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Where the bargains and busts are based on current ADP compared to the Athlon 280
Athlon Sports has come up with plenty of value players, overvalued players and top rookies in our Best Bets story, but here we highlight a few of them. Here are a number of players we like with good values, some we like that currently are overvalued and some we think our just valued way too high for the 2011 season.
The number in parenthesis is the player’s current MyFantasyLeague.com ADP based on 378 drafts in 12-team, PPR leagues. After their current ADP is their position in the Athlon Top 280 Rankings.
Organized alphabetically by position.
VALUES — PLAYERS WE HAVE RANKED AHEAD OF WHERE THEIR CURRENT ADP HAS THEM.
Sam Bradford, QB, STL (83) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 76
Josh McDaniels made Kyle Orton a fantasy beast through the first half of last season. What can he do with a No. 1 pick and upgraded receiver group?
Anthony Dixon, RB, SF (220) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 132
Even when Frank Gore is healthy, Dixon could see some goal line work. He’ll be more valuable after Gore’s inevitable injury. Rookie Kendall Hunter (161) is also in the mix. Keep an eye on this handcuff as camp goes along.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEA (71) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 45
It seems odd to say given the blocking issues of last year, but Lynch might play behind the best O-line of his career in 2011.
Isaac Redman, RB, PIT (303) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 153
Rashard Mendenhall was very good last year, especially late. He also absorbed plenty of hits. Should he go down, Redman will be in line for a lot of work.
Javon Ringer, RB, TEN (209) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 115
If Chris Johnson stays healthy once again, Ringer is a nonentity. Luck figures to put Johnson down at some point, though. Rookie Jamie Harper (328) could easily slide into the role as CJ’s handcuff, so keep an eye on both of these backs, particularly if CJ's holdout extends deep into the preseason.
Ben Tate, RB, HOU (177) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 177
Anyone starting a draft with Arian Foster must grab the guy who would have battled him for the job last year. Tate’s speed-size combo is nice.
Beanie Wells, RB, ARI (91) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 75
Last year makes it easy to forget that Wells averaged 4.5 yards per carry as a rookie. Rookie Ryan Williams (94) will need time to develop into the No. 1 back, giving Wells a shot.
Danario Alexander, WR, STL (168) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 161
We know the oft-injured Alexander can’t be counted on for a full season. Most of us can find lineup room for a few games of a high-ceiling WR in a needy offense, though.
Emmanuel Arceneaux, WR, MIN (no ADP) Athlon Top 280 Rank: NR
Arceneaux brings a good speed-size combo with him from the CFL, where he tallied 1,972 yards and 12 TDs over the past two seasons. The signings of Devin Aromashodu (361) and Michael Jenkins (no ADP) might push him out, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Ramses Barden, WR, NYG (no ADP) Athlon Top 280 Rank: NR
The GM called Barden out this spring as a guy who must “step up.” If he does, he’ll be among the league’s largest targets. If he doesn’t, oh well. Also keep an eye on Victor Cruz (no ADP) in New York. Someone will have to replace the targets the recently departed Steve Smith left when he moved over to Philadelphia.
Deion Branch, WR, NE (121) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 107
His totals from 11 games with the Pats last year project to 70-1,030-7 over a full season. It would take less than that to make Branch a solid WR3. Chad Ochocinco might dip into the already dilluted target pool that is the Patriots.
Dezmon Briscoe, WR, TB (333) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 277
As positive as the Arrelious Benn (146) reports have been, there’s always a chance that things could go wrong. Briscoe would stand to benefit most if that came about.
Riley Cooper, WR, PHI (no ADP) Athlon Top 280 Rank: NR
Being 6'3" and 222 pounds as a receiver makes you noteworthy as soon as you make a roster. Cooper could grab a few TDs as a red zone target. The addition of Steve Smith may hurt Cooper's 2011 potential.
Marcus Easley, WR, BUF (287) Athlon Top 280 Rank: NR
Easley drew strong reviews with his speed last year and has been deemed a “beast” by teammate Steve Johnson. Another deep threat never hurts.
