Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Overpaying or overdrafting players in the middle rounds isn't guaranteed to hurt you, but it also doesn't help.
You want to be the one exploiting market inefficiencies, not the one getting exploited. Here are some players going too early in standard drafts*.
*Average draft positions (ADP) courtesy of fantasyfootballcalculator.com
David Wilson, New York Giants (3.12 ADP) - I love Wilson's home-run ability, but I get the sense that Tom Coughlin just doesn't trust him to carry the full load or to pass protect consistently. He'll cede all third-down and goal-line work to Andre Brown and likely will even lose some snaps to Brown in the base offense.
DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys (3.03) - Murray has suffered significant lower body injuries in each of his first two NFL seasons after dealing with the same issues early in his college career. A foot injury last season cost him six games and also clouded the fact that he wasn't that effective when on the field. He rushed for 4.1 yards per carry on 161 rushes, fumbled three times and scored just four touchdowns in 10 games. Fantasy owners can get a similar player two rounds later -- his name is Ryan Mathews (5.07 ADP).
Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions (2.09) - I'm on record predicting that Bush will catch 80 balls in this Lions offense, but taking him in the late second round of a standard (read: non-PPR) draft is just silly. The Lions don't run the ball a lot to begin with, and Bush is going to split carries with Mikel Leshoure on early downs while also coming off the field inside the 10-yard line. I'm looking for Bush to put up numbers similar to what Darren Sproles averaged over the last two seasons -- around 500 rushing yards, 80 catches, 700 receiving yards, eight total touchdowns. Why take Bush in the second round when you can get Sproles in the fourth?
Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams (6.09) - The Rams didn't draft Austin eighth overall to have him sit the bench; he's going to see enough targets to make him a fantasy option. However, the sixth round is just too steep for a rookie receiver with an uncertain role in the offense. While Austin is going to play plenty of snaps in the slot, Danny Amendola's old spot, so is free agent acquisition Jared Cook. Cook is likely going to be the most targeted player on the team, and QB Sam Bradford will spread the rest of his attempts around to Austin, Chris Givens, Austin Pettis and Brian Quick. In a passing offense that hasn't exactly resembled the New England Patriots over the past few years, it's tough to believe Austin will live up to his sixth-round ADP.
Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings (7.10) - Injury questions + advanced age - Aaron Rodgers + Christian Ponder = WR4 at best.
Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints (4.06) - Consistency is nice. There's value in consistency. But not fourth-round value. Colston has produced six 1,000-yard seasons in his seven years in the NFL, but he hasn't exceeded 1,200 yards since 2007 and only produced 1,202 that year. Last season's 10 TDs were also his most since he had 11 in 2007. Colston is a lock for 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns, but it's also doubtful he'll exceed those totals by more than 100 yards and one or two touchdowns. His floor is high, but his ceiling is both low and made of concrete.
Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers (5.07) - We find a way to talk ourselves into this being a breakout year for Davis every single season, but he usually disappoints. With Colin Kaepernick slinging the ball and Michael Crabtree out with a torn Achilles, I'll admit everything is lining up for Davis to have his best season since 2009, when he had a career-high 965 yards and 13 touchdowns, but I'll let someone else take that risk. The super-athletic tight end has had just two seasons with more than 792 receiving yards and one with more than seven touchdowns.
Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers (8.09) - Finley is Davis-lite, the guy who every year appears ready to bust through the glass ceiling and join the ranks of the elite tight ends, but the Packers tight end has plateaued in the range of 60-65 receptions and 650-750 receiving yards. His touchdown total also has been all over the map -- he had five in 13 games in 2009, one in his first five games of 2010 before suffering a season-ending injury, eight in 2011 and just two last year. Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson are better chain-movers and James Jones emerged as a better red-zone target than Finley last season.
Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (8.04) - Once again we are treated to reports from training camp stating that Gates is in the best shape of his career and poised for a bounce-back season. After the veteran produced 49 catches, 538 yards and seven scores in 15 games last season and appeared unable to run most of the time, I'll pass.