Woodhead in the mix for cover of Madden ’12

Whether you’re a fantasy football owner, a fan of the NFL or both, chances are that you’re well aware of the dreaded Madden curse. Basically, if you’re the player who dons the cover of this wildly popular video game, your chances of getting hurt or having a bad statistical season seem to increase about 1,000 percent.

Think I’m crazy? Well, the proof is in the pudding, as they say.

Over the last 13 years, almost every player has been affected in one way or the other. From Garrison Hearst (Madden ’99) to Drew Brees (Madden ’11), this hex has been almost dead-on accurate. Some might argue that Brees was immune, as he threw for an impressive 4,620 yards and 33 touchdowns. But did you also know that he played most of the 2010 season with a “low-grade” medial collateral ligament sprain and threw a career-high 22 interceptions?

OK, what about Larry Fitzgerald? True, he didn’t get hurt after being on the cover of the 2010 version of the game. But Fitzgerald shared the cover with Troy Polamalu, who missed 11 games with knee problems.

Interesting, to say the least.

Well, the finalists for the voting of the 2012 cover have been whittled down to eight — Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Danny Woodhead, Jamaal Charles, Peyton Hillis, Adrian Peterson, Michael Vick and Patrick Willis.

Notice something odd? The list includes either established fantasy studs (Brees, Rodgers, Peterson, Willis in IDP formats) or players coming off a huge statistical season (Charles, Hillis, Vick).

And then, there’s Woodhead — he sticks out like Betty White in the swimsuit competition of a Miss America contest. He’s the modern-day Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger. At 5-foot-8 and 195 pounds, Woodhead looks more like the guy who’s washing the jocks after practice than actually being one of the jocks.

With that said, I think fantasy owners should unite and vote the Patriots running back as the 2012 Madden cover boy. Now I’m not saying that I want Woodhead to get hurt — that’s the furthest thing from the truth — but a drastic decline in his statistical production would have the least affect on fantasy owners by a country mile.

So get out there and vote for Woodhead. It could help save your fantasy season before it starts.

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