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Fantasy LVPs: Moss leads flops

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Michael Harmon

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The 2010 season provided us with a number of thrills on the field.We witnessed breakthrough performances throughout the league and hours of highlight runs and passes.

Of course, while we celebrate the emergence of a new group of stars or the continued dominance of longtime heroes, we also to note those who toiled through difficult seasons. For some, their tepid performances will be their final appearances. For others, it may have been just a temporary downturn with myriad contributing factors.

Let’s begin with a player in … Wait, where is he now?

2010 Fantasy LVP

Randy Moss, New England/Minnesota/Tennessee

It’s a strange season when you generate one of the year’s greatest highlight pieces and also rank as the league’s biggest on-field disasters while playing for three teams. Few can dispute the greatness exhibited on Moss’ one-handed grab against Darrelle Revis for a 34-yard touchdown in Week 2. Alas, it was one of the final times that the veteran receiver would be lauded this season.

Moss became a punchline because of the catering issue in Minnesota and was a ghost in Tennessee. He finished the season with just 28 receptions for 393 yards and five touchdowns. Moss topped 60 receiving yards once.


Quarterback: Brett Favre, Minnesota

Where do I begin? The long and winding road that was Favre’s 2010 season began with the usual waffling, ankle surgery, hip surgery for top receiver Sidney Rice and a visit by teammates in Minnesota. It ended with a resounding thud when Chicago’s Corey Wootton slammed him to the frozen turf at the University of Minnesota.

Nobody anticipated a repeat of his storybook 2009 season. The regression of his performance to a more balanced touchdown-to-interception ratio was widely anticipated, but the complete and utter disaster was difficult to foresee (unless all of those NFC Championship predictions were predicated on thoughts of Tarvaris Jackson’s dominance). Favre finished the season with 2,509 yards, 11 touchdowns and 24 turnovers.

Running back: Ryan Mathews, San Diego

Mathews earns a nod on the first team based on the huge expectations set forth by Norv Turner in the preseason. His statements about Mathews’ proposed workload catapulted the rookie tailback into the back-end of the first round in many drafts. Unfortunately, he was hampered by nagging injuries and struggled with pass-blocking, thereby relegating to a deep bench slot or a return to the waiver wire.

Mathews finished the season with a flurry. He scored five touchdowns in the final four weeks, including his three-touchdown brilliance in the season finale. Mathews amassed 349 total yards in those final games.

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Running back: Shonn Greene, New York Jets

Fantasy owners were concerned about the arrival of LaDainian Tomlinson this off-season, but nobody could have anticipated that Greene would become such an afterthought in the New York offense. He had topped 100 yards in two playoff games last season, so expectations were high.

Instead, Greene earned just a single 100-yard game this season. In fact, he failed to top 75 rushing yards in his other 14 appearances. Greene rushed for 766 yards (51.1 yards per game) with two touchdowns.

Wide receiver: Anquan Boldin, Baltimore

Boldin opened the season with two 100-yard performances in the Ravens’ first three games. Fantasy owners who drafted him as a low-end WR1 or high-end WR2 were ecstatic! Boldin would go on record 68 or fewer receiving yards in 11 of his final 13 games. In the final four games of the year, he caught a total of eight passes for 67 yards with zero touchdowns. Alas, downfield blocking doesn’t factor into your fantasy scorecard.

He finished the game with 64 receptions for 837 yards and seven touchdowns (three of which came in Week 3 against the Browns). Boldin finished nine games with 41 or fewer receiving yards.

Wide receiver: Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati

Ochocinco had a fabulous season in the reality television and social media worlds. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate into fantasy gold. Ochocinco registered 449 of his 831 receiving yards in four games (two 100-yard games). In fact, three of his four touchdowns also came in those games.

Wide receiver: Michael Crabtree, San Francisco

Crabtree performed tremendously in the second half of his rookie season, and fantasy owners pushed him up draft boards in anticipation of a tremendous sophomore campaign. He registered two 100-yard games in 2010, his only games with more than 61 receiving yards. Crabtree scored six touchdowns and finished the year with 55 receptions and 741 receiving yards.

