Where did your 2013 fantasy draft go wrong? As the Fantasy Football season comes to an end, many defeated owners can trace their demise to a critical selection.
For those owners, it is painful to know that the difference between winning and losing came down to one unfortunate pick. For example, drafting Julio Jones instead of Peyton Manning in the second round would have had dramatic repercussions this fantasy year.
Let's look at some decisions that may have seemed savvy at the time but ended up dragging their teams off a cliff.
* All fantasy breakdown stats courtesy of CBS Sports.
Peyton Manning is having the best fantasy season of all time. The Denver Broncos quarterback has given his fantasy owners, 4,811 yards and 47 touchdowns heading into the championship week for most leagues.
In one of my standard one-quarterback leagues, Manning was the first overall selection. The owner who committed the unthinkable claimed he had a hunch. He was ridiculed at first but is now playing for a fantasy ring.
Alabama sure made Trent Richardson look good. The Cleveland Browns fell for it. Fantasy owners fell for it, and most recently, the Indianapolis Colts took the plunge. Was it Alabama? Injuries could also be to blame. Have injuries stolen Richardson's burst, even at age 22?
Last year, there were warning signs. Richardson rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns but averaged only 3.6 yards per carry. You don't draft running backs who average 3.6 yards per rush in the first round.
The Alabama hype and the 11 rushing touchdowns were enough for some fantasy owners. The rationalization was that Richardson was not completely healthy and that Cleveland's offense offered little support.
Richardson has turned out to be a huge bust, in fantasy and reality.
Many owners reached for Gronkowski (Rounds 4-5) hoping for a rapid return from injury. Well, Gronk didn't play until Week 7. Counting the Week 10 bye, New England's top tight end only played in six of the 13 fantasy regular-season weeks. While his production was solid when he was on the field, Gronkowski failed when needed most: in the fantasy playoffs.
An ACL tear ended Gronkowski's season early in Week 14 after he accumulated only three points on the weekend.
Five games of production are not worth a second-round fantasy pick, especially when the production is not in the fantasy playoffs.
For owners who did not replace Jones with Josh Gordon, Alshon Jeffery or Keenan Allen, the loss may have been too severe to salvage the season.
Because of Adrian Peterson's miraculous recovery from an ACL tear, many fantasy owners expected the same type of magic from Griffin III. Well, after being drafted ahead of Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford and Tony Romo in some leagues, the Redskins quarterback appeared to be a shell of himself.
RGIII was a sexy selection but did not deliver. Griffin III was too inconsistent to trust, had a dud in Week 14 and was benched after that. I would steer completely away in 2014.
C.J. Spiller is explosive. There is no doubt about that. The question was whether he could handle a heavy load in 2013. The Buffalo Bills certainly didn't think so and gave Fred Jackson more touches throughout the season. Spiller has also received very few red-zone opportunities, scoring only two touchdowns during the current campaign.
In many leagues, Spiller was drafted ahead of Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy. Spiller drafters dug themselves in a huge hole early.
Steven Jackson was going to be the featured back for the Atlanta Falcons' explosive offense. The knocks on Jackson were his age (30) and his susceptibility to injury.
Many fantasy owners couldn't pass him up in the second round and paid the price. A hamstring injury forced him to miss four games, and even when he played, he has been Trent Richardson-like (3.5 yards per carry).
Fantasy owners should have known better. Eddie Lacy would have been a better second-round reach in 2013.