Avoiding the Knuckleheads

I am putting this topic under dynasty, although it could easily apply to any kind of fantasy football league: How do you avoid the knuckleheads?

What’s a knucklehead? It’s a guy who self-sabotages his career. See Henry Ruggs as the classic example. https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/38162272/ex-raiders-wr-henry-ruggs-iii-sentenced-3-10-years-fatal-dui

I bring this up as I noticed Chase Claypool just found another sucker: Bills sign Chase Claypool to one-year deal - NBC Sports

In Claypool’s rookie season, he looked like he could be the next great alpha WR, with size and speed and a nose for the endzone. Since then, he hasn’t been anything. Even when he makes a great play, he screws it up with a taunting penalty. He’s been to Chicago, Miami, and even the CFL, and still nothing. Even if he returned to rookie form, he’d be worth it.

But let’s not limit this conversation to the elephant in the room. How about Rashee Rice, who learned nothing from Henry Ruggs? Rashee Rice crash: Chiefs WR becomes a warning for all NFL players

No discussion of knuckleheads would be complete without Rae Carruth, who arranged the murder of his “baby mama”: Rae Carruth - Wikipedia

Dare I mention lighter knuckleheads, like Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson, or Randy Moss? While these guys still had solid careers, their diva activities definitely created threats to otherwise solid careers. The truth is, guys like Owens, Johnson and Moss were just big egos. These guys weren’t the incredible idiots mentioned previously.

But how do we avoid the true knuckleheads? The problem is seeing it. With Claypool, it was obvious. After his second season, when his productivity dropped off the cliff, it was pretty obvious. But guys like Carruth and Ruggs and Rice were nowhere near as obvious. They simply made bad legal decisions.

Sadly, decision-making as bad as this is hard to detect. But there are small clues. All of these guys underperformed in small ways.

Take Carruth. For a 1st round pick, he never lived up to that billing. His first season wasn’t even close to Claypool’s rookie year. By the time he was in court, it was pretty obvious this guy was a thug.

Ruggs was a little harder. His deadly mistake came in the middle of his second season, when it looked like he was just hitting his stride. Granted, he was never an alpha WR, more like a deep threat. We have to call him the knucklehead exception.

Rice was another one, where we didn’t see it coming. Coming off a solid rookie season, as well as playoffs, he did something incredibly stupid. Unless you know him personally, you can’t predict this kind of stuff.

The moral of the story? The only way to predict the knucklehead factor is to see a drop-off in performance. Other than that, we are all susceptible to being blindsided.