7 Fantasy Football Stars Heading for Reduced Roles in 2013
Whether it was through free agency or the draft, several prominent fantasy stars have had their value affected this offseason. As a result of all the new roster shakeups, some football stars could be looking at reduced roles in 2013.
Be it age, declining skills or other players challenging their position, the following players in this slideshow (counting down from No. 7 to No. 1) could be nearing extinction in fantasy circles.
Please adjust expectations in selecting these players when drafting this summer.
7. Wes Welker: Denver Broncos
Don’t be alarmed. Wes Welker is still a stud and reliable wide receiver for any league—specifically PPR leagues.
However, if you expect Welker to continue to put up the numbers he did up in New England while with the Denver Broncos, you may be in for a rude awakening.
With the Broncos having an embarrassment of riches at wide receiver—with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on the roster—Welker will likely see a dip in targets and receptions.
Again, Welker is still valuable as a mid-round selection, but he won’t be nearly the receiver he has been in years past.
6. Greg Jennings: Minnesota Vikings
The listing of Greg Jennings in this slideshow is not so much at him looking at a reduced role, as he actually will be the main receiving threat in the Minnesota Vikings offense.
No, Jennings is mentioned here because of his drop in value. When you switch from Aaron Rodgers throwing you the ball to Christian Ponder, you can’t expect to see an increase of value.
While he got his money, and that’s all well and good, Jennings may suffer in Minnesota while trying to be the man in the Vikings' pass offense.
5. Brian Hartline: Miami Dolphins
In the offseason, the Miami Dolphins addressed improving their offense while adding Mike Wallace and Dustin Keller to the squad. The additions of Wallace and Keller will help improve Miami’s stagnant passing attack.
As a result, you may see Brian Hartline have a dip in targets—and ultimately receptions. Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins will have a more balanced attack this time around, and the quarterback will likely spread the wealth.
Hartline may actually be a nice sleeper on draft day. While he’ll see fewer targets, he may make teams pay if they pay more attention to Wallace. At the end of the day, Hartline makes for a solid 3-4 wide receiver in fantasy leagues.
4. Jermaine Gresham: Cincinnati Bengals
While Jermaine Gresham is still technically No. 1 on the Cincinnati Bengals’ tight end depth chart, Cincinnati did Gresham no favors when it drafted Tyler Eifert.
The Bengals could open up the playbook and feature two-tight end sets, which could benefit both Gresham and Eifert. However, Gresham will not nearly see the targets he was accustomed to seeing the past couple of years.
Gresham goes from a fringe 10- to 12-team starter to more of a No. 2 tight end.
3. Mikel Leshoure: Detroit Lions
Mikel Leshoure is still a young, promising back with loads of potential. But when the Detroit Lions signed Reggie Bush in the offseason, they stunted Leshoure’s short-term fantasy value in the process.
With the Lions more of a pass-oriented team, Bush fits more in line with what they do, and he should eat up all the carries in between the 20s. Leshoure should still hold value in most leagues, as he’ll be in line for the short-yardage and, more importantly, goal-line carries.
Leshoure is still worth a middle-round pick, but he would have been a lot more appealing if the Lions didn’t sign Bush.
2. BenJarvus Green-Ellis: Cincinnati Bengals
With the Bengals drafting Giovani Bernard this past April, BenJarvus Green-Ellis’ days as a lead back could be all but over.
The Bengals are a young team, and they will want that youthful energy from the running back position, and sooner or later Bernard will take over as lead back. Bernard has fresher legs and is a better home run threat than Green-Ellis
Green-Ellis may open the season as the main back, but by midseason, he could be phased out. You should not ignore the “Law Firm” in your draft, though. The ideal thing to do would be to handcuff Green-Ellis with Bernard.
1. Willis McGahee: Denver Broncos
Considering that the Broncos drafted Montee Ball this past April and still have Ronnie Hillman on the roster, the writing is on the wall for Willis McGahee. His time in Denver may be coming to an end.
Not to mention the Broncos also have Knowshon Moreno on the roster, and when you combine the crowdedness of the Broncos’ running back depth chart along with McGahee getting up there in age, well, McGahee doesn’t offer up much value anymore.
McGahee is nothing more than a late-round flier or handcuff.