50 Fantasy Football Mistakes You're Already Kicking Yourself For

Vincent FrankCorrespondent IOctober 3, 2012

50 Fantasy Football Mistakes You're Already Kicking Yourself For

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    We all make mistakes when building our big board for upcoming fantasy football drafts. Some of these mistakes are clearly on us as individual players, but a lot of them are made because we listen to arm chair experts a bit too much.

    For example, I had come to the conclusion and recommended that fantasy owners look to go quarterback earlier in 2012 than they did in previous seasons. This has obviously backfired as Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford have had down fantasy seasons to date. 

    Meanwhile, the likes of Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy continue to fill up fantasy points with the best of them. 

    With that in mind, there are clear exceptions to the rule. No one outside of Waco, Texas, or Washington D.C. would have expected Robert Griffin III to be one of the most productive fantasy quarterbacks as a rookie in 2012. What about the performances of defenses and special teams in the NFC West? Obviously, not many expected to see what is happening there right now. 

    Today's article is going to focus on 50 fantasy mistakes that we are kicking ourselves for through the quarter point in the season. 

50. Expecting Production from Randy Moss

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    Randy Moss has been more of a decoy than anything else for the San Francisco 49ers through four games. He has compiled only eight receptions on 12 targets, neither representing any type of fantasy value. 

    Despite this, Moss is still owned in nearly 66 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. I guess people are hoping against hope that the future Hall of Fame wide receiver will make a bigger impact moving forward. 

    It's actually up to the 49ers coaching staff to give Moss the opportunity to be a productive receiver. For him to contribute, Moss simply needs to see the field more and accumulate more targets. 

    Will that happen? 

49. The Cam Cameron Effect

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    Imagine just how well-off those of us who have Ray Rice on our fantasy team would be if he was actually utilized correctly by Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. It really has gotten a bit comedic as of late. 

    Rice is averaging 4.6 yards a pop this season but has yet to rush the ball more than 20 times in a single game. Instead of utilizing their best offensive player, the Ravens seem content with putting the ball up 40-plus times with Joe Flacco. 

    On that note, I recently wrote an article focusing on the ineptitude of Cameron as the Ravens' primary play-caller. 

    It just goes to show you that we should start taking into account coaching, or the lack thereof, when determining which players to select atop our fantasy drafts. 

    That being said, Rice is still one of the top fantasy players in the NFL. Cameron can't ruin that!

48. David Wilson's "It" Factor

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    Many fantasy football pundits looked at the raw talent that David Wilson possesses and figured he would be a goldmine as a rookie in 2012. That has been far from the case thus far this season. 

    Instead, the rookie first-round pick has struggled a great deal for the New York Giants. He has rushed the ball six times for eight yards through four games, representing one of the most disappointing fantasy stat lines in the league. 

    Despite these struggles, Wilson is still owned in nearly 60 percent of ESPN leagues, about six times more than Jackie Battle. 

47. Jason Witten as a Top Tight End

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    Jason Witten did put up 13 receptions and a touchdown against the Chicago Bears Monday night, but he was far from the tight end we have seen in the past during the previous three games. 

    Even with that huge performance against Chicago, Witten is on pace for less than 800 receiving yards and just four touchdowns. 

    It remains to be seen whether Witten will see his performance from Monday continue the remainder of the season, but he is nowhere near a top fantasy tight end option at this point. 

    I want to see more consistent production and an ability to get six. 

46. Expecting Big Things from the New York Jets Defense

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    ESPN had the New York Jets defense ranked No. 8 heading into the regular season. After three disastrous performances against the run in four games, the unit is nowhere near being a viable fantasy option a quarter of the way through the season. 

    Adding insult to injury is the fact that Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis is going to miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL against the Miami Dolphins two weeks ago. 

    It is going to be a long season for Rex Ryan and company, even on the defensive side of the ball. 

45. Andrew Luck over Robert Griffin III

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    I am as guilty as anyone of this. After going back and forth in the weeks leading up to the season, I decided to rank Andrew Luck higher than Robert Griffin III in my final fantasy rankings of the preseason. 

    All of us who made that decision couldn't have been more wrong. 

    RGIII is the No. 1 fantasy quarterback in the NFL through four weeks, while Luck hasn't been much more than a decent QB2 option. 

