Kryptonite, the players you love to hate, but can’t stay away from. We all have that player, the one that will have a breakout year or the diamond in the rough only you can spot. Let’s face it: no one person can really predict the outcome of a single season, if we could, we would all be rich.
Every fantasy coach faces this dilemma, avoiding the names circled on your do-not-draft-under-any-circumstances list. These players, or fantasy kryptonite as I like to call them, always find a way to sneak onto the teams of unsuspecting coaches who do not want them. In my many years of fantasy participation, it never ceases to amaze me that after every draft, I look down at my roster and see some name looking back up at me laughing. The problem then is finding the appropriate time to drop the player when immediate release just isn’t an option. These players tend to stay on rosters while the coach’s hope something will happen. Most of the time it never does.
The one with Vincent Jackson
Take this story for example, about two years ago I entered a league and told myself that under no circumstances would I entertain the idea of drafting Vincent Jackson. The draft concluded with me owning a roster with the one name I told myself I would avoid. Needless to say, it took me seven weeks to finally give up on Jackson only to have him start to look like the player I drafted after he got his fantasy walking papers. The hope of Jackson performing plagued my roster to the point of dropping games that I should have won. It will seriously damage a roster to continue to start a player that isn’t producing even if that player happens to be the one diamond hiding in the rough.
These types of land mind players lead to indecisiveness along with a constant optimism things will turn around. Needless to say, the turn around always seems to happen after finally realizing the player in question is a dud, or was a dud.
How to fix the problem
Nobody wants to admit to making a bad choice, especially in a league with your friends, but sometimes admitting it sooner rather than later will save you a lot of trouble. One trick I used was to find a coach in the league with similar beliefs in player talents. Find a coach whose roster resembles the one you have put together, then go fishing. It might be a little underhanded to try and trick someone into taking the same venomous player you were once bitten by, but hey, these are the rules and it’s why it pays to stay informed.
Plus there is always the chance it will blow up in your face after trading the guy, so don’t feel too bad about ditching the dud.
The Ocho Cinco factor
Another player slowly becoming the next fantasy kryptonite is Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson, who looked to be one of the best receivers in the league until he decided to enter clown mode and started focusing on entertainment instead of production.
Here is how Ocho Cinco breaks down as a fantasy player. In 2004, Ocho Cinco completed one of his most productive seasons in the pros. His 95 receptions is still a personal best, his 1,274 yards ranks as his fifth highest yardage total in his eight-year career, and his nine touchdowns ties for second as his highest scoring total. Ocho Cinco’s most productive season came in 2003 when he caught 90 passes for 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Even his 2007 campaign looked pretty good from a yardage standpoint with 93 catches for 1,440 yards, his most productive year yardage wise, and eight touchdowns. Last season, in 13 games Ocho Cinco produced his lowest yardage total since his rookie season with 540 yards and his lowest touchdown reception total since his rookie year. It won’t be any easier this season for Ocho Cinco as he lost his counterpart in T.J. Houshmandzadeh and his once all-pro quarterback Carson Palmer is recovering from an elbow injury. Cedric Benson in the backfield won’t help Ocho Cinco or the passing game in general.
I’m not one to throw guys under the bus, but coupling a bad receiver with a bad team, a quarterback trying to come back from a major injury, and a criminal in the backfield, doesn’t sound good for Mr. Cinco. Not to worry though, clearly Ocho Cinco has his priorities straight as he finally won the case to wear Ocho Cinco, his alter ego name, on the back of his jersey. The only way I could justify drafting this guy would be if the name change guaranteed ten extra points a week in fantasy. With that said, even then I would rethink the decision after looking at a roster with this clown’s name on it, or should I have said, this clown name on it. Either way I think it explains Johnson or Cinco or Bozo or whatever he wants to be called.
Predictions: Lions will be awful
Look, no one can predict the future with any kind of accuracy, and those of us that follow the world of sports knows this to be one of the truest statements one can make. It might sound like a stretch, but even the Lions have a shot at reaching the promised land next year, right? Maybe that’s an extremely far stretch, but to say it’s completely impossible is just wrong.
Alright, maybe in the Lion’s case it wouldn’t be wrong, in fact, just forget the Lions altogether. 0-16, in case you forgot, changes a lot of things about a team, including the right not to complain when people predict another losing season and stand by it like they are predicting another special Peyton Manning year. Manning isn’t a completely guaranteed stud, but you won’t look bad, or like an expert, by claiming Manning will have another big year.
The bottom line, keep options open and always keep another undrafted player in mind in case something doesn’t work out. Remember, other than the Lions being bad, nothing is guaranteed in the NFL.