2011 NFL Predictions: 9 Most Likely Fantasy Football Flops
Every year we hear about players primed for a breakout season or someone that fantasy football pundits have slated for a huge season. This often comes with less than stellar results.
The best fantasy football players are the most consistent ones. The ones that give you points year in and year out. Everyone hopes to find that one person who blows up during the second week of the season and immediately add them to their roster.
There are plenty of guys who will get drafted though and then not live up to their draft status. Everyone who drafted Matt Forte in 2009 felt that pain.
There will be guys who will disappoint this year and their will be guys who have down seasons but then there are the guys you draft with your second and third picks and you get nothing from them. These are those guys. Here are the nine sure-fire flops for this year's fantasy football season.
9. Matt Forte, RB
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Forte is generally projected as a top-10 running back early on but selecting him may be the reason that you don't end up raising a trophy at the end of the season (if you do that sort of thing.)
The Bears line is shaky at best. Even with the addition of Gabe Carimi, the line is not going to be as good as it was last year and it wasn't all that great. Forte hasn't seen his numbers bounce back to the level of his rookie season in his second and third year.
Adding to this is the fact that he has to line up against the significantly better Detroit Lions defense, the Packers and a Vikings D-line that while aging can still hold it's own.
Jay Cutler and the wide receivers should pull enough attention away from Forte to allow him some space but that line is going to hold him back. Forte saw his receiving numbers go up this year, but not a ton, which should have happened with Jay Cutler as your quarterback.
Forte has also been up and down in his first three season. Year 1, up. Year 2, down. Year 3, up. Year 4...
8. Dez Bryant, WR
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If a receiver is going to break out, he generally does it in his second season.
Bryant is uber-talented and the Cowboys are loaded offensively but Romo is more comfortable with Austin and Witten and that may hurt Bryant a little.
Bryant will likely be a starter come Day 1 but his talent seems to be best utilized in the return game and the odd's of your return man getting injured are much higher than that of a wideout.
The other problem is that Bryant can't seem to stay away from trouble. With off-field distractions he seems to run into all the time, there is no telling if Bryant will not find himself in trouble with the league soon.
7. Brandon Lloyd, WR
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Lloyd came out of relative obscurity to lead all fantasy receivers last year and even then it was hard to convince some people that he was worth putting on the field.
Three things hurt Lloyd's chances at repeat success:
1. It took him eight seasons to find a spot as a primary receiver. His second best season he gained almost exactly half as many yards as he did last year.
2. John Fox likes to run the ball and whether Tebow or Orton is the quarterback, neither one will be airing it out quite like the Broncos did under Josh McDaniel.
3. Although he may be the second coming, Tebow still has a lot to learn and to grow to become a complete quarterback. Tebow might win games out of pure will but it will take a little while to get the passing game up to speed.
6. Cedric Benson, RB
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Last season was the first time Benson played in all 16 games. There is definite durability issues but the problem with drafting him might not be solely his fault.
If Carson Palmer and Mike Brown don't kiss and make up the top receiver and quarterback in Cincinnati might both be rookies. That means plenty of focus on rushing the ball but only a singular focus for the defense on stopping the run.
In three or four years this might be an ideal situation for a back like Benson, who seemed to have found a place where he fit in. Unfortunately, this may be one of the worst offensive situations in the entire league.
If Benson changes teams this might be a different story but for now, this is a huge flop.
5. Eli Manning, QB
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It's all relative here. If Manning is a starter on your team, you screwed up somewhere.
Manning may not even be in the top half of all quarterbacks this year and for some reason he gets touted as a top quarterback because he won a Super Bowl and he is a Manning.
Manning will get you yards and will get touchdowns but he is all over the place with turnovers. Those will kill you with him. If Manning could halve the number of interceptions he would be considered a top-10 fantasy option.
The other problem is even if Steve Smith re-signs, he is coming off a knee injury and though Nicks looks like the real deal and Manningham looks solid as a third option, the Giants need some depth at receiver and it doesn't look like they have it.
4. Stevie Johnson, WR
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The Bills aren't that good offensively to begin with but Johnson was a bright spot and if you look at point totals over the course of the season, Johnson looks really good.
He fell apart in the second half of the season having one big game in Week 10 and than being fairly quiet for a No. 1 receiver.
Johnson had three 100 yard games and two games in which he scored half his touchdowns. Johnson will be hard pressed to match last year's breakout season.
3. Rob Gronkowski/ Aaron Hernandez, TE
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If they were one tight end, this is a lock to be the best in the NFL.
Unfortunately, they split time and seem to alternate as to who is going to have good games. Weeks 1, 3, 7, 10, 14, 16 and 17 were Gronkowski's and 2, 10, 13, 15 and 17 were Hernandez's.
The Patriots will spread the ball around again and do what the Saints do in New Orleans and get anyone the ball on any given play.
They both might have big numbers on the season due to a few good games but you will never be able to predict which one is going to have it and there is only one tight end spot on most teams.
2. Michael Crabtree, WR
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With Jim Harbaugh comes great expectations for the San Francisco 49ers. Unfortunately, they just don't have the personnel right now to make this offense and more specifically, Michael Crabtree, worth much in fantasy.
Crabtree should have really broke out last season but put up similar stats as his rookie year despite playing in five more games. Having Alex Smith as your quarterback is as good an excuse as any but Crabtree came into the league with expectations and the ego of someone who was going to revolutionize the position.
Vernon Davis is the only other option that the 49ers have in the passing game right now and is the primary target largely to Alex Smith's inability to get the ball to an open man.
With a new quarterback, Crabtree may come off this list.
1. Peyton Manning, QB
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There are five quarterbacks who, from a fantasy standpoint should have a better season than Peyton.
Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Vick and Rivers
Manning is by no means a slouch and may be the best quarterback of the modern era but his passing yards are going up, his touchdowns are leveling off and his interceptions are going up. Sure, Manning had 4,700 yards but he had to throw the ball nearly 700 times to get there.
Peyton is a workhorse and will never complain about the amount of attempts he makes or how he has to carry the offense, he probably enjoys it. Beyond the normal wear and tear Manning also hasn't been able to rehab, as well, due to the lockout due to his inability to contact the Colts' physical therapist.
Manning certainly is someone that almost every fan should hope is their quarterback on Sunday but, this might be the year that the wheels fall off. An injury that hasn't been able to be treated right, combined with what can only be described as overuse, might mean we see an off year from Manning.