In the same vein as my piece on declining players, it’s important to realize players and trends that are detrimental to your fantasy team. In companion with my MVP’s piece, here is a starting lineup of the fantasy football LVP’s (least valuable players) from 2012. These players were drafted at a much higher level than they finished in total scoring. It could have been because of a nagging injury or just general suckitude; regardless, this lineup of players sucked fantasy value from your team like some sort of awkward, value-hungry vampire. All ADP’s will be the composite posted at FantasyPros.
Without a doubt, Philip Rivers had a miserable fantasy season. He started the season as QB10 in ADP, before finishing with exactly 200 fantasy points as QB21. It wasn’t just that Rivers was terrible. With any player that has shown a high fantasy ceiling, it is extra disappointing when they continue to be terrible. After finishes in the top 12 for several years before, even in a terrible 2011, Rivers totally took a cliff dive in 2012. When he had Antonio Gates (the REAL Antonio Gates), Darren Sproles, Mike Tolbert and Vincent Jackson, he led an exciting run and gun attack that won several AFC West titles. After A.J Smith let Sproles, Tolbert and Jackson walk and Antonio Gates started looking like a guy who couldn’t keep up in your local pick-up game, Rivers’ production totally fell off a cliff. His perpetually awkward throwing motion, uneven temperament and inability to throw from a dirty pocket spelled fantasy doom for Rivers and will continue to do so in 2013.
In the 2011 off-season, there were rumors of MJD’s demise due to serious knee issues. He answered with a spectacular top 3 season. In the 2012 off-season, MJD went through a bizarre and very bitter hold out. Owners realized that MJD had come through before after a tumultuous off-season and drafted him as RB8. In the 5 games he played, he had exactly 1 RB1 type game before exiting the season with a mysterious foot sprain. While it isn’t fair to be disqualified based solely on injury, Jones-Drew didn’t look as dynamic as he had before and was stuck in the quick sand that was Blaine Gabbert’s Jacksonville offense. Any owner who took him in the first round and held out hope that he would return from the foot sprain surely suffered the consequences.
Man, what a lost season for the Chargers. Ryan Mathews held the dubious distinction of having more broken collarbones for the year season that touchdowns. After briefly being considered a top 5 pick early in the preseason, Mathews broke his collarbone and was downgraded to consensus RB13 and 25th overall. He then proceeded to have one of the most depressing fantasy seasons in recent memory. After returning from injury, he had exactly one game above 8 fantasy points. At first, owners held out hope that he wasn’t performing due to Jackie Battle’s use on the goal line and Ronnie Brown’s work on 3rd down. However, in games where Matthews got 20 carries or more, he totaled 8, 7 and 6 fantasy points. He was simply putrid in all aspects and proved to be about as pedestrian as Shonn Greene.
Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t get to claim this spot because I wrote quite exhaustively about him yesterday. Jennings didn’t get all of the press for being terrible, but finishing with 55 fantasy points, just a bit less than Kevin Walter and the third best fantasy wide out on the Cardinals, Micheal Floyd, surely earns him a spot on this list. Without the 24 point explosion against Minnesota in week 17 when no one should be playing for a league title anyway, Jennings would have had an even more disappointing season. While Jennings was also bit with the injury bug, even when he did play, he wasn’t great. The emergence of Randall Cobb and the touchdown thievery of James Jones have spelled the end of Greg Jennings as WR1 for fantasy, even if he does re-sign with Green Bay in the offseason.
Another year, another injury to keep Nicks gimpy and not practicing. While he normally is a WR1 even when he plays dinged, Eli Manning and Nicks never really got on the same page. Although some would claim games missed by injury ruined Nicks, he only sat out 4 times. In games where he did play, he only caught 3 touchdowns and tallied just one 100-yard game. Much as Jennings is no longer the without a doubt WR1 in Green Bay, Victor Cruz has earned the lion’s share of targets in between the twenties and Martellus Bennet and Domenik Hixon both significantly cut into Nicks’ redzone targets. At the price of WR11, Nicks murdered your teams bottom line like Dexter on cocaine.
This one could go any number of ways. Aaron Hernandez because of injury? He doesn’t deserve it because he rewarded owners in the playoffs. Jermicheal Finley could get the honors, but most owners realized that all hope was lost and cut bait. Vernon Davis truly harmed your team the most because he gave you hope. He exploded on to the scene with double digit games in each of the first three weeks which kept him in your lineup at least until the week 9 bye. Then, the Colin Kaepernick switch led to a brilliant game in week 11 against the Bears. The sheer electricity of the performance convinced you to keep him around, even if he wasn’t in your lineup for the game. The rest of the year, outside of those 4 performances, Davis was absolutely abysmal. A fringe TE2, if even that. For supplying fantasy owners with false hope, Davis was clearly the most damaging fantasy tight end.