20. Torrey Smith, Wide Receiver, Baltimore Ravens
Entering into 2013 drafts, Smith’s fantasy value climbed due to the fact that Ravens had just won the Super Bowl, and fellow receiver, Anquan Boldin left the team. Thinking that Smith would be the primary target of Joe Flacco, caused him to be drafted higher than he rewarded last year.
The inconsistency of Flacco combined with defenses blanketing Smith, left fantasy owners disappointed more often than not in 2013. The yards were there, as he broke the 1,000 mark, but the lack of touchdown passes thrown by Flacco last year will likely not change much, which makes Smith no more than a WR3 going into 2014.
19. Pierre Thomas, Running Back, New Orleans Saints
What fantasy owners of Thomas received in 2013 was a mixed bag of highs and lows. Thomas, who will be turning the big “30” in 2014, ended the year ranked 23rd among the running backs, averaging 3.7 yards per carry, his second lowest since 2010. Thomas has a bumpy road ahead, and as he shows signs of slowing, the Saints will surely turn to their more youthful alternatives, Mark Ingram, and rookie Khiry Robinson more in 2014. With Thomas’ younger counterparts in the picture and the Saints remaining a pass-heavy team, his fantasy value will continue to decline next season.
18. Antonio Gates, Tight End, San Diego Chargers
Gates, who posted an all-time low touchdown count of four in 2013, will be turning 34 prior to the 2014 regular NFL season. Impressively, he ranked ninth among tight ends for 2013, which was three notches higher than his previous year.
However, it’s the lack of touchdowns that I am concerned about entering into the 2014 fantasy season, combined with competition from younger tight end, Ladarius Green, who scored just one less touchdown, but only played nine of the regular season games.
Sometimes you have to cash out on an older, favorite player, who could be on the verge of a downswing, and in 2014, Gates fantasy value could easily take a tumble.
17. E.J. Manuel, Quarterback, Buffalo Bills
Manuel, a rookie quarterback with an overall disappointing career start finished the season ranking 29th. With only completing 10 of the 16 regular season games in 2013, Manuel fell victim to the injury bug, missing crucial time which could have built up his 2013 statistics. Manuel, who was probably dumped to waivers quite early last year, needs a bunch of polishing before he can be considered a fantasy option. The multiple injuries he endured, heavily impact his fantasy value going into 2014. Manuel needs to earn our trust before we trust him on our fantasy teams.
16. Frank Gore, Running Back, San Francisco 49ers
While Gore was part of a dynamic team who almost made it to Super Bowl again in 2014, he was run pretty hard in 2013. Gore who turns the wrong side of 30, this spring, will face fresh new competition with Marcus Lattimore hitting the scene, healthy and ready to roll in 2014. Unfortunately for Gore, if he suffers a setback, or the 49ers just plan to utilize their younger option in Lattimore, his fantasy value could have its limitations in 2014. Sell high on Gore and explore other RB2 options in the 2014 fantasy drafts.
15. Chris Johnson, Running Back, Tennessee Titans
Johnson’s days as a Titans running back appear to be numbered, as the Titans may not be prepared to pay Johnson what he thinks he is worth in 2014.
Nevertheless, wherever he plays in 2014, you must take into account that long gone is 2009 when he rushed for over 2,000 yards and scored 14 touchdowns.
He’s managed to break the 1,000 yard mark each year since, but his touchdowns have been scarce, making him an unreliable and overall disappointing fantasy option the past few seasons.
Johnson will continue to have his up and down weeks in 2014 and if he remains with the Titans, he’ll compete for touches with fellow back, Shonn Greene, to whom he loses the goal line carries. Draft Johnson with caution in 2014.
14. Marques Colston, Wide Receiver, New Orleans Saints
Colston is another example of a wide receiver drafted by many way too high in 2013 fantasy drafts. He really tested his owners’ patience in Weeks 5 through 9 where he scrounged up only 44 receiving yards on six receptions. So much for being the No. 1 wide receiver to Drew Brees who throws the ball tons, as some Colston owners were frustrated enough that they released him to the waiver wires.
