10 Biggest Boom-or-Bust Fantasy Football Picks This Season

Wes StueveContributor IIISeptember 1, 2012

10 Biggest Boom-or-Bust Fantasy Football Picks This Season

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    Every fantasy football player is looking for the safe, dominant player. Unfortunately, there are not very many of those guys out there.

    There are, however, several boom-or-bust players. 

    These are the guys who will make or break your team. They will either put you at the top or send you straight to the bottom.

    So just who are these guys who could win or lose you your league? Read on to find out.

Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

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    The issue with Peyton Manning is obvious. No one really knows just how healthy he is after multiple neck surgeries. 

    If Manning is in old form—and let's be honest, he probably isn't—he's a dominant quarterback. If he isn't fully healthy, though, Manning could be a huge bust.

    Though Denver isn't full of outrageous talent, there are some good offensive weapons. Both Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker have 1,000-yard potential.

    Manning has, at times, been the NFL's best quarterback. The question is whether he still is.

Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans

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    Andre Johnson is a truly dominant wideout when healthy. "When healthy," however, is the key phrase.

    Johnson played in just seven games last year and 13 the year before. I don't care how good Johnson is, seven games isn't enough for him to be a good fantasy player.

    If he is healthy, though, there's no denying Johnson's obvious value. He is a top-three fantasy wideout when on the field.

    It's impossible to predict whether Johnson will consistently see the field, but the past two years aren't a good indication of what is to come.

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers

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    Prior to breaking his clavicle, Ryan Mathews was a top fantasy pick. As he almost always does, however, Mathews did get hurt. 

    Mathews is a talented player with huge upside as San Diego's running back. No one is stealing carries from him, and Mathews is a complete player capable of contributing in every aspect of the game.

    Unfortunately, though, Mathews has that history of injuries, and he is already hurt. It was that way throughout his entire college career, and he missed five games his first two NFL seasons.

    It's simply impossible to count on Mathews, though he does have great upside. 

Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans

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    Kenny Britt has a history of issues. He has been arrested more than once, and he is coming off a torn ACL, which he injured just over a year ago. Oh yeah, he's facing a one-game suspension, too.

    Britt is no doubt an impact player when healthy and not in trouble, but there's no guarantee of either of those two things happening. And unfortunately, both need to happen.

    Odds are, if he's fully recovered from his torn ACL, Britt will be a good addition this year. But there is a big risk there.

Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns

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    Prior to undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, Trent Richardson was seen as a top fantasy player. He still may be healthy by Week 1, and he has huge upside as a rookie.

    Richardson enters a Browns offense with a shaky-at-best passing attack and no other legitimate runners. There's no doubt that Cleveland will lean on the No. 3 overall pick in his first year.

    However, though Richardson may be back for Week 1, it is not yet known whether he will be. It's also unknown how much Cleveland will give Richardson the ball as he recovers from surgery.

    Richardson's ability is unknown, and Cleveland needs him. Once again, the question is health. 

Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers

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    Physically, Antonio Gates is still an elite tight end. Unfortunately, he has missed 10 games over the past two years while dealing with nagging injuries.

    Gates may be healthy, though, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. If he is, Gates is a huge weapon for your fantasy team.

    However, Gates' injuries might come back at any time. He is 32 years old, after all. But the reward here is huge.

Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders

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    Everyone knows Darren McFadden's situation. He is an explosive weapon and the focus of Oakland's offense. He runs the ball and catches the football.

    And he gets hurt.

    If healthy, McFadden could be a top-three fantasy player. He is a great potential value compared to his Average Draft Position and could carry a team.

    Last year, McFadden had just 614 yards, but he is capable of much, much more. 

Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

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    In 2010, Jamaal Charles was a top fantasy player. He then proceeded to tear his ACL and miss nearly the entire 2011 season.

    Charles should be healthy now, but it's hard to say for sure. It often takes players, especially running backs, a year to return from a torn ACL.

    Also, there is the possibility of Peyton Hillis stealing carries—especially in the red zone—from Charles. This could limit Charles' ability to score points.

    Odds are Charles will be moderately successful, but there's the chance he could still not be healthy and bomb this year.

    Or, of course, he could come back as strong as ever.

Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Maurice Jones-Drew has finally ended his contract holdout and will be reporting to the Jaguars Sunday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

    However, will he continue to be a distraction to the team, who went 3-1 in the preseason without him?

Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Michael Vick's talent is well-known. He was a rare prospect in the NFL draft, and he remains a rare talent in the NFL.

    With that talent, though, comes inconsistency: Vick is either dominant or bad.

    However, Vick's durability is a bigger issue than his inconsistency. When healthy, Vick usually puts up good-to-great fantasy numbers. That doesn't happen often enough, though.

    Vick's running ability is part of what makes him a great fantasy target, but it also leads to his inability to stay on the field.

    In 2012, Vick could be a top-five fantasy quarterback, or he could be a bottom-half quarterback.