One of the keys to winning a fantasy football league is the ability to recognize overvalued players and to ignore them. "Slumpers" are NFL players who tend to be drawn in the top 3 at their position and produce like players drafted in double-digit rounds. These players are also known as "Draft Killers", especially if they are first or second round players. The key to winning your fantasy football league is to find players that will produce on a consistent basis. You may be able to offset one Slumper with a Sleeper, but it is better to just avoid the dead weight, if you can see any signs of a potential downfall. There are times that the signs are not present though. A perfect example of this from 2009 was Matt Forte. No one expected a drop of 300 yards and 8 total TDs from his rookie season of 2008. The 2009 Michael Turner drop-off was not a surprise since he logged 376 carries in 2008. Below is the top overvalued fantasy football players by position.
2010 Fantasy Football Slumpers
QB: Matt Schaub (Houston) – As temptation as it is put to Brett Favre in this position, he has not signed on with the Vikings for 2010, even though it is as inevitable as the sun rising. So, he must be omitted. Our choice for QB is Matt Schaub. He has been going as high as the third round in many of our drafts. There are too many quality RBs and WRs available at this point in the draft. Schaub is too fragile to spend a pick on him here. Somehow, he blamed the whole season in 2009, but it is foolhardy to expect that again in 2010. Plus, his success is largely tied to WR Andre Johnson. Johnson enters the 2010 season a bit miffed that the Texans have not torn up his current contract and rewarded him with a huge bonus and top WR cash. This situation tends to distract a player so Schaub will suffer if Johnson's head is in fully in the game.
RB: Steven Jackson (St. Louis) – There is no player in the NFL that I admire than SJax. He is on the worst team in the league and he is the only player that makes the Rams come close to resembling a professional football team. Yet, he does not complain about his contract or the lack of talent that surrounds him. He simply takes the ball and punishes defenders. However, continuously running into 8-man fronts takes its toll. It will remain that way this year since the Rams are breaking in a rookie QB. While Jackson did put up over 1400 yards last year, he did carry the ball 326 times, plus caught 51 passes. That is a lot of action and he only found the end zone on 4 carries. The last time he approached this much activity was 2006. In 2007, his yardage dropped by 33%, his TDs by 62% and his receptions by 42%. You could see the toll it took in 2009 as his final three games yielded a total of 184 yards, 7 receptions and zero TDs. Jackson is still being drawn in the first round. You can not risk your top pick running out of steam in your playoffs and not being able to sniff the end zone.
WR: Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona) – Fitz may be the most talented wide receiver in the NFL. However, he will be catching passes from one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the league; Matt Leinart. Leinart was the full-time starter in 2006 and it was the worst season of Fitzgerald's career (69/946/6). Last year, when Leinart started versus Tennessee, Fitz was targeted 5 times and caught a measly 4 passes for 34 yards and no TDs. With the dual running threat in Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower, I expect similar numbers to 2006 for Fitzgerald, which is definitely not worthy of your first or second draft pick.
TE: Greg Olsen (Chicago) – Olsen enjoyed his best season as a pro last year; Increasing his receptions, yards and TDs (jumping to 8). He has two issues working against him this year. First off, the Bears rented Mike Martz. Martz is known to forget that tight end is an actual off position. Many of his plays require quick reads and throws. While Olsen is one of the most athletic tight ends in the league, even he needs time to get open. The other issue is that Chicago found out that they actually have receivers on their roster. Devin Hester and Johnny Knox turned in remarkable numbers last year compared to their expectations and will thrive in Martz's offense this year. Even better, just when the league thought it had the Bears' passing scheme defended well (see Cutler's interceptions), along came Devin Aromashodu. In Aromashodu's (how fun is it to say "Aromashodu" ?!) last 4 games, he caught 22 passes for 282 yards and 4 TDs. These three receivers remember Martz of the trio he had in St. Louis. Louis. Can anyone name a Rams tight end during the early 2000s?
D: Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steel Curtain was a bit tarnished in 2009. They cave up 306 points and only generated 22 turnovers. You could contend that a lot of that was attributed to the defense missing Troy Polamalu. But, the fact remains that they are getting older and even a bit crotchety. LB LaMarr Woodley has repeatedly voiced his displeasure over his contract. During the 2009 season, they lacked their normal killer instinct; Losing games at the end to Chicago, Cincinnati, Kansas City and Oakland that they normally would not have in the past. Super Bowl hangover? Possibly, but I no longer see this defense as a top-5 defense.
K: Pick one (All) – Any kicker drafted before the last 2 rounds. In reality, the best way to evaluate a kicker is by his Bye week. Take one kicker and one kicker only and then pick one that is available with the latest Bye week so you can forget about that position for as long as possible.