The 2014 fantasy football season is going to be here before you know it and we can tell by how loud the sweat is that’s dripping on your keyboard. It sound scrazy, but we can tell. We get it, too. It makes perfectly good sense to be nervous as balls about fantasy football this year, especially after the first round from hell of a year ago.
Aaron Rodgers, Arian Foster, Doug Martin and C.J. Spiller wasted little time tearing your heart out of your chest, and thanks to them there’s a pretty good chance your house is now on it’s second mortgage. If so, our condolences (but not really). However, we must march on, and into the flames we go for yet another year of fantasy action.
Breaking Football’s own Taylor Smith joins me in this parade of suck, as we filter through all the big name talents we want nothing to do with in fantasy football this year:
Kevin Roberts’ Overrated Players
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
I don’t have anything against Foles. I just realize repeating his insane 27:2 TD:INT ratio is beyond absurd. In fact, in his first preseason game, Foles already tossed two picks. He’s a competent passer in a good system with solid weapons. All of that is true. He has a fantastic delivery, good arm strength, solid accuracy and is great in the pocket. He’s going to be fine. But he did lose DeSean Jackson and defenses are going to adjust to him and the Eagles’ system. He won’t be quite as efficient this time around. That doesn’t mean he won’t have value, but it also won’t mean he’s going to be the 6th best fantasy quarterback – which he’s routinely drafted as. I don’t like his value, so he comes off a bit overrated in fantasy circles.
Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos
I like Ball’s skill-set and obviously it’s hard not to love him sliding into Knowshon Moreno’s old role in Denver’s prolific offense. I mean, if an average talent like Moreno can end 2013 as fantasy football’s 5th best running back, the sky is the limit for Ball, right? Perhaps. Unfortunately, Ball is still pretty unproven, and while he’s gotten better with his flaws (catching, ball security), he was a failure as a sleeper a year ago. It’s also fairly assuming of us to expect him to step right in and put up Moreno’s numbers automatically. The fact is that he can, which is why he’s a first round pick, on average. Hopefully his recent appendectomy drops him into round two, where I much prefer him. In round one, he’s a mild reach.
Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
Allen was awesome as a rookie. There’s no getting around that. However, he’s not exactly a freak athlete, so the only thing that helps his rise in the ranks is that he’s now the Bolts’ top wide receiver. I do think he can put up similar numbers to last year, but considering he finished as fantasy’s 17th best receiver, I’m not sure why he’s gone up so high. That means people are expecting an even bigger second season. If you’re drafting Allen as our WR1 in a balanced, spread out San Diego offense, you’re going to be disappointed.
Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints
Let’s be clear. I’m not saying you can’t draft Graham or that he’s not awesome. I’m not even saying he won’t be the best tight end. Based off of value, though, he’s going to be a disappointment. Yes, he scored over 200 fantasy points in 2013 and was 20 miles ahead of Vernon Davis, who was the number two tight end. But not only will the gap not be that large this year, but Graham can’t possibly do exactly what he did last year. The big deterrent is that if you want Graham, you need to spend a first round pick to get him. That’s too much for a tight end. In fact, by spending that pick, you’re banking on him repeating what he did last year. 16 touchdowns and over 1,200 yards are suddenly a lock? For who? Since when?
Graham is a killer guy to have, but I don’t want him if I can’t get him in round two or three. If there is that dramatic slide, pull the trigger. But round one is for my elite running back or wide receiver. There are a plethora of quality, deserving tight ends I can take between rounds 3-6 and I wouldn’t have to sacrifice an elite RB/WR combo to get them. That’s the path I’m on. Care to join me?
Taylor Smith’s Overrated Players
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
Tom Brady is awesome, and he’s here by no fault of his own. He’s always done a ton with a fairly spare supporting cast, but last year’s supporting cast was probably the more spare he’s ever had to deal with, and as a result, his numbers were as spare as they’ve ever been. Brady’s 25 TD passes were his fewest in any full season since 2006. His QB rating was as low as it’s been since 2003. He completed 60.5 percent of his passes, which was his lowest percentage since 2003.
What did the Patriots do to improve Brady’s supporting cast this season? Um, nothing. They signed Brandon LaFell. And they’re hoping Danny Amendola can stay upright for an entire season (which he won’t, because he never does). Rob Gronkowski is phenomenal, but he, too, comes with significant recent injury history. Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson got better as last season went on, but are we to expect a sudden leap to stardom for either of them this early on?
By ESPN’s standard scoring, Brady was the 13th-best fantasy quarterback in 2013. That’s lower than Ben Roethlisberger, and Big Ben is commonly thought of as a fairly pedestrian fantasy QB. He also apparently has a gray penis.
By no means am I saying you should be completely avoiding Tom Brady in fantasy, because that would be stupid as balls. The good part is that he’s played in every game in each of the last five seasons since tearing his ACL in 2008, so in all likelihood, you won’t have to worry about him missing games. Unfortunately, the rest of the guys he has to play with don’t exactly give me supreme confidence that Brady is about to leap right back into “elite fantasy QB” status this season.
Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Gerhart seems to be the starting back for the Jags heading into this season, and, man, the people in Jacksonville must be pumped! You may remember Gerhart as a Heisman Trophy finalist a few years ago when he was at Stanford, and he’s spent the last several seasons watching Adrian Peterson from the sidelines in Minnesota.
Gerhart is a talented runner, and he’s shown signs of competence in the times he’s gotten on the field with the Vikings in the past. But with a back his size, you typically think his primary usefulness would be as a goal-line smasher that can gobble-up easy, short-yardage TDs.
Unfortunately, the Jaguars’ offense is terrible. Well, the Jaguars’ everything is terrible, but their offense is especially terrible. For Gerhart to fulfill his potential as a short-yardage touchdown cookie monster, he’s going to actually have to, ya know, get opportunities down near the goal line. The Jaguars don’t spend much time near the goal line.
Based on the other backs on the Jags’ roster, Gerhart does figure to get a pretty sizable workload, so there’s certainly potential here. I just can’t imagine him being anywhere close to a fantasy RB1, and I have a hard time buying into him as a RB2, either. Probably because he plays for the fucking Jaguars.
Shonn Greene, RB, Tennessee Titans
Shonn Greene is shitty, so I probably don’t even need to explain this one. He’s a chubby little bowling ball with no explosiveness or elusiveness that will run straight forward two yards before inevitably going down. The real Titan of value in this backfield is probably rookie Bishop Sankey, who should render Greene useless by like Week Two.
Don’t read bullshit from other idiots telling you that Greene has some kind of hidden value. He really doesn’t.