I ran a feature last February, listing the top 10 overdrafted players in 2013 - the players who would be selected too early in fantasy leagues this upcoming summer. I'm going to run another list for 2014:
Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos.
Those expecting Peyton Manning to duplicate or come close to matching his 2013 numbers will be disappointed. Manning had one of the all-time great years, thanks to an outstanding supporting cast. Eric Decker won't be around next year, while Wes Welker is slowing down. Manning will also be a year older, and he'll have to battle all of the tough defenses in the NFC West. There won't be any cupcake NFC East defenses on the slate this time.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks
There's bust potential with Marshawn Lynch, given that he's shouldered 1,000-plus carries over the past three seasons (including the playoffs). His YPC took a dive at the end of the year as well. He could be a threat to score double-digit touchdowns again, but he's someone who will likely be overvalued. Keep in mind that including the playoffs, Lynch had more carries than any other running back last year. You want to stay away from running backs like that.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys.
DeMarco Murray just had the best season of his career, rushing for 1,124 yards and catching 53 passes despite playing just 14 games. Unfortunately, Murray has a dubious injury history and can't be trusted. He'll likely be overdrafted.
Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers.
Ryan Mathews finally stayed healthy and lived up to expectations for a season, but does anyone actually think he'll go through another season unscathed? Mathews has always been injury-prone, so I don't see how that would suddenly change. Throw in the fact that he has four games against the NFC West, and Mathews seems like someone you should stay away from.
Carlos Hyde, RB, TBA.
It's sounding like Carlos Hyde will be the first running back chosen in the 2014 NFL Draft. Rookies are often selected earlier than they should go, and I assume the same will happen to the well-known Hyde. However, Hyde is a typical Big Ten plodder who doesn't offer much as a pass-catcher coming out of the backfield. Will he be on the field on third downs? Probably not.
Andre Johnson, WR, Texans.
Thirty-three is usually the age in which wide receivers tend to slow down. Andre Johnson happens to turn 33 in July. If the Texans spend the first-overall selection on a quarterback, many will expect Johnson's numbers to increase because of the upgraded signal-caller. I'd be more cautious.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles.
DeSean Jackson is coming off the best season of his career, catching 82 balls for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. Unfortunately, he's dissatisfied with his contract, meaning he might skip OTAs. Players who do that usually tend to struggle during the upcoming year, so this is obviously a good time to sell high on Jackson.
Wes Welker, WR, Broncos.
Wes Welker, 33 in May, is no longer the slot receiver he once was. He had a hot start to his 2013 campaign, but caught just two touchdowns after Week 6 (he missed the final three weeks of the year, but he still struggled to find the end zone). Given his concussion issues, I'd recommend staying away from him, even with the expected increase in targets in the wake of Eric Decker's departure.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots.
Rob Gronkowski missed the first six games of the season with injuries. He came back to catch 39 passes for 592 yards and four touchdowns in seven contests, but then tore his ACL and MCL. Reports have indicated that Gronkowski will be ready for the beginning of the 2014 campaign, but he most certainly won't be 100 percent. He's a major injury risk, so unless he falls to you in the fourth-round range, you'll probably want to avoid him.
Jordan Cameron, TE, Browns.
Jordan Cameron caught 80 balls for 917 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013. Those numbers were impressive, and there were two men responsible for that: Norv Turner and Rob Chudzinski. Both are gone. Cameron's stats should decrease as a result.