- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 29, 2012

Who has been this year’s biggest fantasy disappointment?That question was posed, fittingly, as a group of us watched Monday night’s Disappointment Bowl between the Panthers and Eagles. 

The poser suggested Vernon Davis. While the 49ers TE has had a disappointing season — including a goose egg last week that helped me pick up a much-needed victory — I don’t think the expectations surrounding him were high enough to warrant being the biggest disappointment.

Davis was a midround pick. To be truly disappointing, expectations have to be high. First- or second-round high. Therefore, to arrive at the answer, let’s take a look at the top 24 players in ESPN’s preseason rankings.

Those ranking included five QBs, 10 RBs, seven WRs and two TEs.

Of the QBs, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees are having typically strong seasons and are not in the conversation. Matthew Stafford was until he started putting together solid games (and not just piling up garbage-time numbers in the fourth quarter) the past few weeks. Finally, there’s Cam Newton, who successfully damaged his candidacy Monday with his best game of the season (2 TDs passing, 2 TDs rushing).

Of the RBs, Maurice Jones-Drew and DeMarco Murray are disqualified from consideration for being injured most of the season. Of the eight remaining backs, Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson have been great; Chris Johnson has been better than most realize; and Ray Rice and Jamaal Charles have been good enough if not nearly as good as advertised. That leaves LeSean McCoy and Matt Forte squarely in the disappointing category. We will return to them shortly.

Of the WRs, Greg Jennings is disqualified because of injury and Larry Fitzgerald is disqualified because the Cardinals decided to play this season without a serviceable QB. Of the five remaining pass-catchers, Calvin Johnson has redeemed himself the past few weeks by returning to form as the league’s best; and Andre Johnson, Roddy White, Wes Welker and Mike Wallace have been solid.

Of the TEs, the only disappointment is that injury will prevent Rob Gronkowski from battling Jimmy Graham for supremacy at the position for a second straight season.

In hindsight, while some shuffling is in order, that list was a pretty good predictor of success. Only McCoy and Forte qualify as truly disappointing. As to which one is the bigger — and thus biggest — disappointment, let’s look at the numbers.

Before missing Monday’s game with a concussion, McCoy had 750 yards rushing and 2 TDs and 235 yards receiving and 3 TDs. In the same amount of games — he missed Week 3 with an ankle injury — Forte had 683/3 and 184/0.

At first glance, you might say Forte, and I might say that, too, because he’s killing me in a particular league I really, really want to win. Forte has never been a big TD producer, but before a knee injury ended his season last year, he led the NFL in yards from scrimmage. So, heading into this season, he was expected to put up numbers worthy of a No. 1 back. But 86.7 total yards a game has not been worthy. Yet despite a disappointing season thus far, Forte is not the answer to the question.

It’s McCoy — and it’s not that close. Yes, McCoy is averaging close to 100 total yards per game (98.5), but while Forte likely was drafted anywhere from the late first to the late second, McCoy was a top-five pick in every draft. He was the second RB taken (ahead of Rice) in many drafts and likely didn’t slide past being the third RB taken in any draft that made sense. Through his first 10 games last year, McCoy scored 12 total TDs while gaining 1,267 total yards. He finished with 1,624 yards and a league-leading 20 TDs, having scored in 13 of 15 games.

Every single owner who drafted McCoy this season was expecting him to deliver similar numbers. That he hasn’t — and certainly won’t now that he’s about to miss his second straight game with concussion symptoms — makes him the answer to the question: Who has been this year’s biggest fantasy disappointment?

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