Friday, December 26, 2008

Top Five 2009 Fantasy Football Busts

It's never too early to start talking about the next fantasy season, especially for those of you in keeper leagues. So, as sort of a half 2008 wrap-up, half 2009 preview, let's take a look at the guys who played above their potential in 2008, and will likely be disappointments next season. This is, of course, with only partial information, so much can (and probably will) change before next season. Whatever, it's fun.
  1. DeAngelo Williams - Listen, Williams was awesome this season. He was particularly dominant in the second half of the season, posting at least 70 yards and a touchdown in each of the past 8 games, and recording two games with 4 touchdowns, including in week 16, which likely won games for most of his owners. His stock will be in the clouds going into next season; I've seen projections that have him in the top 5. Wrong. He'll be good, but Jonathan Stewart is likely to figure into the offense more next year, and he was already a touchdown hawk. Look for a two-headed monster next year that gives fantasy owners fits. 2009 projections: 1200 total yards, 10 TDs
  2. Matt Cassel - Cassel was actually not as good as people might feel. He had five games where he threw at least 3 TDs, but also had four games when he didn't score at all, far too many for an elite level QB. He can be solid, but no way does he come anywhere near the top guys' production (Manning, Brees, Romo, Brady). I do place one caveat on this, though. If he goes to Arizona this offseason, Cassel will be worth at least a 4th round pick, and should be considered a potential keeper. 2009 projections: 3800 yards, 24 TDs, 15 INTs, 3 rushing TDs
  3. Dallas Clark - Another beneficiary of great fantasy playoff production, Clark had a touchdown in each of the final three games of the fantasy season (assuming your championship game is in week 16...and if it's not, you've probably got some hokey champions). People who won playoff games with Clark or lost games because of him will think of him as a powerhouse, but the reality is that, even with Harrison less than fantastic and injuries in the running game, creating a greater opportunity for Clark to step up and post big numbers, he accumulated only 789 yards and 6 TDs. Those are fine numbers from a tight end, as long as you're drafting him in the 10th round. Don't overpay, that's all I'm saying on this or any of these. 2009 projections: 700 yards, 8 TDs
  4. Thomas Jones - Because he didn't get consistent playing time until 2004, many of your fellow fantasy owners won't realize that Jones will be 31 when the season opens next year. Don't make the same mistake. While he's been effective for 5 years now, he's in the midst of a career year, and the chances that he matches this production next year are extremely slim. Definitely take a look at Leon Washington in the later rounds, though. He's got great explosiveness, and if he's given a chance to be the featured back, he could be a stud. 2009 projections: 1100 total yards, 4 TDs
  5. Kurt Warner - While I think Warner will be a colossal bust to anyone who drafts him next year, I've got him at number five because I think a lot of people will realize that he's not that good. His contract is up after this season, and I don't see him returning to the passing heaven that is the Arizona Cardinals. That means he'll be joining a team without two elite level wide receivers, and I just don't like Warner at all in Tampa Bay or Cleveland or wherever. 2009 projections: 3100 yards, 18 TDs, 20 INTs
I should note that two of the guys on the list, Williams and Cassel, were on my fantasy championship team. However, I managed to talk myself out of starting Cassel on most occasions, opting for Romo instead. So, thank goodness for DeAngelo. :)

I've got a similar article in the works, one that will focus on the opposite type of players: players who were disappointing this year, but I expect to bounce back next season. Should be up next week.


Anonymous said...

Your projections for next season don't exactly reflect those of total busts. Matt Cassel owners would be glad to have 3800/24 numbers, and those would certainly put him above Tony Romo. Dallas Clark had a pretty good year last year, but fantasy owners aren't expecting amazing results this year, along the lines of your projections.

GoodPointJoe said...

With today's information, I think you've probably got a point. I also think that I overestimated Cassel's production next season, especially now that he's with the Chiefs. My expectation today would more along the lines of 3400 yards, 21 TDs, 15 INTs. And with expectations lowered after the trade to Kansas City, he may not even be on a current list of the top 5 fantasy busts for 2009.

Romo's situation changed dramatically when Terrell Owens was cut, and he'll be one of the real mysteries going into next season. However, Romo had 3440 yards, 26 TDs, and 14 INTs last year in only 13 games. If Owens was still there, I'd have no hesitation about projecting 4,000 yards and 30 TDs for Romo. Compare that to even my original projections for Cassel, and it puts Romo well ahead. Again, the list would be different today. Given your interest, I'll try to generate an update of the article for you this week.

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