The 49ers surprised us all last year. While the team didn’t put up unbelievable numbers from a fantasy football standpoint, they sure as heck could win football games.
The defense was the shining star of this team last season. Not only did they lead the 49ers to an NFC Championship appearance, but they finished as the top defense in the fantasy world. In fact, they were so good that with standard defensive scoring, they had 8 separate double digit performances.
But even with such a superb 2011 season, coming into 2012, the 49ers have some question marks. Is Alex Smith ready to take his game to the next level with the wide receiver additions of Mario Manningham and Randy Moss? Can Frank Gore keep up his grueling pace? Is Vernon Davis worth an early to mid round draft selection?
The one player being overvalued on draft day is…
Vernon Davis. There’s no reason to draft a tight end early if you’re not getting Gronkowski or Graham. And the reason for this is because of Value Based Drafting.
You see, last season with standard scoring, Gronk posted 233 points. Jimmy Graham had 187 of his own. The 3rd best tight end, Aaron Hernandez, scored 127 fantasy points. And from there, players consistently and linearly got worse.
Let’s put Gronk and Graham in their own tier and not t
ouch them. That’s for another discussion. But the difference between Hernandez and the 12th ranked tight end, or arguably the worst starting tight end in a 12-team league, was 37 points.
If we assume the difference will be the same this season, then we’re in a world of hurt if we get that third ranked tight end. Currently, the 3rd ranked guy, Antonio Gates, is being drafted in the middle of the 5th round. The 12th ranked tight end, Jermaine Gresham, is being drafted at the end of the 10th round.
That’s 5.5 rounds for just 37 points. In other words, we’re simply sacrificing 6.7 points for each round we decide to not get a tight end after the 3rd tight end is drafted. It’s just not worth it.
And because of that, we should walk away from a guy like Davis. His average draft position, 5.10, is too high for a tight end – even if that tight end is coming off of a strong end to his 2011 campaign.
I’m most interested in seeing…
Randy Moss. I probably shouldn’t be, but I am.
Reports out of 49ers camp is that Randy Moss is close to being the Randy Moss of old. And yeah, I get it, all camps are saying good things about their players. But it’s interesting to hear that about a guy who played for three teams in 2010, didn’t play in 2011, and is now 35 years old.
If he was there in the late rounds of your draft – and I’m talking late – then I’d take him. Right now, his average draft position is 8.07. That’s above Anquan Boldin, Sidney Rice, Santonio Holmes and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
The wide receiver position is too deep to get a player like Moss that high. If he’s there in a double digit round and you feel good about the position, then take a risk with him. Just don’t reach for a guy that hasn’t caught a pass since December of 2010.
It may be over for…
Frank Gore. While his numbers look pretty decent from last year we can’t overlook the fact that he averaged just 3.2 yards per carry over the second half of the 2011 season. And we also shouldn’t neglect the signing of Brandon Jacobs (can we talk about overrated running backs, by the way?) and LaMichael James.
Gore is currently going in round 4, but if it’s me, I’m staying away from him as a starting running back on my fantasy squad. He’s just not worth the risk.
The one word to describe the 2012 49ers is…
Costly. Not only do I feel Vernon Davis is overvalued because the tight end position isn’t worthwhile to draft early, but Frank Gore’s career as a starter looks to be coming to an end. And let’s not forget about the 8th round Randy Moss. Don’t expect him to put up 2007-like numbers.
If Gore is still fresh and Vernon Davis continues what he did in the playoffs, then I’m completely wrong. I just don’t see Gore being that guy anymore, and for Davis to keep up that pace would be, well, Graham and Gronk-like.