Flex (RB/WR): Felix Jones, RB, Dallas

Jones’ upside wasn’t expected to be world-beating, as he entered the season in a three-man committee situation. He finished the season with a solid 1,250 total yards (800 rushing yards) with just two touchdowns. To take it to a game-by-game level, Jones topped 80 total yards in only eight games this season. Owners in PPR leagues did receive some love, as Jones finished with 48 receptions.

Tight end: Brent Celek, Philadelphia

Celek posted a fabulous 2009 season, prompting many (I ranked him third) to peg the fourth-year tight end for another dominant campaign. Instead, he posted week after week of low-yardage totals and infrequent red zone appearances.

Celek finished four games with 50 or more receiving yards, all of which came after fantasy owners had returned him to the waiver wire. He scored four touchdowns, half of his 2009 total. Celek’s yardage total was 48 percent lower than last season as well (from 971 to 511).

Kicker: Ryan Longwell, Minnesota

The Minnesota offense obviously underperformed in 2010, thereby leaving the veteran placekicker with few opportunities to make an impact. Longwell converted only 17 field goals this season (three multi-field goal games) with 30 extra points. He also gets a nod here for his role in bringing Brett Favre back from Mississippi.

D/ST: Dallas Cowboys

With the exception of DeMarcus Ware’s sack total (16) and Bradie James’ sure tackling (118), the Dallas defense was a disaster in 2010. The Cowboys ranked 31st in total defense (27.3 points allowed per game) with 32 turnovers and 36 sacks. Dallas allowed 33 passing touchdowns to tie Houston for the worst mark in the NFL.

Second Team

Quarterback: Matt Schaub, Houston

I went back and forth about the choice for the second-team quarterback. Ultimately, I had to keep myself within the QB1 frame. Schaub passed for 4,370 yards, including seven 300-yard efforts, a total that didn’t disappoint the masses. However, he registered only eight multi-touchdown games this season (24 overall). I would be remiss if I failed to note that two of those efforts came in the fantasy playoffs.

Running back: Ronnie Brown, Miami

Brown’s upside was obviously limited by the presence of backfield mate Ricky Williams. However, nobody could have expected the floor to drop out. Brown finished the year with 956 total yards (734 rushing) and topped 65 rushing yards only three times.


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Running back: Chris Wells, Arizona

Wells slogged through a difficult sophomore season. He was slowed by a knee injury and then remained in the second slot behind Tim Hightower in the backfield split. Wells finished the season with 396 rushing yards on 116 attempts (3.4 yards per carry), adding five receptions for 74 yards. He scored twice. Alas, he was unable to build on a strong close to his 2009 rookie season.

Wide receiver: Mike Sims-Walker, Jacksonville

Sims-Walker rated as a low-end WR2 in most fantasy drafts this season, and his inconsistent production left owners wanting. He posted two 100-yard performances (Weeks 2 and 8) that accounted for 46 percent of his season yardage total (562). Sims-Walker did score seven touchdowns, but most of those were probably scored from fantasy benches. He also logged 10 of his 43 receptions in one game (Week 2).

Wide receiver: Steve Smith, Carolina

What else can I say? Smith was the victim of an unfortunate offensive set and mind-numbing quarterback play in Carolina this season. He caught 46 passes for 554 yards and scored twice. Smith’s touchdowns came in Weeks 1 and 2, and he eclipsed 60 receiving yards only once following the Week 2 loss to Tampa Bay.

Wide receiver: Robert Meachem, New Orleans

You know that you’re entering a dangerous world by drafting one of the New Orleans receivers. Meachem was drafted as a late-WR2 based on his big-play potential and frequent red zone appearances. His big plays were few and far between, and he finished the year with just 638 receiving yards on 44 receptions with five touchdowns. Thirteen of his receptions and 207 of his receiving yards came in two games.

