The Shy-Away Top 40Tuesday, August 21, 2012
26. Laurent Robinson (ADP: Mid 13th round) -- In order to minimize the impact of Blaine Gabbert's poor pocket presence, the Jaguars have resorted to a quick-hitting passing game that will feature the "Z" receiver. That's rookie Justin Blackmon's role, with Laurent Robinson as the deep threat at "X." In Mike Mularkey's old Atlanta offenses, Roddy White played Z and Michael Jenkins was the X. While White was a target monster, Jenkins never cleared 800 receiving yards.
27. Daniel Thomas (ADP: Mid 11th round) -- A poor fit for Miami's new zone-run scheme, Thomas has received just three preseason carries and been clearly outplayed by Lamar Miller. Reggie Bush seems safe as the starter, but don't be surprised if Thomas is leapfrogged by the rookie. Thomas was awful in his first season, and he hasn't improved much as a second-year pro.
28. Brandon Pettigrew (ADP: Late 8th round) -- Pettigrew is a plodding power forward and in-line tight end who racked up catches last year because the Lions led the NFL in pass attempts. While Detroit will continue to chuck the rock, annually overrated Pettigrew has never finished better than 11th in standard-league tight end scoring and will always lack playmaking ability to be a difference maker beyond PPR settings. He'll be a liability if he's your non-PPR league starter.
29. James Starks (ADP: Late 11th round) -- Starks' running skills have always left much to be desired, and his lack of third-year development on top of a severe turf-toe injury sent GM Ted Thompson into action, signing reliable workhorse Cedric Benson. Starks could open the season as low as third on the Packers' tailback depth chart, behind CedBen and Alex Green.
30. Brent Celek (ADP: Mid 13th round) -- Celek's ADP is fine, but we've seen him pushed as a legitimate TE1 if you miss out on fantasy football's "elite" tight ends. Don't get caught up in that. Celek's past two seasons have shown his ceiling to be around six targets per game, and he never lines up in the slot or out wide. He's a low-upside fantasy backup, and there's no intrigue in that. Jared Cook, Kyle Rudolph, Greg Olsen, and Coby Fleener are all much better TE2 options.
31. Andy Dalton (ADP: Late 11th round) -- Dalton's rookie year is commonly remembered as a resounding success, but he faded mightily in the second half. Posting a 7:12 touchdown-to-turnover ratio in the final nine games, Dalton's physical limitations were uncovered as passing windows shrunk against better defenses. Dalton might be an effective real-life quarterback in 2012, but he has little or no chance to help you in fantasy. Look elsewhere for your second QB.
32. Nate Burleson (ADP: Undrafted) -- Burleson has generated no training camp buzz, so it's not surprising that he's been overlooked in fantasy football drafts so far. He's a slot receiver lacking run-after-catch skills, and that poor combo will end up costing Burleson snaps in favor of explosive second-year man Titus Young as fast-healing rookie Ryan Broyles waits in the wings.
33. Owen Daniels (ADP: Mid 13th round) -- Much like his quarterback Schaub, Daniels' fantasy appeal went in the gutter when Houston switched its offensive philosophy from pass-first to run-heavy. It's not insane to think that "move" fullback/tight end James Casey could catch more balls than Daniels in 2012. Daniels spends most of his games blocking. Another low-ceiling TE2.
34. Ronnie Hillman (ADP: Late 12th round) -- Hillman entered camp as a popular fantasy sleeper, but he missed all of August with a hamstring strain and is buried on a muddied depth chart behind clear feature back Willis McGahee. Hillman could enter the season as low as No. 4, after McGahee, Lance Ball, and Knowshon Moreno. Don't look for any rookie-year fantasy impact.
35. Michael Floyd (ADP: Late 13th round) -- Floyd has a lot of god-given ability, but the Cards are bringing him along slowly as a No. 4 receiver in a passing game destined to struggle. If you really want to draft a rookie wide receiver late, think more along the lines of LaVon Brazill.
36. Heath Miller (ADP: Undrafted) -- Fantasy leaguers clearly never bought early-camp talk of Todd Haley increasing Miller's receiving role. Rookie LT Mike Adams' brutal preseason pass protection suggests Miller will spend another year as Pittsburgh's sixth offensive lineman.
37. Steve Breaston (ADP: Undrafted) -- We've seen the best of Breaston, and he's not going to be a starter in Kansas City this year if the Chiefs are intent on playing their best receivers in two-wide sets. (Jon Baldwin and Dwayne Bowe will get the nod.) Likely a third receiver in a run-heavy offense, Breaston would need a Bowe injury to have any chance at 2012 fantasy relevance.
38. Ronnie Brown (ADP: Late 12th round) -- You're begging for early-season fantasy losses if you're counting on Brown until Chargers starter Ryan Mathews (collarbone) returns. Don't even bother. Brown has zero juice left in his tank, and he'll be rotating with Le'Ron McClain, Curtis Brinkley, and Jackie Battle. Instead of drafting Brown, look for other options to tide you over.
39. Javon Ringer (ADP: Undrafted) -- I'm a big believer in stacking fantasy benches with backup running backs in "hopes" the starter goes down. It panned out with Michael Bush, C.J. Spiller, DeMarco Murray, Toby Gerhart, and others last year. The strategy pays off every single season. But one of the tenets of this approach is to target No. 2 backs who have strong running skills. Ringer can pass protect and catch passes in the flat, but he is extremely short on running talent.
40. Mark Sanchez (ADP: Undrafted) -- Green fantasy owners tend to glare at last year's final fantasy standings and apply them to this year as if they provide some indication of the future. Sanchez deceptively ranked 10th in 2011 quarterback scoring due largely to six super-fluky rushing touchdowns. So it's refreshing to see him falling out of drafts altogether. Sanchez is more likely to lose his starting job to Tim Tebow than repeat or even approach his specious 2011 stats.