Fantasy Football 2013: Veterans Guaranteed to Fail This Season
Drafting NFL veterans in fantasy football is an effort in walking a tightrope. Sway wrong one way and fall into full-on bust territory, sway the other direction and hit a fantasy jackpot.
Breakout candidates, or even veterans sustaining top fantasy production can be easy to predict. For example, Steven Jackson rejuvenating his career in Atlanta while defenses key in on the pass is easy to call.
More difficult is predicting which veterans will fail. Whether it is schematics, coaches, injuries or even simple age, there are a variety of factors that contribute to a veteran falling off a fantasy cliff.
Here are a few destined for that fate in 2013.
Note: All fantasy rankings courtesy of FantasyPros.com.
Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins
Player Ranking: 25th WR, 63rd Overall
Some expect big things from Mike Wallace now that he has a fat contract with the Miami Dolphins and a promising second-year quarterback in Ryan Tannehill.
The problem with Wallace is simple. He fell off the face of the Earth last season in 15 games, catching just 64 passes for 838 yards and eight touchdowns. Pittsburgh went with less of a vertical attack in order to have a more efficient offense, but the numbers are not encouraging nonetheless.
Even less encouraging is the fact he tallied seven games with five fantasy points or fewer last season. His career has been on a downward trend the past three years, going from 1,257 to 1,193 all the way down to 838 receiving yards.
Add in the fact Tannehill is a downgrade from Ben Roethlisberger. Also consider Tannehill has a strong rapport with Brian Hartline, who caught 74 passes for more than 1,000 yards last season and should be even more open with defenses focusing on Wallace deep.
Altogether, Wallace is nothing more than a pricey decoy and a fantasy void.
Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers
Player Ranking: 5th TE, 62nd Overall
Vernon Davis has spent seven seasons in the NFL and has never recorded 1,000 yards, so why in the world is he being drafted as a top-five option at his position?
Perhaps it is the hype surrounding quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who came on strong last season and led San Francisco to the Super Bowl.
That's sound reasoning until owners realize the 49ers are still a run-first team with Frank Gore and Kaepernick. The team also brought on veteran receiver Anquan Boldin to be the No. 1—he's a possession receiver who soaked up 65 receptions last year.
Davis had a breakout year in 2009, when he caught a career-high 78 passes, 11 more than his next highest total. He also caught 13 touchdowns—six more than his next highest output.
It's 100 percent unreasonable to expect that kind of relevant fantasy production from Davis in 2013. Davis' yards and touchdowns have dropped for four straight seasons. Owners should steer clear at all costs.
Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens
Player Ranking: 21st QB, 138th Overall
Riding high off a historic Super Bowl run, Joe Flacco has snuck into the conversation as a viable fantasy quarterback.
Again—the owners who can ignore hype will know the deal with Flacco.
Flacco had an average outing last year, completing almost 60 percent of his passes for just over 3,800 yards and 22 touchdowns before his electric postseason run.
What dooms Flacco's fantasy value is his lack of weapons. One of Flacco's favorite targets was the aforementioned Boldin, who absorbed 65 passes for 921 yards last season. Flacco's other top target was tight end Dennis Pitta, who reeled in 61 balls for 669 yards and seven touchdowns, but he will miss most of the season with a serious hip injury.
That means third-year receiver Torrey Smith is the No. 1 option. He's never caught more than 50 passes or even recorded 900 yards receiving.
Flacco himself averaged only 14.6 fantasy points per game last season but is being overdrafted because of his playoff performance. Given his situation, Flacco will ultimately fall flat on his face.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling
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