Every year, a few players generate unwarranted hype during the NFL offseason, pushing their average draft position to the point that they should be avoided.
Matthew Stafford (QB, Lions) is a prime example. He is usually being drafted sometime between the third to fifth round, even though similar-tiered QBs can be found much later. It wasn't long ago that everyone pegged Stafford as an injury prone player to avoid, but after just a few healthy seasons, many now assume he'll escape every year unscathed. In reality, the injury risk with Stafford is still quite high since his value would crash if one of two players were to get hurt -- himself or WR Calvin Johnson.
Exciting rookies like Sammy Watkins (WR, Bills) also have a habit of being overrated. While his talent is undeniable, his suspect QB will likely hold him back while he adapts to the game. There is no reason a proven player like Eric Decker (WR, Jets), likely to suffer from similarly awful QB play, should be drafted one to two rounds later than Watkins.
At the WR and TE position, players on teams that recently stocked up on additional receivers also have a habit of going too high, as people fail to adjust to a drop in expected targets.
This has caused players like Pierre Garcon (WR, Redskins), T.Y. Hilton (WR, Colts) and Jason Witten (TE, Cowboys) to be drafted a bit higher than they should.
However, no set of receivers is being more overvalued than those on the 49ers. There simply won't be enough targets available for Michael Crabtree (WR), Anquan Boldin (WR), Vernon Davis (TE) and new addition Stevie Johnson (WR), especially since they all still play for a team that prefers to run the ball.
Alex Case is amNY's fantasy football columnist.