44. Buying High on Pierre Garcon

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    The addition of Pierre Garcon to this list is mostly due to injury. After missing the previous two games due to a toe injury, Garcon recorded a single reception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in limited playing time. 

    ESPN had Garcon ranked ahead of both Torrey Smith and Malcom Floyd entering the season.

    How is that looking now? 

43. Not Buying in to Mario Manningham

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    Mario Manningham is quickly turning into a solid flex option. He is currently on pace for 800 total yards and has been an important cog in the San Francisco 49ers' offense. With Alex Smith looking for more consistent production and deep threats on that offense, you can definitely expect Manningham to play a larger role moving forward. 

    It just seems that he is a much better fit in San Francisco than he was with the New York Giants. Maybe it has to do with inferior talent ahead of him on the depth chart. 

42. Continued Defense of Jermichael Finley

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    Jermichael Finley and his dropped passes were of significant discussion late last season and entering the 2012 year. Still, there were those that believed Finley would live up to his expectations this season. 

    The Green Bay Packers tight end was selected higher than Tony Gonzalez and Aaron Hernandez on average in ESPN leagues, but he has failed to live up to expectations once again. 

    He is currently on pace for less than 800 receiving yards and just four touchdowns. He's 17th among fantasy tight ends. 

41. Taking Solid Defense for Granted

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    Defenses do matter when it comes to fantasy football. A lot of people overlook this aspect of a roster, but it can come up huge. 

    Look at what the San Francisco 49ers unit did against the New York Jets last week. They recorded a whopping 27 fantasy points

    Meanwhile, defenses in Oakland and New Orleans have been atrocious, at best. They have given up an average of over 61 fantasy points to opposing starters in the first four games of the 2012 season. 

    Simply put, you could take one of the dominating defenses and run them out there consistently. This gives you a solid chance to grab a victory every week. 

40. Roy Helu over Alfred Morris

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    Look at it this way. Many fantasy "experts" were wetting themselves over Roy Helu entering the preseason. Drafts that took place earlier than others were perfect examples of this. 

    On average, Helu was the 31st fantasy running back off the board in ESPN drafts, while Morris went five slots later. 

    Helu touched the ball two times in two games before going down with an Achilles injury, while Morris currently ranks fifth among fantasy running backs in points. 

    Of course, none of the us saw this coming. 

39. Belief in Matt Forte as a Consistent RB1 Option

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    Matt Forte limped to the sidelines following the Chicago Bears' first play against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday as it appeared the former Pro Bowl running back re-injured his ankle. 

    Forte was able to tough it out and run the ball 13 times for 52 yards against Dallas. However, this doesn't bode well for his long-term ability to succeed. As most of us know, high-ankle sprains can drag on for quite some time. 

    Chicago's running back has now compiled 163 rushing yards in three games and is on pace for less than 900 yards for the season. 

    Forte's average draft position in ESPN leagues was 16, which made him a RB1 target for many fantasy owners. It is pretty obvious he isn't going to live up to those expectations in 2012. 

38. Looking Too Much into the Preseason

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    Despite the fact that we all know preseason means absolutely nothing as it relates to fantasy football, many of us utilize those meaningless games when drawing conclusions about who we draft. 

    This was evident heading into 2012. 

    Why else would anyone decide that both Randy Moss and Justin Blackmon were better fantasy options than Mike Williams (Tampa Bay) and Randall Cobb? While none of these four players have had dramatic fantasy impacts, it is pretty obvious that the latter two have been more consistent through the quarter point of the season. 

    The same can be said for placing Tim Tebow No. 25 among fantasy quarterbacks above eight full-time starters. 

    Give me a break! 

37. Buying High on Rashad Jennings

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    The indications were definitely there. Maurice Jones-Drew was in the midst of a holdout that appeared to be ready to last into the regular season. On the other hand, Rashad Jennings was 100 percent after missing the entire 2011 season due to an injury. 

    Why not buy high on Jennings? After all, he racked up over 700 total yards and four touchdowns as the primary backup to Jones-Drew in 2010. 

    Well, that idea went down in flames rather quickly. 

    Jones-Drew abruptly ended his holdout and was back as the Jaguars' starting running back almost immediately. Meanwhile, Jennings was injured again and has rushed the ball just 10 times this season. 

    Owners are now stuck with Jennings over the likes of Jackie Battle and Jacquizz Rodgers. 

