When one hears the term “fantasy,” I’d argue that most sports enthusiasts automatically link the term to “football.” Football is arguably the most popular sport in the world; the Super Bowl is such an extravaganza and an avenue for advertisers to pony up millions of dollars to make their products known throughout the world. The National Football League (NFL) generated $7.3 Billion in revenue in 2014 and is expected to exceed $13 Billion for the upcoming 2016 season. What comes in conjunction with the NFL’s success shouldn’t surprise you: Fantasy Football has also grown into a billion dollar business.
In the United States alone, 74.7 million Americans participated in fantasy football in 2015, spending $4.6 billion. Since the NFL is played in America (with the exception of a few games in London every season), it should come as no surprise that the most profits from the industry are generated from the U.S. Most people who play fantasy do it for various reasons: some like getting an old group of friends together once a year to draft a team in person while others like spending money to assemble a team of their favorite players across the league in order to win their league and the pot.
Daily fantasy has become very popular and controversial recently. It provides owners a chance to start over every week; each week one can assemble a team of whichever players they want under a set salary cap. The below list of players may be ones profiting their fantasy teams more so than their actual ones.
15 Brandon Marshall - Wide Receiver, New York Jets
Marshall is somewhat of a diva, which is not uncommon for most wide receivers in the NFL today. While he does have the talent to back it up, his attitude has gotten him into hot water. Even though he led the NFL in touchdown catches last season with 14, he seems to wear out his welcome in each city. He's been traded three times in five years.
14 Jeremy Langford - Running Back, Chicago Bears
13 Eric Decker - Wide Receiver, New York Jets
Another Jets Wide Receiver? I know he and Marshall both had excellent seasons last year with Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing them the ball, but Decker has a case of the drops. In his defense, he has scored 11 touchdowns or more in three of the past four seasons. However, in three of four of those seasons he's dropped at least 8 passes. Decker also has a penchant of disappearing from games due to slight injuries.
12 Frank Gore - Running Back, Indianapolis Colts
11 Kelvin Benjamin - Wide Receiver, Carolina Panthers
Whether he was ready or not, the former Florida State Seminole was thrust into a starting role as a rookie in 2014. It's safe to say that aside from Benjamin, the wide receivers surrounding Cam Newton are, umm, not very good. KB earned Newton's trust right away as the team's #1 wideout, but he tied for the league lead in drops with ten. To make matters worse, he only caught 50.3% of his targets. It may or may not be coincidental, but the Panthers made the Super Bowl in 2015 while Benjamin was out for the season with a torn ACL.
10 Matthew Stafford - Quarterback, Detroit Lions
Stafford came into the NFL in 2009 as the number one pick overall with a ton of hype surrounding him. Great quarterbacks are true difference-makers and can make or break NFL Teams. Stafford has had his moments by leading the Lions to the playoffs twice, but he's 42-53 as a starter in his career. Not surprisingly, Detroit lost both of their playoff games under Stafford.
9 Tyler Eifert - Tight End, Cincinnati Bengals
8 Chris Ivory - Running Back, Jacksonville Jaguars
Chris Ivory possesses all the talent in the world. The former Tiffin standout bounces off of opponents like a bowling ball and barrels through defenders like a mack truck. Ivory has a difficult time staying on the field due to his lengthy injury history since college: concussions, torn meniscus, hamstring tears, sprained MCL, sprained/bruised shoulder, lisfranc fracture, pulled/tight hamstrings and fractured ribs.
7 Dez Bryant - Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys
I almost put Cam Newton here, but I had a tough time arguing the 2015 NFL MVP as an overrated athlete in reality. Instead we have a different controversial pick. Dez had quite the buzz coming out of Oklahoma State as a polarizing wide receiver. His reputation preceded his immense talent, causing Dez to fall to pick # 24 in the 2010 Draft. Thankfully he's kept his head on straight in Dallas since then and dominates when healthy, even leading the NFL in touchdown catches in 2016 with 16.
6 Jay Cutler - Quarterback, Chicago Bears
5 Jeremy Hill - Running Back, Cincinnati Bengals
The rumbling back from LSU split time in his rookie season in 2014 with Gio Bernard and dominated both the NFL and Fantasy alike with 1,124 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns while starting only 8 games. Unfortunately he hit a sophomore slump in 2015 on the field where Hill didn't come close to replicating his 5.1 yards per attempt in 2014; rather, he averaged a paltry 3.56 yards per carry (third-worst in the NFL).
4 Ted Ginn Jr - Wide Receiver, Carolina Panthers
As a result of the aforementioned Kelvin Benjamin's injury, Ted Ginn Jr. became the Panthers' number one wide receiver by default. The return specialist is not known for his hands. Ginn Jr. tied for second in the league in drops in 2015 with 10. To make matters worse, he only caught 45.8% of his targets. His 10.4% drop percentage was the absolute worst among all full-time wide receivers in the league. Completely unacceptable.
3 Blake Bortles - Quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguars
Talk about a breakout season. Where did that come from? The sophomore QB from Central Florida blew up in 2015 for 35 touchdown passes and 4428 passing yards, good for second and seventh in the NFL, respectively. Bortles shattered all of his rookie statistics...including interceptions. That makes me a sad panda.
2 Tony Romo - Quarterback, Dallas Cowboys
1 Mike Evans - Wide Receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This pains me since Evans is so damn good at times; he's shown so many flashes of brilliance in his young career. He was a touchdown machine at Texas A&M boxing out defenders and catching everything in sight. Evans asserted his dominance in his rookie season in 2014 with 12 touchdowns and even throwing in a 200-yard receiving game. He hit a sophomore wall in 2015, leading the league in drops with 11 and catching only 74 receptions on 148 targets (!). While his fantasy owners could have used more touchdowns, Evans fared pretty well with 1,206 receiving yards. If he rectifies his drop issue in season 3, then the 6'5" behemoth will be the top receiver in the league, both fantasy and reality.
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