Fantasy football values, in the hyper-magnified environment of August, where every long run or leaping catch sees a guy’s average draft position skyrocket, things will change, and perhaps a lot.
We have officially entered Overreaction Theater, in which we forget everything we’ve known for these past few months and skew our player judgments according to the Internet’s echo chamber. It rings in our ears, and tells us that 2 + 2 = 5.
We should, of course, try not to fall victim to preseason overreaction, while keeping our degenerate eyes peeled for fantasy commodities who flash potential as the regular season approaches. It’s a tough balance to strike.
That’s a long-winded way to say that Sports Jerks fantasy writers’ rankings will change, though we’ll make sure not to tweak valuations based entirely on the general meaninglessness of preseason NFL games.
Below we’ve highlighted a few players who we value much more or less than the general consensus on FantasyPros. Feel free to tweet us about our rankings.
We promise not to yell.
Brandon Myers, NYG
My rank: TE19
Expert Consensus Ranking: TE13
Carson Palmer‘s former partner in garbage time fantasy looting is a fine option for those looking to stream fantasy tight ends in 2013, but he’s being drafted by many owners as a starter—the kind that you plug and play—and that’s misguided, I think. Myers posted 20 percent of his total yardage and half of his touchdowns when Oakland trailed by more than 15 points in the second half. He’ll serve his fantasy purposes once again in 2013, but buyers should beware.
Alex Smith, KC
My rank: QB18
Expert Consensus Ranking: QB25
Smith, for the first time in his less-than-storied career, will be a volume passer in Andy Reid‘s offense, and while that might not deliver the desired real football results, I think it’s a major boon for his fake football usefulness. Smith will benefit from the easiest schedule of any NFL quarterback. His efficiency will drop with more attempts, but I’m taking a flier on a guy whose per-game attempts could rise by eight in 2013.
Pierre Garcon, WAS
My rank: WR13
Expert Consensus Ranking: WR25
My argument for Garcon as a borderline WR1 in 12-team leagues is simple: In showing uncanny chemistry with Robert Griffin III last season, Garcon scored more points per route run (FPPRR) than any wide receiver in the league. He posted a stellar 70 percent catch rate and was targeted 6.3 times a game in an offense that didn’t exactly air it out. “When you have a guy like that, a true No. 1 wide receiver, it makes all of your other wide receivers better,” Griffin said of Garcon in a recent interview. “Pierre is going to be that guy for me, so I’ve got to make sure me and him are on the same page.”
Reggie Bush, DET
My rank: RB13
Expert Consensus Ranking: RB18
In the past two seasons, Bush was RB12 (2011) and RB14 last season in standard scoring. He now lands in a place that can harness his full potential as a complete running back. With defenses forced to play a safety over the top of Calvin Johnson, Bush should have plenty of space to maneuver in the pass game. Even if he only receives near 200 rushing attempts, 1,400 total yards are well within reach.
My rank: WR23
Expert Consensus Ranking: WR35
I don’t concern myself with predicting injuries, so I’m not worried with Alexander’s knees. I’m also not terrified that Chargers head coach Mike McCoy’s new conservative offense is going to stifle his production. Rivers has always shown affection for big receivers and Alexander (6’5) will be the Chargers primary red zone target now that Antonio Gates is on the back legs of his career. With a skill set that is a match made in heaven for standard scoring (big time yards per catch and touchdowns) and a tasty ADP (88 overall WR36), I will be owning plenty of shares in 2013.
My rank: WR21
Expert Consensus Ranking: WR29
In the three seasons prior to last season’s 14 touchdown breakout, Jones still scored 17 touchdown on only 120 catches. Everyone is terrified of touchdown regression when it comes to Jones, but Rodgers’ receivers always out produce touchdown expectations due his red zone dominance (108 touchdowns to two interceptions in the red zone for his career). Jones scored at least one touchdown in 10 games last season and had four games with two or more scores. With the departure of Greg Jennings for good (Jones averaged only 381 routes in snap before last season’s 610) I still view Jones as WR2 in standard formats.
Michael Vick, PHI
My rank: QB28
Expert Consensus Ranking: QB20
My mind is wired for 2-QB fantasy football leagues, and in such a format, I would have no problem drafting Vick as a boom or bust QB2. But since I was asked to provide standard rankings for 1-QB fantasy football leagues, I want no part of Vick, and his current ADP of QB21. The late round quarterback (LRQB) strategy is popular for a reason, and even though Vick would fit the bill of a 2012 LRQB candidate, I would much rather have somebody like Matt Schaub (QB22 ADP) or Carson Palmer (QB26 ADP); both of whom are being drafted below Vick at the moment.
Roy Helu, WAS
My rank: RB47
Expert Consensus ranking: RB86
I can’t really say I’m all that surprised by my preference of Helu to the ECR. He’s always been a guy on my radar, and thought he would fit well in The Shanahans’ offensive scheme. But he’s only been able to start five games in his career, and with Alfred Morris stepping up and using Helu’s turf toe issues last season to his advantage, Helu has become sort of a forgotten man in fantasyland. The top tier RB handcuffs like Bernard Pierce, Bryce Brown and Ben Tate are going to cost you a heck of a lot more than Helu, making Helu the more valuable handcuff of the lot. We can’t forget that in his rookie season he caught 49 passes, while having three 100-yard rushing performances near the end of the 2011 season.
Aldrick Robinson, WAS
My rank: WR62
Expert Consensus Ranking: WR116
What is it exactly about Robinson that I like? Mainly his speed and his propensity to use that speed to burn past the secondary of opposing defenses. He’s been having a great off-season, as there have been both glowing reports about Robinson’s OTAs and training camp performances. We’ve seen glimpses of Robinson’s potential, evidenced by his 68-yard touchdown reception last season versus the Cowboys, in which he was able to bypass the entire Cowboys’ defense. With RG3 and his rocket arm, Robinson could be a deep ball player on any play. NFL Around The League’s Chris Wesseling describes Robinson as a “poor man’s” DeSean Jackson. That’s some high praise. The only thing missing from the equation is opportunity.
My rank: QB16
Expert Consensus Ranking: QB22
Sam Bradford has spent his first three years on a somewhat decimated roster. He was the first overall pick, after all. He’s never had a receiver with a 700 yard season. But now Jeff Fisher has finally begun loading him up with offensive weapons. Not OW Denard Robinson, but eighth overall pick Tavon Austin and his former West Virginia teammate, Stedman Bailey. While Bailey may sound more like a villain from a John Candy movie, Fisher and Bradford are expecting the two rookie receivers to step up and contribute immediately. This is the year for Bradford to elevate his game and prove he was worth the $50 million guaranteed.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CIN
My rank: RB18
Expert Consensus Ranking: RB30
BenJarvus Green-Ellis just completed another 1,000 yard season, his first with the Bengals. He’s the starter on an offense that is moving nowhere but up. Cincinnati drafted tight end Tyler Eifert to join third year Pro Bowlers, A.J. Green and Andy Dalton. Don’t discount Green-Ellis’ goal line work either; he’s had the fourth most redone carries since 2010. He is currently projected in the mid-80s overall, as the 33rd running back off draft boards.
Dustin Keller, MIA
My rank: TE9
Expert Consensus Ranking: TE19
With all the upheaval at tight end, owners will need to know about value picks like Dustin Keller. Keller has escaped the fantasy wasteland of the New York Jets for greener pastures in Miami. Taking his talents to South Beach has given Keller a new young quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, who can’t be any worse than Mark Sanchez. In the past three seasons, Keller has seen the fifth most targets inside the 10-yard line, and could very well be Miami’s lone red zone threat in 2013.
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