36. Relying on Kevin Ogletree After Breakout Performance

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    Kevin Ogletree has now racked up a total of nine receptions and nine fantasy points in the three games since his breakout two-touchdown performance against the New York Giants in the season opener. 

    Talk about jumping the gun. 

    People were immediately delving into their waiver wires during that opening Wednesday night game, sitting proven WR2 or flex options over someone that has one great game against what was an injury-ravished secondary. 

    This is what I am talking about when I say "knee-jerk reaction." 

35. Ignoring Fred Jackson's Injury "Issues"

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    Many people, myself included, envisioned Fred Jackson as a premier fantasy running back this season. After all, he didn't have injury issues prior to an unfortunate series of events against the Miami Dolphins last October and was one of the most productive fantasy backs up until that point. 

    The fact that Jackson racked up over 130 total yards per game last season helped lead us in that direction. 

    So he was off the fantasy charts heading into the season, projected ahead of Trent Richardson, Frank Gore and Reggie Bush

    Jackson went on to injure his knee in the season opener and has only compiled 44 rushing yards in parts of two games thus far in 2012. 

    Meanwhile, those three running backs listed above, who were considered "lesser" options, have put up true RB1 numbers. 

    This doesn't even take into account the presence of the No. 4 overall fantasy running back in the NFL, C.J. Spiller, on the Buffalo Bills. 

34. Not Listening to the Voice(s) in Your Head

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    I am going to go off the reservation here for a second and stop looking at plain statistics. Listen to yourself, people. By this I mean, those talking heads telling you who to draft and where to draft a certain player are fine secondary voices, but listen to those voice(s) in your head that say a certain player is going to excel in a given season. 

    After all, you are the one making the investment, and you are the one tied to your roster for better or worse. 

    I made the mistake of passing up on a certain WR1 option in lieu of Julio Jones, more on that later, because a fellow fantasy nut convinced me to do so. Jones has gone on to record 219 yards in four games, while that other unnamed receiver has put up nearly 400 yards.

33. Ryan Mathews as a Viable RB1 Option

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    I received a lot of flak for projecting that Ryan Mathews would struggle living up to high expectations that were set by the fantasy football community. 

    There were, however, indicators that Mathews wouldn't live up to that RB1 billing. The former first-round pick had missed six games in his first two seasons due to injury and scored only six touchdowns in 2011 despite gaining nearly 1,500 total yards. 

    Mathews has only played in two games this season, rushing the ball a total of 24 times for 105 yards. There also remains a strong possibility that the young running back loses goal-line opportunities in lieu of Jackie Battle, who had a strong game last week against the Kansas City Chiefs. 

    The San Diego Chargers running back was an early third-round pick in standard leagues this season, ahead of a whole host of top fantasy running back options.

32. Expecting Bounce-Back Campaigns from Carolina Panthers Duo

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    DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for over 2,700 total yards for the Carolina Panthers in 2009. At that point, it seemed they were destined to become one of the best running back tandems in NFL history. 

    Injuries to Williams in 2010 and a below-average performance by these two players last season has led many to question whether they will ever return to form. 

    This year has kind of played into that skepticism thus far. This time it is Stewart that has been injured as the Panthers duo has combined for less than 80 yards per game. 

    Despite this, Stewart was considered a solid RB2 option, while Williams was pegged as a nice flex player heading into the season. 

    That obviously hasn't worked out. 

31. Believing C.J. Spiller's 2011 Performance Was a Fluke

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    C.J. Spiller combined for 633 total yards and five touchdowns during the last six games last season after Fred Jackson went down to a season-ending injury against the Miami Dolphins in November. 

    This didn't help Spiller's fantasy value heading into 2012. He was ranked 33rd among running backs by ESPN and was the 24th player at that position taken, on average, in drafts. 

    Prior to being injured against the Cleveland Browns two weeks ago, Spiller had 364 total yards in the first two games of the season. He is now set to share carries with Jackson moving forward and should be pegged as a solid RB2 option. 

30. Expecting Anything Different from Peyton Manning

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    Many pundits were skeptical that Peyton Manning would return to 2010 form after missing all of 2011. After all, the indicators were there for the future Hall of Famer to struggle a great deal. He isn't getting any younger at 36 and was coming off a serious neck injury. Couple that with the fact that Manning was joining just his third team since high school and you had the makings for a down season. 

    Fantasy owners were skeptical as well. On average, Manning was a fourth-round selection and on the fringe of QB1 status. 

