The biggest key to success in Fantasy Football is not overvaluing certain players during your draft, because as most of us know, there are only so many players that emerge as surprise stars during the regular season and only so many owners that are willing to make trades.
Last season, I was able to hit on all but one of the players that I listed under the category of players being overvalued.
Here are seven players (most of which are running backs) that I feel are currently being overvalued in 2011 Fantasy Football drafts, plus a few alternative options that are being selected with similar picks:
Sexy Seven: Players Being Overvalued in 2011 Fantasy Football Drafts
* Note: Average Pick according to ESPN Fantasy Drafts as of 9/2/11 *
Arian Foster (RB – Houston Texans) – Average Pick: 5.5* – Last year, I correctly labeled him as a 2010 sleeper, but this preseason, Foster is battling a hamstring injury and while he claims that he’ll play during Week 1, these types of injuries can linger and slow a player down throughout a season. Not only that, but Foster’s breakout 2010 season (1,616 yards rushing, 16 TD’s) will be very hard to match in 2011. Currently, Foster is being selected in the Top 5 of most Fantasy drafs. The existing risks surrounding him indicate that there are better options to take that early.
Instead: Focus on Ray Rice, LeSean McCoy or Michael Turner
Roddy White (WR – Atlanta Falcons) – Average Pick: 14.0* – Don’t get me wrong, Roddy White is a stud and clearly a #1 receiver in the NFL. However, with the drafting of Julio Jones, it would be wishful thinking for owners to expect White to match his 2010 stats (115 receptions, 1,389 yards, 10 TD’s). Even White admitted to that on the Dan Patrick Show last week, when he said (about Jones), “He’s going to catch a lot of balls, so I probably won’t catch 100 balls this year.“ White also went on to say, “I don’t have a problem catching 80 balls”. That’s likely true, but many fantasy owners might care, especially when taking Roddy White at the tail end of the first round, or early in the second.
Instead: Focus on Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Jennings or Calvin Johnson
Felix Jones (RB – Dallas Cowboys) – Average Pick: 44.5* – There is a lot of hype circling around Jones as a possible breakout candidate, what with Marion Barber moving on to Chicago. While he clearly has the talent and could see more carries in 2011, it’s not a sure thing that his numbers will be worthy of a pick this high. Jones saw more action during the second half of 2010 and from Week 10 on, he saw double-digit carries in every game, but failed to post a 100-yard effort, while only scoring one touchdown. Those facts, plus the question marks that continue to surround the Dallas O-line, leave me thinking that Jones is not a Top 50 pick.
Instead: Focus on Ahmad Bradshaw or LeGarrette Blount
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (RB – New England Patriots) – Average Pick: 49.6* – “The Law Firm” is clearly a punishing runner in a potent offense. Therefore, he will get his share of Fantasy points during the season. But with Bill Belichick not afraid to use a multi-back system – and everyone knows how frequently Danny Woodhead was used in 2010 – it’s tough to make BenJarvus Green-Ellis a draft pick in the Top 50. By this point in the draft, one should either be focusing on taking a talented receiver or perhaps one of the near-elite quarterbacks.
Instead: Focus on the aforementioned duo under Felix Jones or Jahvid Best
Beanie Wells (RB – Arizona Cardinals) – Average Pick: 57.2* – Beanie Wells falls under the same category as Felix Jones. With the departure of Tim Hightower to Washington, Wells’ main competition from last season is gone, which could mean a heavier dose of carries. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Beanie Wells has been an injury prone back throughout his young NFL career. Last season, he posted double-digit carries in only five games and his highest output of the year was a mediocre 75 yards during Week 3.
Instead: Focus on Ryan Mathews or Shonn Greene
Jonathan Stewart (RB – Carolina Panthers) – Average Pick: 61.3* – Stewart is an interesting case. Two seasons ago, Carolina relied heavily on its running game, highlighting a two-headed monster of DeAngelo Williams and Stewart. Last season, each of the two backs dealt with injuries for part of the season. In 2011, DeAngelo Williams signed an extension to be the primary back, plus there’s a new coaching staff in town and a rookie starting at the quarterback position (Cam Newton). As a result, it’s not known just how significant Stewart’s workload will be, but it appears clear that it’s not worthy of a pick this high.
Instead: Focus on a dual-threat like Percy Harvin.
Cedric Benson (RB – Cincinnati Bengals) – Average Pick: 67.6* – For starters, he’s serving a 20-day jail setence, which means he could be rusty when he finally sees the field. Combine that with the possibility of rookie QB Andy Dalton being the Week 1 starter, and opponents will likely instead be focusing on the running game. The Bengals appear that they will be one of the worst teams in the AFC this season, and as a result, don’t expect much from Benson – and therefore, he’s not worthy of a Fantasy pick in the Top 75.
Instead: Focus on Mark Ingram, Fred Jackson or Tim Hightower