NFL Players’ Values in the 2014 Fantasy Draft

I’m bored. It may seem incredibly sad that fantasy football consumes so much of my life that I consider doing lame and monotonous activities like reading books in the offseason… and, well, it is sad. But for the few out there that feel my stinging pain of post-season football depression, here comes a little food for thought.

Fantasy resources do, in fact, already exist. One of my favorites happens to be FantasyPros’ 2014 Nfl Fantasy Draft Simulator. This intuitive freeware pits you against several AIs who pick against you in a mock fantasy draft. Within this quick draft already lies an updated player ranking based on several pros’ opinions. I, however, find several of the players to be seriously misrepresented.

Here I make the case for several fantasy players who are currently under or over valued based on the simulator!

Montee Ball – #9 RB – Overvalued

Mister Ball, here, has apparently gained some serious offseason hype. I, myself, think that a player’s hype should be earned. Ball was blasted up last season as the back to lead the pack in Denver. However, he seriously underperformed leading up to the start of the season and ended up in a committee. Eventually, the washed up Knowshon Moreno emerged as the leader and reinvigorated his own career.

This situation allowed Ball to mature into the NFL and gain skills by training behind Moreno, no doubt. It should also be noted that Moreno is now hanging ten in Miami leaving Ball as the clear stud. However, the absence of Moreno is not enough to earn Ball the nod as a top 10 back. As far as I’m concerned, he has not yet shown his ability to be productive within the NFL. We’ll really have to wait until the preseason begins to value where he lies in his pass-happy offense.

To give you an idea of where he’s sitting in the rankings, Ball is sitting atop names like Doug Martin, Zac Stacy and Alfred Morris. Expect him to drop as soon as the hype train leaves town.

Riley Cooper – #38 WR – Undervalued

With the departure of DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper has slid himself up as the second receiver in Philadelphia behind only Jeremy Maclin… or has he? This post-season revealed a strange turn of events on the Eagles’ roster as they signed Cooper to a long-term deal and left Maclin out to dry. It seems that the team has more faith in their lower-rated receiver and his occasional flashes of brilliance on the field.

A high octane offense without Jackson to steal three-quarters of the targets leaves Cooper in a perfect situation to prosper. He has already moved up in the ranks a little, placing just 7 spots behind his teammate Maclin. However, as more people start to clue in on Philly’s passing situation, his stock will surely be on the rise.

Cooper is currently sitting beneath washed-up names like Marques Colston and Dwayne Bowe. Expect that to change.

Alshon Jeffery – #7 WR – Overvalued

Yes, I did just put the word “overvalued” next to Jeffery’s name. Deal with it. This fantastic Chicago receiver was a great waiver wire pickup last year who likely helped several fantasy team owners win their respective leagues. He is absolutely talented and deserves to be a top pick overall in the upcoming draft. So why do I think he’s overvalued?

It should be noted that a lot of Jeffery’s success and top games came from the capable arm of backup quarterback Josh McCown. In fact, Jeffery’s 249 yard, 2 touchdown game against Minnesota was a direct result of McCown. A trend can be seen in Chicago where starting quarterback Jay Cutler seems to toss almost exclusively to his favorite receiver, Brandon Marshall; when Marshall is covered, Cutler then seems to dump the ball on veteran running back, Matt Forte. McCown, on the other hand, seemed more comfortable spreading the targets around and giving Jeffery more of a show. With Cutler, Jeffery seemed to average somewhere in the realm of 3 catches for roughly 80 yards and the occasional touchdown – a stat line almost identical to Rueben Randle (ranked as WR #45).

I do believe Jeffery is an incredible talent and should be taken fairly early in the 2014 fantasy draft. However, he’s beating out guys like Jordy Nelson and Pierre Garcon. That just doesn’t sit well with me.

Bishop Sankey – #33 RB – Undervalued

I might be riding the Sankey hype train a little too hard. However, whether you think he’ll be this year’s Eddie Lacy or not, you have to admit this rookie back is plopped a little low on the list. Admittedly, rookie backs are very unproven when they jump into the NFL and have a history of being drafted too early and flopping (*cough* David Wilson *cough*). However, unless he gets injured, Sankey will be getting all of the carries in a run-friendly offense. Whether he sucks or not, he’ll be putting up relevant fantasy stats.

Let’s first look at Tennessee’s O-line. Contrary to their former back, Chris Johnson’s, constant complaints, the Titans actually had a very solid offensive line during their 2013 campaign. To boot, they added some Free Agency additions like Lewan and Oher. This line should be able to move mountains in front of Sankey. He also seems to be thrust into a starting position as a three-down runner unlike any other rookie back. His only backfield competition is the washed up Shonn Greene.

Don’t jump the gun and draft Sankey as a top 15 (or even top 20) running back. However, he’s sitting under names like Maruice Jones-Drew and Toby Gerhart – that just ain’t right.

There are certainly plenty more names that just seem way out of place so be cautious with your early rankings and predictions – don’t base them too much on the simulators just yet. However, within the next couple of months, names should start moving around drastically. Watch the trends and try to figure out which players you just don’t agree with!
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