If you’ve been playing in dynasty leagues for any length of time, you certainly remember the “Summer of Colston” back in 2006. An afterthought to both rookie and veteran dynasty players, he burst on to the scene early in Saints training camp and never looked back. Five full seasons later, Colston is one of the most productive NFL and fantasy receivers.
His story is that of fantasy football legend.
Colston, drafted in the seventh round as the 252nd overall pick by those New Orleans Saints, is one of the biggest draft steals in both reality and fantasy. Many didn’t see him play at Hofstra, and most had never even heard of him until he started making play after play that summer. If you struck early and picked him up, you unearthed a late gem the likes we haven’t seen in a long, long time.
Over his five year career, Colston has amassed 369 catches, 5,097 yards and 40 touchdowns. Not bad for a seventh-rounder, eh? Through his hard work and dedication, he’s become arguably the single greatest weapon for Drew Brees and the explosive New Orleans offense. Colston boasts a fine blend of size and speed, with a knack for making special plays when the ball is in the air.
So, it’s all wine and roses from here on out, right? Well, not exactly.
In a summer featuring no NFL news other than the lengthy and beaten to death lockout stories, it’s amazing that something very significant has seemingly flown under the radar—Colston had microfracture surgery on his right knee in May. For those of you who don’t know, that knee procedure consists of creating small fractures in the underlying bone in an effort to cause new cartilage to develop.
This promotion of cartilage is simply done as a last-case scenario when athletes have a “bone on bone” condition. It’s no longer a “new” procedure, but make no mistake, it’s significant. Ask Greg Oden.
Many athletes never truly recover from this type of surgery. If you want to know just how scary it is, take a look at Da’Quan Bowers. Once heralded as the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, Bowers dropped all the way to the Bucs in the second round as the 51st overall pick—all because of concerns that his knee would require more surgery, perhaps even the dreaded microfracture procedure.
What makes this even more concerning is that Colston had a similar procedure done on his left knee in 2009. All in all, he’s had at least five different knee surgeries in his career. Since Colston just turned 28, the red flags are justified. While he did make a seemingly full recovery from his last one, there’s no guarantee of what the future holds for him.
On the plus side, Colston is said to be recovering well and should be ready for training camp on time. For those who haven’t been paying attention, it may seem like nothing out of the ordinary has happened. In fact, his average draft position hasn’t changed much at all from last season.
This lack of attention gives Colston owners an opportunity to evaluate their options.
While Colston is expected to put together another fine season in 2011, his long-term prognosis needs to be of great concern to his owners in a dynasty league. The chances of him having a fantastic career that lasts into his mid-30′s seems to be unrealistic.
Owners need to decide now if they’re competing or rebuilding. A rebuilding team with Colston as a key cog is taking a huge risk. His value is still relatively high and many owners simply look at current stats without taking into consideration the health risk that can be associated with players.
A rebuilding team should consider moving him while his value is still high. He’s currently ranked as the No. 13 wide receiver in our Dynasty Essentials Guide, but that’s likely going to change in version 3.0.
Marques Colston is one of the single greatest waiver pickups and Cinderella stories in the history of fantasy football. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s destined to be more of a short story than a novel.