If the NFL season starts on time, we are three short months away from Week 1. The time to start thinking about player values relative to public perception is now.
The best way to determine what the general opinion of a player is by examining his average draft position (ADP). And thanks to our friends at Fantasyfootballcalculator.com
, we have an initial look at an aggregate of 27 fantasy drafts that meet their criteria.
Of course, these ADP stats are somewhat flawed thanks to the lockout. With free agency still pending, hundreds of players will be changing teams before Week 1. Not only will their values/public perception change, but the values/public perception of their new teammates will change as well.
That said, we can still draw conclusions about some of the more stable situations in the league. Here are five players currently overvalued: 1. Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns: ADP 21.1
Believing in the Madden Curse is silly, but putting stock into natural regressions for non-elite players is wise. Hillis burst out of gate last season, averaging 4.78 yards per carry in his first eight games. Perhaps because of his bulldozing style, he wore down and averaged just 3.82 yards per carry in the final eight games.
GM Tom Heckert has already acknowledged that Hillis was overworked last season and new coach Pat Shurmur is on the record saying he wants to implement a two-headed backfield. Montario Hardesty
, last year's second-round pick who the Browns remain high on despite an ACL tear, is expected to be 100 percent by Week 1. Hillis simply won't get enough volume to be worth anything near a top-25 selection. 2. Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons: ADP 95.6
Now at age 35, Gonzalez is a shell of his former self. He doesn't have the speed to separate and the Falcons know it. T-Gonz set a career low last season in yards per catch and managed just 41 receiving yards per game. Expecting a bounce back in his 15th NFL season is unrealistic.
Gonzalez's decline is one of the reasons the Falcons gave up so much to get Julio Jones
at No. 6 overall in the 2011 draft. Jones will serve as the No. 2 option in the passing game, not Gonzalez. Already possessing low upside, Gonzalez should not be counted on as a TE1 this season. 3. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Bucs: ADP 23.9
In seven starts last year, Blount averaged 92.6 rushing yards per game and scored two touchdowns. He combines bulldozing power with surprising elusiveness.
However, there is still doubt that Blount is an elite talent. We know he is inept in the passing game, making him a two-down back at best. And the former undrafted free agent surprisingly struggled in short-yardage last year despite his 250-pound frame. On top of that, the Bucs expressed concern over Blount's ball security at times last year. A second-round pick is reaching here. 4. Marques Colston, WR, Saints: ADP 40.3Evan Silva has already discussed Colston's injury woes
earlier this offseason and these concerns shouldn't be brushed off. One microfracture surgery can ruin a career, and now Colston has had two.
Simply, his ability to separate is in jeopardy. After averaging 16.2 yards per catch in 2008 and 15.3 in 2009, Colston managed a meager 12.2 yards per catch last season. With impressive tight end Jimmy Graham
ready to burst onto the red-zone scene, Colston has a big down arrow. 5. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Patriots: ADP 60.9
Green-Ellis is a "closer" kind of back, the kind that racks up yards, carries and touchdowns late in wins. And the Patriots had plenty of those games last season as they went 14-2. But the Pats know that they needed more difference-making talent at the position, so they selected Shane Vereen
with the No. 56 overall pick and Steven Ridley with the No. 73 overall pick.
It creates just as much traffic in the backfield as ever and Ridley threatens to steal short-yardage work from Green-Ellis right out of the gate. Expecting anything close to last season's 229 carries is unrealistic.