One of the keys to winning a fantasy football league is the ability to recognize overvalued players and injury risks and to ignore those players at draft time. “Slumpers” are NFL players who tend to be drafted in the top 3 at their position and produce like players drafted in double-digit rounds. These players are also known as “Draft Killers”, especially if they are first or second round players. The key to winning your fantasy football league is to find players that will produce on a consistent basis. You may be able to offset one Slumper with a Sleeper, but it is better to just avoid the dead weight if you can see any signs of a potential downfall. There are times that the signs are not present though. Who expected DeAngelo Williams to drop from 20 TDs in 2009 to 8 TDs in 2010 or Peyton Hillis to drop from 1650 total yards and 13 TDs in 2010 to 700 total yards and 3 TDs in 2011? Below are the 2012 top overvalued fantasy football players by position.
2012 Fantasy Football Slumpers
QB: Matt Schaub (Houston) – The Texans proved that they could win last year by just pounding the ball on the ground, even with a healthy Matt Schaub. There is no reason to deviate from that plan in 2012. The Arian Foster/Ben Tate tandem will be full steam ahead again this year. I know Andre Johnson is still on the team, but he and Schaub are both coming off of injury-plagued campaigns. Also, Houston has done nothing to ket qua bong da improve its receiver corp around Johnson. I have no idea why Schaub is regularly being drafted in round 6-7, well ahead of Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler. I have moved Schaub out of my Top 10 QBs this year and would only draft him as a backup at this point. That may be harsh but he’ll kill a team that reaches for him.
RB: Frank Gore (San Fran) – Gore always carries an injury stigma around with him, even though he played 16 games last season and produced rock solid numbers. However, Alex Smith proved to be comfortable in Jim Harbaugh’s system last year so the reigns will loosen this year. Also, San Fran signed Randy Moss and Mario Manningham to complement Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. Additionally, the Niners signed goal-line bruiser, Brandon Jacobs, and drafted LaMichael James. San Fran will spread the ball around judiciously and Gore’s numbers will suffer for it. He will not produce round 2-3 numbers this year so stay away.
WR: Roddy White (Atlanta) – White has long been unappreciated in all but PPR leagues since he consistently gets over 100 catches a year. However, he has been getting more and more inconsistent with his production and his Drops are increasing. I expect that trend to be more obvious this year as the Falcons shift to Julio Jones as their #1 receiver and run more plays for Harry Douglas and Jacquizz Rodgers. I am not saying that White will drop off a lot, but you certainly don’t want your 2nd or 3rd round pick to disappear completely in certain games, especially weeks 14-16.
TE: Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta) – Tony G has played at an elite level for much longer than I would have expected. I believe that you are going to see a downward slope begin that leads to retirement in the next two years. His overall numbers has been steady for his career, but the times are changing in Atlanta and, at age 36, Tony G’s career, like his speed, is winding down. There are too many other tight ends that you can count on.
D: Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens surprised me with another strong season in 2011, but they are clearly in decline. Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are slowing down as age catches up to them and Terrell Suggs’ absence this year (torn Achilles) will hurt a lot more than people realize. Unless your league puts very little value on the defensive position, I would only grab them if they stuck around to double digit rounds.
K: Adam Vinatieri (Indy) – In reality, any kicker drafted before the last 2 rounds is overvalued. The best way to evaluate a kicker to draft is by his Bye week. Take one kicker and one kicker only and then pick one that is available with the latest Bye week so you can forget about that position for as long as possible. However, you can skip Vinatieri. He still has a strong, accurate leg. He just won’t get to use it much for scoring this year.