    Manning is now on pace to throw for over 4,600 yards and 32 touchdowns, placing right up there among the top fantasy quarterbacks in the National Football League. 

29. Beanie Wells over Ryan Williams

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    Chris "Beanie" Wells put up over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Arizona Cardinals last season. Meanwhile, Ryan Williams missed his entire rookie season after suffering a torn patellar tendon. Needless to say, many weren't expecting much out of Williams heading into his sophomore season. 

    Wells has since been placed on injured reserve and will miss six-to-eight weeks.

    Williams, who has gained 170 total yards in four games, will now get an extensive opportunity to show he can shoulder the load and be a consistent fantasy performer. 

28. Thinking Trent Richardson Wouldn't Produce

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    I was under the train of thought that Doug Martin would be a more productive rookie running back than Trent Richardson. There were many variables, mostly a better passing game and offensive line in Tampa Bay, that came into drawing that conclusion. 

    While most fantasy owners didn't follow suit, Richardson dropped a bit due to an offseason injury and was the 15th ranked fantasy running back heading into the season.

    He has now scored four touchdowns and put up an average of 86 yards per game thus far this season. Those numbers are good enough to rank him ninth among running backs in points.

27. Buying Too Low on Eli Manning

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    One of the most obnoxious debates in the professional sports world is whether Eli Manning is elite. While I don't plan on touching that debate here, I do want to look at Manning's performance as a fantasy quarterback. 

    Manning was the sixth quarterback off the board in ESPN drafts but was ranked nearly a whole round lower than the fifth quarterback on the board, Cam Newton. 

    Is there really that much of a drop off between Manning and those top-five quarterbacks? Nope!

    Manning has recorded just eight fewer fantasy points than Tom Brady, who was rated 27 slots ahead of him and was a high first-round pick. 

26. Expecting a Down Season from Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and Company

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    There has been a lot of talk about sophomore slumps as they relate to what was a tremendous 2011 NFL rookie class. For the most part, this talk has been overblown a great deal. 

    On that note, let's take a look at Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, who have continued to succeed on offense for the Cincinnati Bengals. 

    Dalton has thrown for over 1,100 yards and compiled eight touchdowns through four games. This is good enough to rank him among the top 10 fantasy quarterbacks in the NFL. 

    Meanwhile, Green continues to produce at levels nearly unprecedented for young fantasy wide receivers. He is currently on pace for 108 receptions, 1,712 yards and 12 touchdowns. This ranks him a clear No.1 fantasy wide receiver through four weeks. 

    Before the season, Dalton ranked 18th among quarterbacks and Green ninth at wide receiver.

25. Not Buying in to Torrey Smith as a WR1 Option

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    It was pretty clear that Torrey Smith was going to be the Baltimore Ravens' No. 1 wide receiver entering his sophomore season. After all, the 2011 second-round pick was one of the most productive rookie wide receivers in 2011. 

    Smith, who was ranked 30th by ESPN at the start of the season, is now a top-five fantasy wide receiver and is currently on pace for over 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

    It seems that many of us dropped the ball on the talented young receiver as well. 

24. Alarmingly High Expectations for Oakland Raiders Offense

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    One of my bold preseason predictions included two Oakland Raiders wide receivers, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore, both going for 1,000 yards this season. 

    Through the first four weeks of the 2012 season, the two are on pace to combine for just a little over 1,000 receiving yards. 

    Yes, some of this has to do with the unfortunate injury Heyward-Bey suffered against the Pittsburgh Steelers a couple weeks ago, but the lack of production is still alarming. 

23. Not Buying in to the Production of Vernon Davis

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    Including the postseason, Vernon Davis racked up 18 receptions for 410 yards and four touchdowns in the final three games of the 2011 season. This wasn't enough for fantasy owners to take the talented tight end seriously entering this year. 

    His average draft position on ESPN was No. 50 heading into the year, about 28 slots lower than Jimmy Graham's. 

    If you were looking for value at tight end, you shouldn't have looked any further than Davis. He is currently the second ranked fantasy tight end, ahead of both the aforementioned Graham as well as Rob Gronkowski. 

22. Greg Jennings over a Whole Lot of More Productive Options

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    Greg Jennings has never really been an elite fantasy wide receiver. His career-high in yards is 1,292, while his high watermark for receptions is 80, both accomplished five seasons ago. 

