Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers
Disappointments in fantasy football happen, just as pleasant surprises do. Sometimes, however, there are warning signs that suggest to stay away from certain players or at least wait longer to draft them than as owners generally do during a given NFL preseason.
The following five players have red flags attached to them, which doesn’t necessarily mean that I wouldn’t draft them, but I wouldn’t draft them.
Because someone else will.
5. Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers
Malcom Floyd is currently projected to be a starter in the San Diego Chargers’ offense. Despite single-season career highs of 45 receptions, 856 yards and six touchdowns, Floyd is frequently selected in the middle rounds of fantasy drafts, projecting him to be used as, at least, a bye-week starter.
Floyd is already 30 years old, entering his eighth NFL season.
I suppose it is possible that he follows a career arc that is similar to that of Brandon Lloyd, who surprisingly exploded for 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2010, who is also in his eighth NFL campaign.
But it’s highly unlikely.
The biggest difference between the career arcs of these two receivers is that when Lloyd was in his eighth year, he was playing for his fourth NFL team. Floyd has been in San Diego since entering the league in 2004.
Floyd holds the advantage over 2010’s Lloyd in quarterback Philip Rivers, but he also has more competition for targets.
Furthermore, Floyd has played 16 games only once in his seven-year tenure, while Lloyd hit that mark twice (in addition to a 15-game season) at the same point in his career.
I’m not saying he’s a bust, but I’ll let someone else take the chance on Floyd.
4. Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys
Miles Austin’s rogue hamstrings derailed what was a promising 2011 season. He tallied seven touchdowns despite missing six full games and getting hurt in others, so his talent is undeniable.
The departure of Laurent Robinson (with his 11 touchdowns last season) and volatility of Dez Bryant are also elements that work in Austin’s favor.
But the hamstring strain issues have already reasserted themselves entering 2012.
Austin is not viewed as the top fantasy receiver like Andre Johnson was last year, but if the Cowboys aren’t careful, his season could resemble what Johnson produced in 2011.
He is definitely worth the start when suiting up, but he is, unfortunately, a candidate to miss games.
I’m not saying he’s a bust, but if I’m not a big fan of the first receiver off my bench, I can’t go after Austin.
3. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
This is more about my excitement for Julio Jones than any dislike for Roddy White.
White is the example of durability at the wide receiver position.
He led the NFL in targets in each of the past two seasons, but I don’t see a repeat in 2012. I have no doubt that he can coexist with Jones and still put up over a thousand yards without being a top-4 wide receiver like he’s currently being drafted on ESPN.com.
That’s what I expect to happen.
If you can get White as your number two fantasy wideout, he would be a steal, likely providing consistent production and allowing you to fill another spot or two in your lineup with boom-or-bust types. But someone is going to take White as his or her primary receiver.
I’m not saying he’s a bust, but I won’t be taking White in Round 2. I would consider him in Round 3 and not think twice about taking him in the fourth round.
Like Roddy White, I don’t feel that Greg Jennings is declining from a skills standpoint. He has the reigning MVP throwing him the ball and was involved in several shootouts as the Packers’ defense gave up points in bunches in 2011.
Also like White, Jennings has shown a respectable degree of consistency, scoring exactly one touchdown in nine of his 13 games played last season.
Finally, Jennings led his team in targets (by a smaller margin than did White) and has an emergent running mate at wide receiver in Jordy Nelson, and I expect Nelson to continue his own productive ways in 2012.
However, ESPN.com reports that Jennings has recently suffered a concussion and will miss the Packers’ first preseason game as a result. We’re all hoping that the reported concussion will be Jennings’ last, but if he misses more time in the preseason (as he did at the end of last season with an injured knee), he may require a portion of the regular season to work back to his physical peak.
The Packers’ receiving corps is already deep and talented. The likes of Donald Driver, James Jones and Randall Cobb can certainly shoulder the load while Jennings returns to 100 percent health.
I’m not saying he’s a bust, but I won’t own Greg Jennings this year. He’ll be taken in the first two or three rounds, but I wouldn’t be looking his way until Round 5.
1. Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers
Mike Wallace started 2011 with three 100-yard receiving games, and topped the 100-yard mark in four of his first seven games.
He hasn’t done it since.
In his final ten games (one in the playoffs), Wallace averaged four receptions and 49 yards per game, in addition to three total touchdowns.
The positive to Wallace is that he has yet to miss a game in his NFL career, but he remains unsigned while seeking a long-term contract from the Steelers. That may snap his consecutive games played streak.
If Wallace participated in a full offseason, his prospects would be more exciting since the Steelers look like they’ll take to the air on offense in 2012.
Instead, depth receivers like Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are more intriguing options.
Wallace may miss regular season games like Vincent Jackson did in 2010 (Jackson was a holdout). Even if he doesn’t, he may suffer some of the same physical consequences that have been attributed to players that held out of training camp.
I’m not saying he’s a bust, but I’m not drafting Mike Wallace this year until all of my skill positions (with the possible exception of tight end) are filled.
There you have it, five wide receivers to wait on in 2012. Agree? Disagree? Who are your red-flagged wide receivers? Leave a comment below.