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Playoff Extra: Super Bowl Fantasy hangover?

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

It's obviously a great experience to play in the Super Bowl. Winning the game is the ultimate prize for any player since it's the culmination of hard work, determination and a little luck.

But the results of playing in a Super Bowl can end up being a detriment to a player's Fantasy value the following season. All the additional games in the playoffs lead to increased workload, wear and tear and injuries.

In looking at last year's Super Bowl, the best example of a letdown happened with the Steelers. We expected Rashard Mendenhall to struggle this season after he had 412 touches (385 carries and 27 catches) over 19 games in 2010, including 61 carries and four catches in the playoffs. Mendenhall's Fantasy points declined by 53 this year, and he suffered a torn ACL in Week 17.

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Ben Roethlisberger struggled with injuries all season, and he only saw an 18-point increase despite playing three more games this year than in 2010. His average Fantasy points went from 19.1 in 2010 to 16.5 this season. Mike Wallace also saw a decline in Fantasy points by 16, and you have to assume the 2010 season took a toll on the entire Pittsburgh roster.

Below you will find examples of quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from both teams in the past five Super Bowls and how they performed the following year. Some players didn't suffer at all from playing in the Super Bowl, which includes Aaron Rodgers having a career season this year.

But as the Patriots and Giants kickoff Super Bowl XLVI, just keep in mind that the hangover from playing in the final game of the season could linger into 2012. It might be worse for the Giants also since they will have played 20 games when the year is over, which is a lot of work for any player.

The last time these teams met in the Super Bowl at the end of the 2007 season turned out to be a devastating experience the following year for Tom Brady. He tore his ACL in Week 1 in 2008 and was lost for the season. Now, that likely could have happened with or without the Super Bowl experience, but it's another example of a player struggling or getting hurt after playing in the big game.

Quarterbacks

The last time Eli Manning faced the Patriots in the Super Bowl he not only won the game but played well the next year, as his Fantasy points increased by 14. We hope that can happen again in 2012.

In looking at the winning and losing quarterbacks from the past five Super Bowls, three of the winners have seen an increase in Fantasy production the following year. The losers, however, have struggled with only Peyton Manning's stats seeing a real increase in Fantasy points the season after a Super Bowl loss.

On average, the Super Bowl winners have improved by almost 40 Fantasy points the following season. The losers, however, have seen their Fantasy production drop by almost 132 points the next year.

Now, that stat is skewed because of Brady and his injury in 2008. If you take Brady out of the equation, the losing quarterbacks have only declined by slightly more than 46 Fantasy points on average. But the losers have struggled the following year with injuries to Roethlisberger, Brady and Rex Grossman (2007).

We hope that Brady and Eli Manning remain healthy in 2012, and the Super Bowl appearance should do little to hurt their Fantasy value. Just make sure that Brady -- who is already dealing with a problematic left shoulder injury -- and Manning don't take too many hits in the final game.

Editor's note: All stats listed below are regular-season only.

XLV: Packers 31, Steelers 25
Aaron Rodgers, Packers
2010: 3,922 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and 11 interceptions; 356 rushing yards and four touchdowns; three fumbles in 15 games (344 Fantasy points)
2011: 4,643 passing yards, 45 touchdowns and six interceptions; 257 rushing yards and three touchdowns; one fumble in 15 games (475 Fantasy points)
Difference: Rodgers showed that his performance in 2010 was no fluke as he had an MVP season this year. He has established himself as the No. 1 Fantasy quarterback and is worth drafting in Round 1 in all leagues in 2012.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
2010: 3,200 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and five interceptions; 176 rushing yards and two touchdowns; two fumbles in 12 games (230 Fantasy points)
2011: 4,077 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and 14 interceptions; 70 rushing yards; five fumbles in 15 games (248 Fantasy points)
Difference: Roethlisberger would have been the No. 7 quarterback in 2010 if he played 16 games, but he was out to start the season with a suspension. Injuries limited him this season, but he is still a Top 12 Fantasy quarterback in most leagues and should improve in 2012.

XLIV: Saints 31, Colts 17
Drew Brees, Saints
2009: 4,388 passing yards, 34 touchdowns and 11 interceptions; 33 rushing yards and two touchdowns; six fumbles in 15 games (350 Fantasy points)
2010: 4,620 passing yards, 33 touchdowns and 22 interceptions; two fumbles in 16 games (329 Fantasy points)
Difference: Despite his Fantasy production dropping by 21 points, Brees remained a No. 1 quarterback the year after winning the Super Bowl. The biggest difference for Brees was his turnovers, which increased by seven. He should be drafted in Round 1 in all leagues in 2012.

Peyton Manning, Colts
2009: 4,500 passing yards, 33 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in 16 games (340 Fantasy points)
2010: 4,700 passing yards, 33 touchdowns and 17 interceptions; 18 rushing yards; one fumble in 16 games (345 Fantasy points)
Difference: Manning was the lone losing quarterback in the past five seasons to see his Fantasy points increase on average. The difference for him was his yardage increased while the rest of his stats were almost identical. If Manning is able to play in 2012 he should be considered a No. 1 option again, and he is worth drafting by Round 4 or 5.

