Fantasy football rankings are a double-edged sword for fantasy football owners.
The positive is players not deep in strategy can still observe rankings and make well-informed decisions for the most part. A big negative is when owners believe rankings can be used as a crutch to build a team.
Rankings are just that—rankings. They take into account where thousands of owners have drafted a player. The rankings do not take into account integral things to fantasy success such as injuries, schematics, situations, etc.
2013 is no different than any other year in that there are some players being over-drafted primarily based on past performances while other variables are not being taken into account.
Here are a few players the rankings have wrong as all are too risky to believe they will live up to the rank.
Note: All fantasy rankings courtesy of FantasyPros.com.
Wes Welker, WR, Denver Broncos
Player Ranking: 20th WR, 53rd Overall
On paper Wes Welker sounds like a great fantasy option. At least 1,100 yards receiving and 111 receptions in five of the last six years and going from Tom Brady to Peyton Manning?
Can't-miss fantasy option, right?
Welker is not worthy of being close to the top 50 in fantasy leagues. Fantasy owners should not allow big names and past production, even with alarming consistency, cloud vision on the forecast for the future.
At 32 years old, Welker is going to compete with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker for targets. The former caught 94 balls for 1,434 yards and 10 scores last year, while the latter caught 85 for 1,064 and 13 scores.
There are simply not enough targets to go around in Denver for Welker to match his production in past years.
Add in the fact there also seems to be a renewed focus on the running game with the presence of rookie Montee Ball along with Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman, and Welker is in line for a very disappointing fantasy year.
At this point in his career and given the circumstances, Welker should be avoided at his ranking.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings
Player Ranking: 7th TE, 91st Overall
Third-year tight end Kyle Rudolph is the lone player to make this list because the forecast for his future, rather than his past, is not as bright as the rankings would lead owners to believe.
Rudolph performed well last season with 53 receptions, 493 yards and nine touchdowns.
The problems for Rudolph in year three are twofold. The most obvious is his quarterback situation, with Christian Ponder not exactly instilling confidence in many last season. Ponder again failed to throw for 3,000 yards or 20 touchdowns and turned the ball over a total of 17 times.
The bigger issue is a bit deeper. There's no doubt Rudolph is one of the most physically gifted players in the league with a high ceiling to boot. The issue is, Rudolph is not involved enough in the offense outside of the red zone.
Rudolph scored nine times last year, but take away even five of those receptions and he's a mediocre fantasy option. Additions like rookie Cordarrelle Patterson and veteran Greg Jennings also mean Rudolph could see fewer targets.
That's a horrendous forecast for a player being taken in the top 100. Until Rudolph can prove to be a threat all over the field, he's not a legit fantasy option.
Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Player Ranking: 15th WR, 42nd Overall
Now is the year to jump off the Reggie Wayne bandwagon.
It had to happen sooner or later, but approaching the age of 35, Wayne is simply not going to produce like he has in the past.
First of all, the second half of last season was not that appealing in terms of fantasy. In the final eight games, Wayne had just one 100-yard performance and two touchdowns. Yes, for totals he caught 106 passes for 1,355 yards and five touchdowns, but that won't happen again.
The major reason to avoid Wayne outside of age is simple schematics.
Bruce Arians is now gone, so Pep Hamilton will be calling the plays. Last year with Arians, the Colts called the fifth-most pass plays in the NFL and Wayne was the second-highest targeted receiver behind Calvin Johnson.
There is no guarantee that Hamilton will call the same type of offense. Kareem Copeland of NFL.com says to expect more short-yardage looks:
The Colts will work some West Coast facets into the offense with new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton. Bruce Arians was fond of pushing the ball down the field, but that also contributed toAndrew Luck's 54.1 completion percentage. Pagano described some of those tweaks.
That translates to the ball being spread out more and fewer opportunities for big plays from Wayne. At this stage in his career and with the offense in a state of transition, Wayne should be avoided at all costs in the top 50.
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