Smart fantasy football players are good at finding sleeper picks, but the best of the best make their money by combining that skill with an ability to know how to avoid busts.
Bust is a pretty broad term, but generally a fantasy player can bust by not playing up to his ADP, or average draft position.
In its simplest sense, ADP is a number assigned to a player based on where leagues have drafted him on average. This of course leads to discrepancies because each participant enters a draft with his or her own strategies and feelings about each player.
As a result, leaning on ADP can be a ship-sinking tactic on its own. Some players will be ranked too low based on what you value, while other players will be ranked too high, whether it's because of hype, popularity or some other factor.
Below you will find a few players who have insanely high ADP based on past performances, with one based on wishful thinking as far as future performance. These guys are not going to be able to live up to the hype of their ADP, so steer clear unless they take a free fall.
Note: All ADP info courtesy of FantasyFootballCalculator.com.
Wes Welker, WR, Denver Broncos
ADP: 4.07 (No. 15 WR)
Experience: 9 Seasons
2012-13 Season Statistics
16 GP, 118 REC, 1,354 YDS, 6 TD
On paper Wes Welker looks like a fantasy dream. Five of the last six years have seen him record over 100 receptions and 1,000 yards. Now he's teaming up with Peyton Manning in Denver. What could go wrong?
Quite a lot, actually.
Last year Welker did not really have any competition at wide receiver. That really goes for most of his time spent in New England.
That's simply not the case in Denver. Welker now has to compete with Eric Decker, a man who reeled in 85 receptions last year. No. 1 receiver Demaryius Thomas brought in 94 balls as well.
But what about tight ends? Welker had to compete with elite players at that position in New England. Well, Denver has a pretty good duo as well with Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme combining for 93 receptions a year ago.
Manning is known for spreading the ball around in a big way. That will be no different now that Welker is in town. To suddenly expect Manning to change and hit Welker over 100 times is a bit unreasonable. His ADP is predicated on his time with the Patriots, and Welker will under-perform.
Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans Saints
ADP: 3.12 (No. 23 RB)
Experience: 7 Seasons
2012-13 Season Statistics
13 GP; 48 CAR, 244 YDS, 1 TD; 75 REC, 667 YDS, 7 TD
Darren Sproles is a hot commodity if you play in a PPR league, meaning every reception he tallies notches you a certain amount of points.
That's great, but we are talking standard leagues and, with the way things appear to be shaping up in New Orleans, Sproles' ADP may be too high for either scoring format.
Once again Sproles finds himself in a committee approach with the likes of Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram, with his only real advantage coming in the fact he is an elite check-down option.
Now at the age of 30 and having missed games last season due to injury for the first time since 2007, Sproles could defy conventional wisdom and actually see fewer opportunities despite the fact head coach Sean Payton has returned.
Pat Yasinskas of ESPN recently suggested that Ingram will be the focal point of the running attack, and the sentiments have been echoed so far as Ingram has handled the majority of the load in the preseason.
It's no secret the Saints want to get back to running the ball more to better balance out the offense. That can and will happen with the combo of Ingram and Thomas. Sproles' fantasy value will take a hit as a result.
Sproles is still worth drafting, but don't let his ADP fool you into thinking he's going to necessarily have a better year than 2012.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys
ADP: 3.03 (No. 18 RB)
Experience: 2 Seasons
2012-13 Season Statistics
10 GP; 161 CAR, 663 YDS, 4 TD; 34 REC, 247 YDS
Now for the youngster who many are drafting high in the hopes he has a breakout year.
Don't be the one to take that risk.
Look, Murray is a great talent and obviously the No. 1 back in Dallas, but he has also been unable to stay healthy and has missed nine games in the past two years.
Which of these players are most likely to not live up to their ADP?
If it comes down to the coaching staff wanting to preserve Murray's health, things could turn to a bit of a committee approach. There is plenty of reason to believe that could be on the way considering the Cowboys drafted Joseph Randle this year.
Combine Randle's presence with the solid performances from Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar over the years, and it's hard to fathom Murray will be handling the load on his own—if he can even stay on the field for all 16 games.
You can see the potential in Murray's numbers. Bump that carry total from 2012 up to around the 250 mark and you have a very special season.
Unfortunately Murray has not shown the ability to handle that kind of work. He may never be able to—assuming he suddenly can and drafting him as high as his ADP would be a big mistake.
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