Flex (RB/WR): Jahvid Best, RB, Detroit

It was a difficult decision to put Best on the list because we all knew about his injury issues. However, since he attempted to play through the pain and continued to receive touches, Best not only remained in consideration for flex slots, but also kept another back from assuming a full workload. He finished with 1,042 total yards overall (555 rushing) with six touchdowns. Five of his six touchdowns came in the season’s first two games. Best did catch 58 passes to help those in PPR leagues.

Tight end: Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota

Last year’s red zone monster became an afterthought in the Vikings’ train wreck of a 2010 season. Shiancoe nearly matched his reception and receiving yardage totals of 2009 (down nine receptions and 36 receiving yards), but scored nine fewer touchdowns.

Kicker: Lawrence Tynes, New York Giants

No other kicker jumped off of the page, so Tynes ended up getting pushed ahead of the fray. He converted 43 extra points this season, but was limited to just 19 field-goal makes (with five multi-field goal games). Tynes offered a decent baseline with those frequent extra points, but he was limited to those five big games.

D/ST: Minnesota Vikings

I already used my “fly to Mississippi and B.A. Baracus Brett Favre” joke earlier, so I’ll just look at the stats here. The Vikings generated 31 sacks (tied for 20th in the NFL) and ranked 18th in total defense (21.8 points allowed per game). Jared Allen did record 11 sacks, so those in IDP leagues had something to celebrate.

