In just a matter of months, book stores and web sites will get flooded with fantasy football guides. In every one of those publications they are going to base most of their rankings on last year’s stats. While last year is a good place to start, buyer beware. Every year guys have one or two good games that inflate their stats and make them look more productive than they really were. Here are five guys that you need to be careful with. Make sure you look beyond the stats so you don’t pick them too early.
Torrey Smith WR- Ravens
After sitting out the first two games with an injury, the rookie had a great debut – 152 yards and 3 touchdowns. In Week 11 he had another big game – 165 yards and 1 touchdown. Around those two performances he caught three or less balls in eight of his remaining twelve games, found the end zone just three more times and averaged 44 yards a contest. With the Ravens run-first offense and average quarterback play, don’t look for consistency from Smith in year two.
Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells RB- Cardinals
Although Wells was fairly consistent finding the end zone in 2011 – he scored ten touchdowns – he was not the consistent kind of number two runningback you could put in the lineup every week. In Week 4 and Week 12 he combined for 366 yards and four touchdowns. Buyer beware however. He played in fourteen regular season games and averaged less than three yards per carry in ten of them.
Matt Cassel QB- Chiefs
In Week 5 Cassel had the type of game Kansas City fans and owners who drafted the career back up were hoping for – 257 yards passing and four touchdowns. That joy was short lived however. In the ten games he was able to play without injury he had just one more game where he threw more than one touchdown pass. The Chiefs were injury riddled all year, but with Dwayne Bowe, fantasy owners were expecting more.
Vincent Jackson WR- Bucs
This one surprised me a bit. Jackson gets so much press and is widely regarded as at least a top twenty and maybe even a top ten wide receiver. In Week 9 Jackson had 141 yards and three touchdowns, but only six more touchdowns the rest of the year – two of those came in one game. I need more consistency than four scores in his remaining fourteen games. Now he has moved from the sometimes dynamic Charger offense to the inconsistent Bucs offense. An inconsistent receiver on an inconsistent offense is not a combination I like going into 2012.
Christian Ponder QB- Vikings
I doubt Ponder will be on anyone’s short list as a number one fantasy quarterback, but if you think the young quarterback showed enough promise in year one to be worth a look late in the draft as a number two quarterback consider this: In Week 13 the Florida State product threw for nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns. In his remaining nine starts he threw ten touchdowns. Injuries were part of that regression, but the quarterback and team are clearly a couple of years away.
Brian covers basically all high school sports, but mainly football and wrestling in Minnesota where he has lived his entire life. Fed up with his day job he decided to try writing as a hobby over ten years ago and that hobby has turned into sort of a second career. He has been involved in some way with football since he was a water boy for his high school team when he was in elementary school and has been playing fantasy football since before he could vote.