2013 Fantasy Football Last Minute Do Not Draft List

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Fantasy Football 2013: A Last Minute Do Not Draft List

a
Chris Handewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Every year there are busts. They are hard to predict, even for experts. Many experts worried about drafting Michael Vick, but even his biggest opponents thought he would do better than he did. The same goes for Ryan Mathews, Larry Fitzgerald and Vernon Davis. Fantasy is not just about making sure to draft the players who might do the best; often it is about avoiding fantasy busts.

A “fantasy bust” is not always clear. For example a wide receiver could be drafted in the second round, get 1000 yards receiving and be a bust, yet if he was drafted in the sixth round he would be a good pick. Bust does not mean terrible; it means worse than expected. If no player on your fantasy roster does amazingly well but none do a terrible job given when they were drafted, your team will be incredible. Very few players do better than expected, and in the end most do slightly worse.

So in fantasy the goal should be to target players that will certainly do better than expected and are unlikely to do much worse. Guys on this list are the opposite. They are picks that are almost surely not going to lead to value and are almost certainly going to lead to worse than expected results. This does not mean all of these players will have weak seasons it just means they will have worse seasons than other players in the round in which they are selected.

For each of these players there are reasons to like them. If there weren’t they wouldn’t be going so high. But every one has a critical fault that will mean their draft position cannot be justified. So avoid them at all costs. The other players in the same round are more valuable.

2 of 6

Dez Bryant

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dez Bryant is really talented; in fact, the reason not to draft him has little to do with Bryant himself. The NFL right now is becoming a passing league and as such wide receiver is mega-deep. Running back, not so much. There are very few valuable running backs now. To take any wide receiver in the second round is a danger as there are so many good options in later rounds. Furthermore, if a wide out goes early, he better be an absolute sure thing like Calvin Johnson (who has come first in fantasy points at WR the last two years). Dez Bryant is not exactly a sure thing. He has had one good year. The year before last he was barely a top 20 receiver. Furthermore, he caught a lot of touchdowns last year, but that is not necessarily sustainable. Jason Witten caught 20 more passes and seven less touchdowns. Witten is likely to steal more scores from Bryant this year. Bryant will have a good but not great year, and the problem is that players like Marques Colston, going in the fifth round, will do the same.

Draft instead: Stevan Ridley, Matt Forte, Steven Jackson

3 of 6

A.J. Green

c
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Green has the same issue that Dez Bryant has: He is being drafted around elite running backs. Again, this year elite running backs are more valuable than elite pass catchers. The league throws so much that excellent running backs are scarce, and you need to get running backs when you can. Calvin Johnson is also substantially better than A.J. Green. Johnson was tackled at the one yard line five times last year. That basically means he lost 30 points to randomness, yet he still was the number one fantasy wide receiver. In many leagues A.J. Green and Johnson are going immediately after one and other. They should not. A good way to measure when Green should go is about 10-12 picks after when Johnson goes. That rarely happens and it illustrates that Green is overrated.

Draft instead: LeSean McCoy, Drew Brees, Steven Jackson.

4 of 6

Colin Kaepernick

d
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Colin Kaepernick has a lot of fantasy hype, but the truth is he has never really been a great fantasy quarterback. Kaepernick was the ninth best quarterback last year if his numbers are prorated to a 16 game season. That is on the edge of draftable, not really a solid pick. Not only that, but he only did that for half a season. With teams adjusting to his running game and with the loss of Michael Crabtree, Kaepernick is likely to be weaker this year, not stronger. And if Kaepernick is worse it might mean he becomes more of a backup than a starter. Regardless, you will still have to draft him early, possibly even in the fifth round. He simply is not as good as his hype.

Draft instead: Matthew Stafford, Tony Romo in later rounds or Matt Ryan in the fifth.

5 of 6

Kyle Rudolph

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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Rudolph is the prime example of the touchdown trap. Fantasy players get trapped by seeming fantasy studs that score lots of touchdowns one year and then fail to replicate it the next. Sometimes the numbers of touchdowns are consistent, especially when certain teams like running in the red zone and have a predictably strong offense. Those teams have running backs that will always put up big touchdown numbers (Stevan Ridley and Steven Jackson are two good examples). Many believe Rudolph will repeat his touchdown performance again because he is Christian Ponder’s security blanket in close, but that is a dubious proposition. The Vikings now have Greg Jennings who is simply better than Rudolph. Not only that, but the Vikings' offense will probably have difficulty scoring touchdowns with Ponder at quarterback again. Rudolph had less than 500 yards receiving last year. He relies on touchdowns and there is no promise he will keep getting them. Look elsewhere for a tight end.

Draft instead: Greg Olsen, Brandon Myers, Antonio Gates.

6 of 6

Kickers Before the Last Round

f
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Kickers do not matter. Every single year the best kicker in the league only does about a point better per week than the 10th best kicker. What that means is even if you could perfectly predict how kickers would do (you can’t), you would get one fantasy point extra a week. It simply is not worth it to waste a pick early on a kicker instead of a possible diamond-in-the-rough running back.

Another piece of advice: Never draft a D/ST before the second to last round. The reason there is a little more nuanced. Defenses in fantasy vary more than kickers, but the best predictor of a D/ST success is the opponent. A better system than getting the best defense a few rounds early is to just pick up a defense playing a terrible offense off the waiver wire. Over time those D/ST will score more points than even the best defense and you do not have to waste a pick. Truth be told, drafting a D/ST a little early can sometimes be okay, but please, never draft a kicker before the last round.

Jay Cullen is a writer for RantSports.com. Like him on Facebook.

