Unfortunately, we are still months away from the first crack of the bat. Of course I'm talking about spring training.
What does that have to do with football? Well, for years I've argued that fantasy baseball takes exponentially more skill than fantasy football.
Fantasy football takes a keen sense of how to draft the right players and manage the right trades, of course. But with so many injuries — especially with the attention to head trauma this day in age — it's almost easier to ring one of those floating ducks at the county fair than win your typical 12-team fantasy football league. And we all know how tough it is to score one of those giant Scooby-doos.
I've won my league once in the past four years and it looks like I'm SOL this year, sitting at 6-6. If you're like me, you've had some major guys screw you over in 2012. Here are my favorites.
DeMarco Murray, RB – Cowboys (pictured above)
The darling of America's team was being taken around the third round of most drafts this past August. So what did such a high pick get you? One of the worst starting running back return on investments in football.
He got hurt with a sprained foot in Dallas' week 6 loss to the Ravens and he hasn't been back since. He's racked up an awesome 46 total points this season, scoring just one TD. Epic…ly disappointing.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB – Jaguars
When have hold-outs actually worked out to a team's advantage? Once the player gets his cash, he comes back out of shape and out of rhythm every time, never returning to original form, at least it seems.
If you remember correctly, Jones-Drew wanted a big fat contract this summer after coming off a career 1,600 yard season. Jones-Drew finally got his contract just before the first game, leaving him with no training camp or preseason. The reward fantasy owners got for taking him around 24th overall has been a whopping one touchdown (week 3 against the Colts) and only one game over 100 yards (also, week 3 against the Colts).
Jones-Drew has been hurt since week 8.
Darren McFadden, RB – Raiders
It was said all pre-season long that the kid is elite, he just has to stay healthy. Well, what if we find out that he's not elite even when he is healthy, and oh ya, he still gets hurt. So is the case with McFadden.
The No. 4 ranked RB coming into the year — yes, I said No. 4 — played the first nine weeks, only scoring twice while packing only two games over 100 yards rushing.
Since week 9 he's been out with an ankle injury and still might not be available for fantasy playoffs. He's currently ranked No. 118 in Yahoo's fantasy rankings.
Greg Jennings, WR – Packers
Obviously not his fault, since he makes this list purely because of injury alone. However, we can't say it isn't beyond a major bummer to fantasy owners and the Packers when this No. 1 wide receiver only has 78 yards and one TD on the season after 12 weeks.
Jennings has been out with an abdominal injury since week four and has only 12 points this season because of it. His pre-season rank was No. 29 and is now No. 2419.
Hakeem Nicks, WR – Giants
Nicks should have been prepping for a third straight 1,000 yard season while piling on to his 18 TDs from the previous two years. Instead, one of three things happened here: Eli Manning either hates him, his skill set has declined tremendously, or teams are loading up defensively on one side to shut him down. I'm banking more towards the latter.
Teammate Victor Cruz has surged, leaving Nicks in the dust with a mere two TDs and 542 yards receiving; not what you want in return for a third round pick. He's now dropped to No. 147 in the ranks.
Antonio Gates, TE – Chargers
I hate it as much as anyone, but Gates is done.
Unlike Tony Gonzalez, who can evidently play until he's 80, Gates has been suffering from a severe case of plantar fasciitis and other ailments since 2010 — a year he only played in 10 games and still had 10 TDs.
Fantasy owners knowing his injury history and were still willing to take a risk on him because of his elite size and skill set, drafted him in the fourth of fifth round this August. In 2012, he's only produced four TDs and 56 points while still battling the injury bug. He's only ranked No. 122 overall, which puts him as the 15th best tight end in the sport.
Brandon Lloyd, WR – Patriots
The one I'm very passionate about. Brandon, why must you screw me over every year!
Being from Illinois — Lloyd's alma mater — I was big on him way back in 2006, taking him in the middle rounds of my draft. Other managers were asking me who in the hell Brandon Lloyd was, but after a solid 2005 campaign in which he had five TDs with San Francisco, I was ready to pounce, predicting a break-out year from my home-town hero. What I got was 0 TDs and only 365 yards receiving.
Fast forward to 2010 and Lloyd is fresh off his career year in Denver; a year I predicted four years too early. The guy was literally the best wide out in fantasy, posting 11 TDs and nearly 1,500 yards from a guy named Kyle Orton. So of course I'm going to take him the next year, right? Of course. I did.
I only got five TDs that year in return; a season that was frustrating with him being shipped out of the Tebow-era in Denver and into St. Louis with an injured Sam Bradford. Well, that's OK. With the crazy QB situations, that was out of his control…
2012 as supposed to be his resurgence. He got sent New England to be partnered up with Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and his former coach turned offensive coordinator from his career year in Denver, Josh McDaniels. He was going to Brady's down field threat that he had been missing all these years. It was supposed to be a match made in heaven. Fireworks were going to go off. Flowers would bloom. Rainbows would pour.
So far I've seen three TDs and only 500 yards caught all season. Even Julian Edelman is higher in the ranks than Lloyd in fantasy right now.
Looking back, all I can think about is how my uncle Rodney — who is in my League of Champions fantasy league — asked me after taking Lloyd in the fourth round of my draft this year: "Didn't Lloyd really screw you over last year." And my response was, "Ya, but he's going to be great this year! blah, blah blah…"
I hate you Brandon Lloyd.
Not really. Hugs and kisses…
I'm still not drafting you ever again.
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