    Despite this, fantasy owners salivated over what Jennings might be able to produce in 2012. He ranked fifth overall among wide receivers on ESPN draft boards.

    Injuries are part of the game, and they have held Jennings back a great deal this season. He has a total of 12 fantasy points and has recorded just 78 receiving yards in parts of three games. 

21. Wes Welker as a WR1 Option

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    Wes Welker has definitely picked it up over the course of the last two games, recording a total of 17 receptions for over 270 yards. 

    There is one problem with his stat line thus far. Welker has failed to score a touchdown in four games this season. To be considered a top fantasy wide receiver, you need to actually hit paydirt on a consistent basis. 

    Welker has failed to do that.

20. Chris Johnson as a First-Round Pick

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    Later on I am going to focus on people holding on to Chris Johnson's performance prior to a down 2010 season. This slide is going to focus on the unrealistic belief that Johnson was a viable first-round option prior to the season. 

    Even if we just went off of his 2011 performance, there was absolutely no reason why the Tennessee Titans running back should have ever been thought about that high. 

    By my estimations, there are 15 running backs on pace for better fantasy seasons than Johnson put up last season. Despite this, his average draft position was 8.4 overall on ESPN. 

    That's a joke, right? 

19. Looking at the Baltimore Ravens Defense as a Top Unit

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    Sometimes we just look at how a unit has performed in the past when drawing conclusions about what defense to draft for our fantasy football team. 

    This was obviously the case with the Baltimore Ravens entering the 2012 season. 

    Despite the fact that they were going to be missing Terrell Suggs for a majority, if not all of the season, fantasy owners on ESPN made Baltimore the No. 2 overall defense during draft season. 

    They now rank ninth among fantasy defenses and have struggled a great deal against the pass through the first four games. 

    Ray Lewis has lost a step, Ed Reed isn't the player he was five seasons ago and this unit is without Suggs. Who realistically couldn't see this coming? 

18. Michael Vick as a QB1 Option

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    I couldn't care less that Michael Vick avoided turnovers and had a stellar game against the New York Giants last week. That really doesn't matter in the least right now. 

    Vick was way too overrated heading into the season and remains in the same position right now. 

    He was the eighth quarterback off the board in ESPN leagues, ahead of the likes of Matt Ryan, Robert Griffin III and Philip Rivers. He now ranks 16th among fantasy quarterbacks in points. 

    This indicates that Vick is no longer a viable QB1 option in standard leagues. He is far too inconsistent and turns the ball over way too much to be counted on weekly. 

17. Omission of the St. Louis Rams as a Top Defense

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    Who in their right mind would have considered the St. Louis Rams' defense a viable starting unit heading into the season? Even with the additions they made in the secondary, this wasn't on our minds as we set our draft boards. 

    The Rams' defense ranked 23rd among fantasy defenses at the start of the season, but the unit is now sitting pretty at No. 12 overall. 

16. Going Quarterback Early

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    One of my biggest pet peeves entering the 2012 season was the idea that you had to go running back atop your draft just to go running back. Now, I wasn't advocating taking a top-tier quarterback over the likes of Ray Rice, Arian Foster or LeSean McCoy.

    Instead, it was about reaching for a running back when one of the elite quarterbacks was still on the board.

    Well, that philosophy hasn't turned out all too well.

    Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford are all having down seasons and were selected within the first round or two. Meanwhile, second-tier options like Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and even Robert Griffin III sit atop the fantasy rankings at this position. 

    What is the moral of this story? There is a reason why the long-held philosophy of waiting on quarterbacks has worked since the advent of fantasy football. 

15. Expecting a Repeat Performance from Rob Gronkowski

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    No one in their right mind could have possibly projected that Rob Gronkowski would repeat his performance from a season ago. After all, it was record-setting in scope. 

    Still, there were some that thought it made great sense to select the New England Patriots wide receiver over talented WR1 options. 

    Note that he did go ahead of Roddy White in ESPN fantasy drafts and was considered a mid second-round pick. 

    Gronkowski currently ranks below both Tony Gonzalez and Vernon Davis in fantasy points among tight ends. 

14. Ignoring NFC West Defenses

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    No, this isn't a case of good NFC West defenses going up against bad counterparts within that division. After all, there have only been two games played within that division this season. 

    The Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals all rank within the top six of fantasy football defenses thus far this season. What makes this so much more compelling is the fact that they have gone up against the likes of the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys this season. 

