Arian Foster and the 5 Biggest Fantasy Football Busts for 2013

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystDecember 17, 2012

Arian Foster and the 5 Biggest Fantasy Football Busts for 2013

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    Well, we've made it to championship week in the majority of fantasy football leagues, which means that two squads will do battle this week with the title of league champion at stake.

    Then there's the rest of us, the teams that have fallen by the wayside, piloted by owners who are both grumbling about a disappointing season while still yearning for that fantasy fix.

    Well, as Cleveland Browns fans always say, there's always next year!

    It's never too early to begin getting ready for 2013 (especially if 2012 ended in a Mayan fireball), and the first step in doing that is to identify if there any players who have already raised red flags that next season could be an unlucky one from a fantasy standpoint.

    You know, like this one was...for us.

Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans

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    Houston Texans running back Arian Foster was a top-five draft pick in the majority of fantasy football leagues last summer, and to this point the fourth-year pro hasn't disappointed, rushing for over 1,300 yards, scoring 16 total touchdowns and ranking second at his position in fantasy points.

    With that said there are reasons for concern heading into next season.

    Foster's career-low four yards a carry is one, but his workload is a far larger one.

    Foster is on pace for over 370 carries, which is a "magic number" of sorts in fantasy football. According to Tristan Cockroft of ESPN in the 28 times that a back has crossed that threshold in NFL history, only once (LaDainian Tomlinson in 2003) has that running back matched his fantasy point total the next season.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins

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    Thank goodness this is the Internet, or I'd probably be dodging tomatoes.

    Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III may well be fantasy football's MVP this season, as his backup signal-caller price tag and top-five fantasy production are the kinds of draft day steals that win many leagues.

    The getting hurt and missing a fantasy playoff game thing was unfortunate, and therein lies the rub.

    That draft day price tag is going to be significantly higher next season, and fantasy owners are going to be faced with a dilemma similar to the one we've faced for years with Michael Vick.

    Not comparing the players mind you, but their running style lends itself to getting hit really, really hard. That means that while Griffin may single-handedly win you a couple games fantasy owners need to count on him missing a couple as well.

James Jones, WR, Green Bay Packers

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    This one happens every year, and even happened last year with the same team, but it's a trap that people still fall into without fail.

    Every season a wide receiver comes out nowhere to post big fantasy production buoyed by a gaudy touchdown total only to fade the next season as that number regresses to the mean for whatever reason.

    Jordy Nelson's 15 touchdowns in 2011 got him overdrafted this year, and next summer plenty of people will reach for teammate James Jones, whose three scores Sunday against the Chicago Bears gives him 12 for the season.

    Yes, Jones is having a top-20 fantasy season and Greg Jennings almost certainly won't be back with the Green Bay Packers next year.

    However, Jones will likely still be the third receiver for the Packers, and prior to this year's outburst Jones caught 20 touchdowns in five seasons combined.

Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots

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    It actually pains me to say this, because I'm a huge fan of New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, who even after a slow start to the season has still caught 100 passes for the fifth time in six years and once again ranks in the top 10 at his position in PPR fantasy football leagues.

    However, odds aren't great that Welker will be returning to the Patriots next year, and a change of scenery could be devastating for Welker's fantasy prospects.

    That's not to say that Welker isn't a talented player in his own right, but a great deal of the success he's enjoyed in New England is the result of the Patriots' system, personnel and Welker's relationship with quarterback Tom Brady.

Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins

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    You may think that I'm picking on the Washington Redskins, but the fickle fates of fantasy football know no favorite team. They know only pain and suffering.

    Admittedly, Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris has had a phenomenal rookie season, rushing for over 1,300 yards and nine touchdowns while helping the Redskins make an improbable run at the playoffs.

    However, by season's end Morris will be well over 300 carries for the year (especially if the Redskins do advance to the postseason), and that kind of pounding will take a toll on even the youngest of pups.