5 Players Sure to Bust and Sink Your Fantasy Football Team
Nothing will sink a fantasy season faster than watching your team circle the drain because your first or second-round pick didn't come anywhere close to fulfilling the lofty expectations you had for them before the year.
Sure, sometimes an injury comes out of nowhere to decimate your roster, and honestly there's not a whole lot that can be done about that.
However, in many instances, the warning signs for a fantasy letdown are there before the season starts, and for whatever reason fantasy owners just choose to ignore them.
For the following handful of players that sign is flashing, and you'd be well served to heed it.
Before we move on though, a note.
A "bust" doesn't have to completely fall apart to do you in. All it takes is for your first-round pick to put up fifth-round numbers and you're going to be in big trouble.
That's a bust kiddies.
Can Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
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Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was one of fantasy football's biggest surprises in 2011, topping 4,000 passing yards as a rookie and setting an NFL record with 14 rushing touchdowns. He also finished the year as a top-five fantasy option at his position.
With that said, fantasy owners drafting Newton early in the hopes of a repeat are setting themselves up to be disappointed.
With fullback Mike Tolbert now in town, there will probably be fewer goal line plunges coming his way this season, and while that may bode well for his chances of staying healthy in the long run, the potential drop in rushing production puts a significant dent in Newton's fantasy value.
Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders
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Darren McFadden is one of the most dangerous running backs in the National Football League when he's on the field, and the fifth-year pro was a top 10 ball carrier in 2010 and placed among the top 10 at his position in fantasy points per game last season.
However, it's that "when he's on the field" part where things get sticky.
The next 16-game season that McFadden makes it through will be his first, and a virtual guarantee that the 24-year-old will miss time at some point in the season isn't generally what one looks for in a first-round fantasy pick.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
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Running back Maurice Jones-Drew was the NFL's leading rusher last season with 1,606 yards, and that combined with his 374 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns was enough for the 27-year-old to land among the top five fantasy running backs in 2011.
However, it was also enough to motivate Jones-Drew to seek a pay raise, and as things stand right now, the Jaguars don't appear to be in any hurry to give him one.
Jones-Drew's holdout continues to drag on, and as each day passes, it brings to mind a similar situation last year involving Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson.
Johnson held out for more coin, finally got it, reported late and proceeded to stink up the joint for much of the season.
Granted, Johnson turned it around somewhat late and finished the season in the top 10 in PPR leagues; but by then, most of the teams that owned him were already out of playoff contention.
That sound like fun?
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
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However, it's not Fitzgerald that's the problem.
Quarterbacks Kevin Kolb and John Skelton have looked like absolute dog crap playing behind a terrible offensive line this preseason, and if you combine running backs Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams, you might find yourself with one healthy running back.
Sure, that means Fitzgerald will all but certainly see a ton of targets, but those throws will come from lousy quarterbacks with half the opposing defense blanketing him in coverage.
Love Larry Fitzgerald the player, but as a top-five fantasy wide receiver? Not so much.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
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New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski laid waste to the rest of the fantasy options at his position in 2011, reeling in 90 catches for 1,327 yards and an NFL-record 17 scores.
It's that phenomenal season that's actually the problem, as it has driven Gronkowski's price tag into the first round of most fantasy football drafts.
The third-year pro is going to be hard-pressed to repeat those gaudy stats in 2012 (especially the touchdowns) given all the other options available to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the passing game.
This isn't to say that "Gronk" won't have another great year.
It's just not going to be great enough to justify spending a first-round pick on him.