Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Kevin Roberts of Fantasy Football Overdose. You can follow the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more Fantasy Football Rankings and Projections visit Fantasy Football Overdose, a fantasy football blog.
Fantasy Football is a game of chance and sometimes (often) luck is required. It’s also a game of research, strategy and trust. Beyond all the research, it really does matter what players you can draft — and actually feel good about.
Do they fit their system perfectly? Did they engage in a lengthy holdout and cause you to wonder if they’re in game shape? Or were they nicked up during the offseason or hurt the year before enough to make you worry about their overall health and durability?
Every year fantasy owners must answer these questions, and routinely we’ve still taken the disastrous dives with the likes of Michael Vick, Darren McFadden and Ryan Mathews. To better prepare ourselves for 2014 – or better yet, protect ourselves – let’s break down five guys you should be finding it difficult to trust in fantasy football:
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
You should have listened to the impulse and facts last offseason, but after visibly seeing the once dominant Foster breakdown in 2013, we can’t possibly roll into 2014 having any real confidence that he can be anything more than a RB2. The Texans have a new coaching staff, will likely have a new quarterback, and Foster is coming off of his worst season as a starting running back. It’s still entirely possible that he bounces back enough to give fantasy owners decent RB2 numbers, but he’s no longer a safe first round pick. In fact, if you can’t land a sliding Foster past round two, it may simply be too big of a risk to run in 2014.
Michael Vick, QB, Free Agent
So, Michael Vick is a free agent … and he might go to the New York Jets and start over. That has to mean he’s about to blow up in fantasy football in 2014 again, right? It has to, since the team has a good defense, a decent running game and just brought in Eric Decker to give their passing game a boost. Sure, that sounds great, except for the fact that Vick is 34 and has played 16 games in a season just once in his entire career. He actually did look solid with the Philadelphia Eagles last year, but you guessed it, missed action due to injury and eventually Nick Foles was just too good for the Philly coaching staff to go away from. Vick might go to the Big Apple and he might beat out the erratic Geno Smith; but he shouldn’t be on your fantasy football team in 2014 as anything more than a late-round flier – if that.
Hakeem Nicks, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Nicks at least has an argument to avoid the anti-trust list for 2014, as he is in a better atmosphere on paper with the Indianapolis Colts. Then again, many felt that Darrius Heyward-Bey could experience a career revival in Indy last year, but his stone hands and inability to run crisp routes ended up winning out over his elite speed. That could easily end up being the case with Nicks, who put his shaky hands and questionable route-running on full display with the New York Giants in 2013. It got so bad in a contract season for Nicks, in fact, that he didn’t score a single touchdown despite hauling in 56 receptions. In another contract season, the 26-year old Nicks could once again be more concerned about staying healthy so he can cash in as a free agent again in 2015. It just doesn’t add up to a very trustworthy situation for fantasy owners.
Danny Amendola, WR, New England Patriots
We heard all the hype and we certainly heard all of the warnings about Amendola’s injury history. Most fantasy owners chose the excitement of the crafty Amendola turning into a Wes Welker clone with Tom Brady tossing him passes, rather than address the reality of his fragile nature. Instead of crushing it in the slot, Amendola teased us all with a 10-catch game in week one, and then went on to catch just 54 receptions on the year. He was pretty good when healthy, but he suited up for just 12 games and was truly 100% for far less. Julian Edelman was the guy who topped 100 receptions instead of Amendola in the end, and with him back in 2014, it will be near impossible to fully trust in Amendola.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Perhaps the tune will change closer to week one when we start hearing reports that Gronk is near 100% and won’t miss many games. But it’s not a certainty, especially given the fact that Gronkowski missed nearly half the season last year thanks to a back injury. Now he’s coming off of a destroyed knee and simply won’t be the same player to start the year, it at all. The good news is that his he’s never really relied on speed or explosiveness to make hay on the gridiron. However, fantasy owners may not be willing to bet an early round draft pick on him ending the negative injury trend.