Monday, August 23, 2010

Top Five Fantasy Football Sleeper Busts

As we get closer and closer to when the majority of you people make your fantasy football draft picks, the quest for sexy picks -- you know, the ones that will provoke those all-important curses of jealousy from your league mates -- will cost any number of owners their buy-in. Here are the guys that will smart you all the way out of the money.

5) Matt Leinart, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Disliking Leinart comes easily: just watch him play. Tentative with the ball, wooden with his scout blessed NFL size, and a telegraphing machine, there's a reason -- many of them, really -- why he's spent the last few years watching Kurt Warner cement his status as a Canton immortal. Now that he's finally been given the keys to the Cardinal offense and full visitation privileges to all-world WR Larry Fitzgerald, the canny thought is that six games a year against the NFC West has to make him worth a late-round flyer. But, um, well... no.

The thing about Leinart is that he's a front-runner. When he's got time and space, he can make a throw, and with the weapons that are at his disposal, you can see why the dreams of 300 yards and 2 touchdowns a game for very low money exist. But the problem is that in those front runnner games this year, Big Red management is going to be trying to establish the team's new identity as a power-running football team, especially with new OLer Alan Faneca in town. Faneca's work in pass blocking last year contributed mightily to Jets QB Matt Sanchez having happy feet, but he's still worth the price of admission in the running game.

So in the games where the throwing is easy, Leinart won't be. In the games were it isn't, he's going to be turnover city from being, well, himself, and also from an inadequate offensive line. Add it up, and you get a guy that you are never going to be all that confident to start. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

4) Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Either Brown and traditional starting RB Joseph Addai are both slugs, the Colts' offensive line are incapable of opening a hole even with all-world QB Peyton Manning, or opponents of the Colts decided the best way to win was to take away the run... because, well, neither of these guys did very much with the rock last year at all. Brown gets continuation bet points here, seeing how everyone and his brother has owned Addai and hated him for years now, but all signs continue to point to a timeshare that won't cut any real ice, because the Colts' OL is, shh, really that bad. It's amazing what a QB with preternatural pre-snap reading ability, a lightning-fast release, and some of the best wideout options in the league can do to make the uglies look pretty.

3) Chester Taylor, RB, Chicago Bears

Yes, I know -- Matt Forte broke your heart so badly last year that you need to show him how much you hate hate hate him now, and Chester The Arrester has got System RB written all over him, especially with that fat contract. But wait just a moment here... why were the Vikings ready to let Chester go, especially to a division rival? Maybe the sub-par numbers last year, combined with his advancing age -- remember, RBs age like dogs, and Taylor is on his third organization -- might be a clue. Along with the fact that the Bears really haven't crushed the world recently when it comes to signing people. Taylor will have his uses this year, to be sure, but more as a flex play, rather than a full-time option.

2) Nate Burleson, WR, Detroit Lions

The thinking here isn't bad -- the Lions are going to throw it a ton, and Calvin Johnson can't get all of the looks -- but to go here means that you have to hitch your wagon to QB Matthew Stafford, and there's no good reason to do that just yet. Between the Lions' pass protection problems and Stafford's inaccuracy last year, you've got to project a quantum leap in productivity... and if that happens, it's going to go to safer throw options like RB Jahvid Best in the flat, and TEs Tony Scheffler and Brandon Pettigrew. Burleson is a long way from his useful fantasy years, and isn't going to be more than a flash in the pan here.

1) Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys

There was a lot to dislike here before the injuries, actually. Dallas has too many weapons for even the biggest rookie breakout to get to every week status, and now that his development has been set back, he's going to stay in scattershot mode. Add in the injury and off-the-field issues -- karmic debt for failing to carry Roy Williams' pads? -- and the fact that the team is going to use him on special teams, further sapping his energy and attention, and you've got a guy that's just not going to be worth his draft position in many leagues.

The simple fact of the matter is that, unless the player in question is so take it to the house special that special teams work can result in a few more touchdowns a year, you want no part of a guy who has that job in addition to a role in the offense. It's kind of like when the fireballing prospect in baseball gets the long reliever job; you scout and tab the guy, but until he moves to closer or starter, you generally can live without him. If you are in a keeper league, Bryant's worth targeting, because Williams isn't long for this team. But in 2010, he's going to be the centerpiece of a lot of clubs that aren't going to make the money.


Documentary said...

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Anonymous said...

Hey welcome to the site Documentary. Now go finish that near empty bottle you were drinking.

You should also add "Chicago Bears" to your column. All of them. The D is horrible, the O Line is a joke, no solid receivers and Cutler will be running for his life all season.

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