Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Vick, and Other Fantasy Football Players to Avoid in 2013

Each and every year owners draft players whom they believe will help take their team to the promise land.  Yet, time and time again everyone of us (we are all susceptible to this) drafts someone who just stinks up the joint.  Sometimes such a high draft pick is spent on these players that you can’t drop them, and in some cases cannot even take them out of your starting line-up.  To avoid such stress, take a look at the players in which you should avoid in 2013.

Fitzgerald is not the only one upset by his performances, as owners everywhere are too (123tagged.com)

Fitzgerald is not the only one upset by his performances, as owners everywhere are too (123tagged.com)

LARRY FITZGERALD

After making his way to the #2 seed on my Least Valuable Player Of the Year, things are not looking up for Larry.  As I have said before, it is a shame to see such talent go to waste, but with no one to throw him the ball his fantasy value is dismal.  There was some hope for him, as his team was a front-runner to land Andy Reid, yet after he signed with the Chiefs the Cardinals are still left without a head coach for the time being.

With the Cardinals one real need, a quarterback, not a deep position in the upcoming NFL draft it is unlikely that Fitzgerald will get any of the help he so desperately needs.  In addition, one would hope that he could get some help out of his backfield, but the always injured Beanie Wells and their 32nd ranked (75.2 ypg) rushing offense gives me little hope that they can help.

To add insult to injury, this past season Fitzgerald was outscored by Cardinals #2 WR Andre Roberts (albeit it was 100 points to Fitzgerald’s 99 points) as Roberts caught 64 passes for 756 yards and 5 TDs, compared to Larry’s 71 receptions for 798 yards and 4 TDs.

CHRIS JOHNSON:

Stats can sometimes be deceiving.  Johnson finished last year with 1,243 yards rushing and 6 TDs, adding another 232 yards on 36 receptions, good enough for the #13 RB in fantasy.  While those stats would make some players desirable, when you are talking about a former consensus #1 overall pick, the same rules do not apply.

Johnson, who was drafted on average between the 1st and 3rd round, had his NFL and fantasy numbers inflated by a few big games.  In week 4,7,9,10, and 15 Johnson scored 15,31,17,18, and 18 points.  While those are nice outings, those where the only games in which Johnson rushed for over 100 yards (all games he rushed for over 121 yards) and scored more than 11 points for his owners.  In hindsight, 7 times last seasons Johnson failed to score more than 5 points (even scoring 0 in week 5), and rushed for 56 or fewer yards 8 times.

Its also worth noting that Johnson had a career low in receptions, reception yards and a career high in fumbles and fumbles lost.

Amendola doing what else but being injuried (sbnation.com)

Amendola doing what else but being injuried (sbnation.com)

DANNY AMENDOLA

Ok, maybe do not avoid him, but definitely do not waste a high-round pick on him.  Like Fitzgerald, I think Amendola is a fantastic talent with  the potential to be a great fantasy player, but here is my issue; injuries.

Injuries have plagued Amendola throughout his short career, forcing him to miss 22 games in his 4 NFL seasons (to be fair he missed 15 games a season ago).  He also does not catch a lot of TDs (only 7 in 42 career games).  In addition, his career high for receiving yards in a season was in 2010 with 698.

Not to sound contradictory, Amendola does get a load of targets (about 7 a game) and catches the majority of them (just about 5 receptions a game). Nevertheless, he has had an inability to stay healthy and until he can show otherwise I would avoid him.

RASHARD MENDENHALL

Albeit he missed 10 games with an injury and had trouble staying healthy, but the Steelers have made it clear that he is no longer to go-to back in Pittsburgh.

Its not that he was really outplayed by others who got more playing in his absence, in fact that’s not the case at all.  Dwyer and Redman combined for just over 1,000 yards and 4 TDs total.

However, it does seem as if Mendenhall has lost his spot in the Steelers rotation, if he does in fact stay in Pittsburgh.  If he does exit and go elsewhere it will be interesting to see who grabs him, and maybe he will come off of this list, as he has shown in the past that he can put-up noteworthy fantasy numbers, averaging over 1,100 yards and 10 TDs over his last 3 seasons (of course excluding this year).

One of Vick's many turnovers this season (6magazineonline.com)

One of Vick’s many turnovers this season (6magazineonline.com)

MIKE VICK

Maybe it’s personal bias, but I know I will catch some fleck for this proclamation, but in my opinion Vick is highly overrated in fantasy (and the NFL for that matter too).

Yes, I am fully aware that Vick can run and gain crucial points for owners, so before you go throwing the importance of a QB who can run in fantasy in my face just know that I am aware.

I’ll also save you the trouble of looking up stats, Vick has 39 career rushing TDs and over 5,500 career rushing yards.

But how about this, in Vick’s 11 year career (excluding 2009, and 2010 when he took over mid-season) Vick has played all 16 games only once.  ONE TIME!  He simply cannot stay healthy and is constantly getting hurt.

And despite the fact that does not even throw the ball the much (career high 423 attempts in 2011, compare that to a mid-level QB with a strong run-game like Schaub who averages over 500 attempts a season) Vick still manages to turn the ball over, a lot.  In fact, in only 10 games last season Vick threw 10 interceptions and fumbled the ball 11 times, compared to his 13 total TDs (12 pass, 1 run).

So yes, Vick can light it up for 20+ points any given week thanks to his legs, he can not do it for all 16 weeks (not to mention he’s getting older).  In addition, are his potential 5  big games worth having him for just that? Wouldn’t you rather a QB who will get it done consistently week in and week out?

