2011 Fantasy Football Over-Drafted Team
Every day the prospects for a full, uninterrupted professional football season are looking more and more promising. The number of fantasy drafts that have already taken place have increased to the point that it is already possible to evaluate the ADP (average draft position) results.
Being aware of the perceived values of fantasy players by analyzing ADP is an excellent way to identify bargains and busts heading into your fantasy draft. Here’s a full starting lineup of fantasy players who might be getting drafted a little too early so far in 2011. ADP numbers courtesy of our friends over at MyFantasyLeague.com.
Sam Bradford ADP 86 (QB#12)- The fact that Sam Bradford is being selected in the eighth round isn’t a concern. The fact that he is being selected as the 12th quarterback is what’s alarming. That means in a standard 12 team league that Bradford is being selected as an every week starter, while more proven fantasy producers like Eli Manning, Joe Flacco and Jay Cutler are relegated to back-up duty.
Bradford had an excellent rookie season and put up some of the finest numbers we’ve seen from a first year signal-caller since Peyton Manning. But during the season’s final five weeks, leading to the crucial fantasy playoffs, Bradford produced only one touchdown pass and threw six interceptions. The Rams also still have one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL.
Peyton Hillis ADP 29 (RB#13)- Peyton Hillis was one of the biggest fantasy surprises in years. Taking advantage of a pre-season injury to Montario Hardesty, he burst onto the scene by bowling over would be defenders, making beautiful catches, and reaching the end-zone 13 times in Cleveland’s first 12 games. But the heavy workload that Hillis received caught up to him after that and his yards per carry numbers tailed off and he failed to hit pay dirt again.
Now the Browns are switching to a West Coast Offense, and are expected to reduce the amount of punishment that Hillis receives by decreasing his touches and working Hardesty into the backfield. At this time it seems risky to rely on Hillis to be anything more than an RB2, and he certainly should not be selected ahead of Michael Turner (ADP 30).
Jahvid Best ADP 35 (RB#16)- Like Peyton Hillis, Jahvid Best was an early fantasy favorite for his impressive five touchdown performance during Detroit’s first two games. But a turf toe injury would hobble Best for the remainder of 2010 and he wouldn’t score another touchdown for a long 14 weeks.
To further reduce Best’s value, the Lions just spent a 2nd round draft pick on Mikel LeShoure, who will almost certainly be the club’s preferred short yardage and goal line runner. Best may be relegated to a time share situation that sees him get 10-15 touches a game and act as Detroit’s primary receiving threat out of the backfield. That’s not the kind of role you want in the third round of your fantasy draft.
Dwayne Bowe ADP 28 (WR#10)- Based on his phenomenal 2010 numbers, Dwayne Bowe certainly doesn’t appear to be a fantasy player to avoid. He led all receivers with 16 touchdowns and had an amazing seven week stretch with 36 grabs for 733 yards and 13 scores.
But expecting Bowe to come anywhere near that kind of production again might be too risky. The Chiefs will now play a much more difficult first place schedule, and lost Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis to Florida. They also spent a first round draft pick on Johnathan Baldwin and will hope his presence further opens up the offense so they rely on Bowe less than they did last season. While Bowe as the tenth receiver isn’t a bad selection, fantasy owners might be better off letting someone else make that call.
Brandon Marshall ADP 40 (WR#15) Brandon Marshall has proven that he has elite talent. He had three consecutive 100 catch season in Denver. But his first season with the Dolphins was a flop. Across the board, Marshall had his worst career numbers since becoming a starter and the Dolphins still have done nothing to improve their quarterback situation. To make matters worse, there will be a total revamp of the rushing game as the duo of Rickey Williams and Ronnie Brown are not expected to return to South Beach.
Marshall is said to be working very hard in the off-season to regain his speed, but it’s hard to envision elite fantasy numbers coming from any wide-out in the Dolphins offensive scheme as long as Chad Henne remains the starting quarterback. Choosing Marshall in the fourth round of your fantasy football draft seems way too risky when players like Marques Colston, Wes Welker, or Jeremy Maclin can be had later on.
Jermichael Finley ADP 46 (TE#2) There’s no questioning that Jermichael Finley is a great tight end and fantasy producer. He was on pace for 84 catches and 1200 yards last year before his season was cut short by a severe knee injury. It should be noted that 2010 was the second consecutive season in which Finley missed multiple games with a knee injury, and there will undoubtedly be questions about his readiness for 2011 and the likelihood of multiple knee injuries hampering him in the future.
The Packers offense clearly did just fine without an elite tight end, so it’s also possible that Finley could be expected to spend a little more time blocking to help revive the ailing Green Bay running game. To draft Finley in the fourth round ahead of elite tight ends like Jason Witten, Vernon Davis and Dallas Clark seems like madness.
David Akers ADP 202 (PK#3) We all know never to draft a kicker until the last round or two of any fantasy football draft. Since many leagues have many different roster limits, it’s hard to say that the 202nd pick is a bad spot for a kicker who has been as consistent as Akers to be selected.
What we do know is that Andy Reed just spent a fourth round draft pick on Nebraska kicker Alex Henery, who just happens to be the NCAA’s all time most accurate kicker. Teams like the Eagles don’t spend a relatively high draft pick for a position like place kicker unless the intend it to pay immediate dividends. There’s a really good chance that David Akers has kicked his last field goal for Philadelphia.
New England Patriots ADP 156 (DST#4) Drafting a DST is another position that is hard to place a good or bad ADP value on. The Patriots defense was ranked only 25th in the NFL last season overall. Only the hapless Texans and Redskins gave up more passing yards than the New England secondary. Though the Pats did lead the league in interceptions, standard scoring leagues would be hurt by all those yards surrendered. They were a modest 14th in sacks, but did nothing to improve their pass rush in the 2011 draft. Expect teams to continue to put up plenty of yards against the Patriots.
Jody Smith is a 21 year fantasy football veteran. Follow him on twitter @JodySmith_