By Matt Vensel
4:00 PM EDT, November 1, 2011
Last week, we looked at the biggest surprises of the 2011 fantasy football campaign. This time around, we will hand out dishonors to the disappointing (non-injured) players who have torpedoed our seasons so far.
Try not to cuss too much in the comments section below after reading this list, OK?
Quarterback: Philip Rivers, Chargers. His miscues were on display Monday night, but he has been stinking up the joint all year, with 11 interceptions to go with seven TD passes. It’s not like he doesn’t have weapons, but he is starting to drag Vincent Jackson down with him, too. Dishonorable mention: Josh Freeman, Buccaneers.
Running back: Chris Johnson, Titans. One of a few players who should have received consideration with the top pick in your draft, Johnson has failed to live up to the big-money contract he signed before the season. That’s what happens when you hold out after a lockout. Dishonorable mention: Peyton Hillis, Browns.
Wide receiver: Mike Williams, Buccaneers, and Brandon Lloyd, Rams. Everything looked OK for Williams in Week 1 when he had 50 receiving yards and a touchdown, but he hasn’t found the end zone since and twice put up zero fantasy points in a week. Lloyd suffered through bad QB play in Denver, but he looks to have found a new happy place in St. Louis (with A.J. Feeley of all people). Dishonorable mention: Roddy White, Falcons.
Tight end: Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars. A year after hauling in 10 TD passes from David Garrard, Lewis has 15 catches for 174 yards and zero scores. Blame Blaine Gabbert. Better yet, blame Jags management. Dishonorable mention: Vernon Davis, 49ers.
Defense/special teams: The Patriots are one of the NFL’s worst defenses in yards allowed, and they aren’t forcing turnovers and scoring touchdowns. Dishonorable mention: The Vikings.
Kicker: John Brown, Rams. The St. Louis offense has been so bad that he has attempted just 10 field goals and booted nine extra points (four of which came in Sunday’s win over the Saints). Dishonorable mention: Rob Bironas, Titans.
Fantasy penthouse: Matthew Stafford threw for 267 yards and three scores against the Denver Tebows, and Calvin Johnson was the week’s top wideout with 125 receiving yards and a touchdown. LeSean McCoy rushed for 185 yards and two TDs. Bills tight end Scott Chandler struck again with two touchdowns on two catches.
Fantasy doghouse: John Beck threw two picks in a shutout loss. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had nine yards on five carries. Miles Austin and Dez Bryant had two fantasy points each. Brandon Pettigrew had eight receiving yards.
The wire: 1. I wouldn’t start him yet, but Jonathan Baldwin should certainly be owned in your league after he caught five passes for 82 yards and a touchdown on Monday night. … 2. Speaking of Monday night, now would be the time to buy low on Philip Rivers in a trade. … 3. With Willis McGahee sidelined, Knowshon Moreno is Denver’s starting back for now for whatever that’s worth. … 4. Antonio Brown has put up double-digit points in back-to-back weeks. … 5. Delone Carter has been effective for the Colts, but his carries have been limited.
Five guys I really like this week: 1. I’m sticking to my (fantasy) guns on Tim Tebow, who I think will bounce back against the Raiders (but only if you don’t have a top-10 QB). … 2. Let it ride with Steven Jackson, who should have another strong week against the Cardinals. … 3. Mike Wallace caught eight passes for 107 yards against the Ravens in Week 1. … 4. Darrius Heyward-Bey has recorded at least eight fantasy points in his last four games, and that should continue against Denver. … 5. Fred Davis is Washington’s top fantasy option.
Reader question: @bmore_1daful on Twitter asks, “Should I trade Brady or Stafford? My WRS r Vjax, Dez, Mannghm, SRIce. RB's r Rrice, Best, Ingram, Mcgahee. I need a WR1 or RB2.” My response: First, I have to say that most of my readers and I wish we had that kind of problem because your team is already pretty stacked. But yes, you have a chance to upgrade at receiver or running back if you trade one of your QBs along with Sidney Rice, who is hot right now, and Mark Ingram, whom everyone still seems to love. Adding another good receiver to Vincent Jackson and Dez Bryant or a back to pair with Ray Rice would put you in good shape for the playoffs.
Extra point: One more thought on Chris Johnson. If there is ever a time to buy low on a potential playoff savior, it’s now with CJ2K. With Javon Ringer stealing his carries, Johnson should be as motivated as a player can be (after signing a mega-deal) to show his worth, and the Titans are looking at favorable matchups against the Colts, Buccaneers, Panthers, and Bills in the season’s second half. He may not be dispensable much longer.
Matt Vensel is a blogger and community coordinator for The Baltimore Sun. Send your fantasy questions and comments to Matt.Vensel@baltsun.com, @mattvensel on Twitter or leave them in the comments section below.
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