Fantasy Football 2012: 7 Players Falling Down Fantasy Depth Charts
Player values in the NFL are just like the tide, as fast as one wave comes crashing in another is on its way out. Trying to cash in on the players that are riding the incoming wave while avoiding those riding the outward one is critical to fantasy success and if done correctly will help lead to fantasy championships.
Let’s face it, the goal of playing this game for every one of us is to win Championships. To get those elusive Championships it is not only about picking the right players, but also knowing which waves to ride and when.
Unfortunately for the following players, the tide is definitely on the way out and fantasy owners need to make sure they fully understand that before drafting. There are better options in the draft for each of the players listed below.
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Kolb was touted as being the next Aaron Rodgers when he was signed by Arizona to a six-year $65 million contract last July and many fantasy owners bought into the hype. What they got was a QB who started nine games, completed only 57.7 percent of his passes and threw nine touchdowns and eight interceptions.
After winning in the first game of the season against Carolina and Uber-Rookie Cam Newton, Kolb lost his next six starts before getting injured in Week 8. He missed four straight games then came back for one game against Dallas, which he did win, but then was knocked out in Week 14 against the San Francisco 49ers and missed the rest of the season.
His replacement, John Skelton, didn’t fare much better in the stats department, but he did one thing that Kolb just couldn’t seem to do: win. In his seven starts he was 5-2, including a win on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles. He also came off the bench in that Week 14 matchup against the 49ers to throw for 282 yards and three touchdowns for the win.
Kolb is fully expected to be given every chance to win the job out of camp, but if he falters even a little, expect the team to make the jump to Skelton.
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The New York Jets were one of the teams that were open to picking up free agent Peyton Manning once he became available. Once Peyton was scooped up by the Denver Broncos, The Jets felt the need to “apologize” to Sanchez with a three-year $40.5 million contract extension through 2016, and even though it did free up over $6 million in cap space for 2012, there was no doubt in many minds why they did it at that time.
Of course the team is saying all the right things about Sanchez and that he is their starting QB, but behind the scenes we know they are not happy with his decision making.
In 2011 Sanchez had his best year statistically in several categories. He increased his number of completions, completion percentage and touchdowns, which included six rushing touchdowns, but he still managed to lose five of the team’s last eight games and push them out of playoff contention.
If Sanchez doesn’t improve in his decision making and start winning important games, then there is no doubt that Jets’ fans will see a lot more Tebowing as the season progresses.
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Moore did a decent job for the Miami Dolphins last year; coming off the bench when Chad Henne got hurt. He finished 6-6 in 12 starts but he threw for over 2400 yards, completed over 60 percent of his passes and threw 16 touchdowns to only nine interceptions. He did so well he was the named the team MVP.
While that is all nice and good, Moore knows that once again he is in a battle to start this year. The team signed veteran David Garrard in the offseason then drafted Ryan Tannehill with the eighth pick of this year’s draft.
Garrard was out of football in 2011 and will have a hard time winning this job but so far he has looked pretty good in OTAs. With Tannehill there is always pressure to get early draft picks on the field as soon as possible, especially if the team is struggling.
As of now, head coach Joe Philbin is saying that it is a very close competition between the three and that a decision most likely won’t be made until late in the preseason.
Moore should come out of training camp as the Week 1 starter, but if this offense falls flat early then don’t be surprised if they bring Tannehill in quickly. Moore is just not a fantasy QB you can count on for 2012, even as a backup.
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Just like Moore, Hasselbeck will be trying to hold off a quarterback drafted with the eighth-pick in the draft. Jake Locker was drafted in 2011 and played well in spot duty last year. Most pundits expect Hasselbeck to come out as the starter in Week 1 but if he falters at all then this team will use a mighty big hook to get Locker in there.
Like Sanchez above, Hasselbeck had to contend with the rumors that the Tennessee Titans were trying to land Peyton Manning. Unlike both Moore and Sanchez, Hasselbeck is a 13-year veteran of this league and is a proven commodity. Unfortunately, that proven commodity has a very low ceiling.
In his 11 years as a starter he only has four seasons where he has thrown for more than 20 TDs, which he last did in 2007. In his last three years he has only averaged 15 touchdowns while throwing an average of 16 interceptions.
He managed to start all 16 games last year, (something else he hadn’t done since 2007) completed over 61 percent of his passes and threw for over 3,500 yards but still was only able to throw 18 touchdowns while putting up 14 interceptions.
But if you look at the end of the season you see a different story. In his last eight games, Hasselbeck threw for only five touchdowns while throwing eight interceptions.
The Titans start the season with games against New England, at San Diego, at home vs. Detroit and on the road against The Texans, so it bodes well for Hasselbeck that the team will want the veteran leader behind center, but they won’t be able to stay with him if they get off to a bad start.
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Last season fantasy owners were primed for what Blount could do for them. He had just come off a 2010 season that he finished very strongly with over 1,000 yards rushing and six touchdowns, while only starting the last seven games. Many thought he would be a top-20 back but someone forgot to tell the coaching staff.
In the first game of the year Blount only carried the ball five times for 15 yards, while Earnest Graham touched the ball 13 times for 71 yards, including eight receptions for 58 yards. The team just didn’t feel comfortable with Blount on passing downs or if they were playing from behind.
For the season, his yards per carry dropped from 5.0 as a rookie to 4.2 in year two and he was not a threat in the passing game. He only caught 15 balls and was deemed a liability in pass protection. For Blount to have any fantasy value going forward he will need to put a lot more work into learning his pass protection requirements, but until he does let me introduce you to Boise State’s Doug Martin.
After drafting SS Mark Barron with the seventh pick in the draft, the team then traded back into the end of the first-round to grab Martin, one spot in front of the Giants who more than likely would have taken him.
Martin is considered by many to be a close resemblance to Ray Rice and Rice’s old coach, Greg Schiano, is now Martin’s new coach. Martin is a back that can be used on all three downs and if he can stay healthy, Blount will be relegated to a "kill the clock” back with only a handful of touches each game.
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While no one would consider Moreno a starting fantasy back in any way, he is still a warm body and that usually means that he will be drafted in fantasy leagues. Please stay far away.
Moreno has many things going against him heading into 2012, not the least of which is “fighting for a roster spot” according to beat writer Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post.
He is also coming off a torn ACL, is dealing with a DUI arrest from February and has to contend with rookie draft pick Ronnie Hillman. Denver drafted Hillman in the third-round as a back. They think could offer them the home run threat that Moreno never turned into.
Even if Moreno can hold his roster spot he will be playing behind starter Willis McGahee, Lance Ball, Mario Fannin and Hillman; so unless you play in a very deep league, Moreno should not even be rostered.
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The Chicago Bears finally realized this offseason that they needed a true No.1 WR, something that Knox just couldn’t do. So they went out and traded for Jay Cutler’s favorite toy, Brandon Marshall, and drafted Alshon Jeffery in the second-round of this year’s draft.
Knox flashed some very nice signs in 2010 when he caught 51 passes for 960 yards and five touchdowns. He averaged a very respectable 18.8 yards per reception.
In 2011 he was able to increase his yards per reception to 19.6, but the number of receptions dropped from 51 to 37. Plus he only scored twice and caught fewer than three passes six times in 14 games.
In Week 15 against Seattle he had to be carted off the field with what turned out to a very bad problem with the vertebrae in his back. The injury required major surgery that is now putting his entire 2012 season in jeopardy.