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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Giant robots rock: Overvalued players in 2013 fantasy football drafts

Sure, I love giant robots fighting giant monsters as much as the next guy.

And it seems that Pacific Rim, a new movie that essentially contains zero plot points other than “giant robots fighting giant monsters are cool and expensive,” has that in spades.  You have to wonder, though, how the pitch went.  Perhaps it went something like this:  “I got this great idea for a new movie.  Let’s say giant monsters were coming up from the ocean, because, heck, we could tell people that Tom Cruise came from the ocean they’d have no way to dispute that because 90% of Americans have no idea what’s actually in an ocean other than Nemo from Finding Nemo.  Then let’s say that these monsters wreck a bunch of cities, because if I were a giant monster coming out of the ocean, the first thing I’d want to do is go randomly break stuff.  And then let’s say humans make giant robots that they control with their minds (because using a steering wheel and pedals are totally 90’s), and use these robots to fight the giant monsters.  And of course, we have 90 minute long fight scenes where we demonstrate how much money we can spend on CGI.  Oh, and let’s make sure there’s very little dialogue, because I don’t want to confuse audiences with less than an IQ of 2...”  “Yup, sounds like a winner.  Now excuse me while I continue to take psychoactive drugs that completely alter my perception of reality...hey, why did that flying pink elephant just take my candy cane hat? And what in the heck is a candy cane hat?  But I digress.  

My point is that sometimes perception becomes more important than reality, and that isn’t normally a good thing, particularly for fantasy football.  Many times a football fan will believe a player is great because he made one amazing catch, or broke through for that one crazy kick return, or made that one bone crunching tackle that was replayed on SportsCenter 50 times an hour.  But a fantasy football fan knows that there’s no “perception” category in fantasy football.  Your players have to produce week in and week out, not just on a handful of occasions, no matter how spectacular those occasions were.  And sometimes the media hype on particular players are so high, that you can’t help but believe that he’ll single handedly carry your fantasy team to the promise land.  Well, time to put that reality cap back on.  As I discussed in my top picks article (TOP PICKS), you want consistency in your top picks.  And sometimes, being safe is the right move throughout the draft.  Here are three players whose perceived value may be too high as compared to their real value in fantasy football.

Colin Kaepernick - San Francisco 49ers – ESPN Average Draft Position44

Everyone seems to remember Colin Kaepernick’s amazing plays last year as he beat out Alex Smith for the starting position in San Francisco because Smith missed one game to injury (sheesh, I wouldn’t want to work for a boss like that).  These amazing plays, highlighted by numerous run plays where Kaepernick blew through defenses for 10+ yard gains and touchdowns, along with the crazy almost comeback performance in the second half of last year’s Super Bowl, are what everyone remembers.  And trust me, I watched him play in Nevada and he was pretty much the same highlight reel there as well.  But will Kaepernick really be worth an ADP of 44 being the seventh QB off the board in fantasy?  Well, let’s look at the facts.  Kaepernick’s favorite receiver last year (accounting for 32 percent of the team’s receptions since Kaepernick became the starter) is out due to a torn right Achilles tendon.  If he remains out through the season, Kaepernick’s receiving options are thin.  And Anquan Boldin, arguably the best of the remaining receivers, is brand new to the system.  That really only leaves Vernon Davis to haul in passes.  Also, the 49ers settled for field goals in 2012 a lot more than they would’ve liked, in large part due to the fact that Kaepernick only completed 52.5% of his third-down passes last year.  With defenses having about a half year’s worth of film to study, they won’t be as surprised byKaepernick’s scrambling ability this time around.

Of course, Kaepernick is not a terrible fantasy QB to have, buthe may not be worth the fourth round pick in a 12-team league you need to spend to get him.  I’d rather wait to pick up Matthew Stafford (ADP 64.5) or Andrew Luck (ADP 70.4) over two rounds later, or take Eli Manning (ADP 93.3) or Ben Roethlisberger (ADP 105.4) over four rounds later with a backup (like Ryan Tannehill – see more about how feel about Tannehill here (TANNEHILL) at the end of the draft.