1 of 6

Fantasy Football 2013: A Last Minute Do Not Draft List

a
Chris Handewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Every year there are busts. They are hard to predict, even for experts. Many experts worried about drafting Michael Vick, but even his biggest opponents thought he would do better than he did. The same goes for Ryan Mathews, Larry Fitzgerald and Vernon Davis. Fantasy is not just about making sure to draft the players who might do the best; often it is about avoiding fantasy busts.

A “fantasy bust” is not always clear. For example a wide receiver could be drafted in the second round, get 1000 yards receiving and be a bust, yet if he was drafted in the sixth round he would be a good pick. Bust does not mean terrible; it means worse than expected. If no player on your fantasy roster does amazingly well but none do a terrible job given when they were drafted, your team will be incredible. Very few players do better than expected, and in the end most do slightly worse.

So in fantasy the goal should be to target players that will certainly do better than expected and are unlikely to do much worse. Guys on this list are the opposite. They are picks that are almost surely not going to lead to value and are almost certainly going to lead to worse than expected results. This does not mean all of these players will have weak seasons it just means they will have worse seasons than other players in the round in which they are selected.

For each of these players there are reasons to like them. If there weren’t they wouldn’t be going so high. But every one has a critical fault that will mean their draft position cannot be justified. So avoid them at all costs. The other players in the same round are more valuable.

2 of 6

Dez Bryant

b
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dez Bryant is really talented; in fact, the reason not to draft him has little to do with Bryant himself. The NFL right now is becoming a passing league and as such wide receiver is mega-deep. Running back, not so much. There are very few valuable running backs now. To take any wide receiver in the second round is a danger as there are so many good options in later rounds. Furthermore, if a wide out goes early, he better be an absolute sure thing like Calvin Johnson (who has come first in fantasy points at WR the last two years). Dez Bryant is not exactly a sure thing. He has had one good year. The year before last he was barely a top 20 receiver. Furthermore, he caught a lot of touchdowns last year, but that is not necessarily sustainable. Jason Witten caught 20 more passes and seven less touchdowns. Witten is likely to steal more scores from Bryant this year. Bryant will have a good but not great year, and the problem is that players like Marques Colston, going in the fifth round, will do the same.

Draft instead: Stevan Ridley, Matt Forte, Steven Jackson

3 of 6

A.J. Green

c
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Green has the same issue that Dez Bryant has: He is being drafted around elite running backs. Again, this year elite running backs are more valuable than elite pass catchers. The league throws so much that excellent running backs are scarce, and you need to get running backs when you can. Calvin Johnson is also substantially better than A.J. Green. Johnson was tackled at the one yard line five times last year. That basically means he lost 30 points to randomness, yet he still was the number one fantasy wide receiver. In many leagues A.J. Green and Johnson are going immediately after one and other. They should not. A good way to measure when Green should go is about 10-12 picks after when Johnson goes. That rarely happens and it illustrates that Green is overrated.

Draft instead: LeSean McCoy, Drew Brees, Steven Jackson.

4 of 6

Colin Kaepernick

d
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Colin Kaepernick has a lot of fantasy hype, but the truth is he has never really been a great fantasy quarterback. Kaepernick was the ninth best quarterback last year if his numbers are prorated to a 16 game season. That is on the edge of draftable, not really a solid pick. Not only that, but he only did that for half a season. With teams adjusting to his running game and with the loss of Michael Crabtree, Kaepernick is likely to be weaker this year, not stronger. And if Kaepernick is worse it might mean he becomes more of a backup than a starter. Regardless, you will still have to draft him early, possibly even in the fifth round. He simply is not as good as his hype.

Draft instead: Matthew Stafford, Tony Romo in later rounds or Matt Ryan in the fifth.

5 of 6

Kyle Rudolph

d
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Rudolph is the prime example of the touchdown trap. Fantasy players get trapped by seeming fantasy studs that score lots of touchdowns one year and then fail to replicate it the next. Sometimes the numbers of touchdowns are consistent, especially when certain teams like running in the red zone and have a predictably strong offense. Those teams have running backs that will always put up big touchdown numbers (Stevan Ridley and Steven Jackson are two good examples). Many believe Rudolph will repeat his touchdown performance again because he is Christian Ponder’s security blanket in close, but that is a dubious proposition. The Vikings now have Greg Jennings who is simply better than Rudolph. Not only that, but the Vikings' offense will probably have difficulty scoring touchdowns with Ponder at quarterback again. Rudolph had less than 500 yards receiving last year. He relies on touchdowns and there is no promise he will keep getting them. Look elsewhere for a tight end.

Draft instead: Greg Olsen, Brandon Myers, Antonio Gates.

6 of 6

Kickers Before the Last Round

f
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Kickers do not matter. Every single year the best kicker in the league only does about a point better per week than the 10th best kicker. What that means is even if you could perfectly predict how kickers would do (you can’t), you would get one fantasy point extra a week. It simply is not worth it to waste a pick early on a kicker instead of a possible diamond-in-the-rough running back.

Another piece of advice: Never draft a D/ST before the second to last round. The reason there is a little more nuanced. Defenses in fantasy vary more than kickers, but the best predictor of a D/ST success is the opponent. A better system than getting the best defense a few rounds early is to just pick up a defense playing a terrible offense off the waiver wire. Over time those D/ST will score more points than even the best defense and you do not have to waste a pick. Truth be told, drafting a D/ST a little early can sometimes be okay, but please, never draft a kicker before the last round.

Jay Cullen is a writer for RantSports.com. Like him on Facebook.


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