XLIII: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
2008: 3,314 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions; 101 rushing yards and two touchdowns; seven fumbles in 16 games (200 Fantasy points)
2009: 4,328 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions; 79 rushing yards and two touchdowns; three fumbles in 15 games (305 Fantasy points)
Difference: The offense in Pittsburgh changed for Roethlisberger after this Super Bowl victory. He became more of a passer, and since then Roethlisberger has remained a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback in the majority of leagues.

Kurt Warner, Cardinals
2008: 4,582 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and 14 interceptions; seven fumbles in 16 games (313 Fantasy points)
2009: 3,753 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions; 10 rushing yards; six fumbles in 15 games (259 Fantasy points)
Difference: The 2009 season was Warner's last in the NFL before retiring, and the Cardinals showed more balance after their dynamic passing attack in 2008. Warner likely would have remained a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback if he returned in 2010.

XLII: Giants 17, Patriots 14
Eli Manning, Giants
2007: 3,336 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions; 69 rushing yards and one touchdown; seven fumbles in 16 games (219 Fantasy points)
2008: 3,238 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions; 10 rushing yards and one touchdown; two fumbles in 16 games (233 Fantasy points)
Difference: The reason Manning's Fantasy production improved in 2008 was he cut down on the turnovers. His 10 interceptions have been the fewest in his career since becoming a full-time starter.

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Tom Brady, Patriots
2007: 4,806 passing yards, 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions; 98 rushing yards and two touchdowns; four fumbles in 16 games (477 Fantasy points)
2008: 76 passing yards in one game (one Fantasy point)
Difference: Brady had the best Fantasy season ever in 2007 before losing the Super Bowl, and his bad luck extended into the start of 2008 when he hurt his knee and was lost for the year. He has since returned as a No. 1 quarterback in all leagues.

XLI: Colts 29, Bears 17
Peyton Manning, Colts
2006: 4,397 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions; 36 rushing yard and four touchdowns; one fumble in 16 games (360 Fantasy points)
2007: 4,040 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and 14 interceptions; three rushing touchdowns; one fumble in 16 games (331 Fantasy points)
Difference: Manning's best year of his career was 2004 when he had 49 touchdowns, but his 35 total scores in 2006 still stands at No. 2. It was hard to duplicate that performance in 2007, but Manning was still a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback as expected.

Rex Grossman, Bears
2006: 3,197 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions; five fumbles in 16 games (207 Fantasy points)
2007: 1,411 passing yards, four touchdowns and seven interceptions; 27 rushing yards; three fumbles in eight games (54 Fantasy points)
Difference: Grossman was never considered a starting Fantasy option even with the Super Bowl run, and he fell apart in 2007. First he was benched in favor of Brian Griese, and then he was lost for the season with a knee injury.

Running backs

We shouldn't have a situation like the one Mendenhall faced this season when looking at the Giants and Patriots. Ahmad Bradshaw is the leading rusher for the Giants, and he has just 265 touches going into the Super Bowl. Brandon Jacobs has 199 touches. For the Patriots, BenJarvus Green-Ellis should also be safe since he has only 219 touches through 18 games.

Over the past five years there were 26 running backs who were significant contributors in helping their teams reach the Super Bowl. Of those 26, 13 saw a decrease in Fantasy points the following season.

In looking at the 10 starters for the majority of the season, eight saw a decrease in Fantasy points the following year (Brandon Jackson, Mendenhall, Pierre Thomas, Joseph Addai, Willie Parker, Edgerrin James, Laurence Maroney and Thomas Jones). And five suffered significant injuries the next year (Jackson, Thomas, Reggie Bush, Addai and Maroney). Four of the running backs who saw an increase in Fantasy points the following season were injury replacements (Donald Brown, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk and Maurice Morris).

The biggest reason for Super Bowl running backs seeing a decrease in production the next year is likely wear and tear. On top of all their carries during the regular season, they get as many as four games worth of additional touches. There were 11 running backs who played in the Super Bowl over the past five seasons that had at least 50 touches in the postseason.

Bradshaw has 60 touches in the postseason so far, and his history of foot problems could be problematic in 2012. He is likely the one running back who could be a concern next year after playing in the Super Bowl.

Editor's note: All stats listed below are regular-season only.

XLV: Packers 31, Steelers 25
Brandon Jackson, Packers
2010: 190 carries for 703 yards and three touchdowns; 43 catches for 342 yards and one touchdown; two fumbles in 16 games (113 Fantasy points)
2011: Did not play
Difference: Jackson was the leading rusher for the Packers in 2010 since Ryan Grant suffered a broken ankle in Week 1. Jackson didn't play this season in Cleveland because of turf toe, and he has minimal Fantasy value heading into 2012.

James Starks, Packers
2010: 29 carries for 101 yards; two catches for 15 yards in three games (11 Fantasy points)
2011: 133 carries for 578 yards and one touchdown; 29 catches for 216 yards; one fumble in 13 games (71 Fantasy points)
Difference: Starks had his moments as a quality Fantasy running back this season, but he was limited by injuries to close the year. He could be the starter for the Packers in 2012, but he should only be drafted as a No. 3 Fantasy option at best.

