The Twenty Biggest Fantasy Football Busts at Quarterback: Michael Vick Last Year Ranks Surprisingly High
The list of the biggest busts at quarterback in fantasy football over the last decade include names like JaMarcus Russell. When we talk about busts in fantasy football, though, the names get bigger. No one was selecting Russell early in a fantasy draft and pinning their hopes on his proclivity for food and purple drank. To assess the biggest fantasy football busts at the quarterback position, I took into account draft position, replacement value of having to find a different starter, and the production of other top quarterbacks in a given year. As a result, no one appears on this list who was drafted outside the Top 9 at the position; you can joke about David Carr, but no one ever sunk their fantasy team by selecting Carr in the 10th round.
For the most part, the biggest “busts” in terms of fantasy football at quarterback have been a result of injuries, though in many cases where a star quarterback got hurt, he was already struggling before an injury halted the disappointing season. Here are the twenty biggest “busts” in terms of loss of value over the last decade.
20. Daunte Culpepper, 2006. Ahhh, the Daunte Culpepper to Miami experiment. Miami famously chose Culpepper over Drew Brees in the offseason. They weren’t the only ones, as the fantasy football community was selecting Culpepper in the early sixth round while Drew Brees was going a couple of rounds later.
19. Eli Manning, 2006. This wasn’t a bad season in real life, but if you draft a guy as the 5th quarterback, and he turns out to play every game, you better get above average production. Finishing 10th in points while playing every game means you started one of the worst fantasy starters every week and lost ground on the field.
18. Michael Vick, 2004. We can thank Jim Mora Jr. here, as Vick was being drafted 4th at quarterback, but saw his numbers decline across the board. The Falcons reached the NFC Championship Game in a weak NFC, but Vick saw his play decline, something that would not rebound until Leavenworth and Philadelphia.
17. Donovan McNabb, 2003. Yes, Donovan McNabb was actually the first quarterback selected in many drafts in 2003, but turned in a solid but unspectacular statistical season. When you are taken in the second round, solid but unspectacular numbers do not cut it.
16. Carson Palmer, 2007. Palmer was actually going slightly ahead of Tom Brady in 2007 drafts, as the #2 QB taken. He finished 9th, just slightly behind Brady. Where Tom led in touchdowns, Palmer led the league in interceptions. It won’t be his last season on here.
15. Matt Hasselbeck, 2006. Hasselbeck was in a pattern of good and off years, but fantasy owners were in a buy mode by 2006, taking Hasselbeck 4th at the position coming off a Super Bowl appearance.
14. Kurt Warner, 2003. The year before, Warner had missed a majority of the season with injuries, replaced by Marc Bulger. Fantasy fans were still buying Warner with the Rams, taking him 7th. He lasted two games before being replaced (for good) by Bulger in St. Louis, and fumbled six times in the season opener.
13. Tony Romo, 2010. Tony Romo was having a pretty good statistical year, though the Cowboys were losing, but a missed block by the other Gronkowski changed all that.
12. Kevin Kolb, 2010. Kevin Kolb was being drafted as a fantasy starter, but his stint as the Eagles franchise passer lasted less than one full game before a concussion and Michael Vick changed things.
11. Steve McNair, 2004. McNair was coming off a co-MVP season, and being drafted as a high end fantasy starter, but aged overnight in 2004. To add insult to the injury, Billy Volek had an incredible stretch of 400 yard passing games so that any McNair owner who missed out on him was left cursing what could have been.
10. Daunte Culpepper, 2005. It’s amazing how quickly Daunte Culpepper fell apart. He was still going 2nd at quarterback in 2005 and had nearly matched Peyton Manning’s touchdown totals the year before. He started off the year badly, throwing lots of interceptions, and the season ended with a knee injury that altered his career.
9. Marc Bulger, 2007. Once upon a time, Marc Bulger was a viable fantasy starter. That all came crashing down in 2007 as Bulger struggled mightily, after being selected 5th at QB in fantasy drafts.
8. Carson Palmer, 2008. A year after finishing a disappointing 9th in fantasy points after being drafted ahead of Tom Brady, Palmer was still going 5th at QB. He played in only 4 games that season, going 0-4 as a starter, and averaging only 5.7 yards per pass.
7. Derek Anderson, 2008. Derek Anderson rode his 29 touchdown passes in 2007 to fantasy relevance, and was being taken 7th at QB the following offseason. Owners who went with Anderson were not amused.
6. Rich Gannon, 2003. Rich Gannon was the league MVP in 2002 and single-handedly beat me on a Monday night where I just needed him not to go for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Broncos. The next year, my stabbing of the Rich Gannon voodoo doll finally paid off, as Gannon managed only 1,274 yards in 7 starts, after going 4th at QB.
5. Vince Young, 2007. Big things were expected of Young entering year two, especially based on his running ability, as he was being selected 8th at the position and in the late fifth round overall. He managed to finish 19th in points at QB despite starting every game– a really hard feat to accomplish. Owners who pegged Young as a starter and stuck with him likely finished dead last in points at the position.
4. Peyton Manning, 2011. As the news first trickled out about Manning’s neck surgery, fantasy owners continued to draft him as a starter based on his year’s of consistency at the top of the position. It was only late in the preseason that his value started to drop out of the top 10 at the position.
3. Michael Vick, 2011. How is Michael Vick ahead of Manning, when Peyton never played? Well, it’s based on draft position and replacement value. Vick played 13 games and finished 11th in points. That doesn’t sound so bad until you see that he was drafted by the end of the first round, and directly in front of Tom Brady and Drew Brees, two guys that passed for more than 5,000 yards in a year with huge passing numbers.
2. Tom Brady, 2008. Brady was coming off the MVP undefeated season and of course went by the middle of the first round. He lasted one quarter before Bernard Pollard ended his season and fantasy owners’ hopes.
1. Kurt Warner, 2002. Before Brady, there was Kurt Warner who was the can’t miss early first round pick. Coming off three straight years putting up arcade numbers with the Greatest Show on Turf, Warner was going in the top 4 in fantasy drafts. He struggled immediately, throwing 7 interceptions in the first three starts, and broke his finger in the next game.
[photo via US Presswire]
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