudolph is brimming with talent, but he failed to connect with Ponder for most of 2012. Why would that change this year? The coaching staff didn't change. And since the Vikings made up for the loss of Harvin, it's not like Ponder will be forced to look Rudolph's way. If Rudolph was the 10th or 11th overall ranked fantasy tight end, he wouldn't be on this list. But just like some of the others above, Rudolph is ahead of better talent. Hell, he's ranked ahead of Tony Gonzalez. Tony Gonzalez?!?!?!?!
1. LeSean McCoy - Eagles
As an Eagles fan, it pains me to put one at the very top. But it's something that has to be done. We truly don't know how new coach Chip Kelly will run this offense, but it's sounding more and more like McCoy will be sharing more of the workload than being a true featured back in the Eagles backfield. And for that reason he's my No. 1 overvalued play so far this year. Andy Reid loved using his running backs out of the backfield. In McCoy's career, he's averaged 55 receptions a game. Last year, Oregon's leading rusher Kenjon Barner caught 20. Now that Reid is gone, Kelly might have different plans for McCoy. OC Pat Shurmur revealed that the offense will feature a "generous" number of carries for both McCoy and Bryce Brown. How the division of touches plays out is anyone's guess, but that doesn't sit well with me. The team also just signed Felix Jones, who can be used as a catcher out of the backfield and on special teams. Another question I have is just how well Kelly's offense is going to translate to the pro level. He has said he won't use the same playbook and that he will change his offense to a more pro-style offense. Will it succeed? That's the big question. There is no doubt that McCoy's fantasy value can be booming again this year. He's one of the better pure rushing/receiving players in the league. Not to mention he plays through injuries. But because there are so many question marks swirling about his use and the offense itself, his ranking as the No. 9 overall fantasy option for 2013 is simply too overvalued for my taste.