Ryan Grant, Packers
2010: eight carries for 45 yards in one game (four Fantasy points)
2011: 134 carries for 559 yards and two touchdowns; 19 catches for 268 yards and one touchdown; one fumble in 15 games (86 Fantasy points)
Difference: Grant wasn't the same player this season after missing the majority of the year in 2010. He shared carries with Starks and could never find a rhythm. Fantasy owners should probably ignore Grant in most leagues in 2012 since he is no longer an elite option.

Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers
2010: 324 carries for 1,273 yards and 13 touchdowns; 23 catches for 167 yards; two fumbles in 16 games (202 Fantasy points)
2011: 228 carries for 928 yards and nine touchdowns; 18 catches for 154 yards; one fumble in 15 games (149 Fantasy points)
Difference: We expected Mendenhall to struggle this season after all the work he had in 2010. He also suffered a torn ACL in Week 17, which will likely limit his value heading into 2012 and could ruin his entire year. Consider him a No. 3 Fantasy running back on Draft Day.

Isaac Redman, Steelers
2010: 52 carries for 247 yards; nine catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games (43 Fantasy points)
2011: 110 carries for 479 yards and three touchdowns; 18 catches for 78 yards; two fumbles in 16 games (60 Fantasy points)
Difference: Redman has the chance to be Fantasy relevant in 2012 if he opens the season as the starter for the Steelers with Mendenhall out. Redman is worth drafting as a No. 3 Fantasy running back with the chance to start depending on Mendenhall's status.

XLIV: Saints 31, Colts 17
Pierre Thomas, Saints
2009: 147 carries for 793 yards and six touchdowns; 39 catches for 302 yards and two touchdowns; one fumble in 14 games (138 Fantasy points)
2010: 83 carries for 269 yards and two touchdowns; 29 catches for 201 yards in six games (54 Fantasy points)
Difference: Thomas' 84-point decline in Fantasy value was due to an ankle injury in 2010. He missed the majority of the season but rebounded this year as he shared time with Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles. It will be the same scenario in 2012, and he is a No. 3 running back on Draft Day.

Reggie Bush, Saints
2009: 70 carries for 390 yards and five touchdowns; 47 catches for 335 yards and three touchdowns; two fumbles in 14 games (100 Fantasy points)
2010: 36 carries for 150 yards; 34 catches for 208 yards and one touchdown; one fumble in eight games (36 Fantasy points)
Difference: Like Thomas, Bush missed time with an injury, suffering a broken leg early in the year, which is why he declined by 64 Fantasy points in 2010. Bush had a career year with Miami this season and heads into 2012 as a potential No. 2 running back in all leagues.

Mike Bell, Saints
2009: 172 carries for 654 yards and five touchdowns; four catches for 12 yards; two fumbles in 13 games (83 Fantasy points)
2010: 47 carries for 99 yards; seven catches for 67 yards in 16 games (10 Fantasy points)
Difference: Bell left New Orleans for the Eagles and was then traded to Cleveland. He never got the same opportunity in 2010 that he got with the Saints in 2009, and his Fantasy value is non-existent heading into 2012.

Joseph Addai, Colts
2009: 219 carries for 828 yards and 10 touchdowns; 51 catches for 336 yards and three touchdowns; one passing touchdown; one fumble in 15 games (184 Fantasy points)
2010: 116 carries for 495 yards and four touchdowns; 19 catches for 124 yards; one fumble in eight games (77 Fantasy points)
Difference: A neck injury ruined Addai's season in 2010, which is why his Fantasy production declined by 107 points. Addai is an impending free agent this offseason, but the Colts will likely let him go. He has minimal Fantasy value heading into 2012, but it depends where he plays.

Donald Brown, Colts
2009: 78 carries for 281 yards and three touchdowns; 11 catches for 169 yards in 11 games (47 Fantasy points)
2010: 129 carries for 497 yards and two touchdowns; 20 catches for 205 yards in 13 games (71 Fantasy points)
Difference: Brown took advantage of Addai being out to show off his skills in 2010. He also played well this year with Addai again dealing with injuries. Brown is worth a late-round pick in all leagues in 2012 if he starts for the Colts.

XLIII: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23
Willie Parker, Steelers
2008: 209 carries for 789 yards and five touchdowns; four catches for 15 yards in 11 games (101 Fantasy points)
2009: 98 carries for 389 yards; six catches for 64 yards and a touchdown; one fumble in 14 games (38 Fantasy points)
Difference: The emergence of Mendenhall in 2009 ruined Parker's season after leading the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory in 2008, and his career hasn't been the same since. His days as a viable Fantasy option are over.

Mewelde Moore, Steelers
2008:
140 carries for 588 yards and five touchdowns; 40 catches for 320 yards and one touchdown in 16 games (111 Fantasy points)
2009: 35 carries for 118 yards; 21 catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns; one passing touchdown in 16 games (30 Fantasy points)
Difference: Like Parker, the emergence of Mendenhall took away Pittsburgh's need for Moore in 2009. He remains a potential third-down back for the Steelers, but he has minimal Fantasy value.

Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers
2008: 19 carries for 58 yards; two catches for 17 yards in four games (three Fantasy points)
2009: 242 carries for 1,108 yards and seven touchdowns; 25 catches for 261 yards and one touchdown; three fumbles in 16 games (163 Fantasy points)
Difference: Mendenhall was injured in his rookie season in 2008, but he took over early in 2009 and has become a Fantasy star. He could be in trouble in 2012 based on his knee injury, but he should still be drafted around Round 4 or Round 5 in all leagues.

