Drafting a player based on the past season’s performance is not a bad idea, sometimes. It’s important to evaluate the player based on his current situation for the upcoming season, and be aware of any significant changes since the prior year. It’s like when your favorite restaurant changes managers, that delicious beef stroganoff you loved so much is suddenly under cooked and overpriced. Maybe there was even a hair in it. Maybe Troy Polamalu entered the restaurant business post retirement and it was his hair… I wonder if I’d be able to sell that on e-bay…
Anyways, when you’re spending an early to mid-round draft pick on a player, you want to make sure they have a high floor with at least a little upside. Let’s take a look at some players who have a lower floor than you might expect, and have a good chance be a bust in 2015.
The 6’5” rookie had a breakout year in 2014, but he left a lot of fantasy points on the field. Often times resembling “Hot Hands” from “Little Giants,” he had trouble reeling in the toilet paper roll; ending the season with 73 catches on a whopping 145 targets. Quarterback Cam Newton’s inaccuracy is partially to blame, but Benjamin’s 2014 success was a result of volume. He is going to have to share the wealth after Carolina used a second round pick on another 6’5” receiver in Devin Funchess out of Michigan. Benjamin is no longer the lone wide receiving panther getting all he can eat, and the enormous amount of scraps he devoured in garbage time last year will be scarce. This is a run heavy offense with a solid defense, not exactly the recipe of success for a young wide receiver’s fantasy value.
Murray was one of the top fantasy running backs in 2014; unfortunately his situation in 2015 couldn’t be more different. No longer running behind Dallas’ historically dominant offensive line, he’ll have to create some holes of his own in Philadelphia. It’d be like catching passes from Peyton Manning and then suddenly finding your-self catching passes from Blake Bortles….Note to self, don’t draft Julius Thomas. We’ll talk more about him later. DeMarco was in the last year of his contract in Dallas and the Cowboys got all the juice they could squeeze out of his injury prone 27 year old body, handing him a league high 392 carries. The Eagles, on the other hand, just signed him to a five year contract with $20 million guaranteed.
There is no reason to think he will be utilized anywhere near as much with the Eagles, especially with the talent of Darren Sproles and Ryan Matthews in the mix. They didn’t sign Ryan Matthews to sit on the sidelines and watch DeMarco do his thing. Sure, Matthews is usually on the sidelines anyway due to constant injuries, but if he stays healthy this is one crowded backfield without enough balls to warrant a second round pick on DeMarco Murray.
P.S. Tim Tebow will vulture his touchdowns, you’ve been warned.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and often times the old dog can’t even do the old tricks anymore. That’s what it looked like towards the end of 2014 when Manning found difficulty throwing accurate passes 20 yards downfield. In the last 4 games of the season, Manning finished with only three touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Peyton may begin 2015 strong, but will falter quickly as the aches and bruises add up on his 39 year old body. Expect the Broncos to concentrate more on their running attack in hope of preserving Manning’s health for another Super Bowl run. Currently being drafted in the middle of the 3rd round, you might want to wait and draft his brother much later.
The Jets traded away a fifth round pick to acquire Marshall from the Bears, and New York is the perfect landing spot for him. Just not for your fantasy team. In New York, Marshall will be in close proximity to where “Inside the NFL,” is filmed. A show he infamously appeared on numerous times during the 2014 season. It seems like Marshall is gearing up for a career post football, which makes you wonder if his heart is still in the game. He stated recently that the Jets will be the last team he’ll play for, leading one to believe that retirement is in the not so distant future. A disinterested Brandon Marshall playing with an inaccurate quarterback like Geno Smith simply won’t go well.
The uninspired play of Jay Cutler ignited a spark in Marshall last year, leading to a heated post game melt-down where his shouting could be heard throughout Soldier Field. Imagine what the erratic play of Geno Smith could ignite. I hope there are no smokers on the Jets roster; one match will blow that locker room up immediately. You might even see Brandon Marshall run a post route and spontaneously combust as a football wizzes 10 feet over his head. Drafting Marshall on your fantasy team is playing with fire.
