Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Heisman winners aren't fantasy options

Though the win college football's biggest prize, Heisman Trophy winners usually aren't helpful for owners.

Will the Browns' Johnny Manziel be destined to become a Heisman-winner-turned-star or fall into the same trap as most other winners of college football's most coveted prize? (Associated Press)
Will the Browns' Johnny Manziel be destined to become a Heisman-winner-turned-star or fall into the same trap as most other winners of college football's most coveted prize? (Associated Press)Read moreAssociated Press

IF THE Heisman Trust people hand their famous award to Oregon's Marcus Mariota on Saturday night, he might want to give it right back.

It's bad luck.

Eagles fans pining for Mariota take heed: Heisman winners lately, particularly quarterbacks, are generally clipboard holders at best in the NFL. In fantasy, they are mostly invisible.

With Mariota favored to pick up this year's trophy, and 2012 winner Johnny Manziel poised to make his first NFL start on Sunday for Cleveland, we wanted to take a look at the Heisman winners since 1989 - the year after Hall of Famer Barry Sanders won it - and celebrate all those players who went on to make meaningful contributions to fantasy leaguers.

There was one.

Two, if you want to throw in Ricky Williams.

Desmond Howard won a Super Bowl MVP, but he was a kick returner and not a fantasy option. Reggie Bush got as high as an RB2 when he closed the 2011 season for the Dolphins with four consecutive 100-yard games, but he's mostly been a flex option in the NFL. Ron Dayne? No thanks. Rashaan Salaam? Maybe in a 28-team league.

Williams, whom Eagles fans infamously begged for in 1999 (instead of Donovan McNabb), had five 1,000-yard seasons and two with 10+ touchdowns. His best year was 2002 when he ran for 1,853 yards and was clutch with 10 of his 17 TDs in the last 6 weeks of the season. He was OK as a pro, but smoked himself out of football. Nicotine was not his problem.

Eddie George is the best of this group. He had 1,000 yards in seven of the eight seasons between 1996-2003. He also posted double-digit TDs twice. George was a mid-RB1 in his best years and a serviceable RB2 in the others.

From 1989-2013, 17 of the 24 Heisman winners were quarterbacks. Just about all of them were irrelevant. Manziel is a rookie. Jameis Winston, the 2013 winner, still is in college.

The dogs: Andre Ware, Ty Detmer, Gino Torretta, Charlie Ward, Danny Wuerffel, Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, Jason White, Matt Leinart, Troy Smith, Tim Tebow.

The mediocre: Sam Bradford, Robert Griffin III.

The serviceable: Carson Palmer, Cam Newton.

The outstanding: None.

This leaves one guy unaccounted for. In the years since 1989, only one Heisman winner has put up Pro Football Hall of Fame credentials, yet he was less of a fantasy contributor than Ward, Crouch or Weinke.

He was all-Pro seven times, went to eight Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl.

He is Charles Woodson, the defensive back.


Andre Johnson needs four catches to become the 10th player with 1,000 career receptions. Name the other nine. Hints: All started their career after 1984, one is a tight end, another is active and two are in the Hall of Fame (though many of these others will follow).

Still amazing

The best nugget from this football season: Aaron Rodgers has 35 touchdown passes and three interceptions. The second-best is that all three of those interceptions bounced off his receivers' hands. That is awesome.

Answer here

The nine players with 1,000 career receptions are Jerry Rice (1,549), Tony Gonzalez (1,325), Marvin Harrison (1,102), Cris Carter (1,101), Tim Brown (1,094), Terrell Owens (1,078), Reggie Wayne (1,061), Isaac Bruce (1,024) and Hines Ward (1,000).

Position watch

Quarterbacks: When Derek Anderson started for Cam Newton in Week 1, he threw for 230 yards, two touchdowns and no picks in a win over Tampa Bay, this week's opponent. Anderson targeted Greg Olsen 11 times and Kelvin Benjamin eight. Each of those guys caught a TD ... In five regular-season games against San Diego as a Bronco, Peyton Manning has 15 TD passes and three interceptions. Manning's been held under 200 yards passing in consecutive games for the first time since 2009. Last week against Buffalo, Manning failed to throw a TD pass, ending a 51-game streak.

Running backs: Eddie Lacy was limited at practice yesterday. James Starks should be on standby ... San Diego's Ryan Mathews has yet another ankle injury, which caused him to miss practice yesterday. Donald Brown is first in line to get more work, with Branden Oliver presumably coming in on third downs ... Jamaal Charles was a limited practice participant yesterday with knee and ankle injuries.

Wide receivers: Julio Jones tied a career high with 17 targets Monday night. The other time he had 17 was in his rookie season in 2011. He had one catch for 16 yards the following game. He missed practice yesterday with a hip injury. Harry Douglas is the easiest replacement ... Sneaky play of the week is Jacksonville's Marquise Lee at Baltimore, which gives up a league worst 205 yards per game to opposing WRs ... Second-year pro Marquess Wilson will pick up the slack in Chicago for Brandon Marshall, who is out for the year after taking a nasty but clean hit to his back last week.

Get out the vote

Use the link accompanying this story to download your copy of the Daily News' annual fantasy football ballot. Instructions for submissions are on the ballot.