5 Ways You Got Screwed Over in Fantasy Football This Year

  • Tom Brady
    You banked on a quarterback with one of your first picks

    Fantasy experts say it every year, but the advice rings true particularly strongly this season: Don’t draft a quarterback early. Yes, they normally score the most points so you can get convinced into grabbing one. But with so few running backs putting up consistent points — only seven backs have at least 100 points so far — you needed to grab one of them early. (Well, sort of. More on this later.)

    As for the quarterbacks, take away Andrew Luck‘s ridiculous MVP run and everyone is on a pretty level playing field. Yet it’s interesting to see that Drew Brees, consistently one of the top three or four QBs selected, has only 145 points, just 10 more than Eli Manning and 12 less than Philip Rivers. Then there’s Russell Wilson, a lower-ranked signal-caller now averaging one of the most points per game at this position after a couple of monster running performances. Nick Foles? He’s crossed the 20-point threshold just twice this year. Tom Brady? He was supposed to be finished and now has at least 20 points in five straight games.

    The point is that drafting one of the “top” QBs is almost never smart, considering you can find similar value almost anywhere. But it’s taking on added significance now that the position is so unpredictable, and with the running game fading farther from the league spotlight.

    1 of 5
  • You banked on Seattle's defense

    It wasn’t even a question. Only a matter of when.

    After seeing the hype Seattle’s Legion of Boom defense got last year en route to winning the Super Bowl, you had to know they would not only be the first defense off every draft board this year but that some unsuspecting fellow would inevitably take them early. Was it you? I wouldn’t be surprised.

    So far, Seattle is not No. 1 in defensive points. They aren’t No. 2. They aren’t even No. 10. They are NUMBER 13. And with Percy Harvin traded, their potential for kick returns diminishes significantly.

    Since Week 2, this group went through a long run where they averaged just 3.2 points per game, including a negative total against San Diego. In Week 7, St. Louis ripped them for a completion percentage of 86.3.

    Things don’t seem like they’ll be getting better, either, with the team reeling and the schedule still including two matchups with the 49ers and Cardinals, and a trip to Philly. We’re not sure what happened since last season but fantasy owners are probably peeved.

    2 of 5
  • You took a top-ranked running back over DeMarco Murray

    DeMarco Murray has been the bane of my fantasy existence so far. (It’s hard to say I overlooked him when everyone else did too.) I had the No. 3 pick in my most important league this year and took a player who is no longer playing. In fact, the other two top-ranked running backs that were part of a trio many thought would be far and away the three best fantasy players this season haven’t delivered yet.

    In over half his games this year, LeSean McCoy has produced single-digit point totals. Jamaal Charles has been barely better. Instead, you have Arian Foster, the No. 2 back after many figured he was finished. Ahmad Bradshaw, Justin Forsett, and Lamar Miller are all in the top 10 in point totals and none of them were expected to even start this year. It’s been a wild and unpredictable season, affected as always by injuries, starting with Knowshon Moreno and continuing with…

    3 of 5
  • You drafted a Buffalo running back

    …Buffalo. Okay, Fred Jackson was actually playing fairly well recently. He had 57 points through the first six games, doing what he always does: Giving you a little bit of everything and taking the majority of the team’s goal-line snaps. But then he was carted off the field in Week 7 against Minnesota with a groin injury and hasn’t contributed anything in fantasy in at least a month. Too bad.

    Next to him is/was C.J. Spiller, an even more talented back that has been dripping with potential ever since exploding for nearly 1,300 yards on 6.0 yards per carry in 2012. In the same game that Jackson got hurt, Spiller broke his collarbone and will probably miss the rest of the season. Even before that, however, Spiller had just 287 yards rushing on the season, and since Week 3, he’d scored just 19 total points.

    The Bills are still in the thick of the playoff race, but for fantasy owners who figured the backs were solid choices considering Buffalo’s promise to run a lot of plays and run often, it’s been a tough season.

    4 of 5
  • You took Calvin Johnson with your first pick

    One of the odder subplots of this season has been the absence of big plays from Calvin Johnson. (You could also put A.J. Green in this spot but his lack of production is due almost entirely to injury. Johnson’s is a little more surprising.) Seriously, he opened up the season by going off against New York, embarrassing them for 164 yards and two highlights touchdowns for 28 fantasy points. You know how many touchdowns he has since then? Zero. It’s one of the longest droughts of his career. You know how many fantasy points he has since then? Seventeen.

    Of course, it’s not completely his fault. He’s missed time with a high right ankle sprain and, in fact, outside of Golden Tate, the entire Lions offense has struggled, everyone from Reggie Bush to Matthew Stafford. But Johnson is one of the biggest names in the game and routinely gets drafted in the late first round. So far, he hasn’t been able to live up to that billing. We’re waiting on him to challenge all of Jerry Rice‘s records, but this year, he’s been a lot closer to Sidney Rice.

    He HAS to pick it up soon. We’re expecting it.

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  • Tom Brady
  • DeMarco Murray
  • C.J. Spiller

We’re right around the halfway point of the NFL season, which means you probably know by now whether you have a chance in your fantasy league or whether you should throw up the white flag and start trading fantasy football busts for peanuts to your best friends. We all have beef with certain scenarios that played out this year, from the guy who took Knowshon Moreno with his first or second pick to the crazed Steelers fan who only picked Pittsburgh players and now wants a do-over.

Each year is the same, from injuries to suspensions to players not picking up where we expected, and that’s part of the fun. Unlike any other sport, there’s a level of unpredictability in football. Like the NCAA Tournament, anyone can win. Anyone can look like a genius. Did you think DeMarco Murray would explode the way he has? Did you think Andrew Luck would become far and away the best quarterback in the NFL? Unless you’re a Colts or Cowboys fan, you probably didn’t see this coming.

Early in the season we gave you five position battles to watch in fantasy football and, interestingly, while some have been decided others are still up in the air, like the Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams running back spots. But we also threw out five questions that would probably decide your league and guess what? Many of them show up here again. We were right…in a way.

With most fantasy leagues hitting the regular season home stretch, we know some of the ballers have a little explaining to do. Here are 5 Ways You Got Screwed Over in Fantasy Football This Year.

Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney