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Fantasy Football: Why You Should Avoid Jermichael Finley in 2012

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Jonathan Bales

In my Monday morning series “The Xtra Point” over at Roto Experts, I discussed the fantasy value of Packers tight end Jermichael Finley. Here’s a preview of why I will be avoiding Finley in fantasy drafts this season. . .

  • Finley has limited upside.

This one will probably shock some of you, but Finley actually has a rather low ceiling. A big part of that limited outlook is a Packers’ offense that spreads the ball around as well as any in the league. Finley racked up 91 targets last year, good for just 11th among all tight ends. Even if we project Finley at 110 targets, which is pushing it, his ceiling for receptions is around 70, considering his career catch rate. That number would be fine if it were his projection, and thus a likely occurrence, but it’s not a great “best-case scenario.”

  • Finley plays in-line more than you think.

According to Pro Football Focus, Finley played only 145 snaps in the slot in 2012. That was good for 17.4-percent of Finley’s snaps, ranking him 16th in the league. The majority of the time, Finley plays from an “in-line” position that naturally limits his upside.

  • Finley’s efficiency will likely decline.

Finley posted 13.9 yards-per-catch in 2011. That number will probably decrease some in 2012. Using a regression of tight end YPC, I projected Finley to check in at 13.5 YPC. That’s not far behind his career-high of 14.3 YPC, with the point being Finley isn’t as explosive as a player like Jimmy Graham. He needs to haul in a lot of passes to provide top-tier Fantasy points, and he won’t do that in the Packers’ offense.

Fantasy Football for Smart People is now just $6.99 for Kindle and $12.99 in paperback. I also have an article on the Cowboys’ slot receiver plans going up at the team site later today, so check back here or there.

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