Andy Fantuz, WR, CHI (320) Athlon Top 280 Rank: NR
Most think the Bears need to add a big WR. Perhaps they already have their guy. The 6'4" Fantuz caught 87 balls for 1,380 yards in the CFL last year. Roy Williams (232) signing with Chicago might be the big receiver Mike Martz, already familiar with Williams when they were in Detroit together, was looking for. But like, Arceneaux, Fantuz is another CFL vet to keep an eye on.
Jacoby Ford, WR, OAK (105) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 92
Ford showed he was more than a speed guy through increased use late last year. Now he could be the No. 1 under an offensive coach who believes in him strongly.
David Gettis, WR, CAR (275) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 209
His big game came out of nowhere last year, but that was the book on him in college, too. Perhaps Cam Newton can hit him deep a bit more often. The addition of Legedu Naanne may not be good news for Gettis, however.
Jason Hill, WR, JAC (254) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 248
Potential has far outweighed production so far, but Hill might never have enjoyed a better opportunity than this year. What do you lose in a late-round flier for a player that is listed as a starter?
Jacoby Jones, WR, HOU (217) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 190
Jones saw more targets, but the big plays and TDs didn’t follow. That just lowers the risk on a 2011 bet.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, PIT (133) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 123
Hines Ward isn’t dead just yet, but he’s a lot closer to it than most NFL wideouts. Sanders will only eat further into his work as long as the foot is healed.
Jordan Shipley, WR, CIN (174) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 122
As a rookie, Shipley was clearly the most reliable wideout for Carson Palmer. He could present surprise PPR value.
Brandon Tate, WR, NE (208) Athlon Top 280 Rank: NR
So he never approached the ceiling envisioned after the Randy Moss trade. It was Tate’s first full season. Let’s give the speedster another chance. Also take into account he is a return man for the Patriots and still their only deep threat with experience.
Golden Tate, WR, SEA (210) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 169
Pete Carroll has talked several times about Tate as a candidate for a big step forward in 2011. The big-play ability could translate that step to fantasy. He adds value in leagues with return yard points, too.
Blair White, WR, IND (274) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 191
Who knows how much more Austin Collie’s head can take? If another shot knocks him out this season, we already know White can step in.
Jared Cook, TE, TEN (142) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 126
When the new OC’s biggest worry is that he’ll use a player “too much,” a potential breakout is nigh.
Ed Dickson, TE, BAL (251) Athlon Top 280 Rank: NR
Although we are a little bit wary, Baltimore seems antsy to find Dickson more work. He could be a TD-maker.
Evan Moore, TE, CLE (no ADP) Athlon Top 280 Rank: NR
Cleveland needs reliable pass-catchers. Moore has looked the part in limited duty. He could surprise if Ben Watson’s injury propensity reappears.
PLAYERS WE LIKE ... BUT THEIR CURRENT ADP IS A LITTLE HIGHER COMPARED TO OUR TOP 280 BOARD.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, BUF (138) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 146
Marcell Dareus won’t suddenly turn the defense around. That’ll mean plenty more playing from behind and numbers for a QB starting the whole year.
Matthew Stafford, QB, DET (86) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 89
There’s plenty of fantasy love for Stafford, but you won’t often find him drafted to start. A healthy season should put him well into the starter category.
Montario Hardesty, RB, CLE (124) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 130
The coach who drafted him is gone, but the GM and team president aren’t. At the least, a healthy Hardesty will share the load and should be drafted after Round 10. The key word is health - something Hardesty has still not attained during training camp.
Davone Bess, WR, MIA (106) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 118
Bess ranked 19th in the league in WR targets last year and finished among the position’s top 25 in PPR. There’s room for a possession guy at WR4.
Eric Decker, WR, DEN (203) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 208
Injury kept Decker from making an impact as a rookie, but he was about as reliable of a receiver as college football had before that. Although not working under a pass-happy coach, Decker and Eddie Royal may find themselves battling for the No. 2 spot in an offense that doesn't go to the tight end. So whichever player wins the battle may be worth a shot.
