The offseason is a time when every team has a shot at the Super Bowl and every player is going to be this year’s next big thing. But as everyone knows, the optimism soon fades and reality sets in.
No, the Jaguars will not win the Super Bowl. And no, Chad Henne is not going to be a viable fantasy football quarterback this season. So to help everyone avoid drafting a preseason all-star, I am going to rank the top five most overvalued players this season.
5. Jimmy Graham, Tight End, New Orleans Saints: I know it may seem crazy to have Graham on this list, but hear me out. Seemingly forgotten this offseason is the fact the Graham and the Saints are currently in a heated contract negotiation. And what tends to happen to players after a lengthy contract dispute? The production falls off.
Just look at Vincent Jackson with the Chargers a few seasons ago. Or there is also Chris Johnson of the Titans or more recently MJD of the Jags. Either way though, Graham will most likely end up as the top tight end, but I’ve seen him ranked as high as the 8th overall fantasy player. I’m sorry, but I just cannot take a tight end, even one as talented as Graham, with my first or even second round pick.
4. Zac Stacy, Running Back, St. Louis Rams: Stacy was a great fantasy option once he was given the starting job for the Rams. And with Sam Bradford coming back from a knee injury, many are looking for St. Louis to rely on the run game. But consider this. It’s put up or shut up time for Bradford.
He’s been an at best average option so far in his career and this season could be his last shot to prove he is worthy of being a franchise QB. I would think this means the Rams will be passing more often than they did last season when Bradford was hurt. While Stacy is a starting running back, a potential decrease in touches mean he is not a number one running back. I would look to draft Stacy in the late second rather than late first round for best value.
3. Doug Martin, Running Back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: With Martin being ranked as high as the seventh best running back by some, I think people have forgotten Martin’s sophomore season was not that good. Even before his injury he was struggling to establish himself. Throw in the fact that he is playing under a new regime and this looks like a recipe for a “bust” type of season.
Many fantasy players will be looking at Martin as a potential number one running back and I just do not see that production being there. The Buccaneers have added Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins to the dominant Vincent Jackson. Their offense seems to be copying the formula that the Bears used last year, but the player I see in the Matt Forte role is not Martin but rookie running back Charles Sims. Even if Martin retains the starting running back job, I think we will see his touches decrease to the point where he should be valued as a number two or three running back this season.
2. Giovanni Bernard, Running Back, Cincinnati Bengals: The running back situation in Cincinnati seems to be a case of too many cooks in the kitchen. I mean they already had “The Law-firm” BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Gio in a time share and then added LSU running back Jeremy Hill in the draft.
To me the best case scenario here for Bernard is that Hill just takes over for the “Law-firm” and Green-Ellis is cut. But it’s also possible that the running backs form a three man committee. If Bernard is a number one running back this season, then he should be valued as a low-end number one. I would be wary of selecting him however because his situation is eerily similar to that of CJ Spiller from just a year ago.
1. Julio Jones, Wide Receiver, Atlanta Falcons: Without a doubt I feel this is the most overvalued player at any position. Yes, Jones had a dominant 2012 that almost took the Falcons to a Super Bowl. But in 2011 and 2013 Jones suffered from injuries. My biggest fear is that I would take Jones expecting a top-five wide receiver and then only get a few games from him.
If healthy he is definitely one of the best in the league, but that seems to be a big “if”. Ranking him as a top-five receiver may seem spot on, but with the injury concerns I would not feel comfortable with Jones as anything more than a number two receiver on my squad. It may seem like I am being pessimistic, but I would rather be pleasantly surprised by a Pro Bowl version of Julio than disappointed when Julio is on the IR by week four.