It happens every year in fantasy football, you draft that can't miss player. Ya know, that guy who is going to get you double digit fantasy points every week and lead you to Title Town, USA. The start of the season is fresh and exciting as you brim with confidence of your amazing drafting abilities. And then the unthinkable happens. Your bona fide stud, is a total dud. Maybe it's injuries, maybe it's his teammates, or maybe he just isn't that good. So who killed the most fantasy teams this year? Look inside.
2009 Stats: 741 yard, 4 touchdowns, 3 interceptions
Why So Hyped?: Something had to be said for a quarterback so highly touted that his team traded the face of their franchise to a division rival. When the Eagles traded Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins it said quite a bit about the confidence the front office had in Kolb. He was flanked by play makers, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, and Brent Celek.
What Happened?: Michael Vick. 'Nuff said.
Why Ranked Here?: If you were counting on Kolb to win you your fantasy season you had more problems than just him being replaced by Vick.
2009 Stats: 1,092 yards, 13 touchdowns
Why So Hyped?: Depending on who you talked to Fitzgerald was either the top wide receiver in the NFL or one of the top three. He has phenomenal hands and insane leaping ability. Kurt Warner's ability coupled with Fitzgerald skills proved a deadly combination that led the Cardinals to the Super Bowl only two years ago.
What Happened?: When the quarterback getting you the ball goes from Kurt Warner to Max Hall and Derek Anderson, it's pretty obvious your production is going to drop. Looking back it should have been clear that Anderson and Hall wouldn't be nearly as effective. The injury to Beanie Wells and Anquan Boldin leaving for the Ravens have allowed opposing defenses to key in on the star wide receiver.
Why Ranked Here?: While Fitzgerald took a tremendous hit with his production this year he has still put up decent numbers despite the mediocrity of his quarterbacks. He has five double digit games, although three of those are only ten or eleven points. He is still a solid number two receiver every single week, but hardly worth that second round draft pick you used on him in August.
2009 Stats: 1,120 yards, 10 touchdowns
Why So Hyped?: Marshall came into the 2010 season ranked as one of the best wide outs in all of the NFL. He caught an astonishing 101 balls last year, coupled with those 10 touchdowns. His quickness and ball catching skills were suppose to translate to increased success this year. He was going to be the number one threat on this Dolphins team, opening up the running game for Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown.
What Happened?: He just hasn't produced this year. The quarterback situation has obviously had some affect on him, neither Chad, Henne or Pennington, are very good. Now that both of them are sidelined, it begs to be seen whether his production will drop even more.
Why Ranked Here?: He has had two explosive weeks for 22 and 12 but hasn't gone over 7 in any other one. A supposed number one receiver, it would be hard to justify starting Marshall every week when he has hovered around 5-6 points all season. He only has one touchdown on the year.
2009 Stats: 1,251 yards, 6 touchdowns
Why So Hyped?: Benson amassed those numbers in only 13 games last year, leading many fantasy owners to see increased production by the Bengal. He was seen as one of the only bright spots for a very lackluster Cincinnati offense. While a lot of teams are employing the dreaded two running back system, the Bengals continue to rely solely on Benson, making him very valuable.
What Happened?: A combination of the Bengals being kind of terrible and Benson just losing some production. Cincinnati has fallen behind in many games this season, leading them to abandoned the run game almost entirely and leaving Benson on the bench. Benson doesn't have the flashy skills or speed of a Chris Johnson or Jamaal Charles. He has to get his numbers on multiple carries and it just isn't happening.
Why Ranked Here?: He does have four double digit fantasy games on the season, but he still is only averaging 9.6 points per game. For a first or second round RB, that's some serious underproduction. For those expecting Benson to hold the fort as their first stringer, the season probably hasn't turned out exactly as planned.
2009 Stats: 494 yards, 1 touchdown
Why So Hyped?: Clinton Portis has always had a bright outlook in fantasy football despite his injury history which reared is ugly head during his 2009 season, when he only played eight games. Portis was back and healthy looking to wreck havoc in the NFL once again. He had solidified himself as the starting RB in the Washington Redskins backfield and with the addition of Donovan McNabb, analysts expected the run game to have pressure taken off of it.
What Happened? Injuries, yet again. After a decent start of the year, including a two touchdown performance in week two against Houston, Portis went down in week four.
Why Ranked Here?: He probably wasn't a top draft pick of yours, Portis was most likely viewed as a second or third string running back but missing weeks 5-10 has to hurt.
