Weâ€™ve all been there, saddled with more busts than the Playboy mansion, grasping at straws for a quick and easy remedy. Futility is a nasty bug that can suck the life right out of your fantasy season.
The best remedy is preparation and knowledge, both of which will lead to roster depth and the wherewithal to draft later round gems fortifying against the pitfalls that make fantasy football fun.
Fun in a chaotic, tear-the-head-off-your-kidâ€™s-doll kind of way of course.
If a player fails to meet the lofty expectations leveled by fantasy experts and owners alike, that player is tagged as a bust. A dreaded moniker indeed, and in some cases this tag continues to follow the beleaguered player until they prove otherwise.Â That is the interesting part of the equation. Todayâ€™s star is tomorrowâ€™s bust, and aforementioned beleaguered can be tomorrowâ€™s hero. Yes indeed, itâ€™s crazy.
So letâ€™s take a peek at some potential fantasy busts at the quarterback position for 2012.
With the influx of rookie and sophomore starting quarterbacks this season in the NFL, many owners will be tempted to make the move for the new and unknown. While this strategy works in dynasty and some keeper formats, the same canâ€™t be said in re-draft leagues. For the most part, these youngsters are going to STINK. It doesnâ€™t matter what the pedigree is, or what style of offense was run in college, or physical stature. The fact is very few rookie or second-year signal callers make enough of an impact to be worthy fantasy starters.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton broke the mold last season, which is undeniable.Â However before Newton, you have to go all the way back to Peyton Manningâ€™s rookie season in 1998 when he threw for over 3,700 yards and 26 touchdowns. Of course, I would be remiss if I didnâ€™t mention his 28 interceptions. So I see busts across the board for the NFL version of Romper Room.
Take for instance, Robert Griffin III. He has skills but the overall glass is half-empty. The growing pains will be vast, literally and figuratively. The shift in skill and talent is so great from college to the NFL, and when you couple that with the other challenges Washington is faced with in 2012, the going could be rough for Griffin indeed. The Miami Dolphins announced that rookie QB Ryan Tannehill will be their week one starter, and while thatâ€™s nice for the media and the fans, we fully expect veteran Matt Moore to be back under center come week three or four. With Husband of the Year candidate Chad Johnson now released, there is no distinguishable talent downfield for Miami, and while Reggie Bush is a nice crutch, he will more than likely be on them sooner as opposed to later. (Hint: Sleeper alert on second-year RB Daniel Thomasâ€¦)
At the time he was drafted, Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert was widely touted as the most NFL-ready quarterback in the draft. He responded to the hype with 12 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a passer rating of 65.4. NFL ready? Ready for what?? Unfortunately it just doesnâ€™t happen that way. Donâ€™t expect 2012 to be any different. Other than RB Maurice Jones-Drew, who is in the midst of a contract squabble and rumored to be on the trading block, there is no true dominant offensive skill player on the Jaguars roster. That spells trouble with a capital $.
The Tennessee Titans have decided to hand the reins of the offense over to second-year quarterback Jake Locker. Granted the time is now to sink or swim with Locker, but you might want to mail him a lifejacket. Better yet, call him Davy Jones and I donâ€™t mean the singer from the Monkees. Now donâ€™t get me wrong, Locker undoubtedly has the skills to be an NFL quarterback. He has the athleticism and arm strength to make some noise, but unless he works on his completion percentage, and other higher level skills, heâ€™ll drive folks mad all season.
Look, I was as surprised with 49ers QB Alex Smithâ€™s performance last least season as anyone, but letâ€™s not get carried away. Despite some solid production, highlighted by stellar performances in the NFC Divisional playoff and NFC Championship games, he still threw for only 18 touchdowns during the regular season. Thatâ€™s just not enough to warrant a spot in fantasy starting lineups. When a quarterback is praised for â€œnot making mistakesâ€ thatâ€™s never a good thing. The infusion of talent at wide receiver is nice, but a new paint job on the Gremlin does not a Camaro make.
One player whose frustration will be born courtesy of the inconsistency and injuries to his receiving corps would be Dallas QB Tony Romo. Receiver Miles Austin is already battling hamstring issues, Dez Bryant is limping, mental time-bomb ready to explode, and TE Jason Witten is sidelined with a spleen injury. Who is left? You, me and Kevin Ogletree. Sounds like a bad 70â€™s song.
A guy I actually feel sorry for is Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. Funny, that comment causes a wave of ridiculousness to envelope me. By all means, feel sorry for an NFL quarterback. Feel sorry for a guy who enjoyed a prolific collegiate career at USC, was drafted into the NFL, cashes weekly paychecks the size of my yearly salary, and has graced the cover of a plethora of high profile publications. Sarcastic sullenness aside, it seems as though the Jets are setting the guy up for failure. Of course Head Coach Rex Ryan is standing by Sanchez, just ask him. However the Jets sign QB Tim Tebow, and despite all of the Kumbaya, hugs and holding hands, Tebow hangs over Sanchez like an albatross. Can you see it now? First Sanchez interception – the cries from the beer-swilling, armchair coaches for the Savior will begin. Sanchez drives the team down the field and it is 3rd and goal? Bring in the Savior for some side-slapping wildcat hilarity. Itâ€™s just not a healthy situation and will ultimately lead to Sanchezâ€™s complete downfall.
Speaking of the New York Jets and Mr. Tebow, Â if you think that frenetic scrambling, a lack of true passing talent and downfield vision is the answer, have at it. Pulling a fantasy rabbit out of your helmet (I am being kind) last season may have been exciting yes, but I am just not seeing the consistency necessary for it to truly matter. Eight completions for 41 yards and a rushing touchdown is not a box score line Iâ€™d want to embrace.
To be perfectly honest, some of these players may prove me completely wrong. They may shock the world and send a large contingency of fantasy risk-takers to peer adulation and awe. Last night on the evening news, the weatherman in my local town called for sun with a light breeze and a temperature of 77 degrees. This morning I was stirred from my slumber by the sound of hail pounding the hood of my pickup. Seriously, just make sure you are not reaching too far at the QB position and if you decide to roll the dice with any of the players mentioned above make sure you are covered in the event the hailstones start to fall.
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