2005 Fantasy Football IDP Busts
by Vin Sadicario
The following list is a collection of individual defensive players who will be overvalued in fantasy drafts and auctions in 2005. Some of the following players will be busts because of team changes, some due to position changes, and some due to injury concerns. These players will not live up to expectations in the 2005 season.
D.J. Williams, Linebacker, Denver
Rookie standout D.J. Williams will have a hard time improving upon or even matching his stats from last season. Williams is a promising young player, but a switch in positions will lead to a decline in tackles this season. Williams will be moving to strong-side linebacker with the signing of former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Ian Gold. Williams totaled 114 tackles last season as a rookie, but he will struggle to eclipse 100 this season on the strong-side. Many people will overrate Williams on draft day because of his age and ability, but you should let Williams slide due to the position change. Watch the situation closely as Williams value would be higher if Gold is injured or Williams is moved back to weak-side linebacker.
Takeo Spikes, Linebacker, Buffalo
Takeo Spikes is a big name linebacker who will not live up to high expectations this season. Last season was the first time in his seven year career that Spikes failed to reach 100 tackles, finishing with only 96, a drop off of 30 from 2003. Spikes finished last season with 96 tackles, 3 sacks, and a career high 5 interceptions. Spikes numbers should continue to decline, especially in the interception category where he had averaged only 1 in his first 6 seasons. Spikes' name is mentioned along with the leagues top linebackers, but his production is starting to fall off, and I would recommend avoiding him in your drafts.
Keith Brooking, Linebacker, Atlanta
Another big name linebacker who fell short of expectations last season was Keith Brooking. After averaging about 140 tackles per season from 2001-2003, Brooking finished with a disappointing 101 tackles. Even further diminishing his value this year is the addition of linebacker Edgerton Hartwell to the Atlanta Falcons. Hartwell will steal some of Brookings tackles, making it difficult for Brooking to reach 100 for the fifth straight season. Brooking will probably fail to record three interceptions as he did last season, making him a disappointment in 2005. Brooking is still a useful linebacker for fantasy teams, but he is no longer the top flight linebacker he was a few years ago.
Kendrell Bell, Linebacker, Kansas City
Kendrell Bell has a new home in Kansas City, but he will need to stay healthy to have an impact in 2005. Bell has tremendous potential, but has not been able to put his talents together on the field. Bell had a great rookie season in 2001, took a step back in 2002, returned to form in 2003, and had an injury plagued 2004 campaign. This season will see Bell with a new team and a new position. After spending three seasons with the Steelers, Bell signed a free agent deal with the Chiefs. The Chiefs plan to use Bell as an outside linebacker instead of in the middle because of his injury problems. The move to outside linebacker hurts Bell's chances at having a great season. The bigger problem for Bell is staying healthy. Bell played in only three games last season, and has already been held out of Chiefs minicamp with a groin injury. Kendrell has too many question marks surrounding him to make a big impact this season.
Simeon Rice, Defensive End, Tampa Bay
Simeon Rice is another big name player who is on the downside of a great career. Since joining the Bucs in 2001, Rice has been one of the top five defensive ends in football. Rice, however, saw a pretty big drop off in his numbers in 2004. Averaging 50 tackles, 15 sacks, and 6 forced fumbles from 2002-2003, Rice saw his numbers fall to 40 tackles, 12 sacks, and one forced fumble. Rice is entering his tenth NFL season and he may never have another year like 2002 or 2003. Rice will probably reach double digit sacks, and have around 40 tackles, but he is no longer a top defensive end. Rice may fall out of the top 10-15 defensive ends this season.