Ten players I hate more than you
“Hate” seems like a strong word to use in a fantasy column. Please keep in mind that when we say we hate a player, we’re saying that we hate the projected stats associated with that player, relative to his ADP. The list below includes a few players I’d pay to watch on Sunday, but won’t pay for at the draft table. Like this guy, for instance …
Steven Jackson: The Rams offense scored 16 touchdowns last year, and Jackson was as good as he (or anyone) could possibly be. In fact, his season was heroic. But the team context here kills his value: rookie quarterback, sketchy offensive line, terrible receiving corps. This is not the setup of a first-round fantasy pick. The Rams simply don’t visit the end zone enough. Jackson was the No. 12 per-game scorer at his position last year; if he can repeat, that would be spectacular. Draft accordingly.
Pierre Thomas(notes): It’s time to accept the fact that maybe Sean Payton does not wish to employ Thomas in a way that satisfies fantasy owners. If Mike [profane] Bell can carve out a goal-line role for the Saints, then Lynell Hamilton(notes) certainly can. PT is a fun player, a guy to root for. But if you’re expecting him to absorb Bell’s 172 carries, you’ll be disappointed.
Kevin Kolb(notes): Once again, I like the player and hate the price. I’ve actually ranked Kolb 13th among the quarterbacks, but I never get him in drafts, because there’s always a Kolb fetishist (usually Evans). Someone always thinks Kolb is going to be the next Aaron Rodgers(notes), as if there has to be a next A-Rod. It’s easy to like the skill players surrounding Kolb, but he’s far from a proven commodity. And he’s in an unforgiving environment, replacing an excellent QB. And whenever I think of Kolb, I think of the Sharper pick-six. Ick.
Joseph Addai(notes): He’s coming off consecutive sub-4.0 YPC seasons, but the 13 touchdowns saved his fantasy value in ’09. Addai is in the final year of his contract, though, and the Colts didn’t draft Donald Brown(notes) in the first round just because they wanted a handcuff. As Brown gets more involved in the offense, Addai’s scoring potential naturally declines.
Pittsburgh Steelers: I’ve stated my case on the Roethlisberger suspension fallout a few times (here and here). Pittsburgh’s offense will be without Ben for at least the first four weeks, then they’re on a bye in Week 5. This team faces a brutal schedule in the most critical weeks of the fantasy season, too. In Weeks 13-15, they get the Ravens, Bengals and Jets, three of last year’s top six defenses.
Kellen Winslow(notes): In many ways, Winslow is like the Steven Jackson of tight ends. He’s phenomenally talented, often injured, and his team context is horrible. With so many solid options at TE this year, why invest in this offense?
Matt Leinart(notes): OK, so nobody actually ranked Leinart particularly high, and his average draft position is nothing special. But secretly, you must all love him. That’s the only conclusion to be drawn from the high ADPs on Larry Fitzgerald(notes) (11.8), Beanie Wells(notes) (23.9) and Steve Breaston(notes) (83.8). If you don’t have much faith in Leinart – and for the record, I don’t – then you can’t reasonably be bullish on any of the Cards’ skill players, running backs included.
Matt Forte(notes): Just … ick. Forte will play in a pass-first scheme, he’ll run behind a poor offensive line, and he’ll share the workload with Chester Taylor(notes). And he was a horrible red zone runner last season. Yes, he proved capable of catching lots of Kyle Orton(notes) dump-offs in 2008, but that doesn’t mean Mike Martz will deploy him like the 1999 version of Marshall Faulk.
Clinton Portis(notes): Washington has put together an amazing collection of retro running backs. Let’s hope they sign Edgerrin James(notes) and Priest Holmes(notes), so they can complete the set. I’m just going to pass on the Mike Shanahan Theater of Pain this season. Portis is all yours. You can have LJ and Parker, too.
Owen Daniels(notes): Tight end is simply a loaded position, and Daniels is no lock to be ready for Week 1. I’m not prepared to draft him as if the knee is fully rebuilt. If Daniels is next on the draft board, my preference is to wait for John Carlson(notes) or Zach Miller.