Every year, in the world of fantasy football, there are a few guys that just don’t live up to expectations. No matter how good your team is, you’ll always have one guy on your team that you hate. Every so often, there will be a guy SO BAD that you swear you’ll never draft him ever again. NO MATTER WHAT. You hate him for destroying your dream of fantasy football glory and you’ll never forgive him.
The 2011 season is no different. Below you will find a list of players who are currently the most hated men in fantasy football.
I prepared a similar list in 2009, but many of those players have become largely irrelevant. Predictably their shitty play in the fantasy world correlated with their shitty play in real life and now most of them are out of football. Before I get to the current list, let’s recap where the players from my 2009 list stand now.
Larry Johnson-Signed by the Dolphins in the off-season. Cut by the Dolphins. Signed again by the Dolphins. Cut again by the Dolphins.
Brian Westbrook– Also tried out with Miami. Not currently on a roster.
Lendale White-cut by the Broncos during training camp. Can likely be found at a local fast food joint.
Anyone on the Raiders- The Raiders are actually pretty good now and they have one of the best RBs in football on their team.
Lee Evans– We’ll get to him.
A lot has changed since then, so let’s get to the current list. Now that we are deep into the 2011 season, the fantasy busts have been clearly established. Let’s take a look at the new members of the Most Hated Men in Fantasy Football.
Peyton Hillis, RB- Cleveland Browns
Hillis has descended from one the most beloved fantasy players last year to one of the most hated in 2011. In 2010, he went from the waiver wire to the cover of Madden, carrying fantasy teams who had the foresight to pick him up a few weeks into the season.
Hillis was a beast, securing a starting role a couple weeks in, rushing 270 times for 1177 yards and 11 TDs. His hard-nosed running and his white skin made him popular across the country. Because of this, he was drafted in the second or third round in most leagues this season, despite warning signs that he wore down due the heavy workload the previous season. The beating he took in 2010 has caught up to him in 2011.
Hillis was a late scratch in week three because of strep throat, of all things, and he was injured early in a week six game. In the games he has actually played, he hasn’t done much.
What football player misses a game because of strep throat? I could see a baseball player pussying out for something like that, but a football player? If Tony Romo can play with broken ribs, then Hillis can certainly take a few NyQuils and play through a minor illness.
Mike Shanahan/ Bill Belichick
These two coaches certainly know a lot about football (they’ve won five Super Bowls between them) but when it comes to the world of fantasy football, these two names are cursed at as much as any player is. These guys have been fucking up fantasy rosters for ages and probably should have been on the original list as well.
The reason is the same for both coaches: They never stick with one running back. Trying to predict which back on their roster will have the best game is harder than trying to predict oil futures.
Let’s take a look at an example shall we? The list below shows the player on the New England Patriots who had the most yards in 2011 from Week 1-Week 8.
Week 1: Danny Woodhead (69 Yards)
Week 2: Benjarvus Green-Ellis (70 yards)
Week 3: Stevan Ridley (42 yards)
Week 4: Stevan Ridley (97 yards)
Week 5: Benjarvus Green-Ellis (136 Yards)
Week 6: Benjarvus Green-Ellis (58 yards)
Week 7: Bye
Week 8: Kevin Faulk (32 Yards)
Good luck trying to predict which Patriot running back to start each week. If you roll the dice with a Patriot back, eventually you will crap out. Hence what happened to LWB podcast contributor Deuce McGee when he faced me in the finals of my league championship in 2009. To make a long story short (because no one likes hearing stories about other people’s fantasy teams), he started Laurence Maroney in the finals. Maroney fumbled on his first carry and never came back in the game. I won the title by one point.
Shanahan, who has a history of shuffling running backs in and out from his days with the Broncos, has continued this trend with the Skins.
Things started off smoothly in 2011 as Tim Hightower established himself as a feature back in the first three weeks, having a solid game each time. But Shanahan returned to form in Week 4 when Hightower got banged up. Ryan Torain came up with a big game that day, rushing for 135 yards, immediately becoming the hottest waiver wire pick-up that week. Torain followed that up with 22 yards the following game and -5 yards the week after. Now Hightower is out for the year and Roy Helu and Tashard Choice are also in the mix. So there’s no telling what Shanahan will do with his backfield.
