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“Get Off My Lawn”

Inevitably, there are guys who are ranked highly before the draft who are all hype. Accordingly, here is a list of guys who I think are very overrated. I am not necessarily saying these guys will be terrible. Some of them will actually be very good. But I think they are overrated. Meaning it is highly probable that someone in your league will spend too much on them or draft them too high. And I have provided you with the names of some people who will likely produce about the same stats but have less hype.

QB Matt Ryan (ATL): The kid played well last year. He gave hope to the previously-hopeless Atlanta fans. But, if you look closely, his stats were pretty marginal. He threw for 3400 yards and 16 TDs, making him the 15th-ranked fantasy QB. Which means he would not even have been a weekly starter in a standard 12-team league. I think he will be better than that this year. But he will be on the fringe of being a weekly starter. And many experts have him ranked in the top-10 (ahead of guys like QB Matt Cassel and QB Donovan McNabb). Comparable Player:

QB Jay Cutler (CHI): Actually, many experts have him ranked about where I have him: As the 11th or 12th QB. But I had to include him on my list because I simply hate him. He is a mouth-breather with a bad attitude. And now he plays for the Bears. Who have no WRs. Cutler was great when he was throwing to WR Brandon Marshall, WR Eddie Royal, and TE Tony Scheffler. But he cannot replicate those numbers with guys like WR Devin Hester, WR Rashied Davis, and TE Greg Olsen. He will be a starter in most leagues, but do not expect him to post big numbers each week.

RB DeAngelo Williams (CAR): I have seen DeAngelo go very high in some mock drafts. And I simply do not understand why. Yes, I realize he was flat-out amazing in the second half of 2008. But he was very average in the first half. I just do not expect him to pick up where he left off. Beyond that, RB Jonathan Stewart is (allegedly) healthy and ready to carry more of the load. The Panthers do love to run the ball. But they also love to split carries — Even DeShaun Foster used to get a decent amount of touches. Bottom line: Anyone who expects Williams to get close to his from 2008 will be disappointed.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX): I know, I know. By putting both Williams and MJD on this list, it seems like I am just being a contrarian. But hear me out. Everyone just assumes that the Jags are going to give MJD 300 carries in 2009 because they gave him a huge contract and RB Fred Taylor is gone. But I disagree. MJD will continue to split carries with second-year RB Chauncey Washington and/or rookie RB Rashad Jennings (both of whom you have probably never heard of, but they are better than you think). However, MJD is a very effective goal line RB and a great receiver out of the backfield. So he will get his touches. But I do not consider him a top-3 player this year.

UPDATE (07/30/09): It should be noted that recently, I — ahem — moved MJD up my RB rankings to the, um, Top 3. So, I suppose you can disregard that last sentence. Initially, I was not that excited about MJD. But the more I look at the other guys in the Top 5, the more I like him. Maybe its the beer talking. But (for now) I like him at the top of the draft. I would even consider taking him first overall.

RB Darren McFadden (OAK): I am simply not a big fan of McFadden. I know the Raiders like to run the ball. And Al Davis just loves guys like McFadden. But the reality is, he is not a great RB. His legs are too skinny. The only guys who can run upright like he does are RB Adrian Peterson and Eric Dickerson. Sorry, but McFadden is not either one of those guys. Plus, QB Jamarcus Russell is entering bust territory. Which does not help his cause. Beyond that, I think RB Michael Bush is a threat to steal most of the goal line carries, if not some other carries.

WR Antonio Bryant (TB): Bryant has the talent, but I am not sure if he will produce the same numbers as last year. One issue is the QB situation in Tampa. Basically, they are just not that good. And I have a feeling they will have more than one starter during the year. Which is never good for a WR. I think Bryant will have a decent season, but he will not approach last year’s totals.

WR Chad Ochocinco (CIN): Is this guy serious? He has become a caricature of himself, it seems. He has talent, no doubt. And he has QB Carson Palmer back this year. Which will obviously help. I just think this guy is way too distracted to perform at a high level. It would not surprise me, however, if he did come back and play well. I just think the risk is too high. Plus, I think WR Chris Henry is primed to blow up. Which will provide Palmer with another (less dramatic) target.

WR Devin Hester (CHI): Hester is still learning the WR position. Which is not a good thing. He is ultra-quick and super-fast. But those two qualities do not a receiver make. He will get 50 or 60 catches, and probably catch a few bombs from QB Jay Cutler for touchdowns. But he will also have a few games where he registers zero catches and zero yards. Because you have to get open to get passes thrown your way.

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