One night at the bar in January, forum member Body Burner asked me to name a player who will be drafted too early in fantasy leagues this upcoming summer. I've come up with 10 players.
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers.
Anyone who owned Cam Newton last year knows how hot he was down the stretch. Strong finishes usually carry over, but there are two issues with Newton's fantasy outlook: First, offensive coordinator Rod Chudzinski is gone. Chudzinski was instrumental in Newton's development, so being under a new play-caller could hurt. Second, Mike Tolbert handled most of the touches at the goal line in late December. Newton's rushing scores could be down as a consequence.
Robert Griffin, QB, Redskins.
Robert Griffin was initially expected to be out for the first half of the season. Teammate DeAngelo Hall even said that he didn't expect Griffin to be ready for the opener. There has been more optimism lately. Griffin could be prepared to play in September, but if he is, how soon until he gets hurt again? He's so brittle that he can't be counted on to play a full slate of games.
Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins.
Alfred Morris came out of nowhere last year, rushing for 1,610 yards in his rookie campaign. There's no doubt that Morris is talented, but some of his success has to be attributed to teams paying too much attention to Robert Griffin. That's the key - will Griffin be ready for the start of the season? There are mixed reports. If not, Morris won't be a productive.
David Wilson, RB, Giants.
David Wilson was trending on Twitter the day Ahmad Bradshaw was cut. People were projecting big things for Wilson, who had that monstrous game against the Saints, tallying 327 all-purpose yards. However, Tom Coughlin doesn't trust Wilson on third downs. He'll also be splitting carries with Andre Brown, who will handle most of the work at the goal line. Unless Brown goes down, Wilson's upside will be limited.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles.
Chip Kelly is expected to use DeSean Jackson like De'Anthony Thomas at Oregon. Thomas had 1,146 yards from scrimmage and 18 touchdowns in 2012. That sounds great, but Jackson will likely get hurt yet again. He's too brittle to last a full season in the NFL.
Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers.
Vincent Jackson was much better than I anticipated last year, but Josh Freeman's immense struggles down the stretch would worry me if I drafted the former Charger this upcoming summer. Jackson scored just one touchdown after Week 11.
Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts.
Reggie Wayne logged 102 receptions last year. Andrew Luck naturally locked in on Wayne early, but once he gained more experience, he started spreading the ball around. The proof is in the numbers. In the first 12 weeks of the season, Wayne averaged 7.6 catches per contest. That figure fell to 4.4 from Week 13 on. Wayne will be 35 next November, so his production could continue to drop off.
Greg Jennings, WR, TBA.
It's pretty apparent that Greg Jennings won't be returning to Green Bay. He'll be the No. 1 wideout in Miami or wherever he goes, but he'll be catching passes from someone not named Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers for the first time in his career. I think we're going to find out that Jennings has been overrated this whole time. His durability is highly questionable as well.
Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon, WRs, Jaguars.
The Jaguars have a new general manager, but he seems even worse than the old one. He's been constantly harping about giving Blaine Gabbert another shot in 2013. If this is all a smokescreen, that's great. If not, well, David Caldwell will be unemployed soon. Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon owners better hope that Caldwell is lying; otherwise, they won't have very good 2013 campaigns.