These players should not be avoided in fantasy football drafts, but owners need to temper their expectations. In these instances, each athlete set an incredibly high, yet unsustainable mark in a certain area.
Not every change in rankings needs to be severe. Re-evaluating their value could simply mean dropping them down a slot behind another proven stud.
The following players will see their stats decrease closer to their career averages this season.
Well, 5,476 is an awfully large number.
Brees shattered the single-season record for passing yards last year, but do not count on him to touch that mark again in 2012.
The New Orleans Saints experienced the perfect storm to put up numbers that would seem outlandish in a Madden franchise. After their Week 1 match-up against the Green Bay Packers, whose passing defense ranked last, the Saints played all of their remaining games inside a dome or at a warm-weather location.
As the Saints offense clicked with flawless precision toward the end of the season, they piled up the stats in garbage time to help Brees chase the record. Now that he already holds the feat, they might be less inclined to attack during late-game blowouts.
The fallout from the bounty scandal also looms large, as Brees will play without head coach Sean Payton manning the sidelines. The popular Saints will now become one of the league’s most hated teams.
Entering the 2011 season with uncertainty regarding his health, Maurice Jones-Drew set career-highs in carries (343) and rushing yards (1,606).
Anyone who avoided him in the first round last year feels foolish now, but he could become overvalued this time around. Expect his touches to drop down to a more reasonable rate as the Jacksonville Jaguars look to implement other elements into their offense.
Rashad Jennings, who shined in limited touches as Jones-Drew’s handcuff in 2010, missed all of last year with a MCL sprain. Jennings averaged 5.5 yards per carry in 2010 and should regain a considerable role in the Jaguars’ rushing attack.
Although Blaine Gabbert needs to make significant progress, Jacksonville upgraded their receiver corps by adding Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson. They should at least attempt more passes this season.
Jones-Drew’s potential holdout also puts a cloud over the season. These issues usually get resolved, but spending a first-round pick on the workhorse running back will be a risky proposition for owners if he does not arrive at training camp.
I know that sounds crazy, but we’ve got other guys out there that can play. Julio [Jones] is going to be a big part of the offense this year. Harry [Douglas] is going to do wonders in the slot. We have to maximize our talent and get the ball in everyone’s hands.
While White’s catches will not plummet from 100 to an unusable number, his total could rest in the 80s this season. His stats last year fell slightly across the board from his marks in 2010, and that trend is likely to continue for the 30-year-old.
White will not become a bust, but his stats could dip just enough to reconsider ranking him as an elite wide receiver in fantasy leagues this year.
This huge number that will not happen again actually bodes well for Philip Rivers.
Last season, Rivers threw a career-high 20 interceptions in another disappointing season for the San Diego Chargers. The fiery quarterback let down owners who drafted him as an elite quarterback, but drafters can now steal Rivers at a discounted price.
In his previous five years in the NFL, Rivers averaged 11.4 interceptions per season, never eclipsing 15. Given his proven track record, his down-year should be considered a blip rather than a trend.
Interception totals often fluctuate. In 2010, Brees surrendered 22 picks, but he eradicated the problem and lowered the total to 14 last year.
Even in a poor season, Rivers still managed 4,624 yards with a 62.9 completion percentage and 27 passing touchdowns. Give him a chance to amend last season’s uninspiring results.
Reggie Bush silenced his critics by successfully handling the workload of a starting running back. Now let’s see if he can keep it up.
Bush earned 216 carries last season and tallied 1,086 rushing yards, both career bests. He ended the season in grand fashion, piling up 520 yards on the ground in his final four games.
Throughout his career, Bush was labeled a scat-back who could never run down the middle and manage the burden of an every-down runner. It is too soon, however, to say that he broke free of that reputation for good.
Before fully trusting him as a go-to back, considering his lack of durability in the past, Bush needs to show that his body can continue to endure the increase in hits.
Maybe Bush just played his role in the Saints' high-powered offense, and now he finally has the chance to receive more carries with the Miami Dolphins. Most people do not change overnight though.
While Laurent Robinson is hardly a stud, he produced like one last year with 11 touchdowns.
You probably know where this is heading by now. Robinson will not match that total this season.
Robinson emerged from obscurity to steal the spotlight in a star-studded Dallas Cowboys offense. He also benefited from receiving less attention as defenses fought to contain Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.
Also, receivers who grossed their value on touchdowns typically are not safe bets to reproduce.
Robinson may have saved your team last year, but don’t count on him to do it again this season. There are plenty of receivers who warrant selection ahead of Robinson.