Fantasy football is finally over, so that means it's time for you to sit around and complain about what went wrong for your team in 2012. Go ahead and point fingers at the players on your lineup, we all do it. It's their fault.
We witnessed plenty of terrible performances this season from fantasy "studs" that ultimately left their owners wallowing in pity and looking over their draft recap to see where they went wrong. That's just fantasy football for you. It's a love/hate relationship mainly consisting of hate.
In the spirit of holding grudges, let's take a look at some of the biggest fantasy busts from 2012. I'm guessing you won't be drafting these guys again if they were on your team this year.
Michael Vick - After being listed as one of the top overall picks for the 2011 season, Vick headed into 2012 with a declining average draft position (ADP) and less promise to fantasy owners mainly based off of his injury concerns. However, it was difficult for anyone to foresee the debacle ahead. In 10 games, Vick finished with 13 total touchdowns, 10 interceptions and four fumbles. Everyone was on board with him after he found the end zone 30 times in 12 games two years ago. It's just not happening these days, though. He's likely on his way out in Philly, and his fantasy stock for next season is lower than ever.
Eli Manning - Manning entered 2012 as the seventh-ranked quarterback on Yahoo! Sports preseason rankings. He nearly threw for 5,000 yards last season, so it wasn't hard to take him in those middle rounds. Unfortunately Manning finished the year with nearly 1,000 yards fewer than his previous campaign. He posted 3,948 yards, 26 touchdowns and 19 turnovers, not exactly a stat line that warrants a fifth or sixth-round selection. The Giants never quite found consistency on offense, which will cause Manning's fantasy value to sink heading to 2013.
Matthew Stafford - Can we blame Stafford for his lofty expectations this year? Okay, maybe we can, as his case is similar to Vick's. Stafford threw for over 5,000 yards and 41 touchdowns in 2011, his first full season in the NFL. So, naturally, fantasy experts ranked him among the top five quarterbacks for 2012. That idea came crashing down quickly. Stafford finished with an impressive 4,967 yards, but he only completed 20 touchdown passes while committing 20 turnovers. Ready to put him in the preseason top five for 2013?
Ryan Mathews - Mathews came into 2012 labeled as a potential top 10 player...overall. I wish that was a joke. A broken collarbone on literally his first snap in preseason knocked his ADP down a bit, but he was still being taken in the first three rounds. He managed to play 12 games after missing the beginning of the season. That's enough time to pay off for fantasy owners right? Well, 707 rushing yards and a single touchdown left everyone claiming they only owned Mathews because autopick put him on their roster. The Chargers offense was a train wreck, and Norv Turner's usage of Mathews only made matters worse. He'll at least have a new coach for 2013.
Darren McFadden - Another oft-injured running back, McFadden played 12 games in 2012 as well. This is not a joke, as he too finished with 707 rushing yards. He and Mathews were eerily similar. DMC did score two touchdowns, though, so he had a much better year overall. The Raiders zone blocking system did not pay off for McFadden. Greg Knapp won't be returning to the team, so maybe their next offensive coordinator will play to McFadden's strengths. He was a first-round pick in many leagues. Let's just forget it ever happened.
LeSean McCoy - Continuing the running back trend here, McCoy was another victim of injuries and a terrible team in 2012. Yahoo! Sports listed him as the No. 3 running back overall after he scored 20 total touchdowns last year. As Philly's offense struggled, though, McCoy's fantasy value slowly diminished. He finished with 840 yards and two rushing touchdowns. His 54 receptions helped PPR owners a bit, but his return value in relation to his ADP was horrendous. McCoy's draft value remains high for 2013, assuming the Eagles find a coach who will actually give him the ball.
Larry Fitzgerald - Poor Larry. It's just not fair. The Cardinals cycled through quarterbacks this season, with each as bad as the next. Kevin Kolb's season-ending injury put a dagger in Fitzgerald's fantasy value. He managed 71 receptions for 798 yards and four touchdowns, hardly the numbers you would anticipate from the second-ranked receiver before the season kicked off. Seriously, you just have to throw the ball in the general vicinity of Fitzgerald and he'll likely come down with it. Hopefully Arizona can find someone to figure that out in 2013. The Cardinals also don't have much of an offensive line, so it's not like any quarterback has time to wait for receivers to get downfield.
Hakeem Nicks - We already discussed Eli Manning's performance, so Nicks shouldn't be a shocker. He battled injuries again (what a surprise) and managed to play in 13 games in 2012. Nicks caught just 53 of his 100 targets for a career-worst 692 yards and three touchdowns. His draft stock was down before the year as he was already in jeopardy of missing playing time with a foot injury. It would have been wise to stay away. Victor Cruz posted comparable stats to his 2012 season. He's the Giants receiver you want to own. Nicks' injury concerns will likely drop his ADP even more for 2013.
Brandon Lloyd - "A legitimate deep threat for Tom Brady? This is going to be just like that year where he threw 23 touchdown passes to Randy Moss!" -unreasonable fantasy owners everywhere. Sure, Lloyd looked promising in the Patriots offense, but did you really expect him to pour in big game after big game with Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez on the same field? Lloyd finished with four touchdowns and under 1,000 yards receiving. His best game of the year came after Gronk and Julian Edelman were out of the picture. Rethink your strategy for drafting Lloyd in 2013.
Jermichael Finley - The No. 5 ranked tight end coming into the season, Finley failed to get anywhere near his expectations in 2012. Let's just be blunt about it, his season was awful. Finley caught 61 passes for 667 yards and two touchdowns. That's not even impressive in PPR leagues. The Packers have plenty of weapons in the passing game, and Aaron Rodgers doesn't make Finley a priority in the red zone. He's out of the top 10 for tight ends going forward into 2013.
Antonio Gates - Gates caught 49 passes for 538 yards in 2012, his lowest totals since his rookie season back in 2003. To add to the misery, Yahoo! Sports ranked him No. 3 among tight ends before the year. He and Finley should be friends. Philip Rivers doesn't look like he knows how to throw the football anymore. Add in the fact that San Diego's offense was a dumpster fire, and you get an unspectacular performance from Gates. He did catch seven touchdowns, so at least he helped out your lineup a few times, kind of.
Vernon Davis - Moving on to the No. 7 tight end in the preseason rankings, Davis caught 41 passes for 548 yards and five touchdowns in his seventh pro season. Once Colin Kaepernick took over under center for the 49ers, Davis' fantasy value was almost as low as mine. He caught four passes, yes four, in the final four games of the season. Assuming San Francisco is sticking with Kaepernick for 2013, it's hard to get excited about drafting Davis.