Fantasy Football's Most Overvalued Players in 2013
Spring has turned into summer, and as the calendar turns to June, that means that soon the best time of year will be underway in the world of fantasy football.
Fantasy draft season.
Some drafts have already taken place, and many fantasy owners have also been conducting mock drafts to get a feel for where players are falling into place.
That serves two purposes. It can point out which players tend to be undervalued in early drafts, identifying potential value targets that savvy fantasy owners can exploit.
Conversely, these early drafts can also point out some players who are overvalued, whether that's due to their being drafted near their ceiling or as a result of owners chasing the past rather than looking toward the future.
It's that second group well look at here by examining some of the most overvalued players in fantasy football in 2013.
Average draft position courtesy of My Fantasy League.
Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers
Average Draft Position: Fifth round (pick 51, QB5)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took the NFL by storm on his way to leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl last year, throwing for over 1,800 yards, adding 415 on the ground and scoring 15 total touchdowns.
Kaepernick's dual-threat ability has apparently enamored many fantasy owners, who are drafting Kaepernick as a top-five option under center.
Those fantasy owners are setting themselves up to be disappointed.
Kaepernick may have torn up the NFL and put on a record-setting show in a playoff win over the Green Bay Packers, but during the regular season Kaepernick just wasn't an elite fantasy option.
From Week 11 to Week 16 last year, Kaepernick finished outside the top 20 quarterbacks as many times as he finished inside the top five. He was the ninth-ranked fantasy passer over that stretch.
Add in the loss of wide receiver Michael Crabtree to a potentially season-ending Achilles injury, and fantasy owners looking for a huge jump from Colin Kaepernick in 2013 are likely being overly optimistic,
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Average Draft Position: First round (pick 1, RB1)
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is the consensus top overall fantasy pick in 2013.
It's not hard to see why. Peterson had a season for the ages in 2012, gaining nearly 2,100 yards on the ground, scoring 13 total touchdowns and leading numerous fantasy squads to a championship.
It may seem like lunacy to call a player of Peterson's ability "overvalued," but if you look a bit deeper there's some reason for concern.
Of the six running backs who topped 2,000 yards in a season in NFL history prior to Peterson, none topped 1,500 yards rushing the following season.
Recent history also hasn't been kind to fantasy's top running back.
As Greg Kellogg of Fantasy Sharks pointed out, each of the last three running backs to finish the year as king of the fantasy mountain saw a big drop-off the next year.
Like over 100 fantasy points and 25 percent big.
Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders
Average Draft Position: Third round (pick 30, RB15)
His draft stock may be down this year compared to 2012, but Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden is still overvalued in fantasy drafts this year.
There's good reason for that dropping fantasy stock. McFadden averaged a career-low 3,3 yards per carry and scored only two touchdowns in a disastrous 2012 season.
Part of the blame for that season can be laid at the feet of the zone-blocking scheme the team used last year, a scheme they have now jettisoned.
However, that doesn't account for the elephant in the room.
Darren McFadden just can't stay healthy.
The sixth-year pro missed four games last year, and he's now been sidelined for at least three games every year he's been in the NFL.
Does an oft-injured back coming off a miserable season sound like a player you want as your fantasy RB2?
I didn't think so.
Wes Welker, WR, Denver Broncos
Average Draft Position: Round four (pick 48, WR17)
Over the past six seasons, wide receiver Wes Welker has averaged 112 catches a year, tops in the NFL.
The 32-year-old reeled in 118 catches for 1,354 yards and six touchdowns in 2012, good for a top-10 fantasy finish in leagues that award a point per reception.
It may seem odd to call a player with those sorts of numbers overvalued, especially since Welker's average draft position is actually down a bit from this time last year.
However, that ADP hasn't fallen enough, due in large part to fantasy drafters living in the past.
Welker isn't in New England anymore. Not only is Welker no longer catching passes from his buddy Tom Brady, but he's at best the third option in the Denver passing game behind Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.
Those days of 100-catch campaigns and top-10 fantasy production from Welker are over, and the veteran may be hard-pressed to even crack the top 20 fantasy wideouts in 2013.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Average Draft Position: Second round (pick 21, TE2)
Last year, tight ends Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints and Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots were first-round picks in many fantasy leagues after their huge 2011 seasons.
The owners who drafted Gronkowski got burned big-time, as Gronkowski missed five games with a broken forearm and barely finished inside the top-five fantasy options at his position.
Gronkowski recently had a fourth operation on the arm, and while that surgery revealed no more infection, now Gronkowski's balky back is acting up according to Stephania Bell of ESPN.
Granted, the Patriots remain optimistic that Gronkowski will be available for Week 1, and he remains an immensely talented player who has scored double-digit touchdowns in each of his three NFL seasons.
However, the second round is a steep asking price for a banged-up tight end, especially with other options such as Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys and Tony Gonzalez of the Atlanta Falcons available several rounds later in fantasy drafts.