Top Fantasy Football Players 2012: Overrated WRs to Avoid Grabbing Early

Ryan DavenportContributor ISeptember 5, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 18: A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals fails to make a touchdown catch against the Cincinnati Bengals at the Edward Jones Dome on December 18, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Bengals beat the Rams 20-13.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

At first glance, you can't believe they're still on the board when you're on the clock.

Since you already took care of your top running back and quarterback, and Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald are gone, they seem like attractive options.

But, as the ill-fated owners who took Jeremy Maclin, Santonio Holmes and Mike Williams as top-20 receivers in 2011 will tell you, there's a fine line between a good wideout who had a career season the previous year, and one who can be counted upon to deliver top-flight fantasy numbers on a consistent basis.

Some, like Maclin, fall victim to illness or injury, while others, such as Williams, simply can't replicate their breakout performances from the previous year.

Guys like Holmes, on the other hand, can be even tougher to gauge, as their track records would suggest that they're reliable fantasy options, even if their production dropped drastically the season before.

Here are a handful of overrated wideouts to avoid taking early in your draft this year.

Miles Austin

As Dallas' top receiver, Miles Austin would appear to be a desirable No. 1 or No. 2 WR option in most fantasy leagues, but owners should proceed with caution.

Yes, Austin posted back-to-back seasons with at least 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns in 2009 and 2010, but he was limited to 10 games in 2011 due to a hamstring injury.

Now, Austin is just returning to the field after missing a month of practice due to that same nagging hamstring, which means his production could be limited early on.

According to Pro Football Weekly, Austin is the 12th-ranked fantasy WR heading into the season, but going with a player with comparable stats and a clean bill of health would be a much safer option.

Vincent Jackson

Like Williams, Vincent Jackson's production in 2012 will depend on whether Josh Freeman can rebound from his 16-touchdown, 22-interception performance last season.

Though Jackson has three 1,000-yard seasons to his name, they all came with Philip Rivers, who despite his recent struggles, has regularly thrown for more than 4,000 yards a season.

If Freeman doesn't improve drastically in 2012, Jackson's numbers won't be what they were in San Diego.

A.J. Green

With Andy Dalton behind center, A.J. Green enjoyed a breakout season in 2011, posting 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns, as the Bengals took the NFL by surprise.

Now, Green enters the season as the seventh-best receiver available, according to's fantasy rankings.

Whether Green can duplicate his outstanding rookie season will depend a lot on whether Andy Dalton can do the same, which shouldn't exactly be taken as a given.

Green very well may be a top-10 receiver once again in 2012, but there are a number of other WRs who will be available in the first few rounds in most drafts who should be considered safer bets than Green.