NFL Fantasy 2012: 5 Head Cases Owners Should Target Anyway
It's safe to say that today's NFL is filled with players that are slightly imbalanced, to say the least. A more blunt way of putting it is that NFL players are crazy as hell.
Just because a player gets a DUI, smokes some weed or acts like a fool on a regular basis doesn't necessarily mean you should be avoiding him come fantasy draft day. There's a history of very eccentric and troubled NFL players that have had fantastic careers.
Clinton Portis wore all those crazy-looking outfits for game day interviews, yet he still managed to be a fantasy stud in his prime.
The trick is knowing when to go all-in and when to fold, and I've found the five head cases that you should be going all in on come draft day.
1. Randy Moss
I really can't believe I'm saying this, but I think Randy Moss is worth going after in the late rounds of a fantasy draft. I have no illusions about his age and his depleted skills, but he reportedly has been very impressive in camp, according to 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, and that says a lot.
Moss is the textbook definition of crazy. He mopes, he gets pissed, then he takes off plays and destroys the locker room he's in before getting traded or released.
But before he did all that in New England, he broke the record for receiving touchdowns in a season.
I cannot possibly recommend drafting Moss as a WR3 or better, but if you find yourself looking for a solid bench option with some serious upside, especially in TD leagues, then Moss is someone you should target. Even if he's out of shape, he provides a big target in the end zone.
Best case scenario: Moss drank from the fountain of youth and becomes the clear cut No. 1 receiving option in San Fransisco.
Worst case scenario: Moss drank from the fondue fountain and still manages to out leap defenders for 6-8 touchdowns.
Either way, you can't lose if you pick up Moss in round 10 or later.
2. Titus Young
Titus Young is only entering his second season in the NFL, but he has already proven himself to be a legitimate head case.
In his rookie season, he had a tendency to take stupid penalties. Then he took that tendency and put it to use in OTA's, where he punched Lions safety and teammate Louis Delmas in the head.
Clearly Young doesn't have the track record of a guy like Randy Moss, but it appears that he could be on a similar path if he doesn't get it together.
Young is currently being drafted in the middle rounds as a borderline starting WR in most mocks. I feel that if you can get him as a WR3, then you should go for it by all means.
He should be the clear receiving option after Calvin Johnson, and if Megatron should go down this year (he was on the cover of Madden after all), then Young would immediately be bumped up to a solid WR2 in most leagues.
3. Brandon Marshall
Three players down, three wide receivers listed. I see a trend developing.
Brandon Marshall earned his spot on this list for a number of incidents, each one as crazy as the next.
For starters, he has built himself a nice-sized portfolio of DUI arrests, as well as incidents involving domestic abuse, battery and, oh yeah, his wife stabbed him. I'd say Marshall has fought long and hard for his spot on this list.
That being said, now that Marshall is reunited with Jay Cutler in Chicago, I anticipate a big year and return to form. When in Denver with Cutler, Marshall's numbers were significantly better than his Miami numbers. I expect those numbers to be even better, now that both players have had time to mature and develop.
Marshall is being drafted anywhere from rounds 2-4, and I feel that he is a quality WR1 option for any fantasy team. If he is there near the end of the second round, grab him. He's being underrated due to his stats in Miami, which in my opinion are actually pretty impressive, considering the quarterback play he had to deal with.
4. Peyton Hillis
I could probably sit here and list crazy wide receivers all day long, but what's the fun in that? Teams need running backs too!
Peyton Hillis was a stud for a short while in Cleveland. Then he got the Madden cover, held out and decided he wanted to join the FBI. Now he finds himself on the Chiefs roster sitting behind the very talented Jamaal Charles.
I think a lot of people are so down on Hillis and so high on Charles that he's getting passed on and even going undrafted in some leagues.
This is a mistake. Hillis, at worst, will be a goal-line back in the vein of Mike Tolbert. However, I feel his ceiling is much higher, as Charles has proven to be rather injury prone.
If Charles goes down, Hillis has the talent not only to fill in, but also to thrive and put up some big numbers, especially in the TD department.
If you're lacking depth at RB—and most teams will this year, believe me—Hillis is a solid pickup near the end of the draft.
He will be an oft-used TD machine and has some serious upside given the injury history of Jamaal Charles.
5. DeSean Jackson
Not surprisingly, we're back to the receiver position to end this list.
DeSean Jackson is an immense talent, and he's on a team that's absolutely loaded. Now that he signed a long-term deal, I'm hopeful that Jackson will put his prima donna antics behind him.
Last year, Jackson had a real tendency to take plays off, and he wasn't very subtle about it. He was a cancer in the locker room and was very vocal about his discontent. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, this translated to a poor showing on the field.
The Eagles in general were a bit of a mess last season though, and I think that Jackson, as well as the rest of the team, will show vast improvement this year.
One big issue was clearly Jackson's long term contract ending, and it's something that will motivate and propel him to play the way fantasy owners know he's capable of.
Draft Jackson as early as round three, especially if your league takes return yards and TD's into account.