Fantasy Football Rankings: Labeling 2011's Biggest Busts

Andrew McCluskeyCorrespondent INovember 16, 2011

Fantasy Football Rankings: Labeling 2011's Biggest Busts

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    As we approach the end of the fantasy football season you probably have a good idea whether or not you will be making your league's playoffs. 

    If you know that you are not making your league's postseason it is probably due to a few common factors. Either your team was battered by injuries, or you drafted a player who just didn't pan out. 

    With each new fantasy football season comes a plethora of "sleepers and busts" lists. Everyone from every media outlet puts out at least a few of these lists before the start of the season. 

    They all cite reasons like age or a change of team, but in reality we don't have a way to measure busts; it is what makes them busts in the first place. They are those players you took with confidence that you were going to get a certain level of production, and they just didn't live up to the hype. 

    It is easy to pick those guys out now and wonder how you could have fallen for it. Hindsight is 20/20. 

    That still won't stop us form labeling them, so here are four of the biggest busts from the 2011 NFL season.

Philip Rivers

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    San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers came in to this year mentioned in the same breath as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers

    Rivers was considered to be one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL and the driving force behind the Chargers' success. Even though that roster has seen some fairly dramatic turnover the past few years, Rivers had been one of the few constant contributors. 

    For some unexplained reason, Rivers has struggled mightily this season.

    He has still put up a ton of yards, as he currently is ranked fifth in the NFL. Unfortunately, the only category he is leading the league in is interceptions with 15. 

    Some have speculated that Rivers is battling an injury, a claim that he has shot down multiple times. Rivers recently gave his own explanation on the large number of interceptions. 

    For whatever the reason may be, Rivers' struggles have led to a tough start for San Diego. They are currently in a three-way tie for second place in the AFC West. 

    There is still time for Rivers to turn it around and help the Chargers capture the West. If he plans to do so, Rivers better do it before it is too late. 

Michael Vick

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    After his amazing performance in 2010, no quarterback may have had higher expectations coming in to 2011 than Michael Vick

    Vick fell in to the starting role with the Eagles in 2010 after planned starter Kevin Kolb went down with a concussion. Vick didn't look back as he tore up the NFL through the air and on the ground, almost capturing a MVP award if it hadn't been for Tom Brady. 

    The Eagles came in to this year with incredible expectations. A ton of big offseason pickups and one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL will always raise the bar. 

    Many had Vick as an early front-runner for the MVP award heading in to 2011, and for you fantasy football junkies, he was under consideration for the first overall pick in many leagues. 

    Yet, like the rest of his team, Vick has disappointed. 

    He currently has 2,193 passing yards to go along with 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. 

    These are very underwhelming numbers from a quarterback who was supposed to be leading a "super team."

    Due to his style of play Vick will always be banged up. He has shown the toughness to play through these injuries and still produce.

    However, this year seems to be a little tougher than others. Vick certainly won't be bringing home a MVP award this season, and he will be lucky to get his team to the playoffs with his current level of play.

Chad Ochocinco

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    Chad Ochocinco was one of the highlight acquisitions this offseason. 

    He had many New England Patriots fans talking about recapturing the offensive magic of the 2007 season with Randy Moss

    Unfortunately, Ochocinco didn't quite live up to those expectations. 

    He has struggled to pick up the offense for the majority of the season. While he did show some progress in Sunday's game against the New York Jets, it is clear Ochocinco still isn't fully integrated in to the offense, as he sat out whenever the offense went in to the hurry-up.

    Ochocinco's skills have diminished slightly, but it is clear he can still play. 

    Even with the two catches he made against the Jets, he appeared almost surprised to have the ball. I still believe Ochocinco can contribute to this Patriots' offense, but they are going to need to find a way to boost his confidence. 

    You can't produce when you are playing to not do anything wrong. 

    Belichick and Brady need to get through to Ochocinco that he needs to regain his "swag" that made him such a fun player to watch for many years in Cincinnati. 

    If he can do so and produce for the second half of the season, he may be able to shake this bust label. 

Chris Johnson

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    Chris Johnson was—or at least should have been—a top five pick in any fantasy league you were in this year. 

    Johnson came in to the 2011 season as one of the best dual-threat running backs in the league, if not the best. He put up tons of yards and was a huge weapon in the passing game.

    Most importantly, Johnson was one of the few feature backs remaining in the NFL.

    Then for whatever reason, he flopped. He has only scored two touchdowns this season and topped 100 yards twice. 

    Johnson did have a solid performance against the Panthers last week with his second 100-yard performance and his second touchdown.

    However, it took him 27 touches to get there. 

    Johnson quickly became one of the most explosive and entertaining players in the league. His size has always been a huge question mark, though. 

    Johnson carried the ball so many times and took such a beating that many were wondering not if but when he would start to break down. It isn't clear yet if that is the case or just the changes the Titans have undergone since 2010 have impacted his performance. 

    Either way, CJ21 is by far one of the biggest disappointments of the 2011 fantasy football season.