The Shy-Away Top 40Wednesday, August 21, 2013
26. Seahawks WR Sidney Rice -- We saw Rice's ceiling in Seattle's run-based offense last year, when he scored seven touchdowns but only caught 50 balls and finished as the No. 30 fantasy receiver. While contract-year teammate Golden Tate's outlook is ascending following the Percy Harvin injury, Rice's is flatlining or falling. Target Tate. And let someone else draft Rice.
27. Packers RB Johnathan Franklin -- Franklin has struggled in practice and preseason games, getting consistently outplayed by fellow rookie Eddie Lacy. DuJuan Harris is also ahead of Franklin in the backfield pecking order. Franklin will open the season no higher than third string.
28. Giants RB Andre Brown -- Brown's Average Draft Position has crept into round seven, which defies logic for a talent-deficient back with durability woes behind an exceptionally more skilled starter. The Giants like Brown as a third-down back, but people aren't blowing mid-round picks on Danny Woodhead. In all likelihood, David Wilson will run away with the Giants' feature back job. The only chance Brown stands of being worth his ADP would be if Wilson got hurt.
29. Texans TE Owen Daniels -- Entering his age-31 season, Daniels isn't the seam stretcher he once was and his targets may slip rather dramatically following the addition of first-rounder DeAndre Hopkins. Daniels definitely isn't a TE1, and there are many higher-upside TE2s.
30. Colts RB Vick Ballard -- Have at it if you're drafting Ballard to 'cuff Ahmad Bradshaw; just don't pretend he has a chance to be Indy's starter. Ballard is inferior to Bradshaw in all areas, from running ability to pass protection. Donald Brown has outplayed Ballard in preseason games.
31. Bucs QB Josh Freeman -- Freeman can sling the deep ball with the best of them, but he's a highly inconsistent field general whose fantasy production depends heavily on his wideouts making contested catches. Instead of expecting Freeman to match or exceed last year's top-13 fantasy quarterback finish, look for a reduction in pass attempts as the Buccaneers build their offense around Doug Martin. Freeman will also throw less because Tampa's defense is better.
32. Chargers WR Malcom Floyd -- Floyd is a painfully poor fit for what the Chargers aim to do on offense under Mike McCoy and Ken Whisenhunt. A straight-linish, long-striding vertical receiver, Floyd is a misfit in the shortened-up, quick-throw approach. With Floyd currently shelved by a right knee injury, look for the Chargers to start Vincent Brown and Keenan Allen at receiver.
33. Ravens QB Joe Flacco -- Flacco's late-season 2012 surge following Baltimore's offensive coordinator change resulted in an 18:2 TD-to-INT ratio over the final eight games. Unfortunately, Flacco has lost two major components from that hot stretch in Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, and the Ravens' best way to compensate is to focus on the run. Expect a smash-mouth, run-heavy offense that takes the air out of the ball. Flacco's stats will suffer.
34. Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew -- Pettigrew has commonly been viewed as a late-round value pick in recent years, without good reason. He's never finished above 11th among fantasy tight ends in his four-year career, and nor has he demonstrated any semblance of big-play ability. Reggie Bush will curtail Pettigrew's usage as a checkdown target. He is not worth drafting.
35. Rams RB Zac Stacy -- Popularly billed as a sleeper immediately after April's draft, Stacy has endured a trying August while falling behind Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Pead, and perhaps even undrafted rookie Benny Cunningham on St. Louis' depth chart. Stacy has been unable to practice consistently and looks likely to be an early-season non-factor. He's buried.
36. Seahawks RB Robert Turbin -- Clearly an inferior runner to Christine Michael, Turbin's grip on Marshawn Lynch's handcuff role has loosened in the preseason. Michael has been one of the stars of camp, while Turbin missed a large portion of practices with a foot injury. Should Lynch go down, Michael would likely be the run-game banger with Turbin playing only on passing downs.
37. Dolphins RB Daniel Thomas -- Thomas has 256 NFL carries. That's a strong sample size, and we've seen him fumble five times while averaging 3.54 yards per tote. Thomas is a concussion-prone plodder who hurts his team by leaving yards on the field due to poor vision and talent deficiencies. As much as the Fins like to pretend they have two starting-caliber backs, they only have one. And it's Lamar Miller. Thomas would be on the roster bubble for a good team.
38. Lions RB Mikel Leshoure -- Leshoure plodded his way to 3.71 yards per carry in 2012, and has been outplayed by Joique Bell at Lions camp. If Reggie Bush goes down, Bell would be the favorite for touches in Detroit's backfield. Leshoure isn't even worth a fantasy handcuff pick.
39. Eagles WR Riley Cooper -- Cooper appears to have won the Eagles' No. 2 wideout job, but he's a blocking receiver running with the first-team offense only because Chip Kelly plans to run the ball early and often. Cooper stands almost zero chance of helping your fantasy team.
40. Patriots TE Jake Ballard -- Ballard has a big name because he started by default on the 2011 Super Bowl Giants, but he can't run a lick and has been relegated to in-line blocking duties in New England. He'll help Stevan Ridley's fantasy production, but not your fantasy team's.