In the most recent issue of ESPN The Magazine, we took a look at the players with the most potential for fantasy breakouts in 2012. This time, we look at its less pleasant counterpart, the fantasy breakdowns. Whereas the breakouts feature some of the players who will regularly populate All-Star Games for the next decade, the breakdown list is tinged with pessimism rather than optimism.
To get an idea of players to be cautious about drafting this spring, I've used the ZiPS projection system to highlight nine of the riskiest performers in the 5-by-5 fantasy categories. That's not to suggest that some of these players don't have value but that they are likely to disappoint if you don't adjust your expectations.
Josh Hamilton, OF
Hamilton was drafted too high on average last year and is likely to be drafted too high again this year. By virtue of missing so many years on the restricted list, the 30-year-old is not as young as you would think, and players who miss a lot of playing time because of injuries tend to have steeper aging curves. If we knew Hamilton would repeat his 2010 performance, he'd still be a blue-chipper even if he missed 30 games. But counting on him to channel his MVP season is a bit of a sucker bet.
2012 ZiPS Projection: .289 BA, 70 R, 23 HR, 87 RBIs, 8 SB
Derek Jeter, SS
Jeter has been a dependable hitter for average in his career, hitting below .290 only once (2010), and he even got his average up to .297 last season after a rough first half.