Each week we will try to take a look at some struggling players in fantasy football and whether they are just slumping or worthy of dumping. This week will take a look at players who struggled in Week 8.
Aaron Rodgers had a rough fantasy outing in the Packers’ Week 8 9-0 win over the Jets. This was pretty easy to anticipate as Jermichael Finley is out for the season, Donald Driver is nursing an injury and the Jets feature one of the best defenses in the NFL. Rodgers’ line of 15/34 for 170 yards and no touchdowns is sure to improve in coming weeks, and both he and the Packers should benefit greatly from the Week 10 bye. Rodgers still didn’t throw any picks and managed to only take a couple of sacks. With that in mind, he has done little to make us reconsider the #4 ranking amongst fantasy quarterbacks we gave him last week.
Roethlisberger is another quarterback who struggled this past week, but also shouldn’t be too big of a concern for fantasy owners. Roethlisberger still threw for nearly 7 yards per attempt and a completion percentage over 60%, but the Steelers were unable to move the ball or consistently make end zone threats against the Saints. Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offense should get on the field more against a less efficient offensive group. Look for a bounce back in coming weeks with more yards, touchdowns and fantasy points.
The Titans defense gave up the most points of any week this year in the Week 8 33-25 loss to the Chargers. Fantasy owners should remember that, despite the record, the Chargers are one of the best offensive units in football even without weapons like Malcom Floyd. The Titans have a talent for creating turnovers and have some great pass rushers in Jason Babin and David Ball. The Titans’ defense should have some big performances after their Week 9 bye as they face the Dolphins and Redskins.
The Vikings took the ‘dump’ advice we are giving to fantasy owners and decided to cut Randy Moss today. Moss had a pretty dreadful week followed by an interesting press conference and is unlikely to make a significant impact if he finds a new team. Part ways with him as soon as you can and find someone else to help make your playoff push.
With DeAngelo Williams out, Jonathan had the opportunity to shine and position himself to take carries from Williams. While one Jon Stewart was in Washington rallying to restore sanity, this Jon Stewart was in St. Louis securing Williams’ role once he returns from injury. On the day, he ran for 30 yards on 14 carries while catching one pass for eight yards, On the season, he is averaging less than 3 yards per carry, has less than 200 total rushing yards, and has scored only one touchdown. In such an anemic offense, Stewart is barely worth a roster spot once Williams returns.
Marshawn Lynch appeared to be the answer to Pete Carroll’s backfield questions when the Seahawks acquired him from the Bills prior to Week 6. Lynch has not impressed, failing to run for more than four yards per carry in three games with his new team. As a result, Justin Forsett and Leon Washington each received five carries in the Seahawks’ loss to the Raiders. With Forsett receiving some short-yardage and receiving opportunities, Lynch’s fantasy relevance is fading fast.
In the last week, we’ve seen some big news at the quarterback position. Brett Favre may or may not be out with multiple fractures in his ankle and Tony Romo is out for a majority of the season with a broken collarbone. With such flux, it’s time to refresh our rankings for the second half of the season.
1. Peyton Manning
Manning has been the best performer so far, and gives no owner a reason to doubt his future performance. He will stay on the field, put up yardage and touchdowns, and has a nice Week 15 matchup against Jacksonville.
2. Phillip Rivers
Rivers has also been a top performer, and should keep throwing for a bunch of yards and touchdowns, even with wide receiver Malcom Floyd out. The running game hasn’t been as consistent as expected, but Rivers has taken to the air and done it well.
3. Drew Brees
Brees hasn’t had a bad year, but his four interception game against Cleveland is symbolic of the Saints’ struggles this year. With Reggie Bush on the way back and Robert Meachem back in a prominent role, the Saints’ passing game should rebound and Brees should resume his place as a top three fantasy quarterback. If you happen to make it to the championship game, Brees has a great Week 16 matchup at Atlanta.
4. Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers has had a strong year, but the loss of Jermichael Finley will hurt him over the rest of the season. He still holds on to the ball a bit long and has thrown his share of interceptions, but you’ll get the yards and touchdowns in that Packer offense.
5. Tom Brady
Brady was featured as a “Slumper” in the Week 8 Slumpers and Dumpers and should bounce back from some rough weeks. The Patriots offense hasn’t been as potent lately, but give Brady some time to get into a rhythm, and the points will come.
6. Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan and Roddy White have emerged as a great combo. Ryan is the best of this next tier of quarterbacks and should give owners some great weeks.
7. Joe Flacco
Flacco was also featured as a slumper prior to Week 7 and has performed masterfully, notching five touchdowns, over 500 yards and no interceptions the last two weeks.
8. Michael Vick
Vick is coming back from injury after this week’s bye. When he comes back, he will be in an incredible offensive environment and be capable of putting up huge amounts of points. Still, given his playing style and the relatively strong play of Kevin Kolb, he isn’t the most secure option to finish the year as the starter.
9. Eli Manning
Eli Manning had an interesting game this past Monday night against the Cowboys. While he threw three interceptions, he also notched four touchdowns and was able to yet again find Hakeem Nicks for some big scores. Manning will throw his fair share of interceptions and is still prone to some down weeks, but the overall yards and touchdowns will be there.
10. Ben Roethlisberger
Roethlisberger is still fresh off his suspension, but has played great since coming back. He could easily repeat his standout performance from last year, and will pay off well for any owner who took the risk in drafting him.
11. Matt Schaub
Schaub had his second 300 yard performance in Week 6 against Kansas City and his fate seems to vary with Andre Johnson’s health. Schaub will have huge games, but like Manning, can still have some bad games.
12. Kyle Orton
Orton has been a top fantasy quarterback thus far while operating in a spread-style offense in Denver. However, the last two weeks have seen Orton slow down a bit and Tim Tebow entering the game in the red zone. Orton’s yards and touchdowns could take a dip, and we could see even more Tim Tebow if the Broncos continue to regress.
13. Ryan Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick has put together some great weeks and will continue to produce at least respectable the rest of the way. Any owner or prospective owner of Fitzpatrick can read Greg’s analysis asking the question Is Ryan Fitzpatrick a Good Quarterback?
14. Carson Palmer
Palmer looks terrible at times, and sometimes has big weeks like he did in Week 7. He is too much of a wild card to rely on at the sole quarterback option, but could fill in during bye weeks or due to injury.
15. Donovan McNabb
McNabb has had trouble getting the ball into the end zone and won’t produce week-to-week at a high enough level to be anything more than a matchup play. He was featured this week as a fantasy dumper.
16. Jay Cutler
Cutler was a fantasy dumper way back in Week 6 and hasn’t done much to prove that label wrong since. The Bears’ offensive line is still a mess, and Cutler has started to throw interceptions. The Bears will still throw the ball enough to warrant a Cutler start in some weeks, but even against poor opponents he has struggled.
17. Chad Henne
Henne has improved his completion percentage and YPA while gaining a rapport with Brandon Marshall. Still, he has struggled to find the end zone and will have his bumps along the way. He is a pretty good backup option and is a candidate to break into the top 15 this year.
18. Mark Sanchez
Sanchez is emerging from his caretaker role, but is still not going to put up too many yards or touchdowns. His lack of interceptions and the presence of a good red zone target are a plus, but he throws at too low of a percentage and too infrequently to be very valuable.
19. Matthew Stafford
The Lions’ passing game was productive under quarterback Shaun Hill and should remain so with Matthew Stafford at the helm. Calvin Johnson is one of the best wide receivers in the game and gives Stafford the potential for a few huge weeks. Still, there will be growing pains and Stafford shouldnt’t be a primary starter.
20. Jon Kitna
Kitna will fill in for the injured Romo for the majority of the rest of the season. The good news is that he inherits a lot of offensive weapons including the explosive Dez Bryant. Still, his last full year was 2007 and hasn’t done much since. Kitna could fill a void for Romo owners, but they should also consider holding onto Romo as he could return in time for the fantasy playoffs.
