Top Ten Fantasy Players Too Disappoint

By Zack Cimini

Lets face it busts are bound to happen via fantasy football drafts just like NFL drafts. Sure, you can yap away with smack talk right now…your roster looks great on paper. Projections, mock drafts, and prior statistical seasons have you giddy on what your team is about to do. Well, trends say otherwise. More than likely your team is going to have a plethora of early round busts, and injuries piling up by the end of September.

A true fantasy guru keeps their season alive by the depth of sleeper picks and star studded handcuffs for insurance. We don’t need to delve too far into the drafts that haunted you, but will list some names and hear the echoes of disgust of the past. Tom Brady, LT, Steven Jackson (07, 08), Shaun Alexander, Frank Gore, Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson, etc.

Our list below doesn’t necessarily mean we expect them to be a flat out bust. We do though anticipate their complete all around fantasy seasons falling short of expectations.

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1. Brian Westbrook
Another trend back that has hit that wall is Westbrook. At 30, undersized and a back that has fought through numerous injuries throughout his career. Add two more offseason surgeries for 2009 and we smell trouble. Westbrook’s 06 and 07 seasons with over 2,000 all purpose yards and double digit touchdowns isn’t on his fantasy spectrum potential anymore. As a projected second round pick and possibly late first round pick there is better value out there. Draft McCoy and the retro Westbrook numbers may come close with the two combined, but then again you shouldn’t have to be thinking that scenario with a high draft pick.

2. Peyton Manning
The aura of Peyton Manning has fantasy owners hypnotized to be on the trigger to grab him. Our philosophy on this is why be the one to take the bait and grab him with your second round pick? His 2004 crazy world MVP numbers are long gone. He is going to be a weekly steady performer but why not grab a strong elite first tier wide receiver or get that second running back tandem? Manning has to deal with a new head coach and not having his safety net receiver Marvin Harrison anymore. We’re just saying you should use your second round pick wisely, as you can get a quarterback that will put up near Manning numbers (Rodgers, Romo, Warner, Cutler, McNabb) in the fourth, fifth, and even possibly sixth rounds.

3. Michael Turner
Turner had a career year last season and now he is expected to duplicate or go beyond that. There’s too many variables to see that happen so well with the combination of yards and touchdowns. Matt Ryan will throw more touchdowns and utilize his red zone target in Tony Gonzalez.

4. Ladainian Tomlinson
The RBBC style that was a pattern for the last three years is now set on just about every NFL roster. Protecting their star back and having a solid backup is the way to carry a strong running game all season, and also has cut back on injuries. LT wasn’t able to be a beneficiary back to this strategy and the miles may have taken its toll. Just look at your basic top 25-30 fantasy running backs and what jumps out at you? The most glaring is that LT is the only back averaging 320 plus carries a year. You can look at it from a multiple season stretch or further but LT leads the league by far in mileage. Only Clinton Portis comes close but he missed most of the 2006 season. After a dip like LT had last year it’s not just injuries that cause that. The wear and tear of the past eight seasons has got to him.

5. Terrell Owens
TO’s high ranking fantasy value has never been largely based on his receptions and yardage totals. He did have a career year in 2007 but that was in a dynamic offense. People are truly expecting Owens to not miss a beat and to be the difference for Buffalo. TO has always been a touchdown machine, a double digit threat basically every season. That’s what warranted TO as a top ten fantasy receiver. Insert Trent Edwards as his quarterback and let the thunderous laughs begin. Edwards hardly managed to throw for DOUBLE DIGIT touchdowns last season (11), so how on Earth is TO going to get his owners fantasy value? We all know the type of attitude that TO can display as well once he isn’t getting what he wants. His value will drop all season. If he happens to start off the year well, fantasy owners better wisely offer trade bait early and often.

6. Tom Brady
Stop reveling and drooling on Brady’s 2007 season. Magical seasons have happened before for Manning, Marino, and Warner. Besides Warner none ever really came close to those magical touchdown numbers. Brady will get between 30-35, but the 40-50 range isn’t going to happen. That 07 season the Patriots rarely ran the football and it was a free for all air day exhibit every Sunday. Brady does look good and healthy, but it’s PRESEASON. Defensive game plans start week one.

7. Frank Gore
We’ve been waiting for Gore too bounce back for two years now, and he keeps disappointing. The 49ers wised up and drafted back Glen Coffee who has been fantastic in preseason. There are a few reasons why Gore has entered our list. One of the mains is that he has played in a division that has been the poorest in terms of talent but hasn’t distinguished himself enough. Playing the Cards, Rams, and Seahawks for a total of six games a year should be have been enough to catapult Gore as a sure lock top five back. Another reason is Gore’s never been a main touchdown threat, and that’s what is the most vital for owners. Who wants to see Gore have 100-120 yards and see your opponents back get two touchdowns and 60-70 yards and still gain on you?

8. T. J. Houshmandzadeh
Housh received a lot of money to go to Seattle but is on a team that has some serious offensive question marks. Their running back tandem of Julius Jones and Edgerrin James is without a doubt the worst in the league. His starting quarterback is coming off serious back surgery and yet still has likely the worst offensive line in the league heading into the 09 season. Teams aren’t ever going to load the box to stop the run against Seattle, which means more easily designed coverages to prevent Housh from making big plays. Housh’s yards per catch have never been stellar and has dropped every season over the last five years. His bread and butter has always been in the red zone, and with an offense with as many issues as Seattle that’ll be a hard area for them to get or finish off drives.

9. Thomas Jones
Aging, being disgruntled, and the drafting off a younger back are all signs that we have to wave the danger flag. At 31, Jones truly showed what the Arizona Cardinals were hoping when they drafted him in 2000. Jones has been surprisingly steady but not enough in the touchdown category. If he could boost his production out of the backfield, he could be a strong number two. The Jets though have an assured primary third down back in Leon Washington. Factor in the growing pains of Mark Sanchez and Jones could be in for a tough year in the trenches.

10. Eddie Royal
Do not expect Royal to be the huge sleeper everyone is talking about, especially with Brandon Marshall’s issues. If Royal has to be the number one he’ll be easily shut down. The Broncos do not scare anyone with Kyle Orton as their quarterback and Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Stokely as their other wide receivers. That means all the attention is centered on Royal. A guy that hit his sophomore slump before his rookie season even ended. He finished out the second part of last season with a horrid last seven games, catching only one touchdown pass.