With the 2012 fantasy football season in the books, we take a look back at the top 10 busts. We’ll simply define a bust as a player that underperformed their draft position. We did not include players that missed most of the season due to injury, including Maurice Jones-Drew, Greg Jennings, and Percy Harvin. Most of the players on this list were early-round selections, or top-tier options for their postion. As the season progressed these players left fantasy owners frustrated and wishing they had passed on them on draft day. So here we go!
Fitzgerald has been able to put up solid fantasy numbers with bad quarterbacks in the past, but even he wasn’t able to overcome the Cardinal’s quarterback woes in 2012. He was able to play in all 16 games this year, but he was only able to manage 4 touchdowns and about 800 receiving yards. The Cards quarterback issue is going to have to get a lot better for me to suggest taking Fitzgerald with any type of early round pick in next years drafts. The upside will still be there, but unless they find someone to throw him the ball then his fantasy value is limited.
A lot of people thought that Lloyd would have a monster year since he was getting reunited with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. While this may have been the case on a normal offense, we are talking about the Patriots here. They spread the ball around so much, and always take whatever the defense gives them. This led to Lloyd being extremely inconsistent, he had a few really big games, but he also had 3 games where he only had 1 catch per game. Even though overall Lloyd ended up having a decent year, he didn’t live up to where he was getting drafted in most drafts.
After a breakout sophomore year it really looked like Brown was going to continue to improve and have an even bigger year in 2012. He did battle injuries mid year, and of course he didn’t have Big Ben for the entire season, but it was still an overall disappointing year. He only found the end zone 5 times (1 of which in week 17) and he didn’t have 1 game with over 100 yards receiving. The Steelers had a hard time staying healthy this year, and this hurt the fantasy value of that entire offense.
After a monster 2011 all signs were pointing to another solid year for Nelson. While I don’t think many people thought he would match or improve upon his 2011 numbers, most people thought he would at least get close. He managed to play in only 12 games this year, and his numbers were down across the board. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Packers receivers, Jennings might not be back in 2013, and it appears that Cobb will be in the starting lineup for years to come. Depending on what happens with the Packers, Nelson could still have a huge upside moving forward, mainly just because of who is throwing him the ball.
Maclin had a weird illness that costs him to miss time before the 2011 season, and during that time he lost a lot of weight. He was able to play 13 games that year and still put up decent stats. With Maclin entering 2012 completely healthy it looked like he was going to have the monster breakout year that we have been waiting for. However, the Eagles offense just couldn’t get much going this year, and Maclin’s numbers were actually worse than his 2011 stats when you look at averages per game. He is still a young talented receiver, so if the Eagles can figure out their offense I still think Maclin could have that big breakout year in 2013.
The days of Vick being a top 5 fantasy quarterback appear to be over. He helped a lot of people win championships back in 2010, but he struggled at times in 2011, and he had a terrible year 2012. There is a chance he will have a new home next year depending on what the Eagles want to do at quarterback, but the aging Vick is still going to be a big gamble on draft day. Once we see what type of situation he lands in it will be easier to predict his value for next year, but I don’t see the 32 year old Vick being a QB1 for fantasy teams in 2013.
Yet again, Mathews lets down his owners. At this point I think it’s safe to say that Mathews isn’t going to be the elite fantasy running back that it looked like he could be. He has shown flashes of greatness, but his inconsistencies and injuries just won’t go away. At this point I think Mathews is still an early round pick, but he will no longer get drafted anywhere near the first round.
Finley continues to be a frustrating player in the fantasy world. He is a young extremely talented tight end on a great offense, but he has still struggled to have that breakout year we have been waiting for. Finley did have a career high with 61 catches, but he was only able to find the end zone 2 times in 2012. Moving forward Finley will continue to be a high upside tight end, but until the Packers choose to make him a staple on their offense then he will never have huge fantasy value.
I wasn’t that high on Gates coming into the year, but even I was surprised at his lack of production. He played in 15 games this year, but his numbers were down across the board. With Vincent Jackson moving over to the Bucs, it looked like Gates might be in line for a big year. However, I think Father Time finally caught up to Gates, the 32 year old Gates should continue to struggle to have fantasy value. At this point in his career I think Gates isn’t really an option anymore for your starting fantasy tight end.
If you ever needed proof to understand why you shouldn’t use a good draft pick on a kicker, then take a look at what Crosby did in 2012. He was one of the first kickers off the boards on draft day, and in a lot of leagues was drafted in the first 10 rounds. Not only did Crosby have a terrible year, but he didn’t even finish in the top 15 for all kickers. This backs up even further that you shouldn’t pay attention to kickers on draft day until the last couple of rounds.