There are first-round flops and high-priced mistakes made in every fantasy draft, every season. Here’s a look at those players who failed to live up to their expectations in 2011, and a preview of what to expect from those “busts” in 2012.
Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
2011 stats: 16 games, 4,624 yards, 27 TDs, 20 INTs, rush TD, five lost fumbles
What went wrong in 2011: Rivers scored 12 total TDs and lost 17 turnovers over the first eight games of the season, sinking many fantasy teams in the process.
What to expect in 2012: A return to 2009-11 form, when Rivers averaged 4,324 yards, 31 TDs and 11 INTs. As an added bonus, Rivers has played all 96 games since taking over for Drew Brees in 2006.
Michael Vick, QB, Eagles
2011 stats: 13 games, 3,303 pass yards, 18 TDs, 14 INTs; 589 rush yards, TD
What went wrong in 2011: Fantasy owners struck gold with Vick as a waiver wire pickup in 2010. The electric lefty was a Vick-tim of his own success and subsequent expectations in 2011. Athlon Sports warned to “Beware of Vick” in last year’s magazine. A nightmare season for Vick was a distinct possibility for the “Dream Team” quarterback.
What to expect in 2012: Vick has not played as many as 15 games since the 2006 season — his only 16-game campaign. But he is still capable of carrying a team any given week. (Remember the six-total-TD effort against the Redskins on Monday Night Football?)
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Buccaneers
2011 stats: 781 rush yards, five TDs, 15 receptions for 148 yards
What went wrong in 2011: Blount TKO’d all scoring systems with 977 rush yards and five TDs over the last 11 weeks of 2010. A sophomore slump, however, failed to produce those same numbers in 14 games.
What to expect in 2012: Tampa Bay drafted Boise State running back Doug Martin in the first round. Blount could vulture a few TDs like Mike Alstott did during Warrick Dunn’s heyday, but don’t expect a ton of a carries out of the former Oregon Duck.
Mark Ingram, RB, Saints
2011 stats: 10 games, 474 rush yards, five TDs, 11 receptions for 46 yards
What went wrong in 2011: Despite playing in a high-octane offense, Ingram struggled to put stats on the ledger. Worse, he was easily bruised and battled a turf toe (among other ailments) for much of the season.
What to expect in 2012: Still searching for his first career 100-yard game, Ingram will almost certainly have a better sophomore campaign — if only because there’s nowhere to go but up.
Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
2011 stats: Four years, $53.5 million … Oh, and 16 games, 1,047 rush yards, four TDs, 57 receptions for 418 yards
What went wrong in 2011: First, Johnson held out for a new contract. After the NFL lockout ended, he arrived in a Titans camp that included a new coach, coordinator and quarterback. Once the season started, CJ couldn’t find his once-feared first step.
What to expect in 2012: With a chip on his shoulder and cash in his pocket, expect CJ to run like Usain Bolt this year. As one of the few feature backs, Johnson’s upside is much greater than his first-round risk.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers
2011 stats: 15 games, 928 rush yards, nine TDs, 18 receptions for 154 yards
What went wrong in 2011: The year got off on the wrong foot with a few regrettable Tweets. In Weeks 1-14, Mendenhall topped the 100-yard mark once, while rushing for 70 or fewer yards in 10 games.
What to expect in 2012: Mendenhall tore the ACL in his right knee in Week 17. He’s damaged goods and coming off a bad year. Let one of the Steelers fans in the draft reach for Mendenhall.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
2011 stats: 15 games, 58 receptions for 961 yards, four TDs, 41 rush yards
What went wrong in 2011: D-Jax pouted for a new contract and played down to his attitude level with numbers comparable to his rookie year — not the two years prior, when he had a combined 2,453 yards from scrimmage and 20 total TDs.
What to expect in 2012: Not happy with an unhappy Jackson, the Eagles paid their top wideout. An undeniably talented headcase, Jackson is the definition of a boom-or-bust pick — especially now that he’s been paid.
Chad Ochocinco, WR, Patriots
2011 stats: 15 games, 15 receptions for 276 yards and one TD
What went wrong in 2011: Ochocinco had uno or dos catches in 10 games and nada in the other five contests.
What to expect in 2012: Well, he changed his last name back to Johnson (again), signed with his hometown team, the Dolphins, and then promptly messed up what could he his last shot in the NFL with yet another off-fiend incident. So to sum it all up, should you draft the receiver-formerly-known-as-Ochocinco? Child please.
Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts
2011 stats: 16 games, 75 receptions for 960 yards and four TDs
What went wrong in 2011: The Colts replaced Peyton Manning with Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky and Kerry Collins. As a result, Wayne failed to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the first time since 2003 and scored his fewest TDs since 2002.
What to expect in 2012: With Andrew Luck playing from behind with few weapons at his disposal, a routine Reggie season should be available at a discounted rate.
Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jaguars
2011 stats: 15 games, 39 receptions for 460 yards
What went wrong in 2011: Lewis dropped off the fantasy map one season after posting 58 catches for 700 yards and 10 TDs.
What to expect in 2012: Unless Blaine Gabbert is the most improved player in the league as a second-year signal-caller, Lewis will continue to struggle.
— Published on August 16, 2012
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