21. Matt Cassel
Cassel has put a few solid weeks together, but the Chiefs aren’t going to throw enough over the course of the season to give him too much value.
22. David Garrard
Garrard will come back from his concussion either this week or in coming weeks. He is fairly reliable for some solid production.
23. Josh Freeman
We evaluated Freeman’s 2010 success a few weeks ago. Freeman has made some strides, but has thrown for a low average of late.
24. Matt Hasselbeck
Hasselbeck has done about what anyone could expect out of him, which isn’t much. He’ll put the ball in the air frequently, but is on the fringe of backup quarterback options.
25. Brett Favre
If Favre plays this year, he’ll still have some value, but right now there are two injuries that could potentially keep him off the field. Even when on the field, he wasn’t great this year. Favre should sit on the fantasy bench right now until he proves he can play at a high level.
26. Sam Bradford
The ROY candidate has impressed at times and is a decent option as a fill-in during certain weeks.
27. Jason Campbell
Campbell is in a pretty rough situation in Oakland and should only be added when there’s not many other options. This week Greg looked at the possibility of Campbell regressing.
28. Matt Moore
If he plays, he could have some pretty good weeks, but rookie Jimmy Clausen is always looming.
29. Vince Young
Vince Young is currently a bit dinged up, and wasn’t a good fantasy quarterback beforehand. Given Jeff Fisher’s early season willingness to go to backup Kerry Collins mid-game, Vince Young barely has fantasy value.
30. Tony Romo
If he comes back in time, he could be a playoff difference maker for a team without a quarterback.
31. Kevin Kolb
He has the chance to play in a dynamic offensive system and has shown he can produce.
32. Tarvaris Jackson
With Favre hurt, Jackson will inherit the Vikings’ weak passing game.
33. Max Hall
If you add Max Hall, you’re in trouble.
Each week we will try to take a look at some struggling players in fantasy football and whether they are just slumping or worthy of dumping. This week will take a look at players who struggled in Week 7.
Brady had a relatively down week, despite a good number of attempts against the Chargers. The last three weeks have seen a couple of disappointing games and a bye week. At the same time, BenJarvus Green-Ellis is getting goal-line scores, taking some of Brady’s touchdown opportunities. Nevertheless, Brady and the Patriots should get into their offensive rhythm in coming weeks, yielding big results for owners. Look for a big game next week against Minnesota.
Mendenhall had only 15 carries for 37 yards in Week 7 against Miami. This was his fewest attempts all year, one of two games he didn’t score a touchdown and the only one where he failed to break a run over ten yards. Neither his workload, lack of touchdowns or lack of big runs is sustainable over the long-term and we should see a big week for Mendenhall after the Week 8 bye for the Steelers.
Maclin disappointed owners who thought he could have another big week in DeSean Jackson’s absence. While he did produce some yardage on the ground and catching the ball, he was targeted fourteen times and caught only five balls. He also failed to score a touchdown in this game. He clearly isn’t yet a receiver who can operate alone on offense, but he and the Eagles offense should bounce back in Week 9 after a bye week. He is very capable of big plays and touchdowns and is a top fantasy wide receiver.
McNabb managed only 200 yards despite over 30 attempts in Week 7 against the Bears. He has had trouble getting the ball into the end zone, and his low completion percentage will prevent long drives from occurring in the offense unless Ryan Torain contains to eat up yardage. He has a few old receivers and an emerging one, Anthony Armstrong, but probably won’t get enough big plays to justify a week-to-week start. At this point, McNabb is a matchup play. Fortunately for owners, he is facing the Lions in Week 8, and a good performance could provide an opportunity for fantasy owners to shop him around the league.