    While San Francisco was the top defense in fantasy football entering the season, these other two units were severely underrated, with Seattle ranking No. 9  and Arizona No. 17. 

    As we all know, a good performance by your defense can win you a weekly matchup in fantasy football. Just ask those who owned San Francisco and the Chicago Bears this past week. 

13. Hakeem Nicks over Victor Cruz

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    I honestly didn't get the questions surrounding Victor Cruz heading into the season. Some pundits concluded that the third-year receiver was set for a letdown after a career season in 2011. Their rationale was simple: He was a one-year wonder. 

    I am sorry, but you don't put up over 1,500 yards in a season without being a damn good NFL wide receiver. 

    Despite the success that we saw from Cruz last season, his teammate Hakeem Nicks went directly ahead of him on ESPN draft boards. 

    Nicks has missed two games due to injury while Cruz leads the NFL in receptions and is on pace for over 1,500 yards once again. 

    At some point we have to take Cruz's performance at face value. He is a legit WR1 option right now, it really is that simple. 

12. Brandon Marshall as a Top Fantasy Wide Receiver

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    Despite Brandon Marshall's breakout performance against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night, he seems to be a bit too inconsistent to be counted on to be a true WR1 option in standard leagues. 

    He has bookended two poor performances with two equally impressive games through the first four outings of the season. 

    It could have something to do with the Chicago Bears' inconsistent performance in the passing game, but I am not buying him as a solid No. 1 type of guy. 

    Marshall currently ranks 10th overall among wide receivers in fantasy points. Let's see where he is in November. 

11. Expecting RB1 Production from Doug Martin

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    Doug Martin was set for a breakout rookie campaign. He beat out LeGarrette Blount for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' starting running back spot and was lucky to be finding holes behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. 

    What happened? 

    Davin Joseph went down to a season-ending injury in the preseason, an injury that has definitely had an impact on Martin. 

    The rookie first-round pick ranks 24th among fantasy running backs in points, which places him in either a questionable RB2 or flex role at this point in the season. More importantly, Martin is averaging less than 3.5 yards per pop and is on pace for less than 1,000 rushing yards. 

    This is a prime example of bargain shopping at the running back position when your fantasy draft roles around. 

10. Julio Jones over Roddy White

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    That unnamed player, mentioned in a previous slide, that I took over Roddy White as a WR1 option is none other than Julio Jones. 

    I wasn't alone in this either. 

    While White did go a bit higher than Jones in standard leagues, there were those who took the youngster over the proven vet. The reason for this was simple. We loved what Jones did as a rookie and he had a tremendous ceiling. 

    Well, that idea sure has backfired through four games. White has accumulated 11 more catches and nearly 200 more yards, while both receivers have an impressive three touchdowns.

9. Looking Too Much into the Holdout of Maurice Jones-Drew

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    Again, the preseason got a lot of people worked up over nothing. Maurice Jones-Drew was in the midst of what promised to be a long holdout. As this was happening, many fantasy owners dropped the reigning NFL rushing leader in their big boards. 

    A player that most would have atop their overall rankings was all of a sudden relegated to second-tier status. 

    Jones-Drew is now on pace for over 1,700 total yards. While his touchdown numbers (two) need to go up, there is no doubt that this talented running back is among the top four in this position right now. 

8. Expectations of a Dez Bryant Breakout Campaign

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    The good news is that Dez Bryant recorded his second career 100-yard receiving game Monday night against the Chicago Bears. The bad news is that he did so during one of the most disastrous performances I have seen from a wide receiver in quite some time. 

    Not only did the former first-round pick let a sure touchdown slip through his hands, he dropped a couple of other passes and ran a bad route that led to a Tony Romo interception that was returned for a touchdown. It is just a matter of time before Romo loses confidence in his enigmatic young receiver. 

    As it is, most fantasy owners had high expectations of Bryant coming in. He was the 15th wide receiver off of ESPN draft boards, which clearly indicated that many believed he would be a strong WR2 option. 

    Think again. 

    Bryant currently ranks 41st among fantasy receivers in points, right ahead of Cecil Shorts. Enough said. 

7. Dismissing Robert Griffin III as a Viable QB1 Option

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    I am as guilty of this as anyone. There was absolutely no way a rookie quarterback could possibly repeat the performance we saw from Cam Newton last season. Right?

