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Fantasy Football: Busts

August 17, 2006 | By Andy Goldstein | comment on this post

My last column focused on deep sleepers. While finding that diamond in the rough is certainly an important and fulfilling aspect of fantasy football, avoiding the overvalued players is at least equally as rewarding. In fact, it may be even more important, as an early round bust can destroy a fantasy football owner’s season from day one. So, without further ado, let’s lay down the hate like Paul Farhi on Tony Kornheiser.

Trent GreenPeyton Manning gets all the glory for fantasy football quarterbacks, but Green has been even more consistent than the league’s golden boy from the Colts. Green has thrown for over 4,000 yards each of the last three seasons and has also contributed 22 touchdown tosses per year. The passing offense in Kansas City, however, is in for a rough 2006 season. The biggest red flag is that Green is 36 years old. Only Brett Favre (36) and Brad Johnson (37) are more elderly signal callers in the NFL. Age is also a factor with a couple of Green’s favorite targets. Tony Gonzalez is 30 years old and looked to be slowing down significantly last season when he caught only two touchdowns. Eddie Kennison is 33 and upset about his contract status. Look for the Chiefs to use the ground game as much as possible this season and allow Green and the passing game to take a back seat. In fact, they may just stick the passing game in the trunk and let Larry Johnson put his touchdown footballs in the back seat. Green is being drafted around the eighth round, but you’d be wise look elsewhere for your quarterback.

Shaun Alexander — Have you caught your breath yet? Yeah, I said it. Shaun Alexander. Bust. Okay, “bust” might be too strong of a word, but he’s certainly being overvalued. Allow me to run down the reasons why Alexander is in for a down season. First, he toted the ball 370 times during the regular season. That’s a cursed number. Backs who get at least that many carries almost always break down shortly afterward (unless you’re named Eric Dickerson). The last three guys who got 370 carries or more in the NFL? Curtis Martin, Ricky Williams and Jamal Lewis. Williams is out of the NFL, Martin is essentially out of the NFL, and Lewis ran for over 1,000 fewer yards the season after he got 387 carries in 2003. Ouch. Alexander also totaled over 390 carries last season when you include playoff runs. Remember Jamal Anderson and Eddie George? Yeah, not the company you want to see Alexander in.

Secondly, the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl. The last five Super Bowl losing teams have combined to average just over six wins the following season. Third, Alexander is the cover boy for Madden 2007. This is a well-known curse that has hit Donovan McNabb, Marshall Faulk, Mike Vick and Eddie George. That last one may be a reach, but you get the idea. He’s being drafted as a top three pick, which is understandable. Just don’t be upset if you get LaDainian Tomlinson or Larry Johnson instead.

Terrell Owens — I will get this out of the way early. When Owens is on the field, he is the most gifted and imposing wide receiver the NFL can boast. But herein lies the problem: Owens has a lot of trouble staying on the field. In fact, because of either injury or discipline issues, Owens hasn’t finished a regular season since 2001. That’s four straight years of owners left in a bind come playoff time. With the rocky start the star wide out has gotten off to in Dallas, there is absolutely no guarantee that Owens is completely happy with his Cowboys’ situation. He has reportedly gotten off on the wrong foot with quarterback Drew Bledsoe, already miffed head coach Bill Parcells, and has surely not made owner Jerry Jones happy. Couple that with a nagging hamstring issue and a number of opponents who may hit Owens just a little harder than your average wide receiver, and you have to ask: would you be comfortable relying on T.O as your first option at wide out all year?

Again, it’s not that these guys shouldn’t be drafted. They obviously all will be. It’s just a matter of getting the proper value for them.

‘Till next time, don’t let Ron Artest talk to your children. (Whoever thought that was a good idea must not know who Ron Artest is.)

– Andy Goldstein

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