Have you not picked up your turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner yet? Do not worry about rushing out to your local grocery store. There are plenty of turkeys to choose from in this column, and all of them deserve to be carved up by a hungry mob of angry fantasy football owners.
Fantasy football has had its fair share of bad birds this season. There have been the ones who have lost their starting spots, the ones who have been constantly injured, the ones who have been underwhelming and overrated and the ones who have spent more time worrying about their contracts than their production.
I hope you have a hearty appetite, because there is a lot of turkey to digest here. So set yourself up with some stuffing, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce, and enjoy a 10-course helping of fantasy football’s top turkeys of 2010!
10-for-15 on FG attempts, 53 points
Fantasy owners always think they can plug in any kicker in their lineup and do fine. Well, Hartley is disproving that notion. Ranked No. 1 or at least in the upper tier at the kicking position coming into the season because of the scoring opportunities the Super Bowl Champ Saints provide, Hartley has flopped worse than any Katherine Heigl movie.
Hartley was so erratic at the start of the season that he lost his job to 150-year-old John Carney, who was equally as off-the-mark with his kicks. So Hartley is back as the kicker and continuing to do the Saints and fantasy owners no favors. He missed another chip shot field goal last weekend against Seattle and could be pink-slipped again if he keeps this up.
19th in points allowed, 26th in sacks, 31st in fumble recoveries
Brett Favre’s interceptions, Brad Childress’ coaching and Sidney Rice’s hip are not the only reasons Minnesota is 3-7 and the biggest disappointment in the NFL. The vaunted Vikings defense, known for its run stuffing and quarterback sacking, have been absent in the big-play department this season.
The Williamses (Kevin and Pat) are not holding running backs to under three yards per carry anymore, Jared Allen has only recently started showing up in the sack column, and the secondary has been torched so badly you would think every opposing quarterback is an arsonist.
Considering Minnesota was rated as a top-5 fantasy defense by most experts entering the season, the Vikes have delivered the least amount of bang for the fantasy buck of any defensive unit.
382 rushing yards, two TD
The rookie who was supposed to replace LaDainian Tomlinson as San Diego’s top tailback has had more problems spraining his ankles than Dirk Nowitzki. He has missed two full games and parts of several others while battling his ankle problems.
When Mathews returns from his latest setback he will likely have to split carries with battering ram Mike Tolbert, so it looks like his fantasy value for this season is completely ruined. Aren’t you happy you selected him within the first four rounds of your draft?
1,035 passing yards, 6 TD, 4 INT
With Donovan McNabb out of his way, and by quarterbacking an offense that is more pass-happy than most CFL teams’, Kolb was primed for a 4,000-yard year. Thanks to one scramble that led to bouncing his head off Philadelphia’s turf, though, Kolb opened the door for Michael Vick, and the rest is fantasy football history.
Kolb filled in nicely while Vick missed a month with his rib injury – 1,011 passing yards and six touchdowns in four contests. That assures him of being a starting quarterback somewhere in 2011. But Kolb will not be starting again in 2010 unless Vick re-injures himself, so his only fantasy worth is as an insurance policy for fantasy owners who own Vick.
535 passing yards, six passing TD, one rushing TD, one INT
Stafford is the anti-Favre. No, he does not ruin fantasy teams with his untimely interceptions. Stafford is as adept at missing games as Favre is at not missing games, so Stafford ruins fantasy teams with his untimely injuries.
Two shoulder injuries have robbed Stafford of seven games so far and could cost him the entire campaign. What kills fantasy owners is that he is on the verge of being a premier passer, judging by his six touchdown tosses in the three games he appeared in this season, so you want to hang your hat on the guy and hope he stays healthy, but now it is getting to the point where if someone pats him on the back too hard his shoulder will be separated.
23 receptions, 237 yards, two TD
2009 was the Year of the Tight End in fantasy football, and Celek was one of the poster boys after he blew everyone’s doors off with 76 receptions for 971 yards and eight touchdowns. So what has he done to be totally ignored by Vick and Kolb this season? Did Celek campaign for McNabb not to get traded or something?
Celek is now ranked 131st in receptions in the NFL. He trails the likes of Buster Davis, Delanie Walker, and Chansi Stuckey, three players never mentioned when it comes to the Pro Bowl.
Celek has not even had a 50-yard game yet, let alone a 75-yard or 100-yard one. The past month has been extremely damaging to his fantasy stock as Celek has caught four passes for 16 yards over his last four games. That’s right, four catches in four games, including two games where Celek caught nothing.
Either Celek is getting double-teamed more often because he cannot sneak up on defenses anymore, or Vick hates throwing to tight ends, although that makes no sense considering Vick’s favorite target during his Atlanta years was Alge Crumpler. Celek’s downward spiral is one of the most mysterious things to happen in fantasy football in 2010.
164 rushing yards, 81 receiving yards, one TD
Buffalo was starving for explosive offensive players coming into the season, so many thought first-round pick Spiller, a multi-dimensional threat who can score from anywhere on the field via running, receiving, or returning, would be given countless touches.
The Bills have become a little more dynamic offensively, although it has to do with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson and Steve Johnson, and has nothing to do with Spiller.
Spiller has not rushed for more than 33 yards or caught more than four passes in any game. He has as many touchdowns as fumbles lost (one) and is now out of action with a strained hamstring. With the way Jackson is running and the Bills are scoring, Spiller will not be rushed back, that’s for sure.
505 rushing yards, one TD
Greene skyrocketed up 2010 fantasy cheat sheets all the way back in 2009 when he rushed for over 100 yards in back-to-back playoff games. He was thought of as a top-10 to top-15 RB on fantasy draft days. The sky was the limit for the super sophomore, right? Wrong!!
Greene has had to play second-fiddle to the ageless LaDainian Tomlinson and only has one 100-yard game and one TD to his credit this season. And thanks to his fumble troubles and the Jets’ increasing shift to becoming a pass-first team, Greene’s fantasy value will likely be borderline bad the rest of the way.
361 rushing yards, one TD
Carolina has been the biggest disaster in the NFL this season. The Panthers are currently using their third-string tailback and quarterback to generate offense. It was not like the first-team guys were scoring so many points, though. Just ask Williams owners.
It feels like centuries ago that Williams once rushed for 1,515 yards and 18 touchdowns. Williams is done for the remainder of the season with an arch injury, but he was a non-factor when he was healthy. Case in point – Williams did not run for more than 86 yards in any of the six games he played in. Mike Goodson (who?) has had back-to-back 100-yard efforts—gainst Tampa Bay and Baltimore no less—since stepping in for Williams and the also-injured Jonathan Stewart. Go figure.
23 receptions, 339 receiving yards, five TD
It is fitting that the top turkey is very picky about the catered food in the locker room, isn't it?
Fantasy owners who drafted Moss in the early rounds assumed they were getting one of the top-5 receivers available, someone who could be penciled in for at least 1,200 and 12 touchdowns. Unfortunately, they have been as disappointed as Oprah audience members who show up thinking they are getting Oprah’s “Favorite Things” and instead get a guest talking about colon cleansing.
Moss has more teams (three) than 100-yard games (zero) this season and is suddenly becoming a figment of our imaginations. He has only caught two passes for 34 yards over his past three outings, and with Tennessee now stuck with a third-string quarterback for the immediate future, Moss’ numbers will not be improving anytime soon.