The zinger after dropping him was Colston actually picked up the slack quite exceptionally during the last weeks of the 2013 fantasy season. However overall, his fantasy value took a big dump. With tight end, Jimmy Graham, the apple of Brees’ eye, Colston takes a back seat, making him a risky pick, who will disappoint fantasy drafters yet again in 2014.
13. T.Y. Hilton, Wide Receiver, Indianapolis Colts
Hilton fantasy owners, who had high expectations for him in 2013, were stuck with a boom or bust player most of the year. The 19th ranking wide receiver only had five touchdowns in 2013 and those came from two games.
Unfortunately for Hilton, he’ll have to fight for the attention of Andrew Luck, amongst a large pool of receiving talent in 2014, including the return of the aging, but No. 1 Colts receiver, Reggie Wayne. The often disappointing, inconsistent fantasy points Hilton rewarded should continue in like form in 2014, so draft him as a flex player at best for your fantasy roster.
12. Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver, Jacksonville Jaguars
People who drafted Blackmon knowing they would have to wait four weeks to start him, due to his suspension for violation of the NFL substance abuse policy, didn’t get the bargain they were hoping for in 2013.
Blackmon, in the four games he played in 2013, performed at a top wide receiver level.
Unfortunately for Blackmon owners, his season was cut short in Week 8 for once again violating the same policy. Can Blackmon stay out of trouble in 2014, or will he disappoint fantasy owners once again? To be safe, I would look for better options.
11. Andy Dalton, Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals
I’ll bet if you were asked with quarterback ranked fifth in fantasy points for 2013, you would not guess that it was Dalton. Surprisingly he ranked higher than his late round draft pick as your backup quarterback warranted. Dalton had his best year since 2011, but I do not think he will be as fortunate in 2014.
His interceptions at 20 for the year, were the fourth highest for quarterbacks, and he had multiple turnovers in the post season playoff games. People targeting Dalton as their starter, in 2014 should think twice, because I believe his fluky ranking becomes an accomplishment of the past. Draft Dalton as an effective backup, not your main guy in 2014.
10. Arian Foster, Running Back, Houston Texans
Foster, who has been a coveted fantasy stud pick in seasons past, left his owners empty-handed and disheartened as he ended his 2013 season early to undergo a back surgery. With his elite days appearing in the rear view mirror, perhaps it’s time to lower expectations for Foster. If you spend a first round draft pick on him in 2014, you may be disappointed if you expect fantasy numbers to resemble those of years ago when over his last three complete seasons he averaged 1,421 rush yards and over 13 touchdowns per game. Pick Foster up as an RB2 or flex with potential upside in 2014.
9. Victor Cruz, Wide Receiver, New York Giants
A major disappointment in 2013 for fantasy drafters was Cruz. Ranking 29th among wide receivers with only four touchdowns was not worth the third or fourth round draft pick which was spent on adding Cruz to your fantasy team.
While his lackluster season was not entirely his fault due to how ineffectively his quarterback, Eli Manning played, it is still difficult to trust that Cruz will return to his WR1 status he has held in past years. Until Manning gets his act together, Cruz fantasy numbers will be in jeopardy, devaluing him in 2014 fantasy drafts.
8. Maurice Jones-Drew, Running Back, Jacksonville Jaguars
Jones-Drew is another running back who may be hitting the free agency in 2014. At nearly 29 years of age, he only rushed for 100 yards plus once in 2013 and had a season low 3.4 yards per carry. Jones-Drew fantasy owners who spent a second round pick on him this year, didn’t get the explosive guy they were hoping for upon return cleared of his 2012 injuries. As Jones-Drew slows down, his fantasy value will fall in stride. He managed to rank 20th among running backs, last year, but don’t be surprised to watch him slip further in the rankings come the 2014 fantasy season.
7. Geno Smith, Quarterback, New York Jets
Let’s just say that the 2013 rookie quarterbacks were light years behind their prodigy rookies of 2012. Smith is a prime example of a quarterback who needs to improve in so many ways to even become a fantasy option at some point in 2014.
Finishing 20th among quarterbacks in 2013 wasn’t horrible, and Smith did stay healthy all season, which factors into his favor.
However, at the most, he may warrant as a backup quarterback in a pinch, but if you expect much more out of Smith in 2014, you will be disappointed. Sit back and observe, but refrain from drafting.
6. Trent Richardson, Running Back, Indianapolis Colts
What on earth happened to Richardson in 2013? That is what fantasy drafters are dying to know. Richardson plummeted from his ninth place ranking in his rookie year to the 34th ranked running back in 2013. His fantasy numbers were a severe disappointment as he only managed four lousy touchdowns and under 600 rush yards.
With week after week of underperforming, the Colts finally leaned on fellow back Donald Brown to get the job done. Even with Brown potentially leaving the team, I wouldn’t trust Richardson on my 2014 fantasy team, as he’s sure to leave fantasy owners high and dry again.
5. Rob Gronkowski, Tight End, New England Patriots
How many surgeries has Gronkowski undergone in the past two years? From a broken arm, infections, back surgery, ACL to MCL injuries, I could not tell you. Fantasy owners who drafted Gronkowski last year, who waited on pins and needles to finally start him, got a raw deal. Gronkowski didn’t make his 2013 debut until Week 7 and finished abruptly in Week 14 with yet another injury, sending him to the injured reserve list. He could easily disappoint his fantasy owners again in 2014 with one more critical crash landing. With high reward potential, he’s even a higher risk in my opinion for your 2014 fantasy team.
4. Hakeem Nicks, Wide Receiver, New York Giants
Nicks’ future as a New York Giant seems to be over. This isn’t too surprising for a guy who played all season and delivered his fantasy owners zero touchdowns on 101 targets and 896 receiving yards.
And, what is Nicks’ favorite candy bar? Butterfingers, of course; because I truly lost count of how many times the ball slipped through his fingers in 2013. Whatever NFL team Nicks lands in 2014, probably doesn’t matter, as his fantasy value completely plummeted last year. It wouldn’t be a shocker to see him go undrafted in some fantasy leagues in 2014.
3. Ray Rice, Running Back, Baltimore Ravens
Finishing the 2013 season ranked 28th for running backs is Rice. How majorly disappointed were fantasy owners who drafted him in the first round of drafts?
Sporting only 660 rush yards and four touchdowns and sharing the backfield with the Ravens other running back, Bernard Pierce are reasons to be considerably leery of Rice in 2014 fantasy drafts.
For the past four seasons prior to 2013, Rice has ranked in the top 10 in running backs. With such a huge slide downhill in fantasy value, this would red-alert my fantasy radar to look elsewhere in 2014.
2. Eli Manning, Quarterback, New York Giants
Yes. Once again, I have Manning listed in the fantasy disappointment column. Manning dug a deep hole for himself in 2013 finishing up with a 27 interception to 18 touchdown ratio. That hole is so deep, I do not see Manning climbing too far out of it in 2014. Where he may improve some over his atrocious stat line of 2013, he cannot be trusted as a fantasy quarterback with this record in 2014 unless he makes drastic changes. Watch him over the preseason games as 2014 fantasy drafts take place and unless he makes a 180 degree turnaround, stay away from this Manning brother next season.
1. Danny Amendola, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots
So much for the addition of Amendola to the Patriots as the new wingman for quarterback, Tom Brady. People who drafted Amendola last year, thinking they were getting the clone replacement for the dynamic Wes Welker were taken to the cleaners. Amendola, who has the durability of a china doll, only managed two touchdowns in the 11 games he played. His 60th ranking for wide receivers makes him a risky pick in 2014. If you want to avoid future disappointment for your 2014 fantasy roster, avoid Amendola.