2009 Stats: 1117 yards, 8 touchdowns
Why So Hyped?: Williams was the main back in the Panthers feared two man tandem with Jonathan Stewart. Over the past two seasons he had been one of the most effective running backs, accounting for 18 touchdowns in 2008. The Panthers had little to no passing game entering the season, so it made sense for them to rely on their talented running backs.
What Happened?: Injuries. Williams has been placed on injured reserve and is out for the season after injuring his foot in week seven. Even before the injury Williams had been unproductive, accounting for only one touchdown and hovering right around 50 yards per game on the ground. A major disappointment all around.
Why Ranked Here?: It was clear that Williams had taken a hit from the 2008 to 2009 numbers, so a resurgence was doubtful. However just maintaining his productivity from '09 would have made Williams a very solid number two back. The way it was though, it made it hard to start him week in and week out.
2009 Stats: Rookie year, played at Fresno State
Why So Hyped?: A team that made stars out of LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael Turner, and Darren Sproles was going to make the rookie out of Fresno State the next big thing in the NFL. Drafted in the first round, he was hyped as a potential rookie of the year candidate from the start. The Chargers had no other running backs who could take punishment on every down, and Mathews demonstrated all of the skills a NFL back must have while still playing in college.
What Happened?: A combination of just not producing and lingering injuries. After sitting out week three against Seattle, Mathews continued to be relieved by Mike Tolbert all year. Mathews only has two touchdowns and two double digit fantasy games so far on the year.
Why Ranked Here?: You always take a chance with rookie players in fantasy football but Mathews was supposed to be as sure of a thing as you could snag. There was no competition in San Diego and he had shown every conceivable skill he needed to be successful. Every back to step into that system out in California had been productive, so why wouldn't Mathews? All that said, if you drafted him as your number one back you had this coming to you.
2009 Stats: 540 yards, 2 touchdowns
Why So Hyped?: The 2009 stats were rather pedestrian, but Greene shined during the second half of the 2009 season. He backed up starting back Thomas Jones all season and didn't get his carries until the end of the year. He was so impressive that the Jets sent Jones packing at the beginning of the off-season just to make Greene their featured back. They brought in Tomlinson just to provide some insurance in case something went wrong, and to have a veteran presence on the field. Greene was supposed to provide that tough, hard-nosed running back that defined the Jets.
What Happened?: Tomlinson showed up. LT came into the Jets as the number two back and quickly shot up the depth chart, eventually knocking Greene from the starting position. Greene has played second banana every since.
Why Ranked Here?: Shonn Greene was drafted as a number one running back, someone to rely on week in and week out but that's pretty hard to do when you aren't even the best back on your own team. He has been behind Tomlinson all season resulting in second string numbers. He only has two double digit fantasy games, and one 100 yard performance on the season.
2009 Stats: Rookie season, played at Clemson
Why So Hyped?: Spiller was viewed as the next true play-maker coming out of college. A guy who could get the ball in the open field and score on almost any given play. Buffalo had a lack of star power at running back, so many expected him to come in and compete for the starting job right away. His speed and quickness was suppose to set him apart from the rookie class and many projected him as the most NFL ready rookie out of the draft.
What Happened?: What hasn't? Spiller has been abysmal when it comes to fantasy football. One double digit game all season surrounded by weeks of 3, 2, or 1 point totals. The Bills have been just as bad, which have obviously impacted the productivity of the rookie but he should still be doing better than this. Spiller doesn't deserve to be on a fantasy roster, yet alone starting which the majority of players did during his first few weeks. Hopefully everyone learned quickly and dumped the former college star.
Why Ranked Here?: When you are billed as the next Chris Johnson, Percy Harvin, or Jamaal Charles and you average a staggering 3.1 fantasy points a week, it's going to be a bit of disappointment. Hopefully Spiller can turn it around in future seasons, it would be a shame to see one of college football's most exciting players fade once he hit the big stage.
2009 Stats: 1253 yards, 11 touchdowns
Why So Hyped?: The starting running back for the Green Bay Packers, the team many predicted to win the Super Bowl, was destined for big things in 2010. After having a phenomenal 2009, most expected a similar season from Grant. When defenses were set back waiting for Aaron Rodgers, Grant was supposed to torch them on the ground. The deadly combination of Rodgers and Grant was going to be a deadly 1-2 combination that led them to the Super Bowl. Couple all of that with the lack of depth on the roster, and it was clear that Grant would get almost every single carry.
What Happened?: Ankle injury. Week one. Placed on IR for the season.
Why Ranked Here?: Grant was a number one back, someone to carry your team to the playoffs. Instead you got 45 yards out of him. Obviously it's not his fault, but this one is sure to sting. It's one thing to lose because your star player didn't produce but when they get injured during the first game of the season? That's a tough pill to swallow.