2012 Fantasy Football: Five NFL Players Who Could Be Suspended by the League

Abstract: The NFL football season is right around the corner and millions of Americans are gearing up for their annual fantasy football drafts. With that in mind, here are five NFL players that could be suspended by the NFL in the coming weeks.

The 2012 NFL season is fast approaching. According to the NFL's official website, the initial preseason game will take place on Sunday, August 5 with the first regular season game occurring a month later, on Wednesday, September 5. The coming NFL season also heralds the beginning of fantasy football. Many men and women have already started pouring through NFL rosters and fantasy cheat sheets in an effort to identify players who have the potential to be fantasy superstars.

People who have begun their fantasy football research are conditioned to red flag athletes whose performances may be impacted by an injury, a holdout, or a feud with the coach. However, fantasy football aficionados may sometimes forget to place asterisks by players that have run afoul of the law in the off-season. These mistakes may be costly, especially for fantasy footballers whose drafts are coming up in the next couple of weeks. They may lament their decision to select Adrian Peterson or Dez Bryant in a draft only to learn in late August that the athlete will have to serve an NFL mandated suspension.

Here are five athletes that might be suspended by the NFL in the coming weeks.

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver

Most people who have seen Dez Bryant in action would concur in the belief that he has a tremendous amount of talent. However, Bryant could not stay out of trouble in the offseason. As Fox News notes, police charged the receiver with misdemeanor assault for allegedly grabbing his mother by the shirt and striking her with a baseball cap. The incident occurred on July 14. Bryant may or may not be found guilty by the judicial system; however, per ESPN, that fact may not matter. The article notes that Roger Goodell could choose to suspend the Dallas star even if the court finds him not guilty. The jury is still out with regards to what actions Goodell may take in this case.

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings Running Back

Most fantasy football enthusiasts have probably already discounted Adrian Peterson's fantasy value due to a knee injury that he suffered last season. However, they might also want to keep in mind that, per ESPN, the star running back is facing misdemeanor charges of assault stemming from a July incident in a nightclub. Peterson's brush with the law might not be so bad, except for the fact that he is accused of assaulting an off duty police officer. The case is pending in both the judicial system and with the NFL. It is quite possible that Goodell will determine the star running back's NFL fate long before a judge or jury decide whether he is guilty or innocent. There is a silver lining for fantasy football fans. According to NBC, Peterson is not likely to be 100 percent during the first few weeks of the NFL season, which is when he would likely have to serve any NFL suspension.

Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans Wide Receiver

Like Peterson, Kenny Britt is coming back from a knee injury he suffered last season. Per ESPN, the star wide receiver is still having issues with the knee and has been placed on the Titans' physically unable to perform list. As a result, most fantasy footballers have probably already put an asterisk by his name. However, Britt also has to contend with a DUI charge he received earlier in July. Per The Tennessean, it is Britt's eighth run in with the law since 2009. As the article notes, Britt escaped Goodell's wrath after several brushes with the law last summer. Regardless of what happens in court, he is less likely to avoid a suspension this time around. Worse, Britt would likely not begin to serve his suspension until he is ready to take the field.
Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars Wide Receiver

As ESPN notes, Justin Blackmon, a star wide receiver for Oklahoma State, was selected in the first round of the most recent NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. When he was drafted, many people, especially individuals with keeper league teams, were probably chomping at the bit to add him to their fantasy football rosters. However, that situation changed when Blackmon was arrested by police in June for driving under the influence; he recently plead guilty to that offense. It was his second alcohol related incident since 2010, and, per NBC, has hindered his contract talks with the Jaguars. Anyone who drafts Blackmon has to bet that he can clear up his contract dispute with Jacksonville soon while at the same time avoiding any further brushes with the law. Fantasy football enthusiasts who pick-up Blackmon also have to hope that he avoids an NFL suspension.

Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks Running Back

People who started Marshawn Lynch on their fantasy football teams during the second half of last season were amply rewarded. Per Yahoo Sports, the running back scored 10 touchdowns and amassed 1070 total yards (receiving and running) from Week 9 through Week 17 of the 2011 season. Lynch has the opportunity to demonstrate that the second half of last season was no aberration; however, first, he has to avoid getting suspended by the NFL. According to ESPN, it is unclear at this time how Goodell will rule in this instance.

-- Anthony Hopper

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