Last year, Mike Wallace averaged 11.3 FPPG—good for 10th-best among fantasy wideouts.
That would make him a WR1 in a typical 10- or 12-team league.
This year, don't expect a double-digit fantasy average.
Wallace is entrenched in a contract battle with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He wants a long-term deal, and so do the Steelers.
The debate, apparently, is over the number of zeroes in any long-term contract.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Wallace wants Larry Fitzgerald money.
Unfortunately for Wallace, with the exception of Ben Roethlisberger's eight-year, $102 million deal in 2008, the Steelers organization historically doesn't give out Larry Fitzgerald money.
This standoff has led to Wallace being absent from Pittsburgh's OTAs and minicamp.
Ordinarily, that might not be a big deal.
In this case, with coordinator Todd Haley installing a new offense, it is.
According to Roethlisberger, this new offense is "90 percent different."
A month after saying that, Roethlisberger updated that the offense was "progressing."
That's not exactly confidence-boosting, coming from someone who's actually been practicing with it—unlike Wallace.
I'm not being alarmist. I do expect that by the season opener, Roethlisberger and the rest of the offense will probably feel up to the task with the new system.
But Wallace? That could be a different story.
While the receiver has picked up the new playbook to read during this contract battle, mental reps are simply not the same as physical reps.
Roethlisberger, after all, has had both mental and physical reps for the past month but still feels uncomfortable.
Given the prospect that Wallace could hold out of training camp—which would really put him behind—it's clear the odds that Wallace will be as productive as last season are fading faster than Lindsay Lohan's cultural relevance.
In fact, Wallace could even hold out of regular-season games until mid-November without losing a free-agent season. If Wallace did that, his 2012 fantasy stats would obviously take a plunge, even if he was Rain Man mentally with the playbook.
Caveat emptor: Wallace is a risky fantasy option for 2012.
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