Like Steve Urkel to Carl Winslow, Kimmy Gibbler to Danny Tanner, and Marcy D’Arcy to Al Bundy, Ryan Mathews is the annoying neighbor to Fantasy Football owners.
Let’s face it, you may have considered spending or actually did spend an early round pick on him last season. And why wouldn’t you have? He ended 2011 as one of the strongest fantasy RB options going into the 2012 season. He was finally going to be the featured back with Touchdown Vulture Mike “Kool-Aid Man” Tolbert leaving for Carolina in Free Agency and he finally showed he could handle a top tier RB workload (three games with twenty three or more touches in his final six games).
Entering 2013’s NFL season, Mathews’ Chet Steadman-like decline into mediocrity is the fantasy owner’s bad joke that just never gets funny. Hell, I’m two drafts in to my 2013 fantasy year and I’m seeing backup and time share RBs going ahead of Mathews. Don’t make this mistake again.
Here are three players with considerable hype surrounding them that I’m avoiding in my 2013 drafts.
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle
Russell Wilson comes into the 2013 as the conductor of the most out of control hype train I’ve ever seen in Fantasy Football. Yes, the Seahawks went to the NFC Divisional Round and barely lost to eventual NFC runner-up Atlanta. Yes, Wilson finished 2012 as the 9th best Fantasy QB in standard league scoring formats. He’s projected to be the 9th best Fantasy QB in Yahoo! Standard formats, so the experts are not expecting much of a drop off.
Seattle made one key addition to their offense this offseason (Percy Harvin), and he’s already out with a hip injury until at least Thanksgiving. Nothing has changed about this offense and I expect that to be his downfall.
Opposing defenses were caught off guard by Wilson’s style last year, and I am expecting opposing defenses to be prepared to defend what they previously did not know. He is currently being drafted ahead of QBs like Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford & Matt Ryan in Yahoo! Fantasy drafts. I expect Wilson’s fall to Fantasy mediocrity to be similar to the stumble taken by Zack Morris prior to the big game against Valley.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay
Even though it’s not a moniker he is all too pleased to have, the Muscle Hamster has one of the best nicknames in all of sports. Doug Martin ended the 2012 Fantasy season as the second best RB in the game. He obviously comes into the 2013 season with as much momentum as a player can possibly have but let’s dig deeper into Martin’s rise in 2012.
He had two of his twelve touchdowns in his first 6 games and zero one hundred yard rushing games. He broke away from the pack during Tampa’s seventh game against Minnesota with his first one hundred yard rushing performance and two touchdowns and followed that up with a virtuoso four touchdown, 251 yard performance against the Oakland Raiders (all against me in my league of record) and rode that game to a top two finish. If you remove those two games from the fantasy season, Dougie averaged 12.0 fantasy points per game, a respectable total, but not nearly enough to warrant a top three pick.
2013 defenses will be keyed to stop Martin and force Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman to throw more often to keep defenses honest. He’s still a first round pick, but he has nowhere near the potential fire power of a Jamaal Charles, CJ Spiller or LeSean McCoy. Martin is the fantasy equivalent of Chris Griffin: a strong piece to the overall puzzle, but not strong enough to dedicate entire episodes to.
Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay
I hate to pick on one team (no I don’t) but I don’t see a whole lot to cheer about coming out of Tampa this season.
Vincent Jackson set career highs in 2012 for receptions and targets in a season, leading him to a Top Six finish among Fantasy WRs. Jackson scored 10 fantasy points or less in eight of his fifteen games during standard fantasy seasons (Weeks 1-16), including five of his eight total touchdowns in the first six games. Jackson has also never stringed together three consecutive useful seasons in his career.
Is Jackson a top-tier WR in the real life NFL game? Yes. Is he possibly the most frustrating WR to own in fantasy over the past 3 seasons? Yes, possibly.
I would much rather have his teammate Mike Williams five rounds later (round nine in Yahoo! ADP for Williams vs. round four for Jackson) at a more appropriate price tag then reach for Jackson in the early rounds and immediately handicap your roster with week on, week off inconsistency. It’s like paying for a night out with Pam Anderson in 1994 when you could have just stayed in with Jenny McCarthy, watched a movie in the dark, and gotten to second base.
Follow me on Twitter @BernacK6 for regular Fantasy Football info and analysis.
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