The late rounds of your fantasy draft is the time to take fliers; players who’ve had no previous value but through a combination of circumstance and talents seem poised to have their “breakout” year. Usually the player doesn’t pan out but in the 14th round of a draft who cares. The ugly part of the flier strategy is until the breakout happens you have a bunch of duds taking up valuable roster space. So often I’m blinded by hope that I can go 2/3 of a season holding a dog. The null roster space can end up compromising my depth at other positions and can often times screw a season.
The flier spot is also a position where I find myself playing hometown favorites. This might be an ok thing if you are a fan of winning team but when your team is the Detroit Lions with the worst winning percentage in all of professional sports over the last 6 years you end up with some bad players.
The players who are on the sleeper list every year and never deliver drive me nuts. Chances are half these dogs are choking up my roster. It is with that thought that I bring you:
PLAYERS I HATE: THE WIDE RECEIVER EDITION
Troy Williamson, WR MIN. He got elite speed- a 4.29 40 in his combine we heard. It’s that separation from the DB that has allowed him to drop so many perfectly catchable balls. Maybe if he could actually see the ball he would catch it. How is it that a fantasy punter like me is so aware of Williamson’s eye problems yet we never see him in the game with a pair of Kareem Abdul Jabar eye-goggles? I’m not too proud to admit I’ve drafted him- 2006 Round 12. I guess I didn’t see the value of Drew Brees, Maurice Jones-Drew-Joyner-Kersey-Davis (unknown fantasy wise yet but still a back-up to Fred Taylor) or Jon Kitna all of whom I could have had. I was able to discuss my draft with my friend and fellow league member “Lump” as it was going on. After I had made the selection he confessed that when he picked-up Marcus Robinson (the Viking receiver who could actually catch) in round 10- he met to select Williamson. Ha Ha the joke is on me Robinson scored 14 more points while playing 5 fewer games.
Ashley Lelie, WR SF. At least he got one good season- it’s true. In 2004 he was the 26th best receiver in my money league- since then not so good. Turns out when NFL cornerbacks with a body composition similar to Michael Jackson with bulimia realized they could make the popular ESPN “Jacked-Up” segment by lining up on Lelie.
His time as a productive receiver was at an end. Since then he has tumbled down the lists. Maybe a change in scenery to
Michael Clayton, WR TB. “Hey remember me I was the Marques Colston from 3 years ago? Now I’m fighting Ike Hilliard for a roster spot.” Seriously here is the official Buccaneers WR roster: David Boston 7th year, Jovon Bouknight rookie
Justin McCareins, WR NYJ. In 2003 he had 813 yards with 7 TD’s for the Tennessee Titans. It was his third year in the league- we all know about the deadly third year receiver. Every year his stats had improved.
He was going places. I believed, in early 2004 I tried trading with a league member (a die-hard TCU Alum) for McCareins. I had LT2 on my roster; thank God he wouldn’t take any trade that did not include LaDainian Tomlinson in some form so no deal was struck. Since then McCareins’ TD totals have looked like a NASA countdown: 4 in 2004, 2 in 2005, 1 in 2006 so in 2007 he should be scheduled for lift-off.
At least I didn’t waste a roster spot on him 2005.
Another league member secured his awesomeness in round 10. I had wisely spent my 10th round selection on…
Mike Williams, WR DET. This was the draft selection that cemented Matt Millen as the worst pro football GM ever. He was Mel Kipper’s highest rated player in the 2005 draft and now he was a 10th round steal for my fantasy team. With Roy Williams and Charles Rogers (he hadn’t been proven a purple haze bust yet) grabbing all the coverage Mike Williams should be able to run rampant over an open field a la Brandon Stokley 2004. Only difference was Stokley (6th round selection in 2005 ahead of a million better players- at least I didn’t make that move!) had Payton Manning throwing the ball and Williams had Joey freaking Harrington throwing the ball. Mike also had about 35 too many pounds wrapped around his donut filled belly. I should have been shot. Apparently I was such a big Lion fan I was emulating Matt Millen’s style of GM.