With only a week remaining before the start of the regular season, let's take a look at some of fantasy football's underrated and overrated players heading into the 2013 NFL campaign.
Underrated: Tony Romo
|Photo by: Rob Carr|
Overrated: Matthew Stafford
Stafford set the record for pass attempts in a season a year ago with 727 throws. With that type of number you would expect a gaudy TD total, but he finished with only 20 on the season, 19th in the NFL. Reggie Bush is now in the fold, and with a renewed focus on the ground game, the passing attempts should come down. Add to that the questionable targets at receiver outside of Calvin Johnson, and Stafford could struggle again in 2013.
- Running Backs
Underrated: Stevan Ridley
Outside of Alfred Morris, Ridley was the biggest surprise as far as fantasy running backs go last year. Coach Bill Belichick appreciated Ridley's ability to move the chains on 1st and 2nd down, and he was rewarded with 1,263 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. Only Morris and Arian Foster had more. Ridley's value is even higher in non-PPR leagues, and with an unproven wide receiver corps and the injury to tight end Rob Gronkowski, look for the third-year back to get plenty of touches around the goal line, which should mean double-digit TDs again this season.
Overrated: Steven Jackson
Jackson is entering his tenth year in the league, and with nearly 2,400 carries on his resume, he clearly isn't the same running back he was four or five seasons ago. Jackson barely eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in 2012, and only scored 4 times. Also, his 38 catches were his lowest total since 2007. Atlanta's offense figures to be explosive, but the passing game is where the biggest part of it will come from. Backs with the type of mileage that Jackson has don't get better, so look elsewhere for your RB2.
- Wide Receivers
Underrated: Larry Fitzgerald
Everyone will be buying low on Fitzgerald based on his 2012 disaster of a season. Six times last year he had 3 catches or less, primarily due to the horrific trio of Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley and John Skelton at quarterback. By no means is Carson Palmer a great QB or anything, but he should be able to get Fitzgerald back around the 85 catch/1,200 yard/8 touchdown vicinity. He may never reach the numbers he had from 2007 to 2009 again, but No. 11 will be much improved in 2013.
Overrated: Mike Wallace
Wallace signed a $60-million deal in the offseason to be Miami's No. 1 wide receiver, and in most formats, he is seen as a top 15 WR option. However, his averages of 65 catches, 1,095 yards and 9 TDs over the last three years simply do not justify a top 15 ranking. Throw in the fact that there is a huge difference between catching passes from Ben Roethlisberger compared to Ryan Tannehill, and you can expect Wallace's stats to dip some with the Dolphins.
- Tight Ends
Underrated: Brandon Myers
Myers enters his first season with the Giants having been one of the most overlooked TEs on fantasy rosters a year ago. He was one of the few bright spots the Raiders had in 2012, hauling in 79 passes for over 800 yards. Still, Myers was on waivers in most leagues the first two months of the season. He is in a much better situation now, and with increased red zone opportunities thanks to a better offense, his touchdown total of a year ago (4) could double in 2013.
Overrated: Antonio Gates
Gates is still ranked as a top 10 tight end in a lot of formats, but there are better options than the eleven-year veteran. He registered 49 catches for 538 yards and 7 TDs last season, which were lows across the board dating back to his rookie year. The Chargers could very well have the worst offensive line in the NFL this season, and with Philip Rivers rapidly declining before our very eyes, targets could be limited for Gates this year.
Underrated: New England Patriots
The Patriots were a top 10 fantasy defense in 2012, and with three suspect offenses in their own division, there are chances for some huge games this season also. They open against the Bills with Jeff Tuel or E.J. Manuel at QB, then the Geno Smith/Mark Sanchez mess that is the Jets, followed by the Buccaneers with their turnover-prone signal caller, Josh Freeman. Meaning, New England could be the defensive points leader three weeks in.
Overrated: Denver Broncos
The suspension of Von Miller is a huge blow to this defense, losing turnovers forced and a ton of sacks in his absence. Denver has also had some injuries on the d-line during the preseason, and with a suspect secondary, this squad won't score nearly as many points as a top 7 fantasy defense should. They do have a chance to finish the season strong, however, with games against San Diego, Tennessee and Oakland.
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