5 Players Guaranteed to Have Roller Coaster Fantasy Football Seasons
Inconsistent fantasy football players will immediately put anyone's season in jeopardy.
It's easy to get caught up in the potential total season numbers and miss on the week-to-week production.
Even if a player has strong averages, that stat doesn't tell a whole lot when a receiver catches 12 passes for 120 yards one week and then dips down to three receptions for 30 yards the next. Sure, 75 yards between both weeks is decent, but the latter may have cost you a win.
So many variables also play a factor when trying to find consistent players such as weekly matchups, offensive philosophy, surrounding talent and the players' own ability, among others.
Ahead we look at guys who will endure a roller-coaster season in 2012, but that doesn't mean to avoid drafting or considering them as starters. This is just a fair warning as the production can create frustration.
Matt Forte: RB, Bears
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Last season it was easy to see why Matt Forte had so much consistency and elite production before 2011 got cut short.
He was basically the Chicago Bears' entire offense and defenses failed to shut him down no matter what. The 2012 season, however, has a little different look and feel.
For one, the Bears have a much more threatening passing attack to keep pace with Green Bay and Detroit. Brandon Marshall was Jay Cutler's favorite target in Denver, and it's reasonable to presume that in the Windy City.
Elsewhere, Chicago has rookie Alshon Jeffery who can beat single coverage and leap over anyone on a fade route inside the red zone. In short, the Bears will be tossing the rock downfield more as opposed to dumping off screens and checkdowns.
As for the running game, Michael Bush is a much more reliable No. 2 ball-carrier than Marion Barber. After an impressive campaign in Oakland while filling in for Darren McFadden, Bush proved he deserves more carries and opportunities.
So Forte isn't going to get totally zeroed-in on by opponents. The Bears are just going to rely more on the aerial assault to keep up with NFC firepowers and Bush will take more carries away than Barber.
Kenny Britt: WR, Titans
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
After putting up some of the most impressive numbers through not even two full games in 2011, Kenny Britt's season finished early to injury.
Britt remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list, and it’s looking like he won’t play at all this preseason. Britt said he continues to make progress in his recovery from surgeries on both knees and still hopes to be back for the start of the regular season on Sept. 9 against the Patriots.
Along with his durability concerns, regardless of when Britt returns, he's also going to see a new gunslinger at the helm. Earlier this week second-year quarterback Jake Locker was named the starter, per the Associated Press via ESPN.com
Include the AFC South presenting some rough defenses like Houston and Jacksonville and Britt's 2012 campaign looks bleak.
Not to mention Tennessee also faces other playoff contenders in Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh, New England and Buffalo. Despite being a risk, Britt has the talent to be a reliable selection.
Combine all the elements, though, and this season won't begin like 2011.
Vincent Jackson: WR, Buccaneers
Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
Vincent Jackson is definitely the best offensive weapon for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the man must prove weekly production.
With a better quarterback in Philip Rivers last season, Jackson did catch 60 balls for 1,106 yards and score nine times. He also only managed four games with 100-plus yards and had seven games of less than 50 yards.
Josh Freeman undoubtedly has potential as we saw from his 2010 campaign. However, he took a nosedive last season in terms of turnovers and consistency. For the Buccaneers to enjoy a good season, they must focus on getting the running back tandem of LeGarrette Blount and rookie Doug Martin moving.
It will help set up the pass from play-action, although Jackson had this luxury with the Chargers who averaged almost 30 more rushing yards per game the Tampa in 2011.
He will see double coverage quite often, so Jackson's potential for consistent production has to first come from Mike Williams and tight end Dallas Clark deriving that coverage attention.
More opportunities to make plays are present in the pass-happy NFC South; it's now a matter of getting Jackson in favorable situations.
John Skelton/Kevin Kolb: QB, Cardinals
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Backup quarterbacks are essential to fantasy football, and depending on your league's size and settings, one that starts two quarterbacks just increases the odds regarding the Arizona Cardinals.
Still, it won't matter who ends up starting under center because the Cardinals face tough defenses within the NFC West and explosive offenses like Green Bay, Atlanta, Philadelphia and New England.
Also, the offensive line allowed 54 sacks in 2011 and despite upgrades this offseason tackle Levi Brown is out. Per the Associated Press via ESPN.com:
Coach Ken Whisenhunt revealed the extent of the injury at his Saturday news conference, saying the five-year starter will require surgery with an anticipated recovery time that would approach the end of the season.
John Skelton was certainly the more productive and consistent of the two in 2011, because Kevin Kolb did fail to live up to the hype. Even with a stronger receiving corps courtesy of rookie Michael Floyd to complete Larry Fitzgerald, though, both signal-callers still have a lot to prove.
If you need a second starter or backup, just beware that Arizona will rely more on its defense and special teams. The passing game has potential, but a more balanced approach must be taken to increase Skelton's/Kolb's room for error.
Mike Wallace: WR, Steelers
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Great news for Pittsburgh Steelers fans and those with Mike Wallace in fantasy. He is expected to return this week.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network:
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace has informed teammates that his plan is to show up this weekend and sign his restricted free agent tender. The speedster sat out training camp, with hopes of reaching a long-term extension. Two sources with knowledge of Wallace's plans confirmed the conversations.
The past two seasons Wallace has been a dominant force out wide in gaining 2,450 yards on 132 receptions. That's an average of 18.8 yards per catch and he's also scored 18 times.
For 2012, it wouldn't be surprising to see Wallace put up similar seasonal numbers, but the Steelers need a more threatening ground game to complement the pass. Wallace is going to see double coverage every snap—whether it's an inside and outside defender or squeezed zone with a corner and safety.
On the bright side we can anticipate more production from Antonio Brown and tight end Heath Miller. Still, though, Pittsburgh also remains vulnerable with pass protection, and defenses will blitz Ben Roethlisberger even more this year.
Wallace may top over 1,000 yards and 70-plus receptions, but he'll have big games against weak defenses and get blanketed against stronger units.
Follow John Rozum on Twitter.