Russell Wilson- Don’t pay for the ceiling. It’s a saying you hear a lot in fantasy, and I think it applies to Wilson this year. Wilson absolutely balled out after the bye throwing for 25 TD’s in that stretch. That second half explosion vaulted him into being the #3 QB on the year, and now he’s the #2 or #3 QB in pre-draft. However that doesn’t tell the tale of Wilson’s dreadful first half of the season. After being around the top 5ish in pre-draft going into 2015 Wilson had only 9 TD’s through the first 8 games and many owners felt like he busted out on them and had traded him or given up. For Wilson to be considered a top 5 QB going into this year is more risky than it sounds. Which QB will he be this year? The one from the 1st half of 2015 or the back half? I’m not going to own him anywhere to find out.
Tony Romo- There’s a lot of expectation for Romo to be a top 12ish QB and I’m just not seeing it. He is a legit injury concern and Dallas is going to be a run heavy team regardless. I don’t see how you could draft him ahead of the Carr, Dalton, Bortles, Cousins, Rivers group and I personally wouldn’t touch him ahead of Winston, Mariota or Osweiler either. There’s so much diversity in the QB discussion that I just don’t want the risk or baggage of Romo.
Carson Palmer- Like Wilson, don’t pay for the ceiling. Palmer was a steal last year as he was undervalued come draft time. This year however, you’re going to be paying the premium for what he did last year and at QB it’s just not worth it. Palmer’s coming off the the board among the top 6-8 QB’s right now. He just doesn’t have the track record a QB like Brees or Brady does for me to go and take him at that slot as opposed to waiting a few more rounds for the big cluster of QB2’s. I’m big on the Dalton, Carr, Cousins, Bortles, Rivers cluster that happens around the 10th-12th round.
Le’Veon Bell/Jamaal Charles- When a player becomes a huge injury concern in your mind, it’s hard to view them otherwise, especially if they are supposed to be a “safe” 1st round pick. That’s where we are with Bell and more so Charles. Let’s start with Charles. When he plays, he’s among the NFL’s best two way RB’s and is an explosive player and is among the TD leaders at year’s end. Coming off his 2nd ACL tear in the last 5 years is anything but safe though, and as we saw last year the Chiefs used a few different RB’s to replace him with success. If Charles is healthy(dubious) and will get the same workload he did that made fantasy owner’s fall in love with him(also dubious) then he is worth the 1st round pick, but at this point I wouldn’t take him before the 3rd round with the questions surrounding him, so I know I won’t own him this year. As for Bell, there is a feeling he could be the #1 fantasy player this year if healthy, if healthy. He tore his MCL and PCL last year and is the 1st RB off the board for many. The risk of a diluted or re-injured Bell is too much for me for a 1st round pick and I won’t be drafting him unless he falls to the 2nd, which he probably won’t. 1st round picks are all about safety and these two players have serious enough injury concerns that I’m scared off of them.
David Johnson/Zeke Elliot- It’s hard to pony up a 1st round pick for two guys that have such limited( or no experience) as lead backs in the NFL. Johnson was leaned on during the home stretch of last year for the Cardinals and exploded with a 40 point game in week 15. Johnson has big play ability and scored 6 TD’s in the first 5 games of the year(3 rushing, 2 receiving and 1 kickoff return) but then vanished form the fantasy scene until week 11 when he once again found the end zone. If he is to truly be the Cardinal lead back then he should be dominant again, however there are concerns about his usage and the fact that he seemed to slow down after the 40 point game. As for Elliot, the upside is staggering. He got drafted to the Cowboys, who have the NFL’s best offensive line and a run heavy scheme. To sweeten the deal for him, Darren McFadden just got hurt and he’s only competing with Alfred Morris to start week 1. The questions about workload and how he will adapt to the NFL are totally valid and scare myself and other off from using a 1st round pick on him.
Matt Forte- I thought his move to the Jets was puzzling to say the least. Forte is one of the best receiving backs in the NFL, but isn’t the kind of smash-mouth runner who gets the hard yardage and struggles at the goal line. Bilal Powell played very well for the Jets as their receiving/change of pace back last year and was a FA heading into the offseason. The Jets re-signed him and THEN signed Forte, which is weird because they have a similar skill set. My primary concern for Forte is that he will not get the volume necessary do be productive. He could split 3rd down duties with Powell and the Jets signed Khiry Robinson as their physical back. This could very well end up being a RBBC nightmare,
DeMarco Murray- Landing in Tennessee might have been the fresh start that Murray wanted, but it might have been the worst possible landing spot for him. The Titans were pretty bad at running the ball last year. They were ranked 25th in the NFL last year in rushing. Murray is coming off a dreadful campaign with the Eagles, where he had his lowest rushing total and YPC of his career(for when he played 13+ games). The Titans also made the curious decision of drafting Heisman winner Derrick Henry in this year’s draft. I can’t see myself drafting Murray with the uncertainty of how he is going to perform with the added bonus of Henry lurking around the corner if he falters.