ANTONIO GATES

Speaking of injury issues over a career, Gates has had his own issues with that.  Yet, this season he managed to miss only 1 game, although he did not impress owners with his performances.

Since 2003 (his rookie season) Gates has never been so unproductive in a season.  Catching only 49 passes for 538 yards (although he did manage 7 TDs) Gates set career lows across the board (with the exception of his rookie season).

Only 4 times this past season did Gates score double-digit points for owners, contrarily scoring 5 or less points in 11 games.  He caught 6 passes in a game twice season, catching 4 or less in all other games.  He also had a season high of 81 receiving yards in week 5, failing to g over the 100-yard mark all season.

Gates will be 33 come next season, which will also be his 11th in the NFL and things are not looking up for his fantasy value.

MICHAEL TURNER

Turner's career could be on a downfall (blog.ajc.clom)

Turner’s career could be on a downfall (blog.ajc.clom)

The shelf life for RBs in the NFL is not a long time.  This upcoming season, Turner will be entering his 10th season and will be turning 31, both areas that make him an old-dog in NFL terms and it’s showing in his stats.

This season the Falcons made it clear that there will be a spot for Turner’s back-up Jaquizz Rodgers in their backfield.  It’s not as if Rodgers had a 1,000 yard season, because he is not that kind of RB.  He is a versatile, explosive, and big-play capability kind of guy who can steal touches from Turner, and it will be interesting to see how he is used next season.

Nevertheless, let’s take a look at Turner’s stats from a season ago.  Since becoming a feature back in Atlanta, Turner (while playing a full season) has never rushed for less than 1,340 yards, averaged less than 4.1 ypc,  scored fewer than 11 TDs, and carried the ball under 301 times (178 carries, 871 yards and 10 TDs in only 11 games in 2009).

Yet, this season, while playing all 16 games, Turner had 222 carries (an average of 5 less carries a game than a season ago), for 800 yards (gained 71 more yards in 5 less games in ’09), scoring 10 TDs, all the while averaging an embarrassing 3.6ypc.

Only twice this season did he carry the ball for 20+ times, compared to the 8 times he scored single-digit points for his owners a season ago.  All of these stats landed Turner the #17 RB spot in fantasy behind the likes of Steven Jackson and Shonn Greene.

Chad Ochocinco, Randy Moss, and Reggie Wayne; Are they still what they use to be?

The grin may not be on his face for long (photo courtesy of missxpose.com)

Ochocinco, Wayne, and Moss all share a few similarities heading into the 2012-013 NFL season.

1. They all have a lot of new teammates (whether it is because they’re on a new team or half of their team was gutted)

2.They’re getting up there in age

3. They have plenty of doubters

Focusing on number three, do those doubters have a, and are any of these guys worth picking up for your fantasy football team?

Let’s start with Chad Ochocinco:

If Tom Brady cannot make you loud like a Pro-bowlers, then (fill in next QB name is Miami) sure wont.  A measly 15 receptions, 276 yards and 1 touchdown is good enough for one memorable game, however Ochocinco did that in 15 games, and that just doesn’t cut it.  Not to mention in the 2010 season, his last in Cincinnati, his numbers (67 receptions, 831 yards and 4 touchdowns) were his worst since 2001 (excluding 2008 when he was injured).  All this shows me is that his age (34) is starting to get to him, and although he will be the man in Miami, since the only other known WR on that team is Devon Bess, Ochocinco will not be revitalized in Miami.

Verdict- Do not pick him up

Randy Moss

He “retired” and missed all of last season.  Now he’s back with questionable, but improved Alex Smith in an attempt to pad his hall-of-fame career.  Will it work for his fantasy owners? No.  Although Moss has shown he can get it done even when he is getting older, when he isn’t “the man” there are often issues.  Like in 2010, when he wasn’t the main receiver on any of the three teams he was a part of (Patriots, Titans and Vikings) he combined for just over 400 yards receiving, 5 touchdowns and 28 receptions.  That issue of not being the go-to guy will follow him in San Francisco, as he has three or four receivers more sought out then him (Crabtree, Davis, Manningham, and some could argue Ginn, but I am willing to hear otherwise).  In addition, with Frank Gore, and now Brandon Jacobs in the backfield, it’s likely the 49ers will continue to run a lot, as they ranked 8th in the NFL last season with 127 YPG.  Sadly, those 127 yards were only 56 yards less a game then they averaged through the air, as they ranked 29th in the NFL in passing with only 183 YPG.  While they’re a great team, Moss shouldn’t expect a spike in his numbers like in 2008.

Verdict- Not worth picking up

Reggie Wayne

Let’s face, he has pretty much lost everything.  Manning, Garcon, Clark, Gonzales, and Addai are all gone.  Yet, despite all the issues he faced last season, Wayne still managed to put up a half-decent stat line (75 receptions, 960 yards and 4 touchdowns).  Now, more than ever, Wayne is “THE MAN” in Indy, as he is the only receiver worth noting on that roster, except Cody Fleener and Austin Collie.  While Fleener and Luck have chemistry, and should feed well off of each other, Luck will be targeting Wayne the most, since he is the veteran and can help Luck gain his confidence.  I am not predicting outrageous numbers for Wayne, or even a 1,000 yards season, but his numbers will be adequate.  His yards from last year may stay the same, but I am predicting an increase in his touchdown receptions.  The Reggie Wayne of old may be gone, but he is still here.

Verdict- Worth a late-round pick up, good bench WR or even Flex position in deep leagues.