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Fantasy LVPs: Moss leads flops
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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