What's In A Name?
Posted Sep. 01 at 08:12 AM
Even though we're drafting players, we're also drafting "names," and the big names in football come with their own risks and rewards. Many owners end up drafting a name guy and suffering when they sound better than they actually perform. Here are a few guys I think have something of a name in fantasy football and will probably go too high as a result.
QB: Tony Romo, Cowboys. I understand that Romo isn't considered a top fantasy quarterback anymore. But why is he even considered a starter? The Cowboys play in a tough division and their best talent is at running back. Their top wideout, the injured Roy Williams, isn't the best receiver on the team. Heck, last year he wasn't even the best Roy Williams on the team. Romo's best pass-catchers might both be tight ends and the Cowboys look like the third-best team in the division (or worse). Why would any fantasy owner want to go to war each week with him at the helm? After the top quarterbacks are gone, owners might think he provides "value" but I think he only provides disappointment. Unless you play in a QB-heavy league, Romo won't justify his draft position, no matter how much of a bargain he might appear to be.
RB: Knowshon Moreno, Broncos. How can a rookie be a "name" guy? When he gets drafted by Denver, the Magic Kingdom of fantasy running backs. Like Disney World (or Disneyland if you're on the west coast), Denver looks like a magical place, but it's all an illusion. In this case, fantasy owners are drafting Moreno based on ... something. His college performance, I suppose. But he's on a team with a number of experienced running backs. And that team is terrible. And Moreno is hurt. And it looks like the passing game will be less potent without Cutler and (probably) Marshall.
So why are some owners taking Moreno as their primary backup, or considering him a mid-round "steal?" I'm not really sure. If he's your fifth running back, fine. But that's not where he's being taken in most drafts.
WR: Terrell Owens, Bills. I think Owens is the granddaddy of "name" players. I mean, at some point you have to take him, right? Actually ... no. You don't. Nobody in the NFL did except Buffalo. There was no high-powered bidding war for his services. And for the first time since his stint in San Francisco, Owens isn't necessarily the best receiver on his team.
Forget that Owens is kind of a head case and is on a team that doesn't look powerful enough to satisfy his desire for a nice stat line. He's also an aging receiver with a history of injuries and drops. Is a spot on a cold-weather team going to make him a relevant receiver again? I don't think so, but he's being drafted as a fantasy starter in many leagues.
Honorable mention: Any running back on the Buccaneers or Patriots. Usually when we say "running back by committee" we mean two guys who share time in the backfield. But Tampa Bay and New England take the term "committee" seriously. Those two teams have seven -- yes, seven -- guys who could be considered in the mix for significant touches. The Buccaneers have Derrick Ward, Earnest Graham and Cadillac Williams. The Patriots have Laurence Maroney, Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk. If someone gets hurt ... you're still looking at a committee. Someone might pan out, but what round do you need to take that chance and hope pays off? These guys should be lottery picks at the end of drafts. Instead, some are taken at spots where you might actually need to use them.
Now, I realize that you already know these guys won't win you a title. But I think it's more than that. Whatever stats people are projecting for these guys, it's probably too generous. I suggest you make sure to avoid that extra projected bump based simply on who someone is, not what he can do for you.
I'm sure I missed a few good ones. Any other "name" players that you're avoiding this year?
You can reach Michael Murillo at email@example.com.
Posted by Andrew Taylor | Sep. 01 at 08:38 AM
Why are people counting on Favre or Cassel as starters and leaving Eli Manning behind? I know the Giants have little at WR, but they are a Super Bowl contender with a QB who is a lock to start 16 games.
Posted by JEFF FOSTER | Sep. 01 at 11:12 AM
so are the ravens, but i dont see anyone drafting Flacco.or Delhomme, and they even have a great wr in smith.
Posted by JEFF FOSTER | Sep. 01 at 11:17 AM
more name players to avoind: Addai, Barber, Bush (always hurt, and not enough footballs to go around on that team), and maybe Warner- gonna run more this year, and he's old and been known to have some injuries, plus last year will be hard to repeat even if it were the exact same circumstaces.
Posted by Miguel Tames | Sep. 01 at 12:20 PM
Drafted Derrick Ward in an early draft, before this 3 headed committee popped up and I'm very worried. I figured Earnest Graham would vulture some TD's, but now Cadillac and his amazing recovery, is gonna cut into it too. What a mess.
Posted by CURT GOLDGRABE | Sep. 02 at 02:09 AM
I'm staying away from Brandon Marshall. If he's not a good teammate or citizen, I don't want him on my team. Frank Gore, Brian Westbrook and Clinton Portis scare me. Reliability is something I highly value, and I worry about their injury history and durability later in the season, especially during fantasy playoffs. I also don't trust Ronnie Brown--too sporadic. And I refuse to draft anything Raider!
Posted by SEAN MCGUIRE | Sep. 07 at 02:15 PM
Eli? His numbers last year were the same as Jason Campbell. Eli is a mediocre NFL QB and a subpar fantasy QB.
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