10 Big-Name Fantasy Football Players Who Always Let You Down

Giancarlo Ferrari-King@@GiancarloKingFeatured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2015

10 Big-Name Fantasy Football Players Who Always Let You Down

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    Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats fantasy football season. The camaraderie, smack talk and entertainment value is off the charts.

    With each passing season, we go out and select fantasy players to fill our rosters. No matter what type of league you're in, drafting is what bonds all of us together.

    As fellow members of the draft community, everyone understands that sometimes we land disappointing players. These are guys who should do well. But because of situation, age or talent, they stumble, leaving our hearts heavy and wallets empty.

    The number to remember here is 10. That number represents the amount of big-name fantasy players who always find a way to let us down. Using various positions as a guide, we present the worst offenders.

Frank Gore

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    We all love Frank Gore and admire the Hall of Fame-worthy career he built with the San Francisco 49ers. But lost in all of those 1,000-yard seasons was the fact that Gore hasn't been the most reliable fantasy halfback.

    Take 2014 for example. That season represented the eighth time Gore went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark. On 255 carries, he churned out 1,106 yards on the ground and scored four touchdowns.

    Those totals were fine. But in fantasy terms, Gore finished as ESPN's 17th-highest scoring tailback—using the standard scoring system as a gauge. Rotowire.com's breakdown of his fantasy career shows you that his average total of points has never exceeded 16.5 in a single season.

    All of this jargon means that Gore never has been a No. 1 running back in the numbers-oriented world of fantasy sports. His days of being drafted as top back may be over, but for years a lot of people were burned when they took Gore in Round 1.

Cam Newton

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    Cam Newton is a guy you want to take in fantasy based on his potential. The word itself is open-ended, but it fits Newton's game.

    Watching him run the Carolina Panthers offense is incredibly frustrating. There are times when Newton looks brilliant. His unorthodox way of moving the chains translates to one entertaining brand of football.

    There are also many times when he flat-out looks overmatched.

    Newton's dual-threat ability is the driving force behind his fantasy stock. What we saw emerge from his rookie year—4,051 passing yards, 706 rushing yards and 35 total TDs—has not been the norm.

    The Panthers signal-caller has never hit the 4,000-yard passing mark since that season, and his total number of touchdowns plummeted to just 23 in 2014.

    Landing Newton as your backup QB is fine on draft day. Because in that capacity, you could look like a hero assuming his production soars. Drafting him as your starter is a risky move that could very well lead to a tall, cold glass of disappointment.

C.J. Spiller

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    The prospect of seeing C.J. Spiller in a New Orleans Saints uniform is so enticing. The explosive running back, who spent five seasons in Buffalo, has a shot to be a monster down in New Orleans.

    But before we go overboard here, let's revisit Spiller's past. The 28-year-old halfback has only run for over 1,000 yards once in his career. That was the same year where he averaged six yards per carry and caught 43 passes.

    At his best, Spiller is a game-breaker. He's extraordinarily elusive and has jet-fuel packed into his legs. At his worst, Spiller misses chunks of time and has troubling finding rushing lanes. Those attributes really take a toll on his production.

    To further make your head spin, the injury bug has already bitten the Saints tailback. In August, ESPN's Adam Schefter and Mike Triplett reported that Spiller would undergo knee surgery. Though he may be back for the season opener, it's always a nerve-racking sign of things to come.

    Mix all of that juice up, and what you have is a troubling situation. There's a good chance Spiller could continue his trend of discouraging fantasy owners well into 2015.

Dwayne Bowe

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    If there were a poster child for this topic, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Dwayne Bowe would be it.

    There was a time when Bowe was a very promising pass-catching prospect. He had size, deceptively good speed and a frame that was hard to keep in check. The Kansas City Chiefs took notice and drafted him in 2007.

    Besides 2010, in which he caught 72 passes for 1,162 yards and 15 touchdowns, Bowe hasn't treated fantasy owners right. In the years that followed his breakout '10 campaign, Bowe would never catch more than 60 passes in a single season.

    On top of that, he caught a combined 13 touchdowns—including zero last year—in the four seasons that passed since 2010.

    Most of the frustration with Bowe stems from the fact that he's always been listed as a No. 1 wide receiver. Scheme and innovation aside, that usually means he should see a ton of passes lofted his way.

    Bowe was the opposite of that notion. Fantasy-wise, his lack of production turned him into a middle of the road No. 3 wide receiver at best. Even though the Cleveland Browns are giving him a shot, fantasy connoisseurs should stay away from this 30-year-old wide receiver.

Colin Kaepernick

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    It certainly has been a weird offseason for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Besides swapping out wide receiver Michael Crabtree for Torrey Smith, Kaepernick lost his head coach, longtime running back and two offensive linemen.

