By Will Kay | Contributing Writer
Every athlete sees their skills naturally regress at some point in their career, but the regression seems to happen much faster in the NFL than the other professional sports. This is likely due to the physical exertion placed on the body during a football game. It is key to find the regressing players when playing fantasy football because they are likely going to be extremely overvalued. These are five fantasy football studs who are seeing their skills regress.
Brandon Marshall was expected to be a fantasy star last season, but he wound up only catching 59 of his 128 targets. This is a clear sign that Marshall is regressing as a player. He may have had poor quarterbacks throwing him the ball, but he still had the opportunity to succeed. Marshall simply does not have the speed and strength needed to overpower smaller cornerbacks anymore. He also will not be able to make up for declining skills by scoring touchdowns because most of the red zone looks will go to Odell Beckham.
Adrian Peterson has been seriously injured two of the last three seasons, and those injuries are starting to wear on his aging body. Running backs in the NFL rarely have great seasons after turning 30, and Peterson just turned 32 a few days ago. If any team in the NFL thought that Peterson was healthy, then he would not still be a free agent. It does not matter what team takes a chance on Peterson this off-season because he is destined to be an overvalued fantasy player. Peterson has been the consensus top pick in fantasy for the majority of a decade now, but when you look at early fantasy mock drafts, he is currently mocked in the third round.
Doug Martin has only had two solid seasons during his five years in the league. Martin’s inconsistency is mainly due to the fact that he is not an efficient runner. He needs a lot of touches to put up a decent yardage total. Martin was already being phased out of the Tampa Bay offense at the end of last year, so his upcoming four-game suspension certainly will not help.
Eli Manning is nearing the end of his career, and he is finally starting to decline as a quarterback. Manning gets to throw to the best receiver in the league every game, but he still struggled to surpass 4,000 yards last season. If he did not have multiple Super Bowl rings, then Manning would be an afterthought in fantasy football. Eli will be nothing more than a streaming option in the upcoming fantasy football season, so there is no reason to waste a draft pick on him.
Antonio Gates has only had value in fantasy football the last few years because of his ability to catch touchdowns. Gates probably would have been benched last season if he was not trying to pass Tony Gonzalez for the most touchdowns for a tight end in NFL history. Gates is not going to see much playing time this year now that he has a share of the record. The Chargers are going to rely on Hunter Henry this year, so fantasy owners should do the same thing.