Which fantasy star comes with the biggest risk in 2014?
I associate the biggest risk with the player who will cost you the most in a standard snake draft, and to me that player is Arian Foster. Once considered the top running back in fantasy football, the veteran missed most of last season with a bad back. He's been medically cleared and looks to be 100 percent as training camps open, but will the massive workload he endured from 2010-2012 come back to haunt him? If Foster can regain his past form, he will lead a lot of owners to a league title. On the flip side, another lost season would be tough for fantasy owners to overcome when you consider Foster's first-round price tag.
Petyon in retrograde
There are some running backs with risks this season with Arian Foster (injury) and Doug Martin (potential committee) chief among them. But I'm choosing Peyton Manning. Hear me out before you destroy my mentions on Twitter. Why I believe Manning poses a risk is not that he won't produce great numbers (he will), but given where he's being drafted (ADP of the 11th or 12th overall pick in current NFL.com mocks) the return on your investment might not be significant enough.
Only one player in NFL history has ever posted back-to-back seasons with 5,000-plus yards, and that's Drew Brees. Throwing out Brady's 2008 campaign because he was injured, here is the drop off in points for Brees, Manning and Aaron Rodgers after their recent monster seasons: Brees 46.06 fewer in 2012 than 2011, Manning 118.7 fewer in 2005 than 2004 , Rodgers 53.82 fewer in 2012 than 2011. See that? The difference in seasons from Manning was roughly the equivalent of a top-25 running back. And that was 10 years ago, pre-neck surgery. Manning will still light up the fantasy scoreboard, but if he finishes closer to 40 touchdowns (a very realistic number) that's a large drop in points. Considering the scarcity of good running backs and top-notch wide receivers, I'd rather grab one of them in Round 2 and wait several rounds to take someone like Philip Rivers or Andrew Luck to be my fantasy signal-caller.
With such a lack of depth at tight end, it's hard to have to worry about one of the guys at the top of the list. Yet, here we are fretting over the future of Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots pass-catcher says he plans on playing a full season ... then again, what player doesn't? The bottom line is that Gronk hasn't been the most reliable option over the past two seasons and an ever-growing list of surgeries isn't going to help in that regard. When Gronk is healthy and playing at his best, he's second only to Jimmy Graham at his position. But if injuries once again rear their ugly head or the number of surgeries begin to take their toll, it could leave a big hole in your roster.