A huge part of winning in fantasy football is knowing when to draft a guy other people hate and when to leave the sad sacks to the fools in your league. I don’t really count injury prone guys as sad sacks. Ryan Mathews used to be a sad sack in that regard, and then he crushed it in 2013. Arian Foster, Doug Martin and C.J. Spiller sad sacked all over your team last year, too, but they otherwise haven’t been injury prone and have great bounce back appeal.
I’d throw Aaron Rodgers and Julio Jones into the mix, too. I also have unconditional love for Rob Gronkowski, so it’ll probably take three more consecutive season of his body turning into a corpse on the field for me to give up on him.
But there are surely some true sad sacks that are even sadder. And you probably shouldn’t draft them in fantasy football this year. We really don’t want to even talk about them, analyze their sad sackiness or even say their name, but it needs to be done. You need to know. Here they are:
Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
Dalton had a career year, just got paid and his offense is changing. It’s not just changing, but it’s also going to more of a run-based approach. Everything spells danger for The Red Rifle. Yes, he ascended to the top-five in 2013, but that stay isn’t to be. The quarterback position is insanely deep and he’s just not that good. Dalton will fall, so while he still makes for a decent QB2, he’s not going to deliver the insane production he did a year ago. That makes him a fantasy thrower to avoid.
Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts
T-Rich is the epitome of a sad sack fantasy option. He’s slow, lacks any burst, is super indecisive in his cuts, apparently has the vision of a blind bat and loves to run directly into the backs of his offensive linemen. He is a former top-five overall draft pick and had to adapt to a new offense last year. So, it’s true that he could be deserving of a mulligan and could bounce back into awesomeness in 2014. I just doubt it. Ahmad Bradshaw is lurking behind him, broken neck and all, waiting for Richardson to fail. He pretty much already has. We just haven’t realized it yet. Well, I have. I’m not completely against getting him at proper value, as is the case with most shaky fantasy options. You’re best off avoiding him, but if he sees a ridiculous free fall past the fifth round, you need to take a crack at him. Any earlier, though, and it’s just too big of a risk.
Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders
McFadden has killer speed and the kind of versatility that has routinely helped fantasy owners forget about his disgusting fragility. The hope every season is that McFadden will be teleported to 2010 again and will actually average more than 4.0 yards per carry and last more than 10 games. If he’s not hurt, he’s running into his own linemen or getting slammed around by the opposition. He still carries upside, but that’s the dangerous dagger that drives through your ribs each year. If he’s there, coaxing the life out of you in round 10 or something, sure, take a shot at him. But for the most part, you’re better off staying clear of this hot mess. The same can probably be said for Maurice Jones-Drew, who looked beyond done in 2013. You can’t magically expect him to turn it on in freaking Oakland.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Bowe was already falling apart in 2012, as the Chiefs hit rock bottom. Then he failed to develop any kind of rapport with Alex Smith. That makes some fantasy owners believe he is a crazy value going into 2014, but the reality is he just isn’t good anymore. Never a burner in the first place, Bowe relies on targets and touchdown opportunities. Jamaal Charles is this team’s offense and Bowe is a forgotten man. It’s unlikely he returns anything more than inconsistent WR3 value.
Danny Amendola, WR, New England Patriots
He wore the warning label heading into last year, but no one listened. Instead, everyone hoped Amendola was the Wes Welker clone he seemed to be. He lived up to that hype with 10 receptions in week one, but nagging injuries reared their ugly head and he ended up fulfilling the prophecy that he’d be a bust. With Shane Vereen and Rob Gronkowski healthy and Julian Edelman taking his glory last year, Amendola is as risky as ever. He might be worth a late round stash if you really need to aim high at wide receiver, but you’d probably be better off taking a stab at someone like Justin Hunter or Markus Wheaton, instead.