5 Factors to Consider Before Drafting Last Season’s Breakout Performers

Until 2012, James career best was 7 touchdowns

When drafting players for your fantasy team, one of the most common mistakes made is overvaluing last season’s performance. This often leads to fantasy owners drafting a player far too early.

There are several factors to consider when drafting a player who’s coming off one of his best statistical seasons of his career:

  1. Don’t fixate on last season’s numbers
  2. Look at the player’s past two or three seasons as a whole.
  3. Did the player’s team make any key acquisitions?
  4. Did the player’s team lose any key personnel?
  5. Did a star player return from injury to take back his role?

Two players who could see their numbers drop significantly from last season are Green Bay receiver James Jones and Houston running back Arian Foster.

James Jones had his best season to date last year by bringing in 64 receptions for 784 yards and an NFL best 14 receiving touchdowns. Many fantasy owners might look at these stats from last season and jump the gun by drafting him too early. However, it’s imperative to evaluate a player’s past statistics to get a better picture of how they will perform in the future.

Jones is entering his 7th NFL season, each with a very pass happy Green Bay team. Yet throughout his career, he’s never been able to accumulate more than two games of 100+ receiving yards in a season. Last season, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed passes to five different receivers 35 times or more.

Another important statistic to note from Jones’ career is that he has never been able to consistently bring in receptions. If you are playing in a PPR (Point per Reception) league, definitely be very cautious when drafting Jones as his reception output is very hard to predict.

Arian Foster has been a fantasy stud over the past three seasons. In 2012, he put up the second highest rushing total with 1,424 yards and 15 touchdowns. While he’s produced more than 1,200 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in each of the last three seasons, many pundits believe that he has been overworked the past few years and is on his decline. With his offseason calf and back injuries, these concerns are well warranted.

An important statistic to note of Foster’s is that for the past three seasons his yards per carry (YPC) have been on the decline. In 2010 he averaged 4.9 YPC, then in 2011 he averaged 4.4, and finally last season he was averaging just over 4.0 YPC.

Foster will be a high first round draft pick this season, but he comes with risk. The Texans overuse of Foster has begun to take a toll on his body. It’s safe to expect him produce numbers closer to the 1,000 yard mark rather than the 1,500 yard mark for the 2013 season.

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