Fantasy Football 2012: Don’t Overpay For These Guys

The 2012 fantasy football season is right around the corner, and shrewd managers are already beginning preparations.  When setting up your fantasy football draft rankings, it’s important to look beyond the player’s name to make sure you’re not overpaying for a player who will underperform.  We have some overrated players in mind at each position that you’ll want to consider long and hard before drafting.

The initial preparations for the 2012 fantasy football season are pretty easy.  Select which provider you’ll use—Yahoo fantasy football, CBS fantasy football, etc.—and then make sure you have a wide variety of cool fantasy football team names from which to choose.  The trickier part is finding good fantasy football rankings, putting the players in order in your draft queue—don’t forget to handcuff your stud running backs!—and then participating in a few mock drafts to see how your rankings hold up.

When you participate in mock drafts, you’ll likely see some big names being selected too high or for too many auction dollars.  Don’t get suckered in to overpaying for these guys.

Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

Manning is a tempting grab after all of his years of success with the Indianapolis Colts, but he’s currently being selected ahead (average pick 5.7) of his little brother (5.9) and Tony Romo (6.8) in Yahoo fantasy football mock drafts.

Remember, Peyton is 36 years old, has been out of football for a year, and is working with a neck that has been surgically repaired many times over.  He’s on a new team with new receivers against new division opponents and has a murderous non-division schedule.

His success in Indy was built around timing.  You don’t create that kind of success in just one off-season with a new team.  He probably won’t be bad, but we’d rather have Eli Manning or Romo, or even wait a couple more rounds for Philip Rivers (7.9) or Robert Griffin III (8.9) at that point.

Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

When V-Jax was on, he was a terror with the San Diego Chargers.  Getting consistency out of him was the problem.  Now he’s moving from a pass-first offense led by Rivers to a run-first offense led by Josh Freeman.

Yet managers are still selecting Jackson with the 6.7 pick in Yahoo fantasy football mock drafts.  That’s insanity, especially when you can wait and get better receivers such as Eric Decker (8.3), Stevie Johnson (7.5), and Antonio Brown (7.5).

Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons

Turner is the dreaded 30 years of age, and he has carried a heavy load over the past few seasons in Atlanta, so the inevitable physical breakdown is on the horizon.  Fantasy football managers who draft Turner are also staring down the barrel of a running-back-by-committee approach in Atlanta.  None of this bodes well for Turner, who is being selected with the 4.9 pick.

Doug Martin (6.0), Darren Sproles (6.5), and Ahmad Bradshaw (7.7) will all score you more fantasy points than Turner and are available later in the draft.

Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers

Gates is 32 years old and a constant risk for foot issues that have caused him to miss 9 games over the past two seasons.  And yet in Yahoo fantasy football mock drafts, he’s still being selected as the No. 3 tight end with the 5.3 pick.

Going with Gates isn’t going to kill your team, and if he can stay healthy, he should be quite good.  But given his age and injury risk, we’d rather go with Aaron Hernandez (6.1), Vernon Davis (6.3), or Jermichael Finley (6.9).  Jason Witten will probably give you comparable stats but at a much cheaper price (7.2) than Gates.