The Redskins offense does not have an identity, last year they didn’t even have a clue. The QB carousel of RG3, Cousins, and McCoy are returning and to make matters worse… never mind, it can’t get much worse if you’re a Redskins fan. This is an offense that will find themselves down in games more often than not, and will be forced to move the ball through the air. Morris is not involved in the passing game at all, last year he only reeled in 17 catches. Furthermore, the Redskins liked what they saw in Florida’s running back Matt jones so much that they used a 3rd rounder on him in this year’s draft. When you’re looking for a RB in the third to fourth round of your draft, pass on Morris and look for a player with some upside.
Similar to watching re-runs of “Living Single” when nothing else is on TV, the Dolphins have reluctantly handed the ball off to Lamar Miller. Granted, Lamar miller is a much better football player than “Living Single” was a TV show. But for whatever reason, the Dolphins seem unsatisfied with Miller’s production on the field. Leading up to the 2013 season, Miller was “Jurassic World” overhyped by the fantasy community. When looking at his final stats you would think he was trying to outrun line-backers in high heels. But in reality, he was in an inexplicable time share with the plodder of all plodders, Daniel Thomas.
Last year the Dolphins wanted Knowshon Moreno to be their guy, but he got injured in Week 1 after carrying the ball 24 times. Lamar Miller was forced into the starting gig but didn’t have 20 carries in a game all year. Whether it be Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams, LaMichael James, or all three; someone will share carries and disappoint Lamar Miller owners. The Dolphins will find a way.
Julius Thomas was living in Denver and catching passes from Peyton Manning, now he will be living in Jacksonville and catching passes from Blake Bortles. Seems like Julius is making poor life decisions, don’t be like Julius. His success in Denver was a product of Peyton Manning and defenses devoting the majority of their attention to the Bronco’s stud wide receivers. Thomas hasn’t been able to play a full season so far in his four year career due a nagging ankle injury that forced him to miss all of 2012. Also, let’s not forget tight end Mercedes Lewis is still on the Jaguar’s roster, he’s a fine pass catching option that certainly won’t do any favors for Thomas’ fantasy value in 2015.
Peyton had a good time throwing the Frisbee to Emanuel “the cocker spanuel” Sanders last year, for a while at least. In his last five games of 2014, Sanders didn’t have over 100 yards in a single game and only scored two touchdowns. He was able to catch 25 balls in that span so his value in PPR leagues is more intriguing; but early talk has been that talented 2014 rookie WR Cody Latimer will be much more involved in the Bronco’s passing attack. Sanders won’t receive the same volume in 2015, don’t draft him as if he will.
All we are is dust in the Brees… Drew Brees is getting older, kids. It seems like just yesterday the Chargers told him to kick rocks to New Orleans, where he won a Super Bowl MVP and fantasy trophies for many. He became an angelic figure and hero in the community, delivering much needed joy to a devastated post Hurricane Katrina city. Unfortunately, Brees, like all of us, is a mere mortal and his stats are beginning to show it. In the past three years, Brees’ passing touchdowns have decreased consecutively from 43 in 2012, to 39 in 2013, and finally down to 33 last year. It’s fair to question at 36 years old if age is getting the better of him, and Jimmy Graham is not leading him to the fountain of youth on his way to Seattle. Graham was Brees’ main weapon in the red zone, and with the belief that the Saints will run the ball more this year, there’s little reason to believe Brees will have resurgence in 2015. Currently being drafted in the fifth round, don’t take him simply based on his name.
I heard that Ed Sheeran wrote his hit song “Thinking out Loud” based on Bruce Arians’ discussions with the media about Andre Ellington. At this time last year, Cardinals head coach, Arians, couldn’t stop expressing his love for Ellington. He was the apple of Arian’s eye, the bell to his cow, and was promised a grandiose 25-30 touches pre game. This pre-season love affair forced Ellington’s draft stock to skyrocket, with the only concern being how the 5’9” and 195 pound RB would hold up with such a large workload. Well, he injured his foot right before Week 1 and played 12 games hurt before being shut down for the year.
Ellington has endured a long list of injuries in his young career, so the Cardinals thought it to be wise to invest in an insurance plan by drafting running back David Johnson out of Northern Iowa. Johnson is a similar player to Ellington, but bigger at 6’1” and 224 pounds. He is a powerful runner with great receiving skills who will lighten Ellington’s workload and most likely take over goal line duties. Hopefully Ellington will enjoy a healthy 2015, but expect a significant decline in touches and fantasy points.