Fantasy Football, to many of us, is a day in and day out obsession, deeply rooted in emotion and fandom, fueled by competitive spirit and absolutely rules our Sundays, Mondays, and well, the entire week. When you have such a passion for the game of football and get swept up in the phenomena that is fantasy football, the natural tendency is to develop an unhealthy infatuation with individual NFL players, and consequently, a strong hatred of others. Whether you’ve been burned by an injury prone wide receiver or an over-hyped running back, if you’ve been playing fantasy football for a while, chances are there are at least a couple guys that you won’t even dare hover the mouse over in the draft room.
This year, there are several big name players that are either creating a lot of buzz in the fantasy football world or are still just being drafted too high in my opinion. Often, when the buzz and the chatter grows to a certain level about a player, the value is no longer there. When you have to draft those guys at a premium cost because everyone is coveting them, or the namesake is so recognizable and popular, you are most certainly not going to get a large, if at all, return on your investment. This is a list of those guys for me, in 2012.
Andre Johnson –
He’s just the Mr. Glass type. He is an all talent when he’s “healthy” it’s just that he hardly ever is lately. He last played a full season three years ago, in 2009. Even when he has played 16 games, he has never broken double digit touchdowns in a single season, reaching nine touchdowns only once. Arguably his best fantasy season of his career came in 2009 where he amassed 1,569 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns, while averaging 15.7 ypc.
Andre is now entering his 10th season and coming in at 31 years old. To further drive the point, take breakout wide receiver Victor Cruz’s season last year – 1,536 yards, 9 touchdowns, 18.7 ypc – and that is essentially equal to Andre Johnson’s best season ever, and likely his peak given his past tendencies, his age, inability to stay on the field, and the Texans’ shift to a more run-happy offense. Taking Andre where he is going (in the second round) is more than likely not going to pay off. You’re much better off waiting on receiver until later in the draft.
Adrian Peterson –
AP is being drafted all over the place. I’ve still seen him go as high as the end of the first round recently, despite his late season injury in 2011, being placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list to start the 2012 season, and the coaching staff likely to give Peterson a light load early in the season in order to be able to work his way back into game shape and the AP that we all know. Just like Andre Johnson, another perennial first round draft pick in fantasy football the last few years, Adrian Peterson has huge name recognition. That alone will get him drafted higher than he should in some leagues, especially among those who don’t keep up with NFL news year round. Honestly, some people just won’t care either and will still take him as early as they can just because he has been such a beast in years past.
The fact is, we still haven’t seen him do any work that is indicative of a successful return from injury. Preseason games are just around the corner, but with Peterson being on the PUP list, there’s no telling as of now when we may get to see his first game action. I have him as my 14th or 15th running back as of this writing, but even there he doesn’t come without questions and he is almost certain to start the season off slowly. Unless he drops significantly in any of my drafts, I won’t consider taking on the uncertainty.
Rob Gronkowski –
Let’s be realistic here. Gronk is an absolute B-E-A-S-T. He is a matchup nightmare, as a sure bet as you can get in the redzone, and he just had a record setting year for a tight end. But then again, he just had a record setting year, which for the most part took everyone by surprise. The overall consensus is that he has to regress at least a little in 2012.
Sure, much as been made about if you take away his touchdowns he’s still the number two tight end (I hear you loud and clear Matthew Berry), but you have to think the yardage total comes down as well. With more focus on Gronk, at least as far as Patriot tight ends are concerned, Aaron Hernandez is going to have a few more opportunities this year than he did last year.
Then there’s the addition of new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ favorite toy Brandon Lloyd. He gives the Patriots a deep threat that they haven’t had since the departure of Randy Moss. Wes Welker is going to get his. I think that Gronkowski falls off enough in 2012 to not be other-worldly, and not deserving of such an early ADP. IF I am going to take a tight end in the first 3 rounds, I’d personally rather take Jimmy Graham over Gronk. The Saints passing attack lost significant pieces (Robert Meachem to the Chargers), while the Patriots added more. I know last year was the year of the tight end in fantasy football, but I think the rest of the field will be closer to Gronk and Graham in 2012. I’m staying a skeptic for 2012.
Cam Newton –
Cam had an amazing rookie season in 2011, throwing for over 4,000 yards and rushing for over 700 yards. What was most impressive about his 2011 campaign though is also what turns me off on Cam for 2012 – the 14 rushing touchdowns. The only quarterback EVER to rush for double digit touchdowns in NFL history is…yes you guessed it…Tim Tebow.
How is that? Well Tebow was essentially the Dever Broncos’ goal line back last year and honestly the comparison could be drawn between he and Cam, as there were plenty of designed run plays drawn up for Cam in the red zone last year. What worries me though, at least as far as the rushing touchdowns go, is the new addition to the Carolina Panthers’ backfield. They added to the already muddy running back situation and brought in the touchdown vulture himself, Mike Tolbert. As if Jonathon Stewart weren’t a big enough body to bowl through the line within ten yards…I just do not see a situation (barring injury of course) that Cam repeats his rushing touchdown total from last year. With that in mind, and his noticeable drop off in the passing game in the second half of the season, Cam presents too many uncertainties for me to invest a 2nd round pick in him.