For football fans, there are few ways to become more knowledgeable about the game than playing fantasy football.  As an “owner” putting together your own pigskin dream team, you become intimately familiar with all the major players: their stats, their health status, the back-ups to their positions, etc.

Sadly, putting together a great FFB team is part skill, part timing and part luck.  The fact of the matter is that even if you load your roster with established talent, there’s always the chance that even a reputable player will turn into a stinker and be a bust.  With that in mind, and in no particular order, here are my selections for this year’s Top 5 Fantasy Football Busts:

Brandon Lloyd  - For a wide receiver who lead the league with over 1400 yards last year, you expect a lot more bang for your buck a third of the way through the season.  Instead, he’s sitting there with 357 yards and no TDs (he finished last year with 11).

Peyton Hillis - Young running back who had a breakout season last year and really steamrolls defenses.  But his contract issues (he wants a new one - what else is new?) are a real distraction, and may be playing a role in his “illnesses” and inability to play. 

Chris Johnson - Talk about disappointment!  Here’s a guy who rushed for almost 1400 yards last year and over 2000 in ’09, and here he is after 6 games with less than 300 rushing yards and one lousy touchdown!

Reggie Bush - Another RB whose stats are stinkin’ up the joint.  After claiming he’s an every-down back and getting traded from New Orleans to Miami, all Reggie has shown is that the Saints were geniuses to find ways to make him effective in their offensive scheme.  The poor return on investment (about 230 rushing yards after 6 games) - plus the fact that he’s been injury-prone his entire [short] career - make Reggie a bust in my book.

Peyton Manning - This was unquestionably the most difficult name to put on this list.  There are those who are going to say that it’s unfair to stamp the label of “bust” on Manning, because he hasn’t taken a single snap this season.  That’s true, and to be perfectly honest, I like Manning and think he’s a great guy - both on and off the field (which is rare, because a lot of these guys are obnoxious jerks in real life) - but the truth of the matter is that Manning cost FFB owners a draft pick if they took him.  Moreover, some of them took him high, maybe even as high as the first round (although that’s probably overpaying - even for someone of his talent and stature).  Then they got nothing out of the deal, and may have even had a little trouble getting rid of him if he received a “Can’t Drop” designation like Yahoo puts on some players in its leagues.  So you end up with a high draft pick taking up a spot on your bench, and you can’t trade him because nobody wants him (unless someone in a “keeper” league is building for the future) and you can’t drop him and pick up someone else.  And he’s producing NO points.  That’s a bust.

Looking back over this list, if someone had offered you all these players at the beginning of the season, you probably would have jumped on the deal.  On paper, 7 weeks ago, this looked like an awesome lineup, the only caveat being that Bush really hadn’t proven himself at that point (and still hasn’t).  It just goes to show, again, that fantasy football isn’t an exact science, and that past performance is no guarantee of future results.  But that’s what makes FFB so much fun.