Predicting the NFL's Biggest Fantasy Football Disappointments of 2012
It happens every year.
Some players become a major fantasy disappointment. The key is to find out before the season starts, not after.
How do you determine who the busts will be?
Sometimes, the numbers don't lie. So if you're looking at the right numbers, you'll get a tip. Other times, it's just a hunch. While very subjective, it can at times be more helpful than the numbers.
In my previous article, I wrote about underrated players who can help you win in fantasy football. This article will be the opposite: who are the overrated players who could bring you down in fantasy football?
Let's see who these disappointments might be?
QB Philip Rivers
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The Chargers replaced wide receiver Vincent Jackson with lesser accomplished wideout Robert Meachem and practically dead Eddie Royal. It will also take some time to develop that rapport with those acquisitions.
Tight end Antonio Gates may have his plantar fasciitis flare up again.
Yet fantasy projections have Rivers ranked higher (10th QB taken) than where he finished last year when he did have Jackson (12th-best fantasy QB).
It's possible sophomore receiver Vincent Brown could step up and combine with Meachem to fill the void left by Jackson.
But on the flip side, the Bolts are also likely to run the ball more this year with Ryan Mathews.
So to me, Rivers is a QB2 at this point, and anyone who picks him with QB1 aspirations is in for a major disappointment.
RB Chris Johnson
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Chris Johnson is the fifth running back off the board in ADP data so far.
This despite the fact he finished as the 21st running back last year.
Despite being healthy, Johnson avoided contact last year.
He also lacked explosiveness and came up small even in highly favorable matchups.
Those are some big red flags when it comes to my first-round pick.
While some argue that Johnson's ineffectiveness was due to either his holdout or a new offensive coordinator, running backs as elite as Johnson once was do not suddenly become useless because of holdouts or offensive system changes.
Instead, running backs suddenly fall off the cliff simply by nature of their position.
Right, Shaun Alexander?
Granted, Johnson is going to be only 27 years old this season, so he's about a year shy of hitting that unscientific milestone of running backs falling off the cliff between 28-30 yers old.
However, with those red flags, I'll take someone safer with my first pick and let someone else roll the dice on his risks.
RB Marshawn Lynch
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Lynch is the 10th running back taken, according to current ADP projections. That's a second-round pick.
That matches how Lynch finished last year—10th among fantasy running backs.
However, I don't see Lynch having that kind of production this year.
This is one of those picks where I don't have numbers to back up my prognosis. It's just a hunch I have that Lynch will be a big bust this year.
I think the addition of rookie Robert Turbin could end up vulturing some of Lynch's red-zone production.
New quarterback Matt Flynn will likely turn the Seahawks' pass/run ratio more toward the passing side compared to last year.
And in general, I think Lynch was an overachiever last year.
While Lynch may indeed bring a return on his second-round pick investment, I'm personally looking elsewhere.
RB Maurice Jones-Drew
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Jones-Drew is currently the sixth running back off the board, based on ADP.
That's pretty similar to MJD's status as the fifth scoring running back last year.
But here's the rub.
Last year, Jones-Drew had a career year in yards with nearly 2,000 combined yards to go along with 11 total TDs.
That's fantastic production for a guy who wasn't a consensus first-round pick last year.
This year, he is a consensus first-round pick.
So he'll have to produce another career year in order to justify that pick.
But with the addition of heralded rookie wideout Justin Blackmon and free-agent receiver Laurent Robinson, the Jaguars are certainly not going to run the ball as much as last year (only three teams ran more than the Jacksonville did last year).
I don't see another career year from MJD this year, so I'm avoiding him with my first-round pick.
Honorable Mentions: RBs Steven Jackson and Michael Turner
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Steven Jackson has a lot of mileage on him.
His yardage production and receptions have both dropped in each of the past three years.
Throw in a rookie RB in Isaiah Pead who will take some touches away from Jackson, and add a shiny new toy in rookie receiver Brian Quick for Sam Bradford to throw to, and I see a diminished role for the current 14th running back (RB2) to go off the board.
As for Turner, the 16th running back (RB2) to be selected has seen his fantasy production drop the past couple years.
What's more, head coach Mike Smith apparently recognizes the mileage on Turner and reportedly will limit Turner's carries. This coincides with the Falcons' desire to utilize budding wide receiver Julio Jones more and emulate the pass-happy Super Bowl contending teams.
Add all these red flags up on Turner and I don't want anything to do with that.
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