If you have a New England or Washington running back, I do not feel bad for you. It’s not like both these coaches just started doing this. You should have avoided these backs like the plague on draft day.
Ryan Grant- RB Green Bay Packers
You would think a guy who “starts” at running back for the most explosive offensive team in football would at least be a decent play most weeks. That’s not the case with Ryan Grant.
I can admit I’m one of the idiots who drafted him in the 5th round thinking he would be a steal, only to realize about an hour into the NFL season that this was a terrible pick. I realize he’s been splitting with carries with James Starks, but nevertheless, he’s on the Green Bay Packers…They score like 80 points a game! Certainly you can get me more than two fantasy points each week! FUCK YOU Ryan Grant!! I drafted him in every league I’m in, so as you can see, I get a little worked up when I talk about him.
Lee Evans-WR-Baltimore Ravens
Evans, perhaps the most hated fantasy player of all time, still graces the list in 2011. The reasons have not changed. Here’s what I wrote two years ago…
“Every year, Yahoo! has him listed way too high in the rankings and the poor guy in your league who is on auto-draft wastes a sixth round pick on him. Lee Evans is notorious for getting shutout for weeks at a time, only to catch three touchdown passes on the week you benched him.”
True to form, the #2 receiver on the Ravens depth chart had zero catches in the week 1 opener. He had a relatively quiet week 2 and hasn’t played since because of injury, which is probably for the best because most people have probably dropped him by now. He hasn’t had that big game yet but I guarantee you it will happen once he returns. Do not be fooled! As soon as you pick him up and insert him into your starting lineup, he will put up a big fat zero.
Marshawn Lynch-RB-Seattle Seahawks
Marshawn Lynch has been a pretty awful running back the past few years but because of that one ridiculous run he had in the playoffs last year, Lynch was drafted way too high.
This season, Lynch has had one or two decent games mixed in with a bunch of stinkers. These two good games have kept him on fantasy rosters much longer than he should have been. The highlight of his miserable season came in week 7 when he was scratched just minutes before kickoff because of back tightness, giving fantasy owners zero points during a tough bye week, in which many people had no choice but to play him. In week 8, he somehow managed to score just 6.4 points (24 yards rushing and a fumble) despite having a touchdown in that game. It’s pretty hard to get that few points when you have a TD.
In fantasy football there is probably no one hated more than the Touchdown Vulture (except for maybe the last person on this list). The touchdown vulture is typically a big back that gets put in the game only in goal line situations, taking the touchdown away from the smaller, more elusive back who did all the work to get there.
Touchdown Vultures can frustrate both the owner of the other RB and the owner of the TD Vulture. The owner of the other RB…let’s call him Ryan Mathews…gets pissed because his player racks up the yardage, only to see Mike Tolbert plunge in from one yard out. (This exact scenario was recently played out in a hilarious episode of The League)
Owners of the TD Vulture…let’s say his name is Brandon Jacobs… don’t feel great either because if the TD Vulture doesn’t get in the end zone, he’s essentially useless.
Chris Johnson- RB Tennessee Titans
Perhaps no player in the history of fantasy football has been a bigger bust than Chris Johnson has been in 2011. The past few years, he has been a monster, breaking off big runs routinely, leading many fantasy owners to championships. But this year, Johnson, who was likely drafted in the top 5, has been absolutely abysmal.
Just like Hillis, Johnson has fallen out of favor fast. His performance is especially puzzling because he appears to be healthy.
Johnson would have been better off tearing his ACL in week 2, like first-rounder Jamaal Charles did. At least then you could drop him and move on. Johnson owners have been paralyzed by CJ2K. They can’t bench him because they fear the week he is benched will be the week he goes off for a big game. They can’t trade him because no one will give fair value for him. So he just stays in the starting lineup, killing your team worse than Adam Dunn did in fantasy baseball this season (ok, maybe it’s not that bad).
Who is the most hated man on your fantasy football team? Let your frustrations out in the comment section. Leave a message for the player on your team you hate the most.
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