This is the third straight week we have featured a Chicago Bear as a fantasy dumper, and it is no coincidence. The Bears’ offense is looking more inept and in different ways each week. Matt Forte once again did not look as impressive as Chester Taylor, and will probably lose any future goal-line carries to him. He did provide 70 total yards last week, but a fumble hurt his points. Despite the difficulties, offensive coordinator Mike Martz still will not run the ball enough to give Forte a lot of value. Forte remains a decent second running back, but the coming bye week is a good time to find a replacement.
It was less than two weeks ago that we looked at Deion Branch’s impact on Brandon Tate’s fantasy value. Unfortunately for owners, our rosy outlook on Tate has not come to fruition. This past week, he was targeted just three times and had one catch for three yards. The week prior saw him with no receptions and a 22 yard run. The new look of the Patriots’ offense doesn’t seem to have a role for Brandon Tate, although he could still emerge. Consider a waiver wire pickup if he posts a big week later on, but for now, he is barely worth a roster spot.
Each week we will try to take a look at some struggling players in fantasy football and whether they are just slumping or worthy of dumping. This week will take a look at players who struggled in Week 6.
Orton had by far his worst game of the year against the Jets in Week 6, totaling just over 200 yards with a touchdown that could have been overturned if challenged. After an impressive performance against the Baltimore Ravens the prior week, Orton struggled early and the Broncos began to run the ball and operate in a more pro-style offense. Even so, this shouldn’t be an indication of things to come for Orton or the Broncos. The running game is still anemic and the Broncos will continue to put the ball in the air. Consider this matchup against the Jets a once-in-a-season occurrence.
Austin had a quiet showing in “America’s Game”, but he did have one huge touchdown grab called back on a relatively minor offensive pass interference penalty. Tony Romo was checking down a lot in this game and the Cowboys were more committed to the run than in weeks prior. Austin has had one other down week this year, but has completely exploded in the other weeks. Until he puts up several poor games, there is little reason to be concerned and think of this week as anything more than a bad game.
Turner is back in the full-time role for the Falcons, but had a slow day on the ground in Week 6, gaining only 45 yards on 15 carries. The Falcons had only 18 rushes on the day after the Eagles went up big early. His big play ability means weeks like these could easily come before a huge performance. The Falcons should be hanging a lot closer with teams in the future and Turner will continue to be one of the better fantasy options out there at running back.
Favre’s elbow tendonitis has been greatly talked about in the last week. The consensus seems to be that he won’t miss any time, but the Week 6 game against the Cowboys is probably an indication of the offensive approach the Vikings will take. Favre had a nice game in terms of playing winning football, going 14/19 for 119 yards and a touchdown. However, this wasn’t that great for fantasy owners and it probably won’t get too much better. The Vikings recognize their best offensive asset is Adrian Peterson, and unlike Chester Taylor, he can’t be used nearly as effectively in the passing game. As a result, the Vikings will continue to run the ball more if not also to rest Favre’s arm in case of a late-game comeback attempt. Randy Moss is a nice addition for the Favre and the Vikings, which will probably keep some touchdowns coming, but Favre is ultimately a fringe starter in fantasy football.
If you are in a fantasy league that gives you points for individual return yards, you can disregard this section of the post. If not, then Hester is quickly losing his value as a wide receiver option. For one, the re-emergence of Hester as a returner will likely cause the Bears to decrease his snaps on offense. Additionally, fellow wide receiver Devin Aromashodu returned to a fairly regular role in the past week, indicating that there will be less opportunities for Hester. The struggles of the Bears’ offensive line will hurt Hester even more, and he is not even the featured deep threat amongst the team’s receivers (that would be Johnny Knox). Many had high hopes for him going into the season, but the early results are what we can continue to expect. Any owner should strongly consider dumping Hester if a better option is available.
Things keep getting worse for Jahvid Best after his early-season explosion. He has been bothered by a toe injury and has only averaged greater than four yards per carry twice this year. His prominence in the passing game retains some value, but owners will be lucky to see him run more than 15 times per game given the state of the Lions. Additionally, Best’s continued struggles will likely mean more carries for Kevin Smith going forward, cutting into his potential points. He could still be an option as a second running back in certain weeks, but shouldn’t be relied on as anything more.
