The best-selling novel Fifty Shades of Grey, which sounds as erotic as a Baltimore-Pittsburgh football game is violent, has been dominating the book-buying scene for several weeks now. Besides titillating millions of women across the world, the book has given this fantasy football columnist an idea for his own special work.
Ten Shades of Terrible is a column about 10 players fantasy owners should not expect too much from in 2012. It might get turned into a novel someday, then maybe a major motion picture. Or it might just be a fantasy football column you read in five minutes that gives you a couple chuckles and keeps you from drafting a couple guys in late August.
Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee Titans (QB)
Take an injury-prone veteran past his prime and have an up-and-coming phenom back him up and you have a recipe for disaster that even Paula Dean cannot fix. It is questionable that Hasselbeck will be the starting signal-caller at the beginning of the season, and 100 times more questionable that he will be the main man at the end of it with Jake Locker waiting in the wings.
Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins (QB)
Moore went out and had the best season of his short career in 2011, throwing for 2,497 yards and 16 touchdowns while only being intercepted nine times. And what was his reward for his solid play? Miami signed veteran David Garrard, drafted Ryan Tannehill in the first round and traded away Moore’s best receiver, Brandon Marshall.
Brandon Jacobs, San Francisco 49ers (RB)
Jacobs and his fantasy owners were probably not happy that he had to spend the last couple years splitting carries with Ahmad Bradshaw. So what does he do as a free agent? He signs with San Franciso, who has Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and second-round speedster LaMichael James at running back. That should really help Jacobs’ playing time and touches.
Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers (RB)
Tolbert is a multi-talented bowling ball of a back who has a nose for the end zone like Gwyneth Paltrow has nose for vegetables (21 TD between 2010 and 2011). Too bad he decided to sign with Carolina, the team where talented running backs watch their fantasy value dry up.
Tolbert will not score double-digit touchdowns with DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and quarterback Cam Newton all getting carries, especially inside the 10-yardline.
Chad Ochocinco, Miami Dolphins (WR)
Ochocinco was in the perfect place to become a fantasy force once again, yet he could not grasp New England’s complex playbook after being there a full year. A full year! Even I got the hang of calculus after a couple months.
The Patriots released Ochocinco in the offseason, and the Brandon Marshall-less Dolphins signed him soon after. Ochocinco is past his prime, unproductive and seems more concerned about his name and his fame than putting up another 1,000-yard year. If he could not hack it in New England, not sure what changes in Miami.
Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys (RB)
Jones proved once and for all in 2011 that he is not an every-down back. Between his injuries and his inconsistency, Dallas cannot count on him to be a workhorse. And after Jones struggled and was supplanted by DeMarco Murray, Murray ran like Jim Brown behind the same offensive line that Jones was having trouble gaining ground with. Murray is the sure starter for 2012, lowering Jones’ fantasy worth.
Kellen Winslow, Seattle Seahawks (TE)
Winslow may have caught 218 passes over the last three years and topped the 700-yard mark in four of the past five seasons, but expect 50 receptions for 520 yards out of him in Seattle—at best.
Zach Miller, who was a prolific pass-catching tight end in his own right when he joined the Seahawks last year, disappeared like Andy Pettitte’s memory at the Roger Clemens trial. After averaging over 750 yards per season between 2008-2010 with the Oakland Raiders, Miller ended up with just 25 receptions for 233 yards with the Seahawks in 2011.
Look for the same to happen to Winslow, even if Matt Flynn is the quarterback. Winslow’s body has taken a pounding over the years, Flynn is no Josh Freeman and Winslow will have to share the tight end targets with Miller. It all adds up to an average-at-best season for Winslow.
Plaxico Burress, Free Agent (WR)
Poor Plaxico. The gun-toting touchdown catcher has yet to find a home for the 2012 campaign. His 2011 comeback season actually was not too bad. After missing two years because of his jail stint, Burress had 612 receiving yards and eight touchdowns with the New York Jets. But he will be nothing more than a No. 3 WR with whomever he signs with now, so that will hurt his touchdown total.
Josh Morgan, Washington Redskins (WR)
Morgan’s claim to fame is that he has scored nine touchdowns in four pro seasons and is one of the more solid No. 3 receivers around. That ain’t much help in fantasy football, so do not be fooled by the millions the Redskins flipped at him.
Morgan will still be just a No. 3 WR behind Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss, and the fourth option overall in the passing attack because of talented tight end Fred Davis.
Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh Steelers (K)
Suisham conned the Steelers and fantasy owners into thinking he had become accurate when he connected on 14 of 15 field-goal attempts in an emergency pinch for the Steelers in 2010. But this was the same guy who kicked himself out of Dallas and Washington earlier in this career, and he reverted back to form last season, finishing dead last in FG percentage.
With Pittsburgh changing the offense from a wide-open attack back to a run-first system, Suisham probably will not get the FG opportunities he used to, and when he does he will shank 25 percent of them.