29 Nov 2006
All week, we're profiling the semi-finalists for the Fantasy Football Hall of Fame class of 2007. The FFHoF enshrines players whose statistical accomplishments were more impressive than their actual accomplishments. To be eligible, a player must be retired, have made a significant contribution to fantasy football, and have no shot of making the Pro Football Hall of Fame. To find out more or to vote for your favorite players, read this Friday's Too Deep Zone at Football Outsiders or right here on FOX.
If Hearst had avoided injuries, we would be polishing his bust for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
But Hearst couldn't stay healthy. His first two seasons were marred by injuries. He bounced from Arizona to Cincinnati to San Francisco, emerged as a great running back, and promptly tore up his ankle in a playoff game. The injury was so bad that it led to a circulatory problem, and Hearst disappeared for two full seasons.
When he came back in 2001, he was the kind of player you take in the very last round of your fantasy draft: a big name worth a flyer in the unlikely event that he plays. But Hearst did play, rushing for over 1,200 yards and scoring five touchdowns. He scored nine more touchdowns in 2002 for another fine fantasy season.
Hearst was a great player in the regular season, but he rarely played well in the playoffs. He did have a great game against the Packers in 1998, but that was the only postseason game in which he rushed for over 55 yards. And of course, getting hurt so bad on your first carry that you need two years of rehab can officially be classified as a "very bad day."
A great statistical player who didn't play as well in the playoffs? A top talent whose career is full of false starts and strange interruptions? There's only one place that can truly honor such a player: the Fantasy Football Hall of Fame. You can do your part by voting for the finalists at Football Outsiders on Friday. It's your chance to be part of the democratic process.
Possibly the closest Super Bowl matchup in history also poses the question: how much does it mean when certain aspects of an NFL team improve dramatically in the second half of the season?