Last Sunday we all saw the biggest game on the biggest stage and regardless of whom you were rooting for in this year’s Super Bowl I hope you enjoyed yourself. Other than the power going out we were treated to a pretty damn good game. Every year in the Super Bowl we are treated to talented players emerging, exceeding expectations, disappointing and ultimately winning or losing. That’s what makes watching football, and the Super Bowl in particular, so much fun to watch. That said, it’s also what makes the Super Bowl dangerous in terms of fantasy football values. Let’s face the facts, the last thing you see is generally the thing you remember the most. And we had two long weeks of hype, player analysis, and the big game itself to be swayed one way or another on players. Whether it be bias in the media, general player hype, or actual on-field performance I’d be willing to bet every one of us went into the Super Bowl time with at least a slightly different opinion than what we came out with. Nearly everyone in the nation saw this game and whether you realize it or not it’s bound to affect your perception of things. This article will hopefully serve as a reminder to all of us of that fact and hopefully point out how you can avoid the dangers of the Super Bowl hype train. Now on to the main points:
Joe Flacco is NOT an elite QB.
We can all agree that this guy had a postseason for the ages. He put up a rather ridiculous stat line of 1140 yards, 11 TDs and not a single interception. That’s nothing to sneeze at regardless of who the player is. It takes some serious talent to pull off a 4 game stretch like that. Especially when it’s in the playoffs under the pressure and scrutiny Flacco faced as questions abounded about his ability to take a team all the way. But he’s still the same guy. He’s a solid NFL quarterback to be sure but is he a difference maker in fantasy football? History has shown us no. As fellow writer Dan Heins wrote about before the 2012 season Joe has averaged 3454 yards, 20 TDs and 11.5 interceptions in his first four seasons. This year he put up 3817 yards, 22 TDs, and 10 interceptions. Maybe a little better but right in the same ballpark as he’s always done. Again, not bad numbers but not elite numbers either. So, the question becomes do we think he took the next step in this 4 game playoff run? Do we think he’ll now be an elite QB and leave those average numbers behind? I think not. This same thing happened with Eli Manning when he won his Super Bowl MVP. Everyone was suddenly sold on his elite-ness because he won the big game. Whether it’s media hype or our own interpretation is irrelevant. Manning is a very good pro but not an elite fantasy QB. Just as Joe Flacco is. He’s a very good QB2 for dynasty owners but be careful of running with him as your QB1.
Colin Kaepernick looks the part but will he remain consistently great?
Colin Kaepernick has been nothing short of spectacular since taking over for an injured Alex Smith in week 10. At the time there were many who questioned the move since Smith had been playing so well but that sentiment has long been forgotten. Kaepernick is a great player. He just gets you excited and revved up when you watch him. He’s the definition of a shiny new toy. Going deep into the postseason and all the way to the super bowl has done nothing but skyrocketed his already overvalued price. Sure he’s put up some great stats but judging any player based on 10 or 11 games of play can be a dangerous thing. I have no problem buying into Kaepernick as the starter and a potential fantasy QB1 for a long time to come. What I do have a problem with is the current price he’s demanding. After performing well in the world’s greatest game he’s become unaffordable in many leagues I participate in. The risk is just too great with a guy only a few games into his career when he comes at elite fantasy player prices. My advice is to avoid the hype and look elsewhere. At least until his value simmers just a bit.
Ray Rice is not on a downward slide.
One thing I’ve noticed as a trend very recently in dynasty startup mocks and just a general feel of player value in my leagues is that Ray Rice’s value is trending down. I keep hearing this sentiment that he’s got a lot of mileage on his wheels and that Bernard Pierce is going to continue vulturing carries from him. I don’t dispute that Pierce has looked very good and that includes his play in the Super Bowl itself. But to suggest he’s even close to supplanting Rice as the starter or really affecting Rice’s performance at all seems premature and outright dangerous. Rice is an elite fantasy running back. He’s showed us as much and he deserves our respect. He didn’t have the best game in the Super Bowl running for just 59 yards and catching 4 balls for an additional 19 yards. But don’t let that or the Bernard Pierce fear fool you. Pierce is the clear number two. He’ll get a few carries a game but there isn’t a team in the league that doesn’t give their backup some carries to keep their starter fresh. This same fear was brought up about Arian Foster a year or two back when Ben Tate looked like the best backup RB in the league. That didn’t prove to impact Foster’s production much, if at all, and I think the same will be true for Ray Rice. Rice is still just 26 and has at least 3 years left in him. Planning for more than that in dynasty is another dangerous proposition. Anyway, keep your fear in check regarding Rice. Don’t let the big game or the big back behind him on the depth chart make you doubt for one second he’s not a top 5 fantasy back.
