Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2011 Fantasy Football: Six Overdrafted Players

You can count on it happening at least ten times during your fantasy football draft, a player being drafted higher than he should be. I've seen this in the drafts that I've participated in and you can really see it on the website, FantasyFootballCalculator.com.

The website takes the data from nearly 3,000 mock drafts and determines each player's Average Draft Position (ADP). For this article, I took the ADP data from a 12-team, standard league and looked for players who I think are being drafted too high.

Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Vick's ADP is #6, which is higher than the top tier wide receivers and some top tier running backs. Vick is an exceptional player, but he shouldn't be drafted that high. In fact, I have him ranked below Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers. There is a lot to be concerned about with Vick, starting with his durability. He's had a history of injuries and missing games, and his style of play opens him up to punishment. Also, the Eagles have tremendous playmakers on the outside and in the backfield, but their offense line is average (at best). Plus, the way the Eagles offense and Vick ended last season (against Minnesota and Green Bay most notably) is worry enough for me to push him down draft boards. Vick is a great talent and should be a late first-round pick, but he should not be taken ahead of Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson, Rodgers or Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy. Vick is currently ranked #10 on The Source's TOP 200.

Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Gore's ADP is #19, which is too high when you consider he's coming off hip surgery. Gore appears to be healthy right now (and he has a nice new contract), but there's no certainty he'll hold up for an entire season. Gore's been a frustrating player for fantasy owners, missing five games last season to injury and two games in each of the previous two seasons. Gore has also been saddled with a below average quarterback in Alex Smith, who doesn't do much to scare defenses off the line of scrimmage. Add Anthony Dixon and rookie Kendall Hunter into the mix at running back (both have run well in the preseason) and Gore might be in line for fewer touches this season. There are other running backs, on better teams, that have more fantasy potential than Gore. Gore is currently ranked #27 on The Source's Top 200.

Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears
Forte's ADP is #23, which is high for a guy who scored just three touchdowns the final nine regular season games last season. Forte is great in PPR leagues and very good in heavy yardage leagues, but in standard scoring leagues where touchdowns are key, Forte falls short. It looks like the Bears brought in the tough running Marion Barber III to handle the short yardage situations, including goalline carries. I also expect the Bears to fall short of expectations this year and fail to make the playoffs. They did not improve much this offseason and their offensive line is still a mess. I suspect Forte owners will be a frustrated bunch at the end of the season. Forte is currently ranked #31 on The Source's Top 200.

Jermichael Finley, TE, Green Bay Packers
Finley's ADP is #45, which would be appropriate if he could stay healthy for a full season. Finley is an amazing talent and a match-up nightmare for defenses, but he's fragile. In his three NFL seasons, he's missed a total of 16 games, including 11 last season with a knee injury. Finley's entering a contract year and has every incentive to play well. But until he proves he play a full 16 game season, I would use the 45th pick on a more durable player. Finley is currently ranked #76 on The Source's Top 200.

Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints
Colston's ADP is #52, which sounds appropriate if you look at his past stats, but is crazy when you think about the fact that he's had three knee surgeries in the past 12 months. On top of the knee issues, Colston plays in an offense that I expect will be more balanced this season. Look for fewer throws from quarterback Drew Brees and more touches by rookie running back Mark Ingram. Plus, WR Lance Moore emerged as Brees' top redzone target in 2010 (23 redzone targets) and TE Jimmy Graham will take some of Colston's redzone targets as well. If you plan on having Colston as your WR2, prepare yourself for a frustrating season ahead. Colston is currently ranked #82 on The Source's Top 200.

Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins
Thomas' ADP is #75, which is high considering he's a rookie and the Dolphins second-string running back. Thomas is currently listed as the back-up to RB Reggie Bush in Miami, which might be why Thomas is going around #75 in most drafts. Fantasy owners don't have much faith in Bush as a featured back and the common belief is that Thomas will eventually move into that starting role. However, if the preseason is any indication, Thomas won't be seeing significant playing time anytime soon. According to reports out of Miami, Dolphins coaches want to see more out of Thomas - more blocking, more explosiveness, more physical running. These are all things the rookie will learn over time. Don't expect Thomas to be an impact fantasy player immediately, and maybe not until later in the year. Thomas is currently ranked #96 on The Source's Top 200.

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore Signs Extension

The San Francisco 49ers and running back Frank Gore have agreed to terms on a three-year extension, according to a league source.

Pro Football Talk reports the extension is worth $21 million, including $13.5 million guaranteed.

Gore is set to make $4.9 million this season and could earn $25.9 million over four years, according to PFT.

Fantasy Impact: Gore's new contract should have little-to-no impact on his fantasy value, if anything it improves his value because he's now happier with his contract situation. Gore had been frustrated with his contract situation early in training camp. Gore is ranked #27 on The Source's TOP 200.