Many of you are out there gloating, as the fantasy football gods have blessed you with a team still battling for your league championship. Lady Fortune smiled sweetly when you drafted Adrian Peterson with your first pick, amid hoots of laughter from your opponents. “ How do you ignore the fact Peterson badly tore his ACL, MCL, and meniscus ”, they asked ? (I don’t know what a “meniscus” is, but it sounds like it must perform a vital function) They may have selected Darren McFadden or LeSean McCoy instead. Well, Adrian has served you well, along with any other owners who gambled on him. After yesterday’s 21-14 victory over the Bears, Peterson has totaled exactly 1600 yards rushing and 10 TDs, with three games remaining in the season. McFadden and McCoy have both missed chunks of the season due to injury.
In fantasy sports, like anything else, we should learn from our mistakes. It brings to mind the old adage, “ Fool me once, shame on you….”. There are several players this year, that I was burned badly by. I vow that I will not be suckered into drafting these men in the top rounds, ever again. They may have some value as a back-up, or deserve sleeper consideration in the future, but I certainly won’t gamble on them again, for various reasons. Here are some players that I will be sure to “red flag” on my cheat sheet next year….
1. Michael Vick, Eagles
He won’t be an Eagle come draft time next year. The probable destinations for Vick include Buffalo, Cleveland, Arizona, Kansas City, and the New York Jets. If you drafted Vick this year, you received 11 passing TDs and 9 INTs for your trouble. He had a 44 % passing completion percentage. He also only had 1 rushing TD, while gaining 307 yards, as he ran for his life behind a weak and depleted offensive line. If Vick couldn’t produce for a team with the weapons the Eagles have, how would he do on the Jets ? He has also not made it through a season injury-free since 2006.
2. DeSean Jackson, Eagles
After signing a five-year, $ 47million contract before the season started, he wound up with 700 yards and two TDs, before seeing his season end with two broken ribs. As Vick struggled, so did his receivers, and the moody wideout never got on track when rookie Nick Foles took over, either.
Percy is a tremendous talent and a big play threat. While he hasn’t missed a lot of games prior to this season ( he played in 15 games in 2009, 14 games in 2010, and all 16 games last year ), he appears on the injury list almost weekly. Early in his career he was plagued with migraine headaches. This season, he appeared in 9 games, scoring three receiving TDs to go with his annual KO return touchdown, before being placed on IR with his ankle injury. I’m tired of the weekly question mark.
4. Michael Turner, Falcons
The fire has gone out for Michael “The Burner” Turner. His role is dwindling weekly, and what looked like a good pick this year in the Falcon’s high-powered offense, has been largely a bust.
5. Mark Ingram, Saints
Ingram is averaging 32 yards per game, while totaling 3 TDs on the season. Most prognosticators figured him as a top-20 back. He’s not even close.
6. Antonio Gates, Chargers
Gates hasn’t broken 100 yards receiving all year and only scored four TDs, none in the last four games. I wouldn’t write him off entirely, but he no longer holds elite status for me. I actually saw him on the waiver wire in a few leagues this year, which was previously unthinkable.
7. Brandon Pettigrew, Lions
Another TE that was overvalued by many. He has also failed to have a 100 yard game this year and he only had double-digit fantasy points once this season, in Week 13 vs. the Colts.
8. Ryan Mathews, Chargers
Mathews has ONE measly TD all year and his biggest game rushing was a 95 yard effort in Week 8. Coach Norv Turner and others blame the o-line for his struggles, but that’s no consolation for those who considered him a top ten back.
9. Darren McFadden, Raiders
If you took McFadden at RB, you have two 100-plus yard games and two TDs to show for it. He has missed four games this year and has yet to make it through a full season in his career yet, managing only seven starts in 2011.
Since racking up 172 yards in Week 2 vs. the hapless Raiders, Reggie has been unable to crack the 100 yard mark. The Dolphins show no interest in a contract extension for Bush, and he has worn out his welcome much as he did in New Orleans. Where’s the love for Reggie ? The last person to believe in him was Kim Kardashian.
Here are some other suggestions to bear in mind at draft time next year. First of all, avoid teams using the committee approach to their running game. Here are two cases in point. The Green Bay Packers were faced with a problem after Cedric Benson’s season ended after 5 games. The Packers turned to Alex Green, James Starks, and John Kuhn, at running back, none of which were reliable fantasy starts. Also, the Pittsburgh Steelers showed their rushing game to be anemic. There sure was no Jerome Bettis or Franco Harris in this bunch. Not even a Frenchy Fuqua, for that matter. They played musical chairs all year with Rashard Mendenhall, Jonathan Dwyer, and Isaac Redman. None of them proved to be an effective runner.
Also, beware the go-to receiver with no one that can get it to them. Larry Fitzgerald has been a huge disappointment this season. Through thirteen games, Fitzgerald has amassed 657 yards receiving to go with 4 TDs. Over the last four games, Larry has TOTALED six catches for 67 yards and zero TDs. Pathetic numbers for one of the game’s most talented players. He deserves better company that he has on the Arizona Cardinals, that’s for sure.
So, who should we blame when things go south and our team fizzles in the playoffs or even sooner ? Ultimately, we have to blame ourselves. After all, no one forced you to draft Santonio Holmes or Jahvid Best, did they ? You’re the one who thought that Vick and McFadden would surely not be injured again, right ? In the future, we need to recognize who has burned us in the past and avoid those players and similar pitfalls.