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Keepin’ it Real

In investing, they say past performance is never an indicator of future earnings. In dynasty leagues, that same principle also rings true. While many owners are spending time evaluating their teams this offseason, most of them are making the fatal flaw of penciling in last season’s statistics as a given for next year. While many players have shown an element of consistency that minimizes the risk in making this assumption, others simply have not.

Those who play in dynasty leagues long enough have seen those magical years come and go. Savvy dynasty league veterans remember Brandon Stokley’s 2004 campaign where he erupted for over 1,000 yards and ten scores. They reminisce about the hope they had after Mike Bell’s rookie campaign in 2006 as well. More recently, countless owners have nightmares about what Chris Johnson did to them just a two short years ago when he burst on to the scene with over 2,000 rushing yards or Tom Brady burning up their league with 50 touchdown passes in 2007. In short, we’ve seen dozens of players come back to some form of relative earth after posting unusual years.

Simply put, it’s dangerous to make assumptions about what players are going to produce, especially after having a career best season.  If you’re building your team around these assumptions and not looking to insure yourself in some way, it’s likely going to be a very long season for you.

There are a bevy of players unlikely to improve upon their numbers for last season. In fact, you should really expect a decrease in production, just to be safe. It’s not as if many of these players don’t have the ability to put up similar stats, but expectations have to be held in check. The players on this list had seasons that were amazing in dynasty circles, but also equally unusual not just for them personally, but in many cases for the position they play as a whole.

With all that being said, here’s a list of players you should be wary of overestimating in regards to their scoring next season when you evaluate your team this offseason:

Rob Gronkowski, TE NE

The Gronk was a revelation last year, leading countless teams to fantasy glory. His record setting year featured 90 catches, 1,327 yards and 17 receiving touchdowns.

Just stop and think about that.

The Patriots offense is built around Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Tom Brady at this point, but you have to figure they improve their receiving situation this offseason. Besides, asking any player to average more than one score per game is asking too much, especially a tight end.

As a side note, I was tempted to put Jimmy Graham on this list as his catch total and yardage are both candidates to decrease, but his 11 touchdowns seem a little more reasonable to repeat.

Drew Brees, QB NO

Brees threw for 5,476 yards and 46 touchdowns last season, eclipsing Dan Marino’s passing record that had stood for nearly three decades.  Expecting that to just repeat itself is a little foolish, regardless of the weapons at his disposal.

Aaron Rodgers, QB GB

Much like Brees, Rodgers was an absolute monster last year, posting 4,643 yards and 45 scores.  Add what he did on the ground, and you had the fantasy MVP in most leagues. Again, like Brees, those numbers are nearly impossible to repeat. It has nothing to do with how good the two of them are – in fact, it’s probably more of a tribute to how good they were last season.  Everything has to go right in a given year to post those types of seasons and they did last season for both Brees and Rodgers. They could come close, but it’s not something you can just bank on.

Jordy Nelson, WR GB

I like Jordy Nelson and feel like he’s emerged.  I just don’t like him for 1,263 yards and 15 touchdowns is all.

Maurice Jones-Drew, RB JAX

Of all the players on this list, MJD may actually have the best chance of repeating, especially with the modest touchdown number he posted last year. However, when you consider he’s had 642 carries the past two years along with the fact that he’s the only offensive weapon they currently have, there’s cause for some concern.

Reggie Bush, RB MIA

Daniel Thomas will be much healthier next season and it’s hard to see Bush repeating the level of success he had last year, especially under a new coaching regime. His injury history and lack of consistency are major red flags.

Fred Jackson, RB BUF

At one point last year, Jackson was a top three running back in fantasy. His season ending injury, his contract situation and the emergence of CJ Spiller really cloud his future.

Matt Stafford, QB DET

Everyone was hoping for a breakout season from Stafford, but 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns? C’mon. Even with Calvin Johnson in the fold, that was amazing. His owners have to hope he stays healthy – if we see that again in 2012, we could very well see someone who is competing with Aaron Rodgers to be the QB1 in dynasty leagues.

As another side note, I hesitate in putting Megatron on this list because I think he could go for 1,600 yards and 20 scores with a chair throwing to him at this point.

Victor Cruz, WR NYG

At some point, people have to stop doubting him. We certainly don’t fit that category because we see him as the real deal here at DLF. However, expecting 82 catches, 1,536 yards and nine scores from anyone NOT named Calvin Johnson is ill-advised.

Laurent Robinson, WR DAL

It’s tough to say where Robinson will end up next season. Regardless, he took advantage of some injuries en route to his 11 touchdown campaign last year in Dallas. The Cowboys want to re-sign him, but can you expect 11 scores from any Dallas receiver? Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Robinson AND Jason Witten would all vulture targets from each other if Robinson re-signs with the Cowboys.

Marshawn Lynch, RB SEA

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I fear what happens when he gets paid. I just hope it’s more “Beast Mode” and not “Feast Mode.” He scored in eleven straight games last year and it’s just tough to see that kind of touchdown production happening again, regardless of where he lands.

Nate Washington, WR TEN

Washington posted a career season last year. With Kenny Britt returning and Jared Cook emerging as serious weapons, it’s tough to see a repeat.

Darren Sproles, RB NO

With a healthy Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas back in the mix next year, it’s just tough to see the diminutive Sproles bust out for that type of production again. He’s a great player, but it’s tough to see him as the RB2 or RB3 as he was in many fantasy leagues last year.

Again, this list of full of star players, each of which have a chance of repeating or even increasing on their stats from last year. History has simply shown us most of them will fail in that attempt.  Be very cautious in not overvaluing them on your team or in any trade discussions.

Ken Kelly
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repkllrs
10 years ago

How can this list not be headlined by Cam Newton? I think Stafford is far more likely to throw for 40+ touchdowns again, than Cam to run for 14.

Rag3aholik
Reply to  repkllrs
10 years ago

Agreed on cam. Very good chance for regression. Stafford I think should be on here as well, but not to the same extent. Rodgers; I understand why he’s on here, and he may well regress, but after leading all players for several years do you really think it’s noteworthy to mention? He’s the single safest bet in fantasy football. Regression would be back to his career mean, which is nothing short of ridiculous.

DLF_KenK
10 years ago

Yep, still a safe bet for sure. I’ve just seen articles lately predicting 50 touchdowns, which I think is ridiculous. Possible? Yes. Predictable? No.

Coach
10 years ago

the only guy i have on this list is MJD. I think he can eclipse what he did this year. i don’t think 1,600 and double digit scores is out of reach.

Camperhead
Reply to  Coach
10 years ago

It’s correct that the Jags had no other offensive weapons, but MJD wouldn’t have had anywhere near the workload if they hadn’t prematurely IR’d Rashad Jennings, who was set up for an increased role. Add that, further development by Gabbert (it HAS to get better , doesn’t it?) and the presumed offseason focus on adding more to the receiving corps, and MJD — while still a stud — is due for a regression.

tstafford
10 years ago

Totally agree on both Washington and Cruz. By the way, I think we saw exactly what will happen when teams key on Cruz in the SB. Nicks torched the Pats and Manningham did his best David Tyree impression. They got to be up on the podium with the trophy. I sort of felt bad for Cruz.

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