T.J Yeldon- The signing of Chris Ivory kills him for me. Ivory is a better player than Yeldon first of all. Yeldon is a fair receiving threat out of the backfield but not enough so that he has cemented a role for himself that way. This could very well be a 50/50 split with Ivory getting the goal line carries which bodes awfully for Yeldon. There’s even talk that Ivory may be the starter. Yeldon’s value is totally shot as something more than a deep league play in the time share.
Dez Bryant- Dez is currently going around the end of the 1st round, early 2nd round in most drafts, and it’s a little too high for my tastes. Dez is coming off the foot injury which severely limited him last year, but importantly, Tony Romo is coming off his 3rd broken clavicle in the last three years. If Dez is healthy and ready to go and so is Romo he’ll likely resume form. I have a lot of suspicions about Romo’s health and quality of play. Romo is turned 36 this year and could be at the end of his career. He’s played through a lot of injuries and I suspect they may finally catch up with him this year. If for any reason he takes a step down or can’t play Dez’s value is significantly lowered. Unlike other top receivers I think Dez is very QB reliant. OBJ, Hopkins, A.J Green and Brandon Marshall have, and could be productive with anyone throwing to them. Dez needs Romo as much as Romo needs Dez, and I don’t think Romo can be counted on.
Doug Baldwin- 28th amongst receivers in targets, 19th amongst receivers in receptions, 18th in receiving yards among receivers, 7th among receivers in fantasy points and tied for 1st among receivers in TD’s. That’s the stat line that catapulted Baldwin into the top 10 WR’s last year after toiling away as a deeper league option for most of his career. Also consider that 60% of his fantasy points FOR THE YEAR came during his 5 game TD streak. Prior to last year Baldwin had never had more than 825 yards or 5 TD’s in a full year. There’s no way I’m touching him inside the top 35, I can’t trust a fluky 5 game stretch turns out to be the development of what has been a replacement level player for the rest of his career.
DeSean Jackson/Pierre Garcon- They were both ranked outside the top 30 last year and I think they will both end up being unusable again this year. Kirk Cousins main target turned out to be Jordan Reed, and that should continue assuming Reed stays healthy. Jackson has a better chance to be relevant than Garcon because you never know when he is going to catch an 80 yard bomb, but he is a wildly inconsistent player. The addition of Josh Doctson and the rising Jamison Crowder into the mix makes it seem very much like the Skins receiver who stands out week to week could constantly be changing.
Ladarius Green- The hype on this guy continues. Green had been talked up as the guy to replace Antonio Gates in San Diego for years and it never happened. Now he’s in Pittsburgh as the presumptive starter and the hype is rejuvenated. He’s hovering around the top 10ish TE’s in terms of draft position but I wouldn’t draft him there. Pittsburgh doesn’t use the TE as much as some other teams. Last year all their TE’s had 95 targets, 601 yards and three TD’s, that would have been good for TE #15 last year. Take this into account with the fact that Green has never had more than 500 yards receiving in a season, 40 catches in a season or 4 TD’s in a season. While he has showed flashes of potential the assumption he is going to just walk into Pittsburgh, take enough of the targets from Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell and make something with it seems to be a stretch.
Coby Fleener- Is this Josh Hill all over again? Hill was climbing up draft boards last year as the Jimmy Graham replacement, only to disappoint everyone who drafted him. I don’t think Fleener will put up a stinker of a year quite like that but I don’t think he should be drafted above so many other more reliable players. Fleener should be going after Gronk, Reed, Olsen, Kelce, Walker, Eifert, Barnidge and probably Ertz. He’s going as high as TE5 in some places and that’s just ridiculous. For what it’s worth I think former teammate Dwayne Allen outscores him in fantasy this year.
Broncos D/ST-They are going to be a good defense but I don’t think they are going to be the historically good defense they were last year. They have lost a few guys here and there and there is going to be some Super Bowl layover as well. The thing that is scaring me off is the price right now. People are reaching for them the same way people have been reaching for the Seahawks defense the last couple of years and it’s too steep a price to pay for a defense if you ask me. The nature of how random defensive scoring adds another negative to the Broncos price. Going into last year they weren’t hyped up at all and ended up being the #1 defense, same deal with the Panthers, who were a top 5 defense last year. The Broncos will be good, but not as good as where they are being drafted.
Panthers D/ST- The loss of Josh Norman can’t be understated. He singlehandedly solidified what was, and what still is, a suspect secondary. There isn’t a proven cornerback on the roster now and the safety tandem of Roman Harper and Kurt Coleman seems underwhelming to say the least. Norman had 4 interceptions and took two of them to the house last year. He also helped the Panthers lead the NFL in interceptions last year. If the Panthers get exposed on defense then their Denver/Seattle level ADP price tag is going to backfire on a lot of people.