Houdini's second edition of fantasy footballers that are likely Busts in 2012.
Every season there are players that ruin your year and you wish you never drafted them. Drafting a bust in the first or second round usually means an uphill season. There are some players this year that have BUST written all over them. This is basically my preseason version of Bitch Slap article which will be a quarterly article this season. Let’s take a look at my BUST predictions.
Tony Romo – Romo has been the darling of fantasy preseason rankings ever since his breakout season of 2007. He has had two seasons that were close to that initial performance in 2009 and last season. 2008 and 2010 were forgettable seasons. Romo, though, has always been expected to take the next step and has failed to do so. In the year where we saw Marino’s record broken and multiple 5,000 yards passers, Romo only managed 4,184 yards with great weapons. That is going to be the problem this season. The weapons he has are dynamic in Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray, but they are all injury prone and Bryant and Austin are already dealing with injuries in 2012. Romo is a risky play because of that, not to mention that his offensive line has looked horrible in the preseason and he could also be a risk to make it through the season without injured.
Michael Vick – Vick is a player I have never liked and what a surprise I hate him this season. Vick is not getting any younger and from the looks of it he is not getting any better either. He is always an injury threat because of his running and is already dealing with hitting his hand on a helmet this preseason. Vick has never thrown for more than 21 TD in a season and is not a very accurate passer with a 59.8% completion rating last season. Vick does have great weapons around him, but Vick has proven to be a feast or famine player at the quarterback position with more famine than feast. He is once again a high risk player and there is way too much depth at the position to go after Vick. If you want a running quarterback then wait till later in the draft and as a backup take Jake Locker or RG III.
Maurice Jones-Drew – There is every reason not to bet on MJD this year and the most obvious is his holdout. Running backs that hold out just don’t seem to do as well when they come back, just ask Chris Johnson. MJD has been a model of consistency in over his last 3 seasons and is still young at 27. Although, the reason he is seeking a new contract is because he probably knows he is in for down year and needs the contract before that becomes reality. MJD has carried the ball 954 times over the past 3 seasons, including a ridiculous 343 carries last season. That is a lot of wear and tear that catches up to power backs at this point in their careers. I hate the holdout and I hate the miles that are on him heading into this season. The other issue is that no matter what happens, when he does come back he will be under the microscope of his teammates, the organization, his fans and the media. I don’t like how that lines up.
Frank Gore – Gore is another player that has a lot of miles on him. Gore is 29 years old and has been the main workload back for the 49ers since 2006. In that time he has averaged 254 carries a year. The 49ers seem to understand that Gore is on the verge of a collapse and they expect Kendall Hunter to play a much bigger role this season. The team has added a lot of weapons in the passing game which also means that they expect to have a more balanced offense this year and not lean as hard on Gore as they have in years past. Gore is probably going to be closer to 200 carries this year and if that is the case and you draft Gore as your #1 running back, you are going to be in trouble this season.
Greg Jennings – I find it hard to believe, but as I look at the major publications and their rankings I keep seeing Jennings listed as the 5th best receiver this season. I still can’t figure out why they think this is so. Here are the reasons that Jennings is a horrible WR1. Jennings has never had more than 80 receptions in a season and that was in 2008 and he only had 67 last year. Over the last 4 years Jennings has come close but never had a 1,300 yard season, even with the prolific passing offense led by Aaron Rodgers. Jennings has also never had more than 12 TD in a season and had 9 TD last year. Then there is the fact that he is not even the best receiver on his team, that honor belongs to Jordy Nelson. There are also a ton of other weapons for Rodgers to throw to and he throws the ball to whoever is open. Jennings is also becoming the possession receiver and not being used as a downfield threat which all screams BUST as #1 WR this year.
Andre Johnson – Johnson was a BUST last season and this year should not be viewed as a comeback year, rather as a reality check and the reality is he will be a bust this year as well. Johnson is still dealing with some minor nagging injuries this preseason, what new. Johnson was absolutely elite in 2008 and 2009, but that is in the past and not going to come back. In those two fantastic seasons where totaled more than 3,100 yards receiving, he only had 17 TD’s and has yet to ever have a 10+ TD season. The Texans offense runs through Arian Foster and he is worthy of the elite praise this season. Johnson will not approach those seasons of yesteryear and let others owners make the mistake again this year. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
Rob Gronkowski – The Gronk is an unbelievable talent and made quite the impression last season. He will be rewarded in Fantasy this season by being drafted in the 2nd round in a lot of drafts. I believe the people that draft him there are not going to be happy and will call that pick a bust at the end of the year. Gronk exploded and went off with 90 receptions for 1,327 yards and an astounding 17 TD. Those are insane numbers and there is no way he can repeat them. The Patriots have added help to their offense this year with the addition of Brandon Lloyd who is going to take some targets away from Gronk. The other X-factor is Aaron Hernandez, who will end up being a better pick based on the fact he is going 2-3 rounds later. Hernandez has been the talk of the preseason for the Patriots and is being used all over the field and is seeing a lot of targets. The final point against Gronk is that 17 TD is a phenomenal season and the thought that he will do that again a thought that is not in touch with reality. I expect him to have a good season and should score between 10-12 TD but not 17.