Fantasy Football is a game of passion like no other. We set expectations for something we truly have no control over. We draft players who we’re sure will set the world on fire and when they don’t, we throw remotes, couch pillows, swear at the TV, lose our collective minds, and in some extreme cases by some of the less humane, take to Twitter and threaten a player’s well being. As a 49ers fan, I still feel bad for what was being said to Kyle Williams after the NFC Championship game. We swear players off and declare, “I will never draft this #$%@ again!”
Then, August comes around and like any other bad relationship, you swear it’s going to be different this time, thinking those players have changed. So, you draft them again or choose to keep them on your dynasty team instead of trading them, only to be sucker punched in the mouth and find yourself stuck in the same abusive love/hate relationship for another season. We all have those players who make our skin crawl. Whether they’re on our team and stinking up the joint or thriving on someone else’s team, somewhere there is a little voice in the back of your head hoping they get hit by a bus.
I asked in the DLF Forum for some of your stories. It didn’t have to be current players, a lot of us have been doing this for ten or more years and we hold LONG grudges, but there were a lot of people with the same players on their “Burn Lists.” After a lot of really good stories, here were the players most commonly mentioned, in no particular order.
Braylon Edwards, WR CLE, NYJ, SF
Expectations to be an elite WR1 were high for Edwards after being drafted third overall out of Michigan by the Browns. Outside of Derek Anderson’s “where did that come from” season of 2007 where he posted 80 catches for 1,289 yards and an incredible 16 touchdowns, Edwards has been a fantasy headache, being constantly overdrafted. Even I fell victim to Braylon’s charm. I traded pick 1.01 in 2008 (Darren McFadden) for Edwards and pick 1.06. Ouch.
After all, everyone told us to do it, even Edwards.
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A comment from our forum about Edwards being on the burn list:
SpaderDude: “In a big money redraft, I took Braylon Edwards two years in a row (relatively high) after he blew up with ‘ol Derek Anderson in Cleveland. Never came close to that kind of production again. Found more productive guys on the waiver wire. Basically, he was a wasted draft choice. Funny, he’s on roster in my signature. It’s time to move on.
Lee Evans, WR BUF, BAL
In PPR leagues, Evans was always a hands off guy for me. His tendency to post a 3/105/0 touchdown line was too great for me. Even the games where he broke the 100 yard barrier, his low reception total always hurt, leaving so little room for error. Tie that to the fact that J.P. Losman was the guy slinging the rock in Buffalo and it makes you wonder why we were ever drinking the Kool-Aid in the first place? He only broke the 65 catch mark one time in his nine year career and failed to break 50 catches in five of those seasons.
A comment from our forum about Evans being on the burn list:
Gameaholica: “For two seasons, I would drop him and he would still finish strong.”
Marshawn Lynch, RB BUF, SEA
When Lynch was drafted in 2007, he exploded onto the scene with 1,115 rushing yards and seven rushing scores. The next year he broke the 1,000 yard barrier again with another eight touchdowns, but then something happened. Lynch fell off the map, failing to break the 500 yard mark the next two seasons in Buffalo before being shipped to Seattle in a trade for a fourth and conditional sixth round pick. The first season in Seattle wasn’t much better before his infamous “Beast Mode” run against New Orleans in the playoffs. How awesome was that, though?
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Then last year, in what could possibly have been a “dash for dollars” season, he blew up again for 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns. So, now you have people who hate him for not performing AND people that see him live up to his potential. The biggest question now is, which one do we get for 2012?
More comments from the forum:
NickDblU: “Coming from a re-draft background, but Marshawn Lynch is on my burn list. After drafting him in 2008, I got burned by him in 2009 and 2010. I feel like his “BEAST MODE” run in the NFC Wild Card game propelled his re-birth for 2011, but I wasn’t gonna go near him with a 10 foot pole!”
Brady148: “After two great seasons, I decided to buy. Little did I know what I was getting into. 2009 – awful. Decided to hold on to him because I figured his value had nowhere to go but up. In 2010, it was terrible to start the season, but a glimmer of hope came as he was traded to Seattle! He does terrible, I get upset and trade him away for next to nothing. You know the rest!”
Randy Moss, MIN (x2), OAK, NE, TEN, SF
Owning Randy Moss in a Dynasty league is like owning a tiger. Sure, you have an awesome tiger, but eventually he’s going to eat your face. Well, not literally. I don’t think he messes with bath salts, but figuratively it makes sense.
I owned him as a rookie and was fortunate enough to ride with Randy when he was flying high. In seven seasons in Minnesota, he only had one season without double digit touchdowns and one other with less than 1,000 yards. I also owned him in Oakland, Minnesota (2010), and for his brief stint in Tennessee. He the NFL’s version of a phoenix – every time he goes down in flames, he rises from the ashes a reborn player. Let me be clear, I’m not saying 2007 Randy is spawning in San Francisco this year. I’m saying, as any dynasty owner of Randy Moss can attest, if you’re going to roll with Randy, you better be able to endure the lows to enjoy the highs.
