Trent Richardson (ADP- 6.03)
Trent Richardson has been a highly debated player this year. RotoViz even had an article where the writers weighed in and debated him, in a Friday Free-For-All.
Using the Heatmap, we can get a solid grasp on just how much his production saw a drop from his rookie to his sophomore year. Some people may look at his rookie season as validation for they may believe in his production. He saved his rookie season by scoring 11 touchdowns and catching 51 passes. His YPC in 2012 were in the bottom seven of the NFL among running backs who had at least five rushing attempts per game. After that it dropped to 2.99 YPC, which was third-worst. Maybe the biggest red flag was that he only scored three rushing TDs with the Colts last year. The Colts scored 61 percent of their TDs via the pass last year in the red zone. If you are drafting T-Rich this year, make sure you put the name Dan Herron on your radar. He could become a factor in this Colts offense.
Darren Sproles (ADP- 7.11)
I’m going to have a hard time drafting Darren Sproles this year. Sproles was effective in New Orleans, but he has been on the decline since 2012.
The Heatmap does a great job of showing his slow decline into perspective. One thing the Saints didn’t have during Sproles’ three-year career, was a lead back like LeSean McCoy. I’m not certain how much the Eagle will utilize Sproles in this offense when you have man like McCoy at the head of the backfield. However the Eagles have said if McCoy were to go down, they believe Sproles can be an every-down back.
“We’ve said it all along. Darren can play running back on first, second and third down,” the offensive coordinator said. “We always try to use our players in a way where we maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses, no matter what the situation.”
It’s not that I don’t like Sproles, but I think there is better options to consider in this round. The Saints were a pass-happy offense, throwing the ball 651 times in 2013, while the Eagles are more run driven, with only 508 passing attempts. At this point, I’m looking to target Fred Jackson, who receives majority of the goal-line and third-down work, Jordan Reed, Mike Wallace, or Terrance Williams.
Sammy Watkins (ADP- 8.05)
It appears fantasy players are finally starting to catch on that selecting Sammy Watkins early is absurd in redraft leagues. He’s on an offense that led the league in rushing attempts last year and his QB only completed 58.8 percent of his passes while throwing for 11 TDs. Watkins’ potential is severally capped by the run-heavy mentality of the Bills and his poor QB play. Even in the eighth round I still don’t like drafting Watkins and rookie WRs historically struggle in the NFL. I am more likely to target mid-rounder Justin Hunter or Eric Decker at this point.
Riley Cooper (ADP- 9.03)
Riley Cooper had his best year in 2013 as he had 47 receptions for 835 yards and eight TDs. Foles had an outrageous AYA of 14.26 last year when targeting Cooper. DeSean Jackson has also parted way with Philly, that leaves rookie Jordan Matthews and Jeremy Maclin in the wide receiver corp. They also added Sproles in this off-season, who should see a decent amount of targets. I also think sophomore TE Zac Ertz will emerge as a red zone threat this year. Cooper is red flag for me this year because his 2013 season seemed flukey to me. Seventeen percent of his receptions were TDs. Three of his eight TDs came in a single game against the Raiders and he was 82nd in the league in receptions. Cooper also had four receptions or less in nine of the 11 games he played with Foles. He also struggles against tougher competition.
In fact, Cooper didn’t even score a TD against any top 20 ranked defense last year. His fantasy points dropped 11 points, he didn’t record a TD and his receiving yards decreased roughly 20 yards. He’s also been dealing with an ankle injury. Cooper is a strong avoid for me this year.