Fantasy Football: Falling Short of Expectations
I'll be honest: I've never been a math guy. I don't care how a circle works, how fractions are simplified, or how functions are integrated. Not to mention I'm struggling in my calculus class...not that I had big expectations.
In real life, though, people always have high expectations. Take football players for example. We expect something from every guy who comes into the NFL. But when players fail to live up to those expectations, there can be problems.
Fantasy football owners are among the harshest critics of them all. They constantly believe that their first round pick (more likely than not a running back), should produce first round numbers—exceeding 1,000 yards on the ground and scoring a high number of touchdowns.
Some players control how successful they are in the league. Look at Randy Moss with the Raiders, who essentially gave up in his tenure there. Or Edgerrin James, signing with the Arizona Cardinals, only to experience one of the worst seasons in his career the first year he spent there.
Others just fall short, due to means completely out of their control like Marvin Harrison who has been injured practically the entire season.
So who fell short of expectations on a fantasy football level this season? Let's take a look, position by position...
1. Marc Bulger (StL)
Drafted with high hopes to start the season, Bulger never really lived up to the hype of being a top five fantasy quarterback. We knew he had problems with his offensive line coming in, but he had performed well under similar circumstances in previous seasons, so there was no reason to think he would regress as harshly as he did.
Bulger missed three games (Week 5, Week 6, and Week 13) with injuries, but also had three weeks where he scored negative fantasy points. His decision-making has taken a step back this season, and the injuries to his supporting cast haven't help.
2. Alex Smith (SF)
Smith was drafted in the late rounds as a potential breakout quarterback, but all that he has done is bust for fantasy owners. Scouts have begun to question his ability to last in the league—the potential they saw from him in college has greatly waned.
I attribute Smith's poor season as a combination of the loss of Norv Turner as offensive coordinator, as well as a mediocre supporting cast. Darrell Jackson has greatly underachieved as well, after being a top tier fantasy receiver the past few seasons.
Others: Vince Young (Ten)
1. Cedric Benson (Chi)
What a season for Benson. People raved about him after the trade of Thomas Jones to the New York Jets, but Benson responded with one of the worst seasons imaginable. He averaged a dismal 3.4 yards per carry and showed Bears fans very little in terms of potential this season.
Not to mention, he suffered a serious fracture to his left leg, which will take a while (and a lot of effort) to rehabilitate.
2. Shaun Alexander (Sea)
What's up with all of these NFC West players? Alexander was picked in the first round of almost all fantasy football drafts this season, but has underachieved incredibly after a great first four weeks. In the span from Week 5 to Week 9 (excluding the Seahawks bye) he failed to break 47 rushing yards on the ground.
It's clear that the mileage on his legs is really starting to take a toll on him, so enjoy what you can get out of Alexander now before he gets too old to play the game.
Others: Laurence Maroney (NE), Rudi Johnson (Cin)
1. Lee Evans (Buf)
Ohh Lee Evans, you crazy pass-catcher you. He has talent comparable to the top receivers in this league and if he was on any other offense he would be a Top Five wide receiver.
But lucky him, he gets stuck with QBs JP Losman and Trent Edwards. Though he had success with JP in the past, he has recorded one of the worst and most inconsistent seasons in his career. I loved the guy coming into the season, but his only two good fantasy weeks came in Week 8 and 9. Other than that, he has been a real rollercoaster, and I would steer clear in future seasons.
2. Vincent Jackson (SD)
One of the season's hottest sleepers, Jackson seemed like a natural young player ready to take the next step up. Some people even termed him "the next T.O." However, Jackson has hardly lived up to this hype. He has had a very disappointing season, playing with the underachieving Philip Rivers and a mediocre receiving core around him.
He still has potential, but when Chris Chambers is even struggling in the offense, you know that something needs to change for Jackson to be able to take that next step.
Others: Chris Chambers (SD), Andre Johnson (Hou), Santana Moss (Was), Darrell Jackson (SF)
1. Vernon Davis (SF)
Davis has natural talent and is truly incredible to watch on the football field. Unfortunately for him he got stuck on a horrible offense and failed to produce to lofty Top-Five TE plays. Of course, playing with QB Alex Smith didn't really help things.
Out of the players on this list, Davis has the most potential to turn things around and I expect him to become a Top Five fantasy tight end sometime in his career. Just not anytime soon.
Others: Todd Heap (Bal), Ben Watson (NE)
Nate Kaeding (K-SD), Jeff Wilkins (K-StL), Baltimore (DEF-Bal), Carolina (DEF-Car)
There you have it—the players and teams that fell short of expectations this season. Let me know your thoughts!
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