    Wrong!

    Robert Griffin III wasn't selected until the end of the fourth or early fifth round in most ESPN drafts prior to the season. He now ranks No. 1 overall in fantasy points among quarterbacks after being considered a fringe QB1 option before the regular year started. 

    The 5,288 total yards and 32 touchdowns that RGIII is on pace for would absolutely destroy Newton's performance from a year ago, especially considering that he is on pace to throw just four interceptions. 

    Crazy stuff! 

6. The Unfounded Reports of Frank Gore's Demise

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    Frank Gore has been one of the most productive fantasy running backs since the San Francisco 49ers made him a third-round pick in the 2005 NFL draft. He has compiled five 1,000 yard seasons and is San Francisco's all-time leading rusher. 

    As is the case with most aging running backs, we were expecting Gore to hit a wall. After all, he is nearing the breaking point (30) for running backs. 

    Well, it hasn't happened this season. 

    Gore ranks 14th among fantasy running backs in points and remains a fringe RB1 option moving forward. He is also on pace for over 1,300 total yards and a career-high 12 touchdowns. 

5. Matt Ryan as a Fringe QB1 Option

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    We should have seen this coming. Matt Ryan had progressed in each of the last two seasons and was on the verge of becoming an elite quarterback heading into 2012. 

    Couple that with the fact that the Atlanta Falcons have elite talent across the board on offense and one could easily come to the conclusion that Ryan would be a fantasy stud this season. 

    Draft boards obviously didn't agree. Ryan was selected below both Michael Vick and Tony Romo in ESPN fantasy leagues. Just think about that for a second while I make my next point. 

    Ryan currently has only 11 fewer fantasy points than those two quarterbacks combined and ranks second overall at that position behind Robert Griffin III. 

4. Expecting Chris Johnson to Relive Previous Performances

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    Chris Johnson might have put up 157 total yards against a stout Houston Texans defense last week, but that doesn't even begin to make up for his disastrous performance during the first three games of the season. 

    The former rushing champion put up 45 rushing yards on 33 carries for a grant total of eight fantasy points during those three games. Even after that performance against Houston he is tied with Pierre Thomas and Donald Brown as the 33rd best fantasy running back in the league. 

3. Buying in to Matthew Stafford

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    You take one look at Matthew Stafford's 2011 numbers and it was easy to jump on him rather early heading into this season. Why not? He quarterbacks a pass-first offense, was in the top 10 all time in pass attempts in one season and has Calvin Johnson to throw the ball to. Oh, this doesn't even take into account that Stafford threw for over 5,000 yards and compiled 41 touchdowns. 

    Fast forward a year or so and the results, at least in regards to his fantasy production, couldn't be any more different. 

    Stafford has thrown a total of three touchdowns in four games and ranks just ahead of Carson Palmer in fantasy points. 

    Definitely a far cry from his 16.5 average draft position. 

2. Avoiding Adrian Peterson

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    I need to get one of those talking alarm clocks. I then need to set it for one day in late-August. Then I need to record the following, "don't ever question Adrian Peterson again... Just don't do it." 

    This is what many fantasy owners are thinking about after dropping the future Hall of Fame running back on their draft boards entering the 2012 season. 

    On average, Peterson was a mid-second-round pick in fantasy drafts, below the likes of Marshawn Lynch and Chris Johnson. While everybody dropped the ball on Johnson, it is hard to imagine 16 players having a greater impact than Peterson moving forward. 

    What this running back has done to come back from a devastating knee injury in less than a calendar year is simply amazing. 

    Just don't ever question him again! 

1. Aaron Rodgers as the No. 1 Overall Player

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    Aaron Rodgers broke out big time against the New Orleans Saints last week. But who hasn't this season? Prior to that stellar performance, Rodgers had struggled through the first three games of the season and only ranks 11th among fantasy quarterbacks in points through the first quarter of the season. 

    There were some, myself included, that indicated Rodgers was the possible No. 1 overall fantasy player heading into the season. While conventional wisdom tells us to go running back, it really was hard ignoring Rodgers' performance last season. 

    As it is, Rodgers is nowhere near the top fantasy quarterback thus far this season. Instead of spending a first-round pick on him, you could have easily gotten a Matt Ryan later in the draft. It's all about value people. 

     

    All stats and rankings provided by ESPN. 

    Check out my daily fantasy articles on eDraft.