How many of you went to the movie theater to see "Caddyshack Part II" back in 1988, expecting to see something hilarious because of how the original "Caddyshack" had you in absolute stitches? Yeah, well, we all know how that sequel turned out. No Bill Murray, no Rodney Dangerfield, no Cindy Morgan (she was quite the dish back then) and too much Dan Aykroyd. Not good. You see, the original was so good, it was almost impossible for the second edition to live up to the hype.
The same thing happens in the NFL and in turn, fantasy football.
In 2009, Chris Johnson broke Marshall Faulk's single-season record for scrimmage yards and finished with 342.90 fantasy points. Whether you use common sense, trends or the law of averages, CJ2K had no chance to duplicate those totals in 2010. Coincidentally, he finished with "just" 228.90 points and was considered a disappointment in the eyes of some owners. Now let's go back a few more years to 2007, when Randy Moss put up an NFL-record 23 touchdowns and found the end zone once for every 4.2 catches. As expected, Moss scored a touchdown for every 6.3 times he caught the football over the next two years.
Once again, because the original was so good, the sequel had no chance of meeting expectations. So with that in mind, what numbers recorded last season can we expect to see at least a slight decline in during the 2012 campaign? Here's a look at 10 statistics that aren't likely to be duplicated.
Cam Newton's 14 rushing touchdowns: Newton broke the NFL record for rushing scores by a quarterback, which was previously held by Steve Grogan. But take a look at the numbers of the signal-callers that have rushed for the most scores in a single season. All of them saw decreases (some were titanic) in the number of rushing touchdowns recorded the following year. Even if Newton scores seven times (or half of his rookie total) in 2012, he'll experience a 42-point decline in fantasy land.
Philip Rivers' 20 interceptions: Rivers is coming arguably his worst fantasy season, finishing ninth in points among quarterbacks due in large part to his 20 interceptions and 25 total turnovers. Whether he was hurt or simply endure a bad year, I don't see Rivers committing such a high number of mistakes again. Keep in mind, he had averaged 11 interceptions in his three previous seasons. Based on that total, you can expect to add at least another 20 fantasy points to his projected 2012 totals.
LeSean McCoy's 20 total touchdowns: An absolute beast in fantasy land, McCoy helped countless owners take home a league title in 2011. If you're expecting him to score another 20 touchdowns, however, you'll be disappointed. In the history of the NFL, there have been 25 instances where a back scored 20 or more times. Not including Jim Brown, who retired after posting 21 scores (1965), these runners failed to duplicate the previous season's total 82.6 percent of the time. That's big.
Maurice Jones-Drew's 1,606 rushing yards: Jones-Drew has long been a solid fantasy runner, but last year's rushing totals were far and away the best of his career. In fact, he had averaged 1,180 yards on the ground in the previous three seasons. With the addition of Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson in the pass attack, the Jags will throw more often. In turn, there will be a decrease in Jones-Drew's carries from the NFL-high 343 he had in 2011. He's still a No. 1 fantasy runner overall, however.
Marshawn Lynch's touchdown streak: It appeared that Lynch's time as a valuable fantasy player was over. That is, until he went off for 1,204 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns in 2011. That was a gigantic jump in production compared to the 741 yards and 5.6 touchdowns he averaged the previous three years. A big part of last year's success was a record streak of 11 straight games where he found the end zone at least once. Call me a pessimist, but I don't see that happening again.
Calvin Johnson's 1,681 receiving yards: This has nothing to do with Megatron being on the cover of the new "Madden" game, but it will be tough for him to duplicate the 1,681 yards he recorded in 2011. In fact, no one has ever posted 1,600-plus receiving yards and 16 or more touchdowns in back to back years. Not even Jerry Rice! That's not to suggest that Johnson will be a complete bust (unless you're superstitious), but fantasy fans should expect Johnson's numbers to see at least a slight drop.
Victor Cruz's 1,536 receiving yards: Cruz came out of nowhere last year to produce 1,536 receiving yards to go along with an impressive nine touchdowns. The question is -- can the talented wideout from Massachusetts do it again? This situation has all the look and feel of what I call the "magical" season, when everything goes right and a player just absolutely explodes in the stat sheets. So despite finishing in the top five at his position in 2011, I wouldn't take Cruz as more than a No. 2 wideout in drafts.
Jordy Nelson's 15 touchdown catches: Nelson broke out in 2012, recording a career-best 1,263 yards with a ridiculous 15 touchdowns -- Calvin Johnson was the lone wideout to finish with more scoring receptions. And while it obviously helps his stock to have a star like Aaron Rodgers under center, Nelson has about as much chance to score 15 times as Pee-wee Herman has of dating Kate Upton. Much like Cruz, Nelson should be seen as more of a No. 2 fantasy wideout this season -- despite being a top-five wideout in 2011.
Laurent Robinson's 11 touchdown catches: Prior to scoring 11 times last season, Robinson had found the end zone four times in the previous four years combined. Now with the Jaguars, he'll have an enormous downgrade at quarterback from Tony Romo to Blaine Gabbert. Also, Robinson won't have the advantage of Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten drawing coverages from his side of the field. If you do take a chance on the veteran, it shouldn't be as more than a fourth fantasy receiver.
Rob Gronkowski's 18 total touchdowns: Gronkowski found the end zone 17 times as a receiver last season (a record for a tight end), but he also scored a rushing touchdown. His immense success has countless fantasy owners asking if he's worth as much as a first-round pick in 2012. Well, if you factor in the expected drop in touchdowns - I'd project him for 10-12 - Gronkowski would be better as a second- or third- round choice. But another 18 trips to the end zone is pretty unlikely in 2012.