Mario Manningham, WR, NYG (75) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 90
Steve Smith is gone, and Manningham produced even before his injury last year. The deep threat won’t go away. His ranking will shoot up very soon.
Mike Thomas, WR, JAC (84) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 91
Perhaps if he weren’t so short, Thomas wouldn’t be overlooked so often. One of the NFL’s most reliable sets of hands is the No. 1 wideout.
Jermaine Gresham, TE, CIN (136) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 141
Gresham gets buried at a deep position, but the Bengals head into 2011 with a very young offense and no clear No. 1. Why not the athletic TE?
Dustin Keller, TE, NYJ (130) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 140
The team kept going to Keller even after his early-season fantasy value petered out. If Mark Sanchez grows, Keller’s catch rate and other stats should, too. The addition of Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason doesn't give off positive vibes that Keller will be high in the progression tree.
Tony Moeaki, TE, KC (154) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 188
All that was missing from his rookie season was more opportunities. A few more targets, particularly in the red zone, would propel a guy drafted as a low backup.
OVERVALUED — PLAYERS WHO WE HAVE RANKED LOWER THAN THEIR CURRENT ADP.
Josh Freeman, QB, TB (70) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 87
Outside of a five-TD blowup against the Seahawks last year, Freeman never topped two scores in a game. That’s not fantasy-starter material.
Michael Vick, QB, PHI (15) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 26
They’re not going to tame his running style, and the hits will pile up as he gets older. It’s hard to imagine Vick playing better than he did last year.
Peyton Hillis, RB, CLE (24) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 42
Fantasy folks are split on Hillis in 2011. The stubborn ones who draft him in Round 2 could end up with week-to-week lineup frustration.
C.J. Spiller, RB, BUF (76) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 85
The thinking goes: He was drafted in the top 10 for a reason. Head coach Chan Gailey admits the folly. Spiller has to be better, but fantasy value will be limited.
Pierre Garçon, WR, IND (69) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 78
Any pass-catcher is valuable with Peyton Manning at the controls. What happens to Garçon if Austin Collie and Dallas Clark stick around, though?
Percy Harvin, WR, MIN (60) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 73
Folks aren’t going wild for Harvin, but one has to wonder if he can deliver consistent enough receptions or score enough to be a fantasy starter. And does he have to assume the role of No. 1 receiver as opposed to being a moveable piece?
Brandon Lloyd, WR, DEN (50) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 67
Lloyd has had one good year in eight NFL seasons, and now the architect of that campaign is gone. It’s tough to count on a repeat.
Robert Meachem, WR, NO (143) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 192
He hasn’t delivered on first-round promise yet, but Meachem heads into a contract year with an ankle he says feels better than it has in a while.
Jimmy Graham, TE, NO (67) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 100
Graham collected four TDs over the final three games last year and played well enough to get Jeremy Shockey booted. He could be the Saints’ top red zone option, but middle of Round 5 is way too soon.
PLAYERS WE'RE NOT PARTICULARLY WILD ABOUT BUT THEIR CURRENT ADP MAKES THEM A GOOD VALUE COMPARED TO OUR BIG BOARD.
Cedric Benson, RB, CIN (65) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 61
A guy like Benson has to score more than seven TDs. Last year was the first time he reached that number or started more than 13 games.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, NE (81) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 64
BJGE was the first Patriots RB since 2004 to draw 50 percent of the team’s carries in a season. Drafting two RBs indicates that history won’t repeat.
James Starks, RB, GB (88) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 71
Packers coaches have spoken highly of him, but Starks has yet to show any reason to think he’s better than Ryan Grant. Don’t jump before Round 9.
Ryan Torain, RB, WAS (97) Athlon Top 280 Rank: 93
Confused fantasy owners will lean toward the most known entity. Roy Helu brings more talent than Torain, though, and probably fewer injuries.
— Analysis by Matt Schauf
More Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets and Rankings:
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 280
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 240 w/ IDPs
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight Ends
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Kickers
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defense/Special Teams