Edgerrin James, Cardinals
2008:
133 carries for 514 yards and three touchdowns; 12 catches for 85 yards; two fumbles in 13 games (64 Fantasy points)
2009: 46 carries for 125 yards; three catches for 19 yards in seven games (six Fantasy points)
Difference: James helped the Cardinals reach the Super Bowl in 2008, but they didn't need him in 2009 after drafting Beanie Wells. James played with Seattle in his last year in the NFL in 2009, but 2008 proved to be his last serviceable season for Fantasy owners.

Tim Hightower, Cardinals
2008:
143 carries for 399 yards and 10 touchdowns; 33 catches for 230 yards in 16 games (106 Fantasy points)
2009: 143 carries for 598 yards and eight touchdowns; 63 catches for 428 yards; four fumbles in 16 games (126 Fantasy points)
Difference: Hightower, despite splitting time with Wells in 2009, had similar stats to his rookie season. He was a versatile running back for his ability to work near the goal line and catch passes. Plan on drafting Hightower with a late-round pick in 2012 depending on where he plays.

XLII: Giants 17, Patriots 14
Brandon Jacobs, Giants
2007: 202 carries for 1,009 yards and four touchdowns; 23 catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns; four fumbles in 11 games (131 Fantasy points)
2008: 219 carries for 1,089 yards and 15 touchdowns; six catches for 36 yards; one fumble in 13 games (190 Fantasy points)
Difference: Jacobs scored three times in the postseason in 2007, and that carried over to his workload in 2008 when he had a career-high 15 touchdowns, which boosted his Fantasy production by 59 points. He hasn't been the same since, but he's still a No. 3 Fantasy option in most leagues.

Derrick Ward, Giants
2007:
125 carries for 602 yards and three touchdowns; 26 catches for 179 yards and one touchdown; one fumble in eight games (85 Fantasy points)
2008: 182 carries for 1,025 yards and two touchdowns; 41 catches for 384 yards in 16 games (138 Fantasy points)
Difference: Ward missed the Super Bowl in 2007 after he suffered a broken leg in Week 13, but he came back strong in 2008 as a great complementary option to Jacobs. He has struggled since leaving the Giants and has minimal Fantasy value heading into 2012.

Reuben Droughns, Giants
2007:
85 carries for 275 yards and six touchdowns; seven catches for 49 yards in 16 games (60 Fantasy points)
2008: Did not play
Difference: Droughns was good for the Giants as a reserve in 2007 with Jacobs, Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw all missing time due to injuries, but he didn't play in the postseason and never returned in 2008.

Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants
2007:
23 carries for 190 yards and one touchdown; two catches for 12 yards; one fumble in 12 games (15 Fantasy points)
2008: 67 carries for 355 yards and one touchdown; five catches for 42 yards and one touchdown in 15 games (41 Fantasy points)
Difference: Bradshaw turned into New York's No. 2 running back in the playoffs with Ward out, but he didn't build off that success in 2008. It took until 2009 for Bradshaw to become Fantasy relevant, and he was a star in 2010. He should shine once again in 2012 as a No. 2 option depending on what happens in the Super Bowl.

Laurence Maroney, Patriots
2007: 185 carries for 835 yards and six touchdowns; four catches for 116 yards in 13 games (119 Fantasy points)
2008: 28 carries for 93 yards in three games (four Fantasy points)
Difference: A shoulder injury ruined Maroney's season in 2008, and he appeared to fall out of favor with coach Bill Belichick until a resurgence in the middle of 2009. The Patriots traded Maroney to Denver in 2010, and his Fantasy value is now non-existent.

Sammy Morris, Patriots
2007:
85 carries for 384 yards and three touchdowns; six catches for 35 yards in six games (50 Fantasy points)
2008: 156 carries for 727 yards and seven touchdowns; 17 catches for 161 yards; one fumble in 13 games (114 Fantasy points)
Difference: Morris did well as an injury replacement for Maroney in 2008 when he had a career high in carries. Once Maroney returned in 2009, Morris went back to being a reserve and special teams' contributor.

Kevin Faulk, Patriots
2007: 62 carries for 265 yards; 47 catches for 383 yards and one touchdown in 16 games (54 Fantasy points)
2008: 83 carries for 507 yards and three touchdowns; 58 catches for 486 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games (120 Fantasy points)
Difference: Like Morris, Faulk was an injury replacement for Maroney in 2008, which was the reason for his 66-point increase in Fantasy production. Faulk remained a solid contributor in 2009, but he suffered a knee injury in 2010 and will likely retire in 2012.

XLI: Colts 29, Bears 17
Joseph Addai, Colts
2006: 226 carries for 1,081 yards and seven touchdowns; 40 catches for 325 yards and one touchdown; two fumbles in 16 games (169 Fantasy points)
2007: 261 carries for 1,072 yards and 12 touchdowns; 41 catches for 364 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games (220 Fantasy points)
Difference: Addai became the full-time starter for the Colts in 2007, which was his second year in the NFL, and he is one of the few Super Bowl running backs to see a significant boost the next year after a heavy workload. In 2006, Addai had over 300 carries, including the playoffs.

Dominic Rhodes, Colts
2006: 187 carries for 641 yards and five touchdowns; 36 catches for 251 yards; three fumbles in 16 games (98 Fantasy points)
2007: 75 carries for 302 yards and one touchdown; 11 catches for 70 yards; one fumble in 10 games (28 Fantasy points)
Difference: Rhodes left the Colts for the Raiders in 2007, and he couldn't come close to his success in Indianapolis. Rhodes resurfaced with the Colts in 2010, but his career bottomed out soon after.

Thomas Jones, Bears
2006: 296 carries for 1,210 yards and six touchdowns; 36 catches for 154 yards; one fumble in 16 games (154 Fantasy points)
2007: 310 carries for 1,119 yards and one touchdown; 28 catches for 217 yards and one touchdown in 16 games (129 Fantasy points)
Difference: Jones left the Bears for the Jets in 2007, and he had a resurgence for Fantasy owners. His lack of touchdowns hurt his value in 2007, but he was a star in 2008 and 2009. He went to Kansas City in 2010 and his Fantasy value hasn't been the same since.

Cedric Benson, Bears
2006: 157 carries for 647 yards and six touchdowns; eight catches for 54 yards in 15 games (95 Fantasy points)
2007: 196 carries for 674 yards and four touchdowns; 17 catches for 123 yards; two fumbles in 11 games (85 Fantasy points)
Difference: Benson didn't take advantage of becoming the full-time starter in 2007, and he didn't become a quality Fantasy option until going to Cincinnati in 2008. He had a great season in 2009 and played well in 2010 and 2011. He's a free agent this offseason, and where he plays in 2012 will determine his Fantasy value.

Wide receivers

There are several prominent Fantasy receivers in this game with Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Mario Manningham and Welker, and they could be in trouble with their production in 2012 after playing in the Super Bowl. There were 27 receivers who had at least 40 catches in the season they played in the Super Bowl going back the past five years, and 17 saw a decline in Fantasy points the next year.

As you can assume, when the quarterback plays well the season after a Super Bowl appearance, so do the receivers. The quarterbacks who improved their Fantasy value after reaching the Super Bowl were Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning and Eli Manning, and several of their receivers saw an increase in Fantasy points the following year (Donald Driver, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon).

But just because a quarterback struggles that doesn't mean the receiver is terrible. Wallace this year and Marques Colston in 2010 saw a decline in Fantasy points, but they were still elite options. So even if Eli Manning or Brady see a decrease in production you could still see quality play out of Nicks, Cruz or Welker, which is expected.

And that's what you should hope for with the receivers in Super Bowl XLVI. Even if there's a decline -- and the past five years worth of Super Bowl data suggests there will be -- hopefully it will just be minimal.

Editor's note: All stats listed below are regular-season only.

XLV: Packers 31, Steelers 25
Greg Jennings, Packers
2010:
76 catches for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns; two fumbles in 16 games (191 Fantasy points)
2011: 67 catches for 949 yards and nine touchdowns in 13 games (143 Fantasy points)
Difference: Jennings missed the final three games of the regular season this year otherwise his production would have been similar to his 2010 stats. He remains an elite Fantasy option heading into 2012 and should be drafted by Round 3 in all leagues.

Donald Driver, Packers
2010: 51 catches for 565 yards and four touchdowns; one fumble in 15 games (71 Fantasy points)
2011: 37 catches for 445 yards and six touchdowns in 16 games (74 Fantasy points)
Difference: Driver might not return to the Packers in 2012, but he played a significant role this season as the No. 4 receiver in Green Bay. His Fantasy value has diminished, and he should not be drafted in the majority of leagues no matter where he plays next year.

James Jones, Packers
2010:
50 catches for 679 yards and five touchdowns; three fumble in 15 games (88 Fantasy points)
2011: 38 catches for 635 yards and seven touchdowns; one fumble in 16 games (99 Fantasy points)
Difference: Jones continues to be a boom or bust Fantasy option, which makes him hard to trust as a starting option in the majority of leagues. He will likely remain the No. 3 receiver for the Packers in 2012, and he should be drafted with a late-round pick in standard formats.

Jordy Nelson, Packers
2010: 45 catches for 582 yards and two touchdowns; two fumbles in 16 games (78 Fantasy points)
2011: 68 catches for 1,263 yards and 15 touchdowns in 16 games (210 Fantasy points)
Difference: Nelson took a major leap this season with his production as he emerged as a go-to target for Rodgers. He was the No. 2 Fantasy receiver this season behind Calvin Johnson, and he should remain a solid Fantasy option in 2012. Plan on drafting him by Round 3.

Mike Wallace, Steelers
2010: 60 catches for 1,257 yards and 10 touchdowns; five carries for 39 yards in 16 games (178 Fantasy points)
2011: 72 catches for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns, five carries for 57 yards; one fumble in 16 games (162 Fantasy points)
Difference: Wallace saw an increase in catches, but his production declined because his yards and touchdowns decreased. Still, he was a Top 10 Fantasy receiver this season and should remain a Top 10 option again in 2012.

