Jay Clemons, the 2008 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year (Fantasy Sports Writers Association), breaks down 10 "overrated" assets for the 2014 NFL campaign -- relative to their prescribed Average Draft Position values (citing the updated rankings from Fantasy Football Calculator). This gallery isn't a warning shot to avoid these players in standard-scoring drafts altogether ... we're simply saying they won't live up to their current ADP values by season's end. And if we're wrong, we'll own up to it -- as always. (Photos: Steve Mitchell/Steven Bisig/DonMcPeak-USA TODAY Sports)
RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
ADP VALUE: 10 ... REASONS FOR WORRY: 1) Lynch has averaged 1,592 total yards and 13 TDs over the last three seasons, with yearly tallies of 329 touches. That absurd workload eventually catches up to backs in their late 20s. 2) One prime example of that: Heading into his age-28 season (2007), the Chiefs' Larry Johnson had just completed back-to-back campaigns of 2,000 total yards and 40 total touchdowns. After that, he would never accrue more than 800 total yards or five TDs in a season. 3) Tailbacks Christine Michael and Robert Turbin are seemingly poised for substantial carries, and that transition may stealthily take shape this year. 4) Let's be clear here: Snagging Lynch early still makes sense, on paper; but among the likely locks for Round 1, Skittles is the biggest risk of the bunch.
RB Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals
ADP VALUE: 29 ... REASONS FOR WORRY: 1) Without a doubt, Ellington (1,023 total yards, four TDs as a rookie) has tangible upside with the Cardinals. But right now, he's a stronger asset for Points Per Reception leagues, after collecting four-plus targets eight times last season. 2) From Weeks 8-17, spanning eight games, Ellington only eclipsed the star threshold of 90 total yards and/or one touchdown just three times. 3) Citing FFC's ADP rankings, we would easily prefer C.J. Spiller, Rashad Jennings, Reggie Bush, Frank Gore and Ryan Mathews over Ellington at 29. 4) Talented backup Stepfan Taylor, also a second-season player, is two years younger than the 25-year-old Ellington.
TE Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
ADP VALUE: 30 ... REASON FOR WORRY: The oft-injured Gronkowski has only played in 18 of 32 regular-season games over the last two seasons. That's a lot of outings missed for a Round 3 pick in 12-team leagues. In other words, we could never dismiss the production of a guy who's notched 12 touchdwons in his last 13 games; but we also cannot justify that leap of faith -- in terms of Gronk logging 14-plus games in 2014 -- until Round 5.
RB Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville Jaguars
ADP VALUE: 37 ... REASONS FOR WORRY: 1) A recent ESPN report says the Jaguars intend to give Gerhart -- a free-agent acquisition -- approximately 15-18 touches per game, putting him on track for roughly 280 by season's end. If that estimate holds true, Gerhart would need at least eight TDs to justify an early Round 4 selection. 2) Looking at the ADP values, I would favor Ryan Mathews (1,444 total yards, seven TDs last year), Chris Johnson (six straight seasons of 1,400 total yards) and even rookie Bishop Sankey over Gerhart. 3) Jacksonville, which finished 31st in team rushing yards last year (1,260 yards), remains a work-in-progress along the offensive line.
WR Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers
ADP VALUE: 49 ... REASONS FOR WORRY: 1) Counting the NFL playoffs, Crabtree posted only one game of six or more receptions last season. Plus, he only crossed the star threshold of 90 yards and/or one touchdown three times. 2) The loaded 49ers have their deepest array of playmakers in the Jim Harbaugh era, including tight end Vernon Davis, running backs Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde, Marcus Lattimore and receivers Anquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson, Brandon Lloyd and, of course, Crabtree. 3) Citing the ADP values, Percy Harvin, Michael Floyd, T.Y. Hilton, Torrey Smith and Mike Wallace have higher ceilings -- and the likelihood of more targets opportunities -- than Crabtree as an early Round 5 pick.
Kelley L Cox
RB Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins
ADP VALUE: 66 ... REASONS FOR WORRY: 1) We like Miller (879 total yards, two TDs last year) as a change-of-pace back, but not over Knowshon Moreno (ADP value: 116) in the Dolphins' offense. Moreno (13 TDs with Denver last year) stands as the superior asset in the red zone, within the passing game (seven outings of five-plus targets in 2013) and the better bet for 1,300 total yards/eight TDs this season. 2) Even with 212 touches last year, Miller only cleared 90 total yards twice and four-plus catches three times.
RB Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens
ADP VALUE: 86 ... REASONS FOR WORRY: 1) On the surface, No. 86 (or early Round 8) doesn't seem too steep for Pierce, given his free path to fantasy stardom for Weeks 1 and 2 (Ray Rice suspension). 2) Here's a good news/bad news proposition: Of his two games of 20-plus touches last year, Pierce scored one touchdown each time. However, he averaged only 64 total yards per outing. 3) Pierce isn't a lock for mass touches during the Rice suspension, with rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro lurking in the shadows. Last weekend, the Coastal Carolina product racked up 69 total yards and one TD.
QB Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
ADP VALUE: 89 ... REASONS FOR WORRY: 1) In previous seasons, late Round 7/early Round 8 would have been acceptable value for Romo, who holds three-year averages of 4,305 yards passing and 30 touchdowns. But at age 34 and coming off significant back surgery (January), it's ambitious to think he'll match those numbers in 2014. 2) The Cowboys' rushing attack (led by DeMarco Murray) has seemingly caught up with the passing game, meaning that Romo isn't a good bet for 600 passes -- unless the wretched Dallas defense forces that issue. 3) Here's our main gripe with Romo at 89: Robert Griffin III (ADP: 101), Colin Kaepernick (105), Philip Rivers (108), Russell Wilson (112) and Andy Dalton (126) possess higher fantasy ceilings than Romo. If you want him that badly ... take the plausible chance of waiting until Round 10.
D/ST Seattle Seahawks
ADP VALUE: 93 ... REASONS FOR MILD CONCERN: 1) Obviously, the Seahawks have one of the NFL's best defenses, holding the opposition to just 273 total yards per game during the regular season ... and then vaulting the franchise to a shockingly easy Super Bowl win over Denver. But in the fantasy realm, Seattle finished fifth in D/ST points last season -- way behind Kansas City and St. Louis. 2) The Seahawks ranked just 10th in defensive touchdowns last year (four). 3) Instead of splurging for Seattle late in Round 8 ... why not wait for Kansas City, St. Louis, San Francisco, Carolina or New England anytime after Round 12? The mantra: Good drafting is ALWAYS about getting great value with each pick.
QB Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns
ADP VALUE: 141 ... REASONS FOR WORRY: 1) I fully understand the concept of taking a latter-round flier on Manziel -- just in case his prolific college numbers (nearly 10,000 total yards, 93 TDs at Texas A&M from 2012-13) easily convert to the NFL level. But man, that's an amazing leap of faith in Round 12, especially with Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, Ryan Tannehill and Eli Manning still sitting on the proverbial ADP board. 2) The Browns have committed to Brian Hoyer as the opening-day starter. There's a good chance he'll keep that job for at least three games. 3) Even if Manziel had been tabbed for a Week 1 start against the Steelers (horrible matchup for an NFL debut), how dangerous could he possibly be without Josh Gordon (year-long suspension) in the lineup?