In case you didn’t hear, running back Marshawn Lynch was traded from Buffalo to Seattle yesterday for a couple of draft picks. Pete Carroll may have some big plans for Lynch, signaling a shakeup in the fantasy world. Here’s who is affected:
Lynch gains some job security and will likely get a featured role in the offense. He isn’t going to be a big receiver, but he will get the yardage and is a good bye week fill-in.
Forsett has been a poor rusher this year, but is still great in the passing game. He will probably spell Lynch a little bit and get some goal-line opportunities, but is only really worth a start if you are desperate.
Jackson will benefit most from this move as it clears out the backfield and leaves his only competition to be the struggling C.J. Spiller who will get the 3rd down touches. Jackson will be a solid second running back for any fantasy owner and is only owned in half of Yahoo leagues at the moment.
This trade is good for Spiller, but won’t pay too many dividends unless there is an injury to Fred Jackson. Despite his preseason status, his value is probably only as a handcuff to Jackson.
For any fantasy owner who picked up Patriots’ wide receiver Brandon Tate after the Randy Moss trade, the subsequent trade for Deion Branch might have caused a little bit of frustration. How much will Branch hurt Tate’s new found value and are either worth owning or starting in your league?
I’ll start off by saying that Brandon Tate was likely on his way to a solid campaign even without the Randy Moss trade. In the four games the Patriots played, he had been targeted 14 times and managed to catch the ball at a great 79% rate. We saw in the Week 4 Dolphins matchup that he was beginning to get more featured in the offense.
Branch has had a similarly successful campaign in Seattle, catching 72% of the 18 balls thrown his way, although for much lower average yardage. However, in prior years Branch has seen his average reception drop below ten yards and his catch rate stuck below 60%. Back in his career year in 2005, he had a solid average per catch at 12.8 yards but still only caught 62% of balls thrown his way. Branch has the history of playing with the Patriots and Tom Brady, but keep in mind that he is not the type of receiver that can replace a Randy Moss. He also will not directly replace Brandon Tate as they are different types of recievers — 4 inches separate the two. At 31 years old, Branch is also not the young receiver he was in his early Patriot days.
Fantasy owners are correct in their valuation of Branch and Tate; Tate is owned in 54% of leagues while Branch is only owned in 25%. Despite that, Branch has been the most added player this week after Danny Amendola, signaling some optimism.
We all know that Belichick and the Patriots are great talent evaluators, and if Branch has truly declined, then he won’t see the field enough to take many opportunities from Tate. Even if Branch proves to be a good receiver for the Patriots, Tate should still continue to grow as a receiver and get chances, especially for touchdowns. With the questionable backfield in New England, we could easily see Tate, Welker and Branch all on the field at the same time soon.
At this point, Branch is a purely speculative pickup who could give a few points in a bye week, but won’t be scoring many touchdowns. Tate, on the other hand, could be a solid third receiver option and is a potential star in a Week 16 fantasy championship game when he faces Buffalo.
Each week we will try to take a look at some struggling players in fantasy football and whether they are just slumping or worthy of dumping. This week will take a broader look at those who have raised some questions over the course of the season.
Flacco has not been a terrible quarterback this year, but he also has not met expectations considering the offseason additions of Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Both Flacco’s yards per attempt and completion percentage are down, but the Ravens are still putting the ball in the air a lot. Given the late acquisition of Houshmandzadeh and the decline of Derrick Mason, it may take a little more time for Flacco to gain a rapport with his new receivers. Despite the shortcomings, his offensive efficiency measured by DVOA is still strong, diminishing any reason to be concerned. Four of his five interceptions came in the week 2 game against the Bengals and he has posted over 7.6 yards per attempt while averaging over 30 throws per game since then. Given his strong track record, Flacco should break out in coming weeks and start putting up some big points consistently. He is currently owned in 87% of Yahoo leagues and could be made available coming off a no-TD performance in a heavy bye week.
