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The Feeding Frenzy – Fantasy Busts of 2012

The end of the fantasy season is drawing near and that means everyone is running out of ideas and getting lazy. That’s why you keep seeing those stupid “Biggest Fantasy Busts” lists that are so annoying. Like we need someone to tell us which players were busts, right? Well, here is my list.

I apologize in advance but when you write a column about trading all season by the time we get to Week 15 you need to be creative because trading has run its course. I have two columns left this season and with all the trading pretty much done I figured I would use my remaining time to look back and ahead. So this week I’m going to look at which players let us all down this fantasy season and next week I’ll look ahead to 2013.
Here are the guys I think let us down the most in 2012:

Philip Rivers, QB San Diego – Some people thought Rivers was going to have a big bounceback season in 2012 and advised fantasy owners to draft him as their starter in the 5th or 6th round of drafts. Unfortunately, I was one of those people beating that drum and I was dead wrong.

Now four months later I think Rivers is one of the 10 worst quarterbacks in the NFL. I mean this guy can’t hit simple out routes most of the time. I’m talking about plays where he has time in the pocket and his receiver is open by 10 yards on a 12-yard out. Those are the easiest throws to make and Rivers isn’t even close. I no longer think Rivers is declining, I think he is a flat-out disaster.
In fantasy terms, Rivers has topped 20 points four times this year. To put that in perspective, Chad Henne has two 20+ fantasy weeks. I mean, do I really need to go on? This guy is all done. I don’t know who will be running the Chargers next season but his first order of business should be to select a young quarterback in the first two rounds of the draft because my 2-year old son throws a nicer ball than Rivers and most of his passes go backwards.

LeSean McCoy, RB Philadelphia – On most of the “Biggest Fantasy Bust” lists that are coming out McCoy is showing up in the Top 3. I think that’s a bit harsh but there is no denying that McCoy didn’t have the kind of year fantasy owners were expecting when they selected him with a Top 5 pick.

The only reason I think people are being a little too hard on McCoy is because before he got hurt he scored at least 15 fantasy points in eight of 10 games in PPR formats. I know those aren’t elite numbers but on the other hand they aren’t far off from what Ray Rice was putting up most weeks either. However, there’s still no denying that McCoy had a down year and once he went out Bryce Brown came in and set the world on fire. Well, at least until fantasy playoffs started then Brown disappeared.
The Eagles were just a hot mess all year long and in my opinion McCoy was caught up in that mess. I had Rice and like I said I thought he was frustrating all season too but if you drafted McCoy over Arian Foster, you had to be kicking yourself.

Ryan Mathews, RB San Diego – I’ve discussed Mathews a lot in this column during the year and it’s because people are still hanging onto a perception of what they think Mathews should be and not coming to a reality of what he actually is; average.
Listen, I loved Mathews in college and thought he was going to be the next superstar running back in the NFL, so I was on board. However, it simply hasn’t happened and it doesn’t take 99% of running backs four years to be good in the NFL. That’s just a fact. They either have it or they don’t.
I hear people argue that Mathews is running behind a bad offensive line and that’s the reason for his struggles. My rebuttal is we see backs run behind bad lines all the time but are you telling me that means Mathews shouldn’t break one long run all season? Are you saying if we put C.J. Spiller or Trent Richardson behind the same exact line they don’t break one run all year long? We can make all the excuses we want but the bottom line is Mathews has shown no vision at all and he’s been 3-yards and a cloud of dust all season long.
I keep saying that Mathews is closer to Joique Bell than Marshawn Lynch. Look at the facts. When Mathews had Mike Tolbert around he put up strong fantasy numbers. When he was asked to be the main guy, he crumbled. Those are the facts and they cannot be disputed.
I think Mathews is a role player. If San Diego brings in another running back and gives Mathews 15 touches a game, I believe his fantasy value will actually increase. However, if you get sucked in again next summer by web sites hyping Mathews as a Top 10 fantasy back, that’s your own fault. You should know better by now.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR Arizona – In my opinion Fitzgerald is the best pound-for-pound non-quarterback in the NFL. What the Cardinals are doing to him is downright criminal.
I’ve been saying for two years that Ken Wisenhunt is Jim Fassel. He got lucky and took an average 9-7 team to a Super Bowl but other than that he’s a joke coach. Tell me what he’s done? The guy has a record of 44-49 for cryin’ out loud. He’s supposed to be this great quarterback coach, right? Who has he developed? Matt Leinart? Kevin Kolb? John Skelton? I’m pretty sure Kurt Warner could already play quarterback when he came to Arizona.
Think about the numbers Fitzgerald has put up with average quarterbacks throwing to him. Now think about what he could do with a real quarterback delivering him the ball every week. That’s no solace to fantasy owners though who selected Fitzgerald in the first two rounds of their drafts.
Things have gotten so bad over the last month that the once unthinkable has happened; Fitzgerald should no longer even be in your starting lineup. Thank goodness Arizona has an offensive guru like Wisenhunt at the helm to turn things around, huh? Fitzgerald never had a chance over the second half of the season. It’s a damn shame how Wisenhunt and the Cardinals’ organization are ruining the best years of one of the greatest football players to ever put on pads. It’s a damn shame.

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