Frank Heinz, NBCDFW.com
I have a colleague at Yahoo! named Andy Behrens who always says that every fantasy football draft has a handful of late round, lauded-by-all sleeper picks. Those picks you make where everyone around the table takes five seconds off from trash talking and says, “Good pick,” or “That’s a nice pick,” or “I was sooo tempted to take him last round.” Andy’s assertion is that these picks are always, without fail, DOOMED. The consensus sleeper picks never pan out. It’s the picks everyone scorns (Cedric Benson in round 3, anyone?) that end up paying off.
This year had two of those consensus sleeper picks. The first was Anthony Gonzalez of the Colts, who was a bust. The second was Felix Jones, who is also a bust.
Sorry Felix, but it’s true. According to Yahoo! draft stats, Felix was, on average, the 31st running back taken in all fantasy drafts. You’d expect a return on your investment for getting Felix so late, right? He averaged 8 yards a carry last year before being injured!
But the opposite has proven true. In terms of fantasy scoring Felix ranks 47th overall, even worse than his draft prospects. He has been outscored by the likes of Jerome Harrison, Jason Snelling, Justin Forsett, and Jamaal Charles. If his name wasn’t Felix Jones and he hadn’t been a first round pick, he’d be waiver wire fodder in your league by now. In fact, he likely IS waiver wire fodder in your league right now.
I drafted Jones in tow of three leagues this year, and felt like a genius for taking him. I am an idiot. Jones is clearly an injury-prone back who can’t handle a full workload. And that’s sad, given how promising he was last year. But it’s Chris Johnson who is destroying the world as a second-year speedback. That could have been Felix Jones. That should have been Felix Jones.
But that’s how it goes. Sleepers always end up putting you to bed.