When it comes to success in fantasy football, part of it comes from owners steering clear of those draft picks that can cripple your team. Here are five potential busts for 2009 fantasy football who you should let your opposition select during the draft.
Matt Cassell Quarterback (Kansas City)
One of the feel good stories during the 2008 NFL season was the performance of Matt Cassell who stepped up to replace an injured Tom Brady. The Patriots fans were concerned because Cassell had not started a football game since his high school days. Once he got his feet wet and quieted down the butterflies in his stomach, Cassell went on to post a 89.4 quarterback rating by completing 68.4% of his passes for 3,693 yards with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. As a result of his performance, the Kansas City Chiefs traded for Cassell and signed him to a long term contract.
With statistics like those, it may make you wonder why Cassell has landed on this list.
During last season, Cassell appeared to hold onto the ball too long as he tried to read through his progressions. Cassell was sacked 47 times and ran with the ball 73 times. He was able to overcome this and have a successful season because of the quality of the Patriots wide receivers.
Between Randy Moss and Wes Welker, the pair had 180 receptions for 2,174 yards and 14 touchdowns. Cassell will not have the same help in Kansas City, where they have only one solid receiver. Though Cassell has the potential to develop into a quality quarterback down the road, it will not happen for another year or two.
Projections - 59% completion 3,450 yards 16 touchdowns 12 interceptions
Matt Forte Running Back (Chicago Bears)
In 2008, Matt Forte stormed out of the gates as a rookie and made the Chicago Bears fans forget about Cedric Benson. By the time his first season was done, Forte carried the ball 316 times for 1,239 yards with 8 touchdowns. He was also the leading receiver for the Bears with 62 receptions for 477 yards and 4 touchdowns. With this level of production, many fantasy football owners will be ready to pick him up with one of the top five picks, which would be a mistake.
The main reason Forte is labeled as a potential bust in 2009 is the arrival of quarterback Jay Cutler's big arm. Cutler's presence is going to demand the Bears alter their offensive style, especially when it comes to the passing game. This deeper passes will cut down on the number of receptions for Forte.
The Bears will probably have Forte carry the ball 300 plus times again in 2009, but remember he only averaged 3.9 yards per carry every time he touched the ball in 2008. With the drop off in the passing game, Forte's overall numbers will drop and keep him in the second tier of running backs.
Projections 295 carries 1,150 yards 7 touchdowns 40 receptions 350 yard 2 touchdowns
Antonio Bryant Wide Receiver (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
No one expected big things from Antonio Bryant after his less than stellar performance in 2007 with San Francisco where he had 40 receptions for 733 yards and 3 touchdowns. However in 2008, Bryant had a career year where he pulled in 83 receptions for 1,248 yards and 7 touchdowns.
What has landed Bryant on this list of potential busts for your 2009 fantasy football is who in Tampa will be throwing the ball to him?
With Jeff Garcia on his way out, the Buccaneers have a decision to make. Should they put the passing game into the hands of a rookie or journeyman Bryon Leftwich. Either option is one that will negatively hurt Bryant's production. Since the Buccaneers are going through a rebuilding process, the team is going to focus more on the run than the pass to help build up the confidence of the quarterback.
If you decide to draft Bryant, make sure you do not pick him any higher than the third wide receiver on your team for 2009
Projections 65 receptions 855 yards 4 touchdowns
Joseph Addai Running Back (Indianapolis Colts)
Though the Colts were able to make the playoffs in 2008, one of the missing ingredients was running back Joseph Addai. In the two previous seasons, Addai had recorded over 1,000 yards and was becoming a fixture in a potent offense. Last year was a different story when Addai carried the ball 155 times for 544 yards and 5 touchdowns while missing several games due to injuries.
Despite his previous performance, fantasy football owners would be smart to steer clear of Addai with their first three running back selections. Not only was his average per carry down to 3.5 yards in 2008, the Colts brought in a rookie running back, Donald Brown.
There is some concern the new coach for the Colts will change how Dungy used Addai in the offense. It is best to sit on Addai this season to see how the season pans out and if he is able to rebound from the sub par season.
Projections 200 carries 750 yards 4 touchdowns
Thomas Jones Running Back (New York Jets)
In 2008, Thomas Jones bounced back from the previous season by running for 1,312 yards on 290 carries with 13 touchdowns. Jones was also able to help out with the passing game by hauling in 36 receptions for 207 yards and 2 scores. With this type of production, many fantasy owners will be ready to select him with a first or second round pick in 2009.
There is one major concern with Jones and why he is labeled as a potential bust for the upcoming season.
First the Jets will be changing their offensive scheme after the team saw Brett Favre retire and terminated the contract with their head coach. As a result, the Jets will be entering the season with a rookie quarterback at the helm.
Though Mark Sanchez does have an arm, he will need to some time to develop a relationship with his wide receivers and he will be exposed to big mistakes. To help force this, opposing teams will load the box and make Sanchez win it with his arm. This will shut down the lanes for Jones and reduce the amount of yards he can gain.
New head coach Rex Ryan drafted a bruising running back, Shone Green, to give the Jets a three headed monster in the backfield. This will not only cut down on Jones' carries but his goal line chances. If you are set on taking Jones, make sure to pick up Green or Leon Washington in the later rounds in case they start to receive more time over Jones.
Projections 225 carries 975 yards 7 touchdowns 25 receptions 150 yards 1 touchdown