    The biggest issues that arise whenever we bring up No. 7 are those surrounding his development as a QB. For all of the talk of the NFL favoring dual-threat signal-callers, the numbers don't back up those claims when it comes to Kaepernick.

    Over the last three fantasy seasons, Rotowire.com has Kaep averaging 16.5 points per game. That's not a solid foundation for success. In comparison, a guy like Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan averaged 19.6 over the same time period. 

    Think about this: The most TDs Kaepernick has thrown currently sits at 21. That was two years ago. If his statistical regression continues, he will once again disappoint a ton of fantasy owners in 2015.

Marques Colston

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    The danger of putting New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston on this list is that he actually has a chance to be productive this season. With Jimmy Graham being dealt to the Seattle Seahawks, Colston might see an influx of targets. On the flip side, he's been trending downhill for a while now.

    Colston's stock has dipped ever since 2011. That's the last time he averaged 17.3 fantasy points per game, according to Rotowire.com's points-per-reception scoring totals.

    Since then, Colston's value has tumbled downhill. He went from 17.3 in '11 to 11.2 last season. That's not a great sign for a 32-year-old pass-catcher.

    It's always been hard to pass on Colston at times during the draft. The guy plays with Drew Brees. Despite that glorious fact, he's been a constant bummer in fantasy terms, and we don't see that changing in 2015.

Jay Cutler

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    Jay Cutler remains a football anomaly. In the traditional sense of judging an NFL QB, Cutler has failed over the last few seasons.

    In each year he's played 11 games or more, Cutler has hit the double-digit mark for interceptions thrown. He may be able to rack up a decent amount of yardage—3,812 yards last season—but that hasn't manifested in anything tangible.

    Fantasy football has been different for Cutler. Going by Rotowire.com's count, last season he averaged 19.7 points per game. That was a respectable total.

    The main "letdown" from Cutler comes from his potential. He has all of the physical tools needed to be a top fantasy option but somehow can never put it together. Unless something drastically changes with new head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase in Chicago, we should all expect more of the same from Jay Cutler.

Larry Fitzgerald

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    Larry Fitzgerald's time as an elite fantasy wide receiver has dwindled down over the last handful of seasons, and it's a crying shame.

    For years Fitz was considered to be in the upper echelon of pass-catchers. Listed at 6'3", Fitzgerald became a sensation with the Arizona Cardinals. He can still be productive at times, but the man hasn't hit 1,000 yards receiving since 2011.

    The last time he was a valuable fantasy commodity was in 2013. Despite not reaching the 1,000-yard mark, he managed to haul in 82 receptions and score 10 TDs that season.

    If you're drafting Fitzgerald this season, be prepared for a tough campaign. He's now 32 years old and is coming off of a year in which his play was ravaged by quarterback injuries.

    Fitzgerald's one saving grace here is Carson Palmer. The old veteran QB's health could be Fitzgerald's only chance at some sort of fantasy redemption.

Jared Cook

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    Jared Cook came to the St. Louis Rams in 2013 with the hopes of turning his career around. Before that, he was stuck drifting away in the lackluster Tennessee Titans offense.

    Cook was an incredible athlete who was deemed to be fantasy football gold by many pundits and fantasy gurus when he arrived. That buzz quickly dissipated when he failed to produce a single season over 1,000 yards receiving or score more than five TDs.

    The stunning part about Cook's time in St. Louis has been his lack of receptions. Over the last two seasons he's corralled 104 passes. That's only 11 more catches than his last two seasons with the Titans.

    Don't get fooled by the hype. Cook hasn't done anything to earn the trust of fantasy owners. He may be 6'5" and fun to use in Madden 16, but that doesn't mean he's worth a spot on your fantasy roster.

Greg Jennings

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    Not too long ago, Greg Jennings was one of Aaron Rodgers' favorite targets. In 2010, Jennings exploded, catching 76 balls for 1,265 yards and 12 TDs.

    He was a triumphant, pristine pass-catcher who the Green Bay Packers loved having on the field. Fast-forward to 2015, and Jennings has fallen off of a fantasy football cliff.

    After signing a lucrative deal with the Minnesota Vikings, Jennings faced a transitional period when it came to QBs. His production fell, scoring only 10 TDs over the last two seasons.

    Now with the Miami Dolphins, perhaps the calming ocean waters of South Florida can help Jennings get his groove back.

    Odds are that won't happen. Jennings is 31 years old now, and even with Ryan Tannehill as his quarterback, he doesn't look like the same guy who scorched the Earth in Green Bay.

    Look for another disappointing season from this one-time NFL star.

     

    All stats and information are provided by Sports-Reference.com unless noted otherwise.