Ronnie Brown has only struggled in terms of fantasy statistics this year. This is mostly due to a lack of goal-line opportunities and his current situation splitting carries with Ricky Williams. There are reasons to be optimistic about Brown going forward; he got more involved in the passing game last week, he has still managed a high YPC and DVOA in 2010, and Ricky Williams has been not quite as good in the same timeframe. Brown also has the lone touchdown amongst the running backs and will probably start receiving a larger portion of the carries in weeks to come as Tony Sparano recommits to the run game. He should have a great week 5 against a banged up Packer team as the Dolphins could be playing much of the game with the lead.
Michael Crabtree is finally a year into his NFL career and is starting to show some signs of life for the hyped but winless 49ers. Crabtree has not been amazing this year, but there is a reason to be optimistic going forward aside from his talent. For one, the 49ers should continue passing as Frank Gore has put up some pretty brutal rushing performances. Also, Crabtree has started to become more of a focal point in the offense after only mustering seven catches in the first three weeks. He has since followed up with five and nine catches and found the end zone against Philadelphia. Frank Gore has caught 33 balls in only 5 games, so some of those checkdowns could easily become points for Crabtree owners. While now out of a slump, Crabtree’s stock may be low as Alex Smith has inspired no one and the 49ers are fading into irrelevance. In Yahoo leagues, Crabtree is only owned by 75% of teams and could be available early this week. He is one of the hotter waiver wire players, but could be overlooked by owners who see Roy Williams, Danny Amendola and Steve Johnson in free agency.
Fantasy owners may still have some high hopes for Bowe considering his big numbers in 2008. A lot of people may put the blame on quarterback Matt Cassel and expect some improvement as the season goes on. Unfortunately, Bowe appears to be heading in the wrong direction. This was made evident in Sunday’s game against the Colts where he dropped a pass in the end zone and followed it up with another drop on the next play. Bowe has pretty awful numbers thus far and evidence shows he probably won’t improve. If you look at his 2008 numbers, they mostly came as a result of being targeted 157 times. With the run-first style of the 2010 Chiefs featuring Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, any number of targets near that amount is extremely unlikely. Any success for Bowe is not really a matter of regaining form, but somehow convincing Todd Haley to invoke a strategy that would lose football games. If you are one of the 82% of people in Yahoo leagues who owns Bowe, consider trading him to somebody who didn’t see Sunday’s game or who has been in a cave since 2008.
When on the field, Cutler has had a great year in most metrics. Even with the abysmal turnover numbers in 2009, he still had a plethora of touchdown passes. The main issue with Cutler moving forward will be his offensive line and his concussion. Most reports are that Cutler will return in week 6 against Seattle and the Bears passing game should improve exponentially over Todd Collins’ performance. Nevertheless, the offensive line is even more of an issue with Edwin Williams and J’Marcus Webb getting starts as part of Lovie Smith’s new accountability program. Accountability is nice, but pass protection would be even better. It’s a high likelihood that Cutler could miss more time this year as he is forced to stand behind a bad line in the Martz system. This past week also was a sign of a desire to run the football more often and get offseason acquisition Chester Taylor involved more in the offense. Cutler probably still has a lot of fantasy value, but if you are thinking playoffs, remember his week 15 and 16 matchups at Minnesota and at home against the New York Jets. If you have a good backup like Kyle Orton on your roster, consider dumping Cutler for some help elsewhere.
Chris Johnson hasn’t exactly slumped this year, except by his own standards and in terms of early DVOA rankings. However, there are some big signs that Johnson could be in a for a slowdown reminiscent of some of his early-season struggles. Overall, Johnson’s YPC is way down to 4.3 and he is coming off 358 carries in 2009. Johnson has received less than 20 carries in three contests thus far, something which only happened once in his final ten games of 2009. Johnson has also put the ball on the ground 3 times this year and could be a classic sell-high candidate considering the lack of performance of many other top picks. If you can take advantage of this sky-high value, then go for it, but otherwise hope that he continues chugging out those touchdowns.