Percy Harvin - Seattle Seahawks – ESPN Average Draft Position: 29.5

This is a situation where if only Percy Harvin could guarantee being healthy all season, I’d have no problem with his current ADP.  Right now he’s being selected as the seventh WR off the board, and that’s just too high for someone you can’t count on playing every week.  Harvin is entering his fifth season and has yet to top 1,000 receiving yards in a season, partly due to health, as he only played nine games last year.  But let’s face facts, he played 16 games in 2011 to the tune of only 967 receiving yards, 14 games in 2010 for 868 receiving yards and 15 games in 2009 for 790 receiving yards.  So it’s not like health is the only issue.  He’s not topping 1000 yards a season even with a full slate of games under his belt.  Many of you will be quick to point out that that in 2011 he also had 342 rushing yards.  But remember that 2011 was when AD wasn’t in top form and got injured.  Also, note that he’s never had more than 135 rushing yards in any other season, never had more than 8 total touchdowns in a season and has an 11.8 yards per catch average for his career.  None of that screams number 1 WR for me, and being in a new system at Seattle means we don’t know how he’ll be used with his new team (though Pete Carroll has implied they’ll try and get Harvin the ball as much as possible “so he can use his stuff”, we won’t know for sure what he’ll do until game time) and he might take some time to get acclimated to the new offense.

All in all, taking Harvin as your number 1 WR in a 12-team league, particularly in the third round, is a real gamble.  I’d rather take Roddy White (ADP 30.4) instead, or take Wes Welker (ADP 38.7) a round later, or Reggie Wayne (ADP 47.4) or Jordy Nelson (ADP 48.9) two rounds later (and coupling that with spending your 6th round pick on another solid WR).

Dennis Pitta - Baltimore Ravens – ESPN Average Draft Position: 77

I still remember clearly Dennis Pitta sinking my fantasy season by catching two ridiculous touchdowns in week 15 against Denver.  No doubt, he has potential, and with Boldin gone, maybe he’ll get more receptions from his best bud Joe Flacco.  But remember again what I mentioned about consistency?  Well, Pitta has proven skills, but consistency isn’t one of them.  He scored almost a quarter of his fantasy points for the year (24 of 103) in one game (that week 15 game against Denver that I continually lament). And almost half of his fantasy points for the year (42 of 103) come from 7 touchdowns.  There’s no guarantee he scores that many touchdowns again, which leaves him with very few fantasy points.  And in 6 games in 2012which he registered yards, he totaled just fantasy points or less.  I’m sorry, but that’s the antithesis of consistency.

Maybe he has some upside being the first or second option in a downgraded Raven’s receiving core without Boldin, but I don’t think that’s enough to be your number 1 TE in round 7 as the 6th TE off the board in a 12-team league.  If I’m not getting Jimmy Graham or Tony Gonzalez early, I’m waiting until later to get Kyle Rudolph (ADP 86.3) or Owen Daniels (ADP 93.9) in the 8th round, or taking a chance on Jared Cook (ADP 121.2) in the 11th round, or Martellus Bennett (ADP 133.4) or Brandon Pettigrew (ADP 139.6) in the 12th round with a end of draft backup with upside (like Tyler Eiffert).

Will your team fall apart if you draft one of these guys?  Certainly not.  But opportunity cost in missing out on other better value players because you over reached on one of these three may make it much more difficult for you to dominate your league.  Sometimes you need a little more than just giant robots fighting giant monsters for 90 minutes straight.  I mean, I don’t, but then again I have the maturity level of an average 10 year old.  And no, I won’t be sharing my popcorn with you either.

Ha Kung Wong

1 comment:

  1. Just a note, that on July 11, two weeks after my June 26 article on Tom Brady, Mathew Berry and Nate Ravitz of ESPN covered this same topic and came up with roughly the same advice. They recommended picking Brady around 31-40 (I recommended early third in a 12 team league, so around picks 25-32). (

    Mathew Berry has Brady as the number 4 fantasy QB this year after Rodgers, Brees and Manning, which is exactly what I recommend in the June 26th article. (

    Here's a link to my June 26th Article:

    Just saying, keep it tuned it here! I got more fantasy advice for you throughout the season!