Fantasy football busts and overvalued players

by Cory J. Bonini on August 12, 2013 @ 15:30:00 PDT


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While I am not a fan of the term "bust" in fantasy sports, because it is too generic and is tough to qualify, I have chosen several players that may give you a headache at some point in 2013.


Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers: The loss of Michael Crabtree (Achilles') will sting a bit. Kaepernick will need to build chemistry with Anquan Boldin and improve his rapport with tight end Vernon Davis, who was held in to block a lot down the stretch last year. CK is a very risky QB1 in my eyes. Don't overvalue him based on an extrapolated 2012 season.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: Luck is fantastic and will have a superb career, but I see some rough patches in 2013, at least early in the season. Indy's new offensive system will focus on the short-passing game, which could hurt Luck's overall figures. He's a low-end QB1.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: The loss of Mike Wallace will hurt more than people seem to expect, and tight end Heath Miller (knee) won't be himself most of the year. Suspect passing targets will resign Big Ben to weak No. 2 status.

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles: Assuming Foles beats out Michael Vick for the starting job, fantasy owners may grossly overvalue him. He doesn't particularly fit the offense and will face a steep learning curve, along with his teammates. Leave him for someone else to waste a pick on.

Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No. Thank. You.

Running backs

Arian Foster, Houston Texans: The metric ton of mileage on his legs and an injury history scare me too much to make Foster the No. 2 pick in drafts. His value is too dependent on finding the end zone, too, and I'd be more comfortable drafting him in the middle of Round 1, where he rarely will be available.

Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Four big games resulted in 45.3 percent of his season rushing total in 2012. Martin averaged 66.3 yards in 12 games and 164.8 in the rest. How can you count on that, especially at the No. 2 pick status of his ADP? Yikes.

Montee Ball, Denver Broncos: Everyone is assuming this is Mike Shanahan's rushing attack and that Ball is automatically the guy. Hold your horses. Knowshon Moreno should be the third-down back, and Ronnie Hillman is doing everything in his power to stave off Ball in this pass-happy O.

David Wilson, New York Giants: I like Wilson's talent and potential. He's too risky, though, based on his big-play nature and the presence of Andre Brown. Wilson is overvalued as an RB2.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals: Giovani Bernard will take BJGE's job at some point this year, in my eyes. Even if I am proven wrong, The Law Firm is an overachieving plodder in an offense that is looking to open things up. No thanks.

Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers: Injury history, pass-blocking concerns, and an undefined role in a system that runs through Aaron Rodgers' arm do not translate to enticing fantasy results. Let someone else draft Lacy.

Wide receivers

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers: Brown is a glorified possession receiver and isn't a true NFL No. 1. The Steelers will find this out the hard way, and unfortunately so will all too many fantasy owners.

Stevie Johnson, Buffalo Bills: I really like rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, although I'm not ready to go all in on him this year. Johnson's already average numbers will suffer in 2013, and he is always an injury concern.

Danny Amendola, New England Patriots: So many fantasy owners are mistaking this injury-prone smurf for Wes Welker. Amendola is an OK PPR No. 3, yet he is going much higher than that in far too many drafts.

Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens: Smith is a deep threat through and through. I am afraid Baltimore will try to force him into the role of a true No. 1, which would cause his downfield prowess to suffer. I also question if he can hold up to the beating of a heavier receiving load.


Tight ends

Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots: After what seems like 54 surgeries in about a year, Gronk remains the first or second tight end drafted in almost every league. He's a touchdown machine, but that doesn't help you if he cannot remain on the field. Monitor his status if you have a late August or early September draft.

Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons: Call me skeptical ... age (37 in tight end years is like 102) and the rigors of the NFL have to catch up with him sooner or later, right? Maybe not. Probably not until 2014 when he's on his couch. However, I'm cautiously drafting him only if he slides into the eighth or ninth round.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Way too scary for my liking

Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams: I'll be frank in that I really don't like Cook's style of play. He's too inconsistent and, at times, soft. He is fine at the value of a second tight end selection, but his potential is capped at average - not something worth investing in as a backup, where I like to find upside.

Place kicker

Garrett Hartley, New Orleans Saints: Every year someone drafts Hartley way too early, even being the general late-round selection of a place kicker. This offense scores touchdowns and doesn't attempt a lot of field goals.

Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Raiders: Oakland's offense is going through considerable changes, namely at quarterback, and could take a big step backward. Janikowski is a fringe starting kicker or more ideally a matchup play.

Rian Lindell, Buffalo Bills: Lindell is in an offense that could take a step backward before it moves in the right direction. He faces competition from rookie Dustin Hopkins, too, and that may be enough alone to cost him his job.

Dan Carpenter, Miami Dolphins: Carpenter is a solid kicker, yet I'm sure he's going to lose his roster spot to rookie Caleb Sturgis. Watch this situation. Should Carp hang onto his job, he'll remain a viable fantasy PK.

Defensive teams

San Francisco 49ers: They have improved dramatically in the offseason, but most owners would be shocked to realize the Niners ranked 15th in fantasy points scored last year. Can they live up to their No. 1 DT draft placement in 2013? That's questionable if they cannot bolster their modest sacks total (38) of a year ago.

Baltimore Ravens: This inclusion is simply based on the wholesale defensive changes. That is a lot of turnover to weather in one offseason, and the Super Bowl hangover could linger. Weak DT1 value here.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Pittsburgh doesn't create enough turnovers (20 in 2012) to matter for fantasy purposes. They're the Troy Aikman of fantasy defenses: great real life importance to their team but little impact in the fake football world. Pass on this D living off its historic name value.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tampa needs a stronger pass rush to matter as anything more than a potential waiver wire matchup play. The addition of Darrelle Revis (knee) won't help them in realm of meaningful statistics collection.

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Also see: Sleepers | Deep Sleepers | Undervalued Players

About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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