Fantasy owners are often lured by the Sirens of big names. They make us feel warm and fuzzy inside, because they have a long track record of sustained success.
However, Father Time remains undefeated, conquering every athlete who stands in his path. It becomes a value problem on draft day because we’re paying a pricetag for previous production, not where these older players actually are on their career arc. Avoid the over-the-hill gang.
Frankly nearing the end
Frank Gore averaged a scary 3.65 yards per carry over his final 10 games last season — including playoffs — and had just one 100-yard outing across his final 13 contests. The 49ers are clearly transitioning toward the post-Gore era, as they’ve invested recent draft picks in Carlos Hyde and Marcus Lattimore. Both are candidates to steal reps from their 31-year-old leader as soon as this season, and we know once running backs start to decline they fall off the cliff quickly. Playing in the toughest division in football won’t help Gore regain his lost steps.
Tom still terrific?
Yes, Tom Brady’s weaponry let him down last year. But he also saw his passes lose steam the further they traveled and his accuracy was not at Brady levels, leading to his lowest yardage and touchdown totals since 2006 and lowest completion percentage since 2003. He says mechanical tweaks will fix the problems, but this is still a 37-year-old quarterback. The Patriots have also shown signs of switching to more of a power-run game, which will continue to decrease Brady’s volume. He’s a backup in fantasy this season.
Rice in hot water
Off the field, Ray Rice is facing a suspension for roughing up his fiancée in Atlantic City, New Jersey. On the field, it’s not much prettier. The tape shows Rice has lost the jump-cut ability and burst that made him so slippery to take down. It shouldn’t be that surprising for a player with 2,746 career touches between Rutgers and the Ravens. Bernard Pierce is going to open the season as the starter and has an excellent chance to stay ahead of Rice all year.
MLB pickups …
1. J.D. Martinez, OF, Tigers – We are buying that a swing change and not fluky luck is behind his impressive June.
2. Mark Melancon, RP, Pirates – Manager Clint Hurdle has seen enough of Jason Grilli. Melancon has nasty stuff and figures to run away with the closing job.
3. Odrisamer Despaigne, SP, Padres — A baby El Duque, Despaigne throws from four different arm slots. He will get multiple starts in Petco Park with Andrew Cashner shelved.
NBA draft preview …
These prospects are ready to contribute stats the NBA level right now, no matter where they land:
1. Jabari Parker, SF, Duke – Think of him as a mini-Carmelo Anthony thanks to an NBA body (6-foot-8, 241 pounds), ability to finish with toughness and a polished mid-range jumper. We don’t care if he can’t guard.
2. Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana – Freakish wingspan (7-foot-4) and hand size (9.75 inches), impressive 37-inch vertical at 6-foot-9. And he shot 48.5 percent from 3-point range as a freshman last season.
3. Dante Exum, PG, Australia – A versatile 6-foot-6 point guard going on 19 years old? Sounds a lot like last year’s rookie steal of fantasy drafts, Michael Carter-Williams.
Follow Metro fantasy writer Adam Levitan on Twitter @adamlevitan.