2012 Sleepers and BustsMonday, June 25, 2012
OvervaluedPeyton Manning, Broncos, QB - Arm-strength questions aside, Manning figures to suffer early-season growing pains while developing a rapport with his offensive line, wide receivers, and play caller. Throw in a brutal non-divisional schedule, and the obvious move is to let another owner risk a fifth or sixth-round draft pick on Manning.Current ADP: 6.02, 63rd overall, QB8Michael Turner, Falcons, RB - The patron saint of volume runners, Turner was already headed for a reduced workload after fading down the stretch for a second straight season. New coordinator Dirk Koetter plans to operate a more pass-heavy offense, diminishing Turner’s role even further. Heavily dependent on short-yardage scores, Turner is on a crash-course with a season out of LenDale White’s career.Current ADP: 3.06, 31st overall, RB16Wes Welker, Patriots, WR - Welker averaged an unsustainable 8.25/120/0.75 line in the first eight games compared to 6.8/71/0.36 the rest of the way -- including 7-of-11 games in which he failed to crack 60 yards. Most troublesome, Welker’s targets didn’t drop in the second half even though his per-play production did. With Brandon Lloyd on board, those targets do figure to go down this season.Current ADP: 3.04, 28th overall, WR6
Jordy Nelson, Packers, WR - Nelson closed out the season as a top-three fantasy WR due to single coverage, refined route running, explosive run-after-catch ability, increased trust from his QB, Greg Jennings’ late-season knee injury, and -- last but not least -- unsustainable good luck with the deep ball. Pro Football Focus notes that Nelson accrued half of his yards and scores on passes thrown 20+ yards beyond the line of scrimmage. That’s simply not sustainable year-in and year-out.
Current ADP: 4.03, 40th overall, WR14
Jason Witten, Cowboys, TE - On the way to his least productive season since 2007, Witten averaged just 5.8 targets in the second half of the season after seeing 8.9 in the first half. Over the final five games, Witten finished 19th among fantasy tight ends -- behind the likes of Dennis Pitta and Jeremy Shockey. Now a lower-tier TE1, Witten is no longer worth an elite tight end price tag.
Current ADP: 6.11, 74th overall, TE7
Frank Gore, 49ers, RB - The Niners ran Gore into the ground last October, and he paid for it with a 3.2 yards per carry average while playing through multiple injuries in the second half of the season. Gore no longer has a major role in the passing game, and the 49ers brought in Brandon Jacobs as a short-yardage hammer. Where is the fantasy upside?
Current ADP: 4.02, 39th overall, RB19
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals, RB - A timeshare back about to be exposed outside of the Patriots’ offense. The dictionary definition of a plodder, Green-Ellis didn't have a run over 18 yards last season. If you take away the game where the Jets played seven defensive backs throughout, Green-Ellis’ per-carry average falls below 3.5 yards. You can find backs like this on the waiver wire throughout the season.
Current ADP: 5.05, 53rd overall, RB24
Sidney Rice, Seahawks, WR - How would you feel about taking on the risk of Jahvid Best if he was coming off twin labrum surgeries in his shoulders? If Best is wearing a red flag as an injury risk, Rice is sporting fluorescent hazmat tape after his third concussion in 12 months ended his season prematurely last year.
Current ADP: 8.11, 96th overall, WR37
Brent Celek, Eagles, TE - Celek erupted for 542 of his 811 yards in the second half of the season with Jeremy Maclin injured and DeSean Jackson in the doghouse. With both receivers healthy and poised for bounce-back seasons, Celek will fall back to the third or fourth option in the passing attack.
Current ADP: 13.04, 155th overall, TE15