To truly appreciate the 23 touchdowns in 2007, you had to endure the Oakland years of eight in 2005 and three in 2006. Not everyone can forget the Oakland years, though, or 2010 where he played four games with New England, four with Minnesota, and eight “Oh yeah, I forgot that happened” games inTennessee. Randy Moss will be on a lot of people’s Fantasy Hall of Fame lists and a lot of people’s all time hate lists, too.
More comments from the forum:
Gameaholica: “I drafted him high, and as a Raiders fan, I bought his jersey “Authentic”- I have considered taking him in the last round this year, but someone takes him early and I am thankful for not having him sitting there…taunting me with early reports…of…promise…”
BBWayne: “For those years he blew up when I thought he was dead and the years I drank the Kool-Aid and he decided to yell at the food staff, he’s dead to me. Except this year, right?”
The collective backfields of Dallas, New England, and Carolina
These backfields have caused so many headaches over the years that some owners have sworn off the entire situation – I’m one of them. I can’t bring myself to draft any New England back to be anything more than my RB4. I’m not a mind reader and who the heck can figure out Bill Belichick?
Dallas and Carolina aren’t as bad in my opinion because their committee attack normally only involves two people – that’s something a lot less volatile. Whether it was Stephen Davis, DeShaun Foster, DeAngelo Williams, or Jonathan Stewart in Carolina or Julius Jones, Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Tashard Choice, or DeMarco Murray in Dallas, you usually only had to deal with a two headed monster. In New England, you have tight ends getting carries.
More comments from the forum or the writing team:
PigSkinAssassin: “Laurence Maroney is the bane of my fantasy football existence.”
The_MC: “Jonathan Stewart. I have owned him twice, yet he never really produces up to potential. At his, age I am sure I will fall for it again.”
DLF_JarrettB: “DeAngelo Williams for me. Two years in a row (2009 and 2010), I fell for his bill of goods. Second time was shame on me I guess, but I finally learned my lesson. Last year in the last league I had him in, I packaged him with the 1.04 to move up to the 1.03 and grab Julio Jones. Best move I ever made.”
The_GM: “I have bought into the Cowboys’ running back position more times than I care to remember only to get burned over and over. I feel so used.”
The NFL #2 Wide Receiver
I had to include these guys simply because I, too, have drafted them thinking they were going to be the strong WR2 on their respective teams and be fantasy assets for years, only to fizzle out or be up-and-down headaches. Going back into my own memory bank, guys like James Hardy in Buffalo, Limas Sweed in Pittsburgh, Nate Burleson and Roy Williams everywhere they played – the list goes on.
At some point in my fantasy life, I have rostered every one of these guys. The trap is out there this year, too. Rookies we expect to explode won’t. Guys who are training camp darlings will be just that. The game is different when the pads go on and some guys just can’t translate ability to production.
The one that still haunts me to this day is Charles Rogers. I can remember sitting at the rookie draft with a good friend and with the thid overall pick of our Rookie/FA draft, I took Charles Rogers from the Lions. A few picks later my buddy takes Bryant Johnson from the Cardinals. After the draft, when free agency opens, we’re sitting there and I say to him, “I cannot believe nobody took Anquan Boldin. This dude was amazing at Florida State and he is in a spot to excel. I would have taken him if Rogers were gone and I definitely would have taken him over Bryant.” Like a light bulb went off in his head, he agreed, dropped Bryant and picked up Boldin. You know the rest. I still laugh about that one.
More comments from our forum or writers on the tales of other owners snake bitten by the elusive NFL WR2:
Mr. Rourke: “Santana Moss has been dead to me in FF for countless years. The guy stinks when he’s in the lineup and blows up on the bench every time. I will not have him on any of my teams. Sidney Rice’s potential is an urban myth at this point as far as I’m concerned, unless a he plays with a Hall of Fame quarterback who has played in the system for countless years and somehow defies the odds and stays healthy for an entire year.”
BubbaBurst: “Roy Williams. I assume there is no explanation necessary.”
Vendetta: “Jacoby Jones! I HATE that guy! For three years in a row I took him at some point in my rookie draft (we select free agents, too) thinking ‘THIS is going to be the year…” Every time he’d once again disappear and I’d cut him, just to see he’d bounce back around a couple of other teams during the season and end up on the wire again in time for the draft the following season. Rinse and repeat. The dude stinks, never again will I be tricked into his ‘upside’ or ‘potential’.”
DLF_KenM: “Brandon Freaking Lloyd. For his first five seasons or so, I would buy into the highlight reel plays and believe in his potential and upside. And amidst the mocking derisions of my league mates, he would every year rip my heart out and shat upon it. Then when he finally starts putting together a few good games a couple seasons ago, I laugh and say ‘Oh no, Mr. Brandon Freaking Lloyd. You’ve shat upon me once too many times. I shall not fall for your parlor tricks once again!’ And so by NOT picking him up off the waiver wire for the seventh time, he once again shat upon me.”
These are just a few stories of dynasty players and their Burn Lists. If you have any, we’d love to hear them in the comments section. The important thing to remember is that everyone has a value and at some point you have to take a chance on someone that may have hurt you in the past. Especially dynasty leaguers, we’ve all been burnt at some point. Like my Dad used to say, “Rub some dirt on it and quit being a baby.”
Follow me on Twitter @OlingerIDPGuru.