Tagged: Michael Vick, Jay Feely, Sammy Morris, Neil Rackers, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Mike Sellers, Phil Dawson, Joey Galloway, Charlie Batch, Jason Hanson, Donald Driver, Brett Favre, Ryan Longwell, Joe Nedney, Derrick Mason, Reggie Wayne, Peyton Manning, Tony Gonzalez, Sebastian Janikowski, Marc Bulger, Olindo Mare, Randy Moss, Tom Brady, Kevin Faulk, Adam Vinatieri, Jake Delhomme, Ricky Williams, Kerry Collins, Santana Moss, Donovan McNabb, David Akers, Correll Buckhalter, Thomas Jones, Kris Brown, Hines Ward, LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, Terrell Owens, Rian Lindell, Matt Hasselbeck, Steve Smith Sr., John Kasay, Fred Taylor, Todd Heap, Brandon Stokley, Jabar Gaffney, Deion Branch, Maurice Morris, Jeremy Shockey, Josh Reed, Clinton Portis, Antonio Bryant, David Garrard, Daniel Graham, Chester Taylor, Ladell Betts, Shayne Graham, Matt Bryant, Shaun Hill, Antwaan Randle El, Brian Westbrook, Jeff Reed, Anquan Boldin, Jason Witten, Nate Burleson, Visanthe Shiancoe, Justin Fargas, Carson Palmer, Andre Johnson, Byron Leftwich, Bryant Johnson, Willis McGahee, Dallas Clark, Larry Johnson, Kevin Walter, Josh Brown, Justin Gage, Brandon Lloyd, Seneca Wallace, Antonio Gates, Tony Romo, Clifton Smith, Matt Schaub, Julius Jones, Devery Henderson, Larry Fitzgerald, Philip Rivers, Kellen Winslow, Roy Williams, Ben Roethlisberger, Lee Evans, Steven Jackson, Michael Jenkins, Benjamin Watson, Nate Kaeding, Bernard Berrian, Chris Cooley, Eli Manning, Derrick Ward, Patrick Crayton, Jerricho Cotchery, Mewelde Moore, Michael Turner, Lawrence Tynes, Wes Welker, Willie Parker, Earnest Graham, Malcom Floyd, Jason Wright, Mark Clayton, Aaron Rodgers, Jason Campbell, Roddy White, Heath Miller, Vincent Jackson, Frank Gore, Brandon Jones, Alex Smith, Ronnie Brown, Braylon Edwards, Cedric Benson, Carnell Williams, Troy Williamson, Dave Rayner, Derek Anderson, Matt Cassel, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kyle Orton, Marion Barber, Brandon Jacobs, Alvin Pearman, Darren Sproles, Roydell Williams, Bo Scaife, Rob Bironas, Josh Cribbs, Leonard Weaver, Nate Washington, Robbie Gould, Lance Moore, Ryan Grant, Greg Camarillo, Tarvaris Jackson, Jerious Norwood, Maurice Stovall, Reggie Bush, Vince Young, Vernon Davis, Matt Leinart, Jay Cutler, Laurence Maroney, Santonio Holmes, DeAngelo Williams, Marcedes Lewis, Joseph Addai, Kellen Clemens, Greg Jennings, Anthony Fasano, Devin Hester, Maurice Jones-Drew, Tony Scheffler, Marques Colston, Jeff King, Bruce Gradkowski, Devin Aromashodu, Michael Robinson, Brad Smith, Jason Avant, Leon Washington, Stephen Gostkowski, Brandon Marshall, Jerome Harrison, Hank Baskett, Miles Austin, Fred Jackson, Chansi Stuckey, Kenneth Darby, Ahmad Bradshaw, Le'Ron McClain, Steve Breaston, Kevin Boss, Dante Rosario, Brent Celek, Legedu Naanee, Troy Smith, Nick Folk, Mason Crosby, Steve Smith, Brian Leonard, Jacoby Jones, Laurent Robinson, James Jones, Mike Sims-Walker, Trent Edwards, Michael Bush, Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Ted Ginn Jr., Marshawn Lynch, Brady Quinn, Dwayne Bowe, Robert Meachem, Greg Olsen, Anthony Gonzalez, Kevin Kolb, Zach Miller, Sidney Rice, Dwayne Jarrett, D.J. Ware, Matt Prater, Matt Moore, Pierre Thomas, Eldra Buckley, Jackie Battle, Jonathan Stewart, Joe Flacco, Felix Jones, Rashard Mendenhall, Chris Johnson, Dustin Keller, Donnie Avery, Devin Thomas, Jordy Nelson, John Carlson, James Hardy, Eddie Royal, Matt Forte, Fred Davis, DeSean Jackson, Malcolm Kelly, Ray Rice, Chad Henne, Matt Ryan, Darren McFadden, Lex Hilliard, Pierre Garcon, Chaz Schilens, Peyton Hillis, Justin Forsett, Adrian Arrington, Tashard Choice, Ryan Torain, Keenan Burton, Tim Hightower, Jalen Parmele, Jacob Hester, Earl Bennett, Jamaal Charles, Early Doucet, Harry Douglas, Steve Slaton, Jermichael Finley, Mario Manningham, Davone Bess, Dan Carpenter, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Albert Young, Garrett Hartley, Rashad Jennings, David Buehler, Javon Ringer, Cedric Peerman, Bernard Scott, Julian Edelman, Sammie Stroughter, Shonn Greene, Brandon Tate, Mike Wallace, Jared Cook, Deon Butler, Mike Thomas, Brian Hartline, Louis Murphy Jr., Austin Collie, Johnny Knox, Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, Knowshon Moreno, Josh Freeman, Jeremy Maclin, Brandon Pettigrew, Percy Harvin, Donald Brown, Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, Beanie Wells, Mohamed Massaquoi, LeSean McCoy, Arian Foster, Michael Bennett, Kareem Huggins, Kahlil Bell, Jimmy Clausen, Rob Gronkowski, Arrelious Benn, Dez Bryant, Jonathan Dwyer, Demaryius Thomas, Golden Tate, Ryan Mathews, Aaron Hernandez, Jahvid Best, Tony Moeaki, Jimmy Graham, Ed Dickson, Garrett Graham, Montario Hardesty, Dennis Pitta, Brandon LaFell, Colt McCoy, Ben Tate, Boobie Dixon, Toby Gerhart, C.J. Spiller, Sam Bradford, Jermaine Gresham, Dexter McCluster, Max Hall, Lance Ball

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