Biggest Fantasy Football Busts from the 2012 Season

Gordie GoldCorrespondent IDecember 31, 2012

Biggest Fantasy Football Busts from the 2012 Season

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    LeSean McCoy—20 touchdowns.

    Larry Fitzgerald—over 1,400 receiving yards.

    Cam Newton—14 rushing touchdowns as a quarterback.

    In 2011, these three players were absolute fantasy football studs. In 2012, they were top fantasy draft picks.

    What happened to these three players this season? Not only did their statistics take a major hit, but they ruined many fantasy football teams' seasons.

    With the 2012 fantasy football season in the books, here is a list of the biggest fantasy football busts of the year.

Ryan Mathews

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    I have never liked Ryan Mathews and always thought he was overrated. After his horrible 2012 season, hopefully every fantasy football owner will realize that Mathews is not a legit fantasy football running back.

    Not only did he miss multiple games due to injury for the third season in a row, but Mathews never ran for over 100 yards in a single game and only scored one touchdown the entire season.

    Heading into 2013, do not even think about drafting Mathews in the first few rounds.

Cam Newton

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    After a sensational rookie season, Cam Newton was one of the first quarterbacks drafted in most fantasy football leagues this year.

    Newton's stats took a hit in nearly every single category. In 2011, Newton put up 25 touchdown passes, 4,051 passing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns. This season, Newton threw for only 19 touchdown passes, 3,869 passing yards and ran for eight touchdowns.

    Considering he was a top-five quarterback heading into the 2012 season, Newton disappointed many fantasy football owners.

LeSean McCoy

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    Coming off a 20-touchdown season in 2011, LeSean McCoy was without a doubt a top-three draft pick in every fantasy football league this year. When you take a running back with one of the first three picks, they need to at least run for 1,000 yards and score double digit touchdowns.

    Unfortunately, McCoy was a major letdown this season. He missed five games due to injury, while only running for 840 yards and scoring five touchdowns.

    After a sluggish season, McCoy could possibly drop out of the first round in 2013 fantasy football drafts.

Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson

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    Last year, Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson combined for over 2,200 receiving yards and scored 24 touchdowns.

    This year, the two of them combined for only 1,111 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns.

    I know both Jennings and Nelson dealt with injuries all season, but so many fantasy football owners drafted these guys in the early rounds. With players like James Jones and Randall Cobb emerging, the fantasy stock of Jennings and Nelson could be on the decline.

Matthew Stafford

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    Sure, Matthew Stafford almost threw for over 5,000 yards this year, but what happened to all of his touchdown passes?

    After an incredible 2011 season, in which he threw 41 touchdown passes, Stafford only threw 20 touchdowns this season. In 11 games in 2012, Stafford threw no more than one touchdown pass.

    Don't expect Stafford to be a top-10 fantasy quarterback heading into next season. 

Darren McFadden

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    When you think of Darren McFadden, you think of a player with all of the tools to be one of the best running backs in the NFL. He has the total package in speed, size and strength, yet McFadden still cannot seem to figure out how to be productive in the NFL.

    For the fifth year in a row, McFadden has failed to play an entire season. He missed four games this year. Even when McFadden did play, he produced very little, running for only 707 yards and scoring three touchdowns.

    With his inability to fight off the injury bug and his inconsistent play, it is time for fantasy football owners to start dropping McFadden on their draft boards. I wouldn't even draft him to be my No. 2 fantasy running back because he is way too unreliable.

Larry Fitzgerald

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    I don't know why fantasy football owners felt comfortable drafting Larry Fitzgerald within the first three rounds of their fantasy drafts this year.

    With quarterbacks like Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer under center for the Arizona Cardinals, did you really expect Fitzgerald to put up monster numbers?

    Fitzgerald had his worst season as a pro yet, finishing with 798 receiving yards and four touchdowns. If the Cardinals don't address their quarterback situation this offseason, Fitzgerald will no longer be a top-15 fantasy football receiver—a huge drop, considering he entered the season as a top-five fantasy receiver.

Michael Vick

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    If we learned anything this season, it is that Michael Vick's career as a fantasy football player is over. Not only did he lose his starting job this year, but even when Vick did play, he was a turnover machine.

    In 10 games this season, Vick had 15 turnovers and only threw for 12 touchdowns. What usually sets Vick apart from all the other quarterbacks is his running ability, but even as a runner he was still ineffective. He ran for only 332 yards and one touchdown.

    Vick will likely not be with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013, and who knows if he will even have a starting job?

Antonio Gates

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    For the past decade, Antonio Gates has been one of the most dominant tight ends in fantasy football. However, it looks like Gates has lost a step and is no longer the player he once was.

    The knock on Gates in the past was that he could never stay healthy. When he played, he put up big numbers, but he would always miss multiple games.

    This year, Gates only missed one game, but he still produced very little. In 15 games this season, Gates had less than 50 receptions and 600 receiving yards for the first time since his rookie season.

Hakeem Nicks

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    In his first three seasons, it looked like Hakeem Nicks was on the verge of becoming one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. He had two consecutive seasons with at least 75 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards.

    This year, Nicks' production took a major hit. He was battling injuries the entire season and ended up finishing with only 692 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

    With Nicks battling injuries and Victor Cruz taking over as Eli Manning's go-to receiver, Nicks' fantasy football value has definitely taken a hit this year.