As the playoff season comes to a close it's time for fantasy owners to start thinking ahead to next season. There are rookies to learn about, injuries to examine and emerging players to study. Fantasy owners should also start to think about which 'proven' players are ready to take a nose dive -- those fantasy staples that have produced year after year but that are now on the verge of a big letdown.
Here is the fantasy team you do not want to have in 2010 ...
QB Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle
Fantasy owners may be excited by Pete Carroll's arrival in Seattle, but it isn't necessarily the best news for the team's long-time quarterback. Carroll will want to put his stamp on the passing game, and soon that will mean finding a quarterback to build around. Hasselbeck is 34 and coming off of one of the worst seasons in his tenure with the Seahawks; in 14 games he managed just 17 touchdowns and 216.3 passing yards per game. Hasselbeck's best days are behind him, and fantasy owners should steer clear of him for 2010.
RB LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego
Chances are Tomlinson will be wearing new colors next season. Already there is speculation about where he might end up, but the question fantasy owners should be asking is, "Does it really matter?" Although he had 12 touchdowns in 14 games, Tomlinson averaged a paltry 3.3 yards per carry and caught a career-low 20 passes. It seems no coincidence that his sharp decline coincided with his 30th birthday, and a change of scenery is not going to peel back any of the wear on his tires.
RB Thomas Jones, NY Jets
Jones has quietly made his argument for Canton. He is on the verge of cracking the 10,000-yard mark next season, and he's gained 1,000 or more yards in five consecutive seasons. Problem is the Jets now have a younger, fresher workhorse to feed (Shonn Greene) and that will cut into Jones' carries. Injuries started to wear down the 31-year-old back in 2009 and his limited involvement in the team's playoff run could be a sign of things to come. Fantasy owners should stay away from Jones, even though he'll likely be given a top 15 running back ranking.
WR Terrell Owens, Buffalo
An easy pick. Still, there is bound to be a large number of fantasy owners that will give T.O. one more chance, willing to believe he still has a little magic left. The Bills are a disaster, and Owens has little supporting talent around him. As disappointing as his 2009 statline was (55 catches, 829 yards, five touchdowns), it's a miracle he posted the numbers he did. Owens is in terrific condition for a 36-year-old but he lacks the quickness that he possessed in his prime.
WR Santana Moss, Washington
Moss has long been a fantasy puzzle. His end-of-season numbers always look good, but they are the product of a few monster games mixed with several subpar performances. The change to the Redskins coaching staff will not treat the 30-year-old Moss kindly in 2010. Mike Shanahan will beef up the rushing attack and search for steady possession-type receivers to bring balance to the offense. Moss' big-play style will have a role in Shanahan's system, just not as prominent of one as what Moss is used to.
TE Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota
Sure, Shiancoe had nice numbers in 2008 even before Brett Favre arrived, but his 2009 stats will over-inflate his value, causing fantasy owners to over-spend on draft day. On the verge of reaching 30, Shiancoe is not going to produce double-digit touchdown totals next season, and he's probably not a candidate to catch even 50 passes -- whether Favre returns or retires for a third time. The Vikings simply have too many mouths to feed in the passing game, and Shiancoe can no longer take opponents by surprise.