Hines Ward, Steelers
2010: 59 catches for 755 yards and five touchdowns; one fumble in 16 games (96 Fantasy points)
2011: 46 catches for 381 yards and two touchdowns, one fumble in 15 games (48 Fantasy points)
Difference: Ward slipped on the depth chart for the Steelers this season behind Wallace and Antonio Brown. He has little Fantasy relevance anymore and should not be drafted in the majority of leagues in 2012.

XLIV: Saints 31, Colts 17
Marques Colston, Saints
2009: 70 catches for 1,074 yards and nine touchdowns; two fumbles in 16 games (150 Fantasy points)
2010: 84 catches for 1,023 yards and seven touchdowns in 15 games (138 Fantasy points)
Difference: Brees saw a decrease in Fantasy production in 2010 with an increase in his interceptions, but Colston was still solid with only a 12-point decline in Fantasy points. The difference was the additional two touchdowns he scored in 2009. Colston remains an elite Fantasy receiver in 2012.

Devery Henderson, Saints
2009: 51 catches for 804 yards and two touchdowns; four carries for 13 yards in 16 games (85 Fantasy points)
2010: 34 catches for 464 yards and one touchdown in 16 games (47 Fantasy points)
Difference: Henderson has never been a quality Fantasy receiver because of his inconsistent play, so it's no surprise his Fantasy points went down in 2010. The Saints receivers also had to deal with the return to health of Lance Moore, who was injured in 2009. Henderson should not be drafted in the majority of leagues in 2012.

Robert Meachem, Saints
2009: 45 catches for 722 yards and nine touchdowns; six carries for 82 yards; one fumble in 16 games (121 Fantasy points)
2010: 44 catches for 638 yards and five touchdowns; four carries for 14 yards in 16 games (88 Fantasy points)
Difference: Meachem was a breakout receiver for Fantasy owners in 2009, which was his third year in the NFL, but he struggled in 2010 to repeat that performance. Moore took away a lot of production from Meachem, but Brees didn't appear to trust Meachem the same way.

Reggie Wayne, Colts
2009: 100 catches for 1,264 yards and 10 touchdowns in 16 games (177 Fantasy points)
2010: 111 catches for 1,355 yards and six touchdowns; one fumble in 16 games (162 Fantasy points)
Difference: The reason that Wayne saw a 15-point decline in his Fantasy production was his decrease in touchdowns. Otherwise all his other stats improved. Wayne continues to be a solid Fantasy option in all leagues, and he should be drafted with a mid-round pick in 2012 depending on where he plays and what happens to Peyton Manning if he stays in Indianapolis.

Austin Collie, Colts
2009: 60 catches for 676 yards and seven touchdowns in 16 games (102 Fantasy points)
2010: 58 catches for 649 yards and eight touchdowns; one fumble in nine games (107 Fantasy points)
Difference: Collie would have had more than a five-point improvement in 2010 if he didn't miss time due to a series of concussions. He struggled in 2011 with Peyton Manning out, but he should rebound this year if Manning returns to the Colts. Keep an eye on what happens.

Pierre Garcon, Colts
2009:
47 catches for 765 yards and four touchdowns; two carries for 10 yards in 14 games (92 Fantasy points)
2010: 67 catches for 784 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games (109 Fantasy points)
Difference: Garcon took advantage of injuries to Collie, Anthony Gonzalez (knee) and Dallas Clark (wrist) to build off his breakout year in 2009. He had a 17-point improvement in his Fantasy points in 2010, and he should be considered a No. 3 Fantasy receiver heading into 2012 depending on where he plays and what happens to Peyton Manning if he stays with the Colts.

XLIII: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23
Hines Ward, Steelers
2008: 82 catches for 1,047 yards and seven touchdowns in 16 games (139 Fantasy points)
2009: 95 catches for 1,167 yards and six touchdowns; one fumble in 16 games (142 Fantasy points)
Difference: Ward saw a three-point increase in Fantasy points with the Steelers passing game seeing a significant improvement in 2009. Ward has mulled over retirement in 2012, but even if he returns he should not be drafted.

Santonio Holmes, Steelers
2008: 55 catches for 821 yards and five touchdowns; one fumble in 15 games (103 Fantasy points)
2009: 79 catches for 1,248 yards and five touchdowns in 16 games (145 Fantasy points)
Difference: Holmes saw the biggest boost from Big Ben's new passing ways in 2009 with an increase of 42 Fantasy points. It would be his last year in Pittsburgh before he was traded to the Jets, but Holmes helped Fantasy owners with a solid season. He should be considered a No. 3 Fantasy receiver heading into 2012.

Nate Washington, Steelers
2008: 40 catches for 631 yards and three touchdowns; five carries for 18 yards in 16 games (74 Fantasy points)
2009: 47 catches for 569 yards and six touchdowns; two carries for 15 yards in 16 games (85 Fantasy points)
Difference: Washington went to Tennessee as a free agent after winning the Super Bowl with the Steelers, where he was the No. 3 receiver behind Ward and Holmes. He was essentially the No. 2 receiver for the Titans behind Kenny Britt, and Washington has become a key Fantasy reserve. He's worth a late-round pick on Draft Day in 2012.

Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
2008:
96 catches for 1,434 yards and 12 touchdowns in 16 games (207 Fantasy points)
2009: 97 catches for 1,092 yards and 13 touchdowns in 16 games (179 Fantasy points)
Difference: Fitzgerald saw a 28-point decline in his Fantasy production after an amazing year in 2008, but he still played well in 2009. He continued to slide in 2010, but that was with Warner's retirement. We still value Fitzgerald as an elite Fantasy option, and he should be drafted as Top 10 receiver in 2012.

Anquan Boldin, Cardinals
2008:
89 catches for 1,038 yards and 11 touchdowns; nine carries for 67 yards; three fumbles in 12 games (158 Fantasy points)
2009: 84 catches for 1,024 yards and four touchdowns; three carries for 12 yards and a touchdown; two fumbles in 15 games (121 Fantasy points)
Difference: Like Fitzgerald, Boldin also suffered in 2009 with Warner having a down year. It was Boldin's last season with the Cardinals since he went to Baltimore in 2010. He didn't have an overwhelming year with the Ravens this season, but he's still worth using as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in all leagues.

Steve Breaston, Cardinals
2008: 77 catches for 1,003 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games (110 Fantasy points)
2009: 55 catches for 712 yards and three touchdowns; two carries for 44 yards; one fumble in 15 games (80 Fantasy points)
Difference: Breaston could be the classic example of a one-year wonder since he was solid in 2008, declined in 2009 and struggled with injuries in 2010 and this year. His Fantasy production has decreased each year, and he might not improve enough in 2012 for Fantasy owners to trust him.

XLII: Giants 17, Patriots 14
Plaxico Burress, Giants
2007: 70 catches for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns in 16 games (167 Fantasy points)
2008: 35 catches for 454 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games (61 Fantasy points)
Difference: Burress went from an elite Fantasy receiver to prison when he shot himself in the leg in a New York nightclub in 2008. He is now with the Jets, and he has struggled to regain his old form. Consider him a No. 3 Fantasy receiver at best in 2012.

Amani Toomer, Giants
2007:
59 catches for 760 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games (86 Fantasy points)
2008: 48 catches for 580 yards and four touchdowns in 16 games (74 Fantasy points)
Difference: Toomer's last full season in the NFL was in 2008, and he remained a good weapon for Eli Manning but not a consistent Fantasy option. Even though Manning saw an increase in Fantasy points after his Super Bowl victory it was mainly because he cut down on his turnovers in 2008.

Wes Welker, Patriots
2007: 112 catches for 1,175 yards and eight touchdowns; four carries for 34 yards in 16 games (159 Fantasy points)
2008: 112 catches for 1,165 yards and three touchdowns; two carries for 26 yards; one fumble in 16 games (127 Fantasy points)
Difference: Welker saw a 32-point decline in his Fantasy points in 2008 mainly because Brady was lost for the season in Week 1. Welker was still amazing for Fantasy owners in point per reception leagues, but Matt Cassel couldn't help Welker find the end zone on a consistent basis. Welker heads into 2012 as a solid No. 1 Fantasy receiver in all formats depending on what happens in this Super Bowl.

Randy Moss, Patriots
2007: 98 catches for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns in 16 games (280 Fantasy points)
2008: 69 catches for 1,008 yards and 11 touchdowns; two fumbles in 16 games (156 Fantasy points)
Difference: Like Welker, Moss struggled with Cassel and couldn't duplicate his record-breaking year in 2007. He would have likely seen a decline in 2008, but dropping by 124 Fantasy points was pretty steep. Moss would rebound in 2009 before seeing his career fall apart in 2010 when he was with three teams (New England, Minnesota and Tennessee). It's a shame the way his Hall of Fame career ended.

Donte Stallworth, Patriots
2007: 46 catches for 697 yards and three touchdowns; one carry for 12 yards in 16 games (80 Fantasy points)
2008: 17 catches for 170 yards and one touchdown in 11 games (15 Fantasy points)
Difference: Stallworth went to Cleveland in 2008, and leaving the Patriots hasn't been good for his career. He was suspended in 2009 and played in only nine games with Baltimore in 2010 before ending up in Washington this year. Fantasy owners shouldn't count on him again in any leagues.

XLI: Colts 29, Bears 17
Marvin Harrison, Colts
2006: 95 catches for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns; one fumble in 16 games (199 Fantasy points)
2007: 20 catches for 247 yards and one touchdown in five games (23 Fantasy points)
Difference: Harrison's last good season in the NFL was 2006 since he was injured in 2007 and couldn't regain his form in 2008. He was once among the best Fantasy options at any position, and he should be considered one of the best wide receivers of all time.

Reggie Wayne, Colts
2006: 86 catches for 1,310 yards and nine touchdowns in 16 games (179 Fantasy points)
2007: 104 catches for 1,510 yards and 10 touchdowns; three fumbles in 16 games (197 Fantasy points)
Difference: With Harrison dealing with a knee injury in 2007, the torch was passed for Wayne to become the new No. 1 receiver for the Colts. He saw an 18-point increase in Fantasy production and hasn't looked back since as a solid Fantasy option.

