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Fantasy underachievers must start pulling their load

Posted by Ladd Biro  October 8, 2012 07:54 PM

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Five weeks into the season, most of us have had our share of ups and downs.  As much as we’d like them to, we can’t expect each of our studs to accumulate massive statistics every week. 


Prior to the Monday nighter, Jamaal Charles was the top-rated running back in Fantasyland; yet he rolled out a stinker in Week 2.  A.J. Green and Victor Cruz are neck-and-neck at the top of the wideout pecking order, though neither helped out much in the opener.  We can agree that Jimmy Graham is an elite tight end, despite Sunday night’s ill-timed ankle injury.

But forgiveness only goes so far.  Personally, I’m losing my patience with Cam Newton, who hit a new low on Sunday.  Matt Stafford hasn’t turned in a single performance to date that would justify his draft position.

Darren McFadden, DeMarco Murray and Steven Jackson have offered little to nothing of redeeming value for the owners who invested premium picks in them. 

Lingering injuries have sapped the fantasy value from Greg Jennings and Hakeem Nicks; but what’s Jordy Nelson’s and Dez Bryant’s excuse?  Dante Rosario delivered more fantasy value in his one start than Antonio Gates has in the Chargers’ four other games combined.

And then there’s the incredible, shrinking Chris Johnson.  How foolish were we to believe the preseason blabber about the triumphant return of “CJ2K?”  After five games, the Titans’ “workhorse” has rushed for 4, 17, 24 (twice!) and 141 yards, and added a whopping 84 total receiving yards.  No touchdowns, natch.

Johnson is on pace for even worse results than he turned in last season, when he was the consensus choice for “2011 Bust of the Year.”  If he keeps this up, we’ll have to name the trophy after him.

Hopefully you sold high on CJ.75K after his Week 4 outburst, because his market value may never reach that level again.  In fact, the better play may be to grab Jamie Harper off the waiver wire, now that Javon Ringer appears lost for the season with a knee injury suffered in Sunday’s loss.

If we’re fed up with Johnson, just imagine how the Titans feel.  It can’t be long before Harper gets his chance to carry a greater share of the workload.  It’s not like he can do any worse.


FREE AGENT PICKS AND PANS

To win a fantasy championship, it