Back in 1969, Lawrence J. Peter developed a theory which tried
to explain the "incompetence" that runs so rampant throughout
our society in general and in particular the workplace.
It was called the Peter Principle. The idea was that people who
succeeded at their jobs were given promotions until the rose to
a level at which they weren't very good. The result was a majority
of people end up working at a job at which they are no better
than mediocre ... at best.
The "Schwarz Corollary" says that NFL players, no matter
how good they are at their job, at some point will stop improving.
OK, for Aaron Rodgers we may not see that "leveling off"
for a few more years, but at some point in time it will happen.
No one keeps getting better every single day at work, every at-bat
or every pass.
Even the great Peyton Manning will hit the downward slide. Maybe
we saw the beginning of it last season, maybe not, but it's going
to happen to everyone - eventually.
The reasons can be varied; old age and declining skills, loss
of drive to get better, or too many distractions. It happens to
all of us ... not just athletes.
For a lot of us it happens in high school. Another large percentage
realizes college is the end of the line. A lucky few make it too
the professional level.
And that's where we as fans and fantasy owners run into a problem.
Our expectations are simply unreasonably high. We expect every
over-hyped rookie receiver is the next Jerry Rice, running back
to match Walter Payton and quarterback to develop into Dan Marino.
Unfortunately, they rarely do.
And even when they might develop into a very good player we sour
on them too soon, because they weren't “instant superstars.”
For the majority of players it takes time to adapt to the speed
and physicality of the professional game.
Figuring out how far and how fast a player will develop is the
million dollar question for fantasy owners!
It's similar to a stockbroker knowing the exact time to sell a
stock at its zenith. Or buy it when it's hit rock bottom.
Each summer "experts" and fantasy owners try to determine
the value of quarterbacks, running backs, receivers and tight
ends. Will they continue to improve? Or have we already seen the
best they can be?
Below, are a few of the more difficult players to figure.
Has Tannehill reached his statistical peak
Tannehill, Miami - The fourth-year quarterback has
improved his completion percentage, passing yardage and touchdown
passes total in each NFL season. Management has assembled an interesting
mix of receivers and a defense which should get him the ball in
good shape. Will he take the step up to elite status? Our FFToday
projection (64 percent completions, 3,928 yards, 26 TDs, 14 INTs)
say no. He's going to level off, so don't go overboard on Draft
Manning, Denver - I asked the question earlier. Was his
stumble at the end of the season a view of the near future? He definitely
peaked during his record-setting 2013 season and the expected change
in the offensive game plan to a more balanced attack means he's
not likely to be No. 1 in 2015. Still, with Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel
Sanders and an improving Cody Latimer he should continue to be a
Griffin III, Washington - Can it really be that RGIII
peaked in his rookie season? A knee injury and loss of confidence
ruined the past two seasons and while we at FFToday think Griffin
will be slightly improved over his 2013 season it won't be enough
to help his talented receivers (DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon) move
up the charts.
Bridgewater, Minnesota - Despite missing his All-Pro
running back Adrian Peterson and the complete failure of Cordarrelle
Patterson, Bridgewater managed to show off his considerable skills
at the end of last season. The return of AP, the addition of deep
threat Mike Wallace and the improvement of wideout Charles Johnson
makes predicting an improved season for the Vikings' second-year
quarterback a good bet. He may not be able to carry a fantasy team
by himself, but he could be part of a two-quarterback option, particularly
at home where he posted much better numbers.
Forsett, Baltimore - Forsett has been in the NFL since
2008, but it wasn't until last season that fantasy owners had any
reason to really pay attention. He more than doubled his previous
career highs in rushing yards and touchdowns. With Bernard Pierce
gone and rookie Buck Allen likely as the backup, Forsett will be
the unquestioned workhorse in the Ravens backfield. Still, it's
hard to see him improving on last season's numbers. In fact, FFToday
has a slight reduction predicted for 2015 (1,045, 7 TDs, 57 rec
for 378 yards 1 TD).
Bell, Detroit - Many fantasy owners are high on Bell
for the upcoming season with Reggie Bush plying his trade on the
west coast, but beware of the talented rookie Ameer Abdullah. The
former Cornhusker has been hearing a lot of praise during OTAs and
if that continues into training camp and preseason, Bell owners
may have to temper their enthusiasm. This is one to watch going
forward, but for now we see Bell producing about the same as in
Lacy, Green Bay - Lacy added pass receiving skills
to his resume last season and finished the 16-game schedule with
1,566 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns. His only limitation
is that he plays with the best quarterback in the league and two
great pass receivers. As long as Rodgers is healthy, it's hard
to see much improvement in his 2015 totals.
Ingram, New Orleans - Ingram was a first-round draft
pick in the 2011 NFL draft, but until last season had done nothing
to justify the lofty selection. He's been going among the top 15
running backs. The good news is there should be more carries to
spread around as the Saints will try to run a more balanced offense,
but beware of C.J. Spiller stealing a bigger percentage of playing
time than Khiry Robinson or Pierre Thomas did last season. He's
a lot more talented.
Ellington, Arizona - Ellington was supposed to be the
primary running back for the Cardinals in 2014, but injuries slowed
him to 12 games and a 3.3 ypc average. That's going to happen when
you are just 5-foot-9 and under 200 lbs. He's simply not suited
to be a workhorse and rookie David Johnson (Northern Iowa) should
get a significant share of the rushing game. For that reason, the
FFToday projects less than 800 yards rushing for Ellington.
Maclin, Kansas City - Maclin posted "career" numbers
in 2014 for Philadelphia (86 receptions, 1,329 yards, 10 TDs), but
the born and raised Missouri wideout decided to go home to the Chiefs
and head coach Andy Reid. Unfortunately that means going from the
team that ran the most plays in the NFL to one of the teams that
ran the fewest and a team that recorded zero receiving touchdowns
by their receivers. He'll certainly out-perform last season’s No.
1 wideout, Dwayne Bowe, but matching last season's total is highly
Hilton, Indianapolis - What's not to love? He caught
82 balls for 1,345 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He has
the best young quarterback in the game under center. Consider this.
The team signed Andre Johnson in the offseason and drafted talented
Phillip Dorsett. They still have two good receiving tight ends.
The team signed Frank Gore to run the ball. That's a lot of "mouths
to feed." We are expecting a reduction in production for Hilton,
so don't pull the trigger too early on Draft Day.
Beckham Jr., New York Giants - OK, I must admit I love
watching him go up and grab the ball out of the air. He's got amazing
ball skills. But what will the return of Victor Cruz do to the second-year
receiver's fantasy value? We don't think it will hurt at all. In
fact, Cruz's return could free Beckham up for an even bigger and
better season, particularly if he can stay healthy and play all
16 games. And that is exactly what we are predicting. He's the No.
4 wideout off the board in most drafts, but at FFToday we have him
as the No. 1 fantasy receiver with a projection of 102 catches for
1,446 yards and 13 scores.
Evans, Tampa Bay - Evans produced remarkable statistics
in his rookie season (68 receptions for 1,051 yards and 12 TDs)
considering he was catching passes from Josh McCown and Mike Glennon.
No offense, but neither of them will be thought of in elite quarterback
terms. In 2015 he'll be targeted by the No. 1 overall draft choice
- Jameis Winston. Figure a few games for a learning curve which
means Evans is likely to see lower numbers in 2015. But long-term
we love Evans' high ceiling. Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.