Muhsin Muhammad, Bears
2006: 60 catches for 863 and five touchdowns; one fumble in 16 games (106 Fantasy points)
2007: 40 catches for 570 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games (67 Fantasy points)
Difference: Muhammad had a solid season in 2006 in helping the Bears reach the Super Bowl, but he struggled in 2007 with Chicago dealing with quarterback issues. Grossman was benched and then injured, and the passing game never took off. Muhammad had one more productive season in 2008 with Carolina before his last year in the NFL in 2009.

Bernard Berrian, Bears
2006: 51 catches for 775 yards and six touchdowns; one fumble in 16 games (103 Fantasy points)
2007: 70 catches for 948 yards and five touchdowns; one fumble in 15 games (115 Fantasy points)
Difference: Berrian, despite all the quarterback woes in 2007, still had a 12-point increase in Fantasy points from his Super Bowl season. He left Chicago for Minnesota in 2008, but he's never blossomed into a standout Fantasy option, with his career likely over following a washout season this year.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg . Do you have a question or a comment for our Fantasy staff? Drop us a line at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com .

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Player News
Report: Bills expect running back Fred Jackson to play Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11/22/2014) Despite being listed as questionable for Monday’s game against the Jets, Bills coach Doug Marrone said running back Fred Jackson (groin) is in the team’s game plan, according to ESPN.

"We're planning on him to be ready to go," Marrone said, per ESPN. "Just take the injury and that's how we have to list it to protect ourselves."


Patriots make practice squad transactions
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11/22/2014) The Patriots announced defensive lineman Casey Walker has been signed to the team’s practice squad. To make room for Walker on the practice squad, the Patriots released linebacker Ja’Gared Davis .

Seahawks add T Andrew McDonald, release DT Jimmy Staten
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11/22/2014) The Seahawks added offensive tackle Andrew McDonald to their practice squad and released defensive tackle Jimmy Staten, reports Sports Radio KJR.

Lions RB Reggie Bush unlikely to play vs. New England
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11/22/2014) Althoguh Lions running back Reggie Bush vowed to return to the lineup this week, he is unlikely to play Sunday against New England, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora Saturday.

Bush was a limited participant all week in practice with an ankle issue. He is still working his way back from the injury, and it appears as if he's still not 100 percent. If he sits out Sunday, he will have missed four of his last six games.


Jets list 11 players as probable for Monday night
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11/22/2014) Following a bye week, the Jets appear well rested heading into Week 12. The Jets listed offensive lineman Oday Aboushi (shoulder), wide receiver Eric Decker (hamstring), wide receiver Greg Salas (wrist), running back Chris Ivory (shoulder), running back Chris Johnson (knee), wide receiver T.J. Graham (neck), offensive lineman Willie Colon (knee), center Nick Mangold (shoulder), linebacker Antwan Barnes (knee), defensive back Darrin Walls (calf) and defensive back Jaiquawn Jarrett (calf) as probable for Monday night’s game against Buffalo.

Broncos TE Virgil Green: I'm ready to return Sunday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11/22/2014) Broncos tight end Virgil Green told the Associated Press he's ready to return to action on Sunday. Green missed the previous three games with a calf injury. If Julius Thomas (ankle) is unable to play, Green hopes the team allows him to display his versatility as a pass-catcher.

"I'd love for J.T. to play. I really don't know where he's at right now, but if he doesn't go, I feel like it's an opportunity for me to show that I'm not just a blocking tight end," Green said. "I can catch. People know I can run the ball as well, so it's an opportunity for me and I have to jump all over it."


Ravens head into MNF with only two players listed as out
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11/22/2014) Only Ravens wide receiver Michael Campanaro (thigh) and tackle Jah Reid (hand) were listed as out for Monday night’s game at New Orleans, according to the team’s final injury report.

The Ravens also listed defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (not injury related), tight end Owen Daniels (not injury related), linebacker Terrell Suggs (not injury related), linebacker Daryl Smith (not injury related), fullback Kyle Juszczyk (foot) and guard Marshal Yanda (knee) as probable.


Bills list RB Fred Jackson questionable for Week 12
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11/22/2014) Bills running back Fred Jackson was a limited participant in practice Saturday and was designated as questionable for Monday night's contest against the Jets, per the team's official website. Jackson sat out Week 11 against Miami after suffering a setback Week 10 against Kansas City.

"We'll see how it goes. It felt good to get out there," Jackson said. "I don't feel like there were any setbacks. Hopefully I can continue to progress well and play well on Monday."


Bills unveil final injury report for Week 12
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11/22/2014) The Bills have ruled out Jarius Wynn (knee) for Monday's game against the Jets. Ron Brooks (groin) and Fred Jackson (groin) were deemed as questionable for Week 12.

Meanwhile, the following players were ruled as probable: Dan Carpenter (groin), Marquise Goodwin (ankle), Chris Hogan (hip), Manny Lawson (ankle), Kyle Orton (toe), Frank Summers (neck), Kraig Urbik (shoulder) and Sammy Watkins (groin).


Chargers release Richard Crawford, promote Ryan Miller
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11/22/2014) The Chargers announced cornerback Richard Crawford was released Saturday. Crawford was released to make room for offensive lineman Ryan Miller. Miller had been on Chargers’ practice squad and was promoted to the 53-man roster. Crawford had yet to appear in a game for the Chargers.

 
 
 
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