Anquan Boldin was clutch for the Ravens but he’s still on his last legs.
This guy had a great Super Bowl and playoffs. Boldin going for 104 and a TD on 6 catches was great to watch. He’s been a very good player for a very long time and deserves no less. His brilliant performances this postseason have some captivated and expecting him to keep plugging along at that torrid pace. But make no mistake; the end is near for Quan. He’s 32 years old and getting older every day. He’s a great possession WR and an important NFL player but he’s much less important in fantasy. He can be a great spot starter and a WR4/5 but putting him any higher than that in a dynasty league is asking for trouble. Don’t be fooled by the great playoff play. He’ll put up good games like he did in the Super Bowl every so often but he won’t be the focus of an offense again in his career. Ignore any rumblings of hype and move on. Maybe sell him if you’ve got him.
Jacoby Jones is not a fantasy football asset. At all.
Jones had a great Super Bowl. That 108 yard kick return was just awesome to watch. I was disappointed they changed it from a record-setting 109 yard return and was likewise disappointed Jones didn’t win the MVP. Maybe I’m just sick of QBs stealing all of the glory all of the time. Anyway, Jones also caught a 56 yard touchdown bomb in the game accounting for 14 of the Ravens 34 points. He looked like a playmaker and at times Jacoby has looked the part in the past. But let’s face it he’s never put it together on a consistent basis and he probably never will. I know we’re always looking for a sleeper, for a diamond in the rough, but Jones is not that guy. He’s 28 years old and is just as likely to fade back into fantasy obscurity as he is to crack the starting lineup. Boldin’s age has many looking for his replacement but I’d look elsewhere on this one. He had a great Super Bowl. Let’s leave it at that.
Vernon Davis is an elite fantasy TE.
I know, I know. I just told you throughout this entire article that you should avoid the hype. Don’t give into the few big games we’ve seen at the end of the season. Forget the Super Bowl and focus on the big picture. Well in a sense that’s what I’m doing here. Sure VD had a nice Super Bowl going for 104 yards on 6 catches. Sure he had a nice playoff stretch before that reeling in 6 grabs for 150 yards in the prior two games. Sure he had a very mediocre regular season with just 41 catches for 548 yards and 5 TDs. But that’s the point isn’t it? In previous seasons Davis put up much better stats and was a reliable top 5 fantasy TE. No one can dispute his talent and he had a down year in 2012. Forgive him that and return him to the top 5 rank that he’s proven he deserves. We’re not getting caught up in hype here we’re getting caught up in the past. Vernon went through a QB change mid season and that is significant for any player. Just as Crabtree’s production went up Vernon’s went down. With a full offseason of work and everyone getting accustomed to the offense going forward VD will remain a big factor on that team. Don’t forget it.
So reel it in guys. Don’t buy into the super hype that the Super Bowl creates. If you believe in one of these guys and think they’ll be great from here on out then that’s fine. But recognize that you may be swayed by the biggest stage in sports. Don’t just accept these guys as elite because they performed well in one big game. Likewise don’t just discount them because they didn’t. I know it sounds basic but we can always use a reminder to keep our heads set on straight. Dig deeper and let the stats, eyeball test, and your fantasy intuition be your guide. It will serve you well and you’ll be happier for taking the time to research and make a decision based on your true analysis of a player. Thanks for reading and enjoy building your dynasty roster for next year now that all the games have been played for the 2012-13 NFL season.