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Want to know a common belief among fantasy football enthusiasts?
They think they're cursed.
When we asked who would be the biggest bust in NFL fantasy football this season, the answer we often got was "whomever I pick first."
It's understandable. Anyone who has played the fantasy game long enough has had a season when their first-round pick got hurt early (remember Tom Brady going down in the first game of 2008?) or otherwise vanished (remember Ricky Williams' lost season of 2004 when he "went back to school" at the California College of Ayurveda?).
When something like that happens, the fantasy football fan knows the only reason is because the injured or otherwise missing superstar is on his roster. The truth is out there.
Listen to Mark M. of Apopka, Fla., speaking for so many other snakebit fantasy owners:
"This year's biggest bust? That's easy. Chris Johnson. Why? Because I had the first pick in our draft and took Johnson. Poor guy. His knee doesn't have a chance. Most people know about the Madden curse and the Sports Illustrated cover jinx, but my curse is just as real."
If he's right, Chris Johnson is a marked man.
Not all of our votes were as personal as that, but all predicted disaster for one superstar or another. When we tallied the votes, here are the top (bottom?) 10 players that you may want to think twice or even thrice about before drafting:
10. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina running back: "No QB and Jonathan Stewart always there to steal a TD or two. What could go wrong?" wrote J. Browning, St. Louis.
9. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis quarterback: "New rule that puts umpire behind QB is going to haunt Manning and hinder his productivity," wrote Bryan H., Torrance, Calif.
8. Vincent Jackson, San Diego wide receiver: "Hey, he may sit out the entire year. That's got to hurt his fantasy numbers," wrote Bill P., Tualatin, Ore.
7. Frank Gore, San Francisco running back: "With his backup retired, what he needs most is a good insurance plan," wrote Dave H., Toledo, Ohio.
6. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville running back: "He's going to get hurt. He'll only get 10 carries a game because Jacksonville will always be behind, and Ray Rice is going to run the table on all of them!" wrote Sam D., Rogersville, Ala.
5. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets quarterback: "That's it. He should be your entire list. Mark Sanchez -- big bust 10 times over," wrote Jack F., Falls Church, Va.
4. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis wide receiver: "Three reasons named Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie and Anthony Gonzalez, plus the Colts only want to play 14 games a year anyway," wrote Cody D., Tucson, Ariz.
3. Brett Favre, Minnesota quarterback: "Only problem is that he won't tell us that he's a bust until sometime next summer," wrote Ben M., Peoria, Ill.
2. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona wide receiver: "Come back, Kurt Warner! Please come back!" wrote S. Dinger, Birmingham, Ala.
1. Chris Johnson, Tennessee running back: "They ran him ragged last year, so this year he'll get beat up early and often," wrote Mike P., Chicago.
Not only that, Mike, but he's a marked man, too.
There they are, friends. If you haven't had your draft yet, you may want to take this list with you -- and then let the guy sitting next to you steal it. Meanwhile, you can pick Baltimore running back Ray Rice with your first pick (as we did) and start to party.
But, please, Ray, take care of your knees.
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