We’re several weeks removed from the fantasy season, but the wounds are still fresh for many hapless owners who didn’t come home with a Championship or anything close in many cases. I know you’ve gone over the reasons why, but it’s always good to have other voices to reinforce your conclusions. That’s why I’ve compiled this short list of players who failed you on so many levels. Some we expected, others were surprises. It hurts either way.
1. Darren McFadden: Apparently RunDMC’s father is a glass maker, at least when it comes bones and joints, as the oft injured running back lived up to his brittle reputation once again this season with a debilitating ankle sprain. This had to be frustrating for his owners, but it was almost impossible to not see it coming. It seems like he hurts himself every time he touches the ball. McFadden amassed 707 yards on the ground, but his 3 touchdown total is what really gets you down in the dumps. Perhaps the move away from OC Greg Knapp’s zone-blocking scheme will improve his output next season, and that’s all well and good, but the guy has to stay on the field to make it matter.
2. Larry Fitzgerald: Another season, another Fitzgerald disappointment. There is perhaps no other player whose talents go to waste quite as excruciatingly as Fitzgerald’s do, as he languishes in Arizona. Fitz ended the season with 798 yards and four touchdowns, which is respectable for a role player, but not for a player of his ilk. This certainly wasn’t acceptable considering that he was the first or second drafted receiver on many fantasy teams. The Cardinals threw the ball almost more than any other team in the league, so opportunity wasn’t really as much of the problem so much as inept quarterback play was. New OC Bruce Arians should bring some life to their passing attack, but so far they’ll still be working with Kevin Kolb under center. That doesn’t do anyone any favors. Unless we see a drastic change at Quarterback, I’d expect more of the same from Fitzgerald next season.
3. Maurice Jones-Drew: It finally happened. This was the first year MJD didn’t live up to or surpass his average fantasy draft position. For the past several years, we’ve been awaiting a drop in performance considering how often he carried the ball and the team for that matter, but it never materialized until this season. First came the holdout, and what an exquisite failure that was as Shahid Khan and his glorious mustache called Jones-Drew’s bluff without blinking. By the time he did get onto the field MJD had the misfortune of almost immediately injuring his fragile foot, hobbling him for the remainder of the season. Fortunately we saw the holdout coming, so MJD’s draft position wasn’t as high as in years passed, but we certainly didn’t expect a backsliding of this proportion from him. 500 all-purpose yards and 2 touchdowns was all he brought to the table this year. Should he heal in time from surgery, MJD should be back in rare form for the upcoming season.
4. Greg Jennings: Talk about too little too late. This one hits close to home, as Jennings effectively put my own passing game to pasture with his early exit. Sure he had a 120 yd, 2 td monster the last week of the season to top off his 366 yd and 4 td season, but his virtual absence in every game before that helped ruin a lot of fantasy seasons this year. The worst part was the “questionable” tag the Packers would dangle ever so seductively before each game. Every week was potentially “THE” week he could return, and time and time again it would prove untrue. With a healthy groin and a new team, things could definitely look up for Jennings come fall. The question is are you willing to trust him with so much next time around?
6. Peyton Hillis: Ok, perhaps Peyton Hillis didn’t sink your season, but no other player fell so short of his preseason expectations than this fellow. The guy was a former Madden cover for pete’s sake, and all he had to show for it was a hair over 300 yards and one measly score? Fantasy prognosticators the world round, including some on this very site, had Hillis being the lead runner in Kansas City and a sure better value than counterpart Jamaal Charles. I wasn’t sold, but no one saw the sorry season that would ensue coming. Virtual nobody Shaun Draughn would even end up besting Hillis in the backfield. The abysmal predicament at the quarterback position didn’t help matters, but there’s really no excuse for the type of play we saw from the former Cleveland battering ram. It’s almost a foregone conclusion that he won’t be in KC next season, as Hillis’ running style is the antithesis of what Andy Reid likes to work with. He’ll get another shot to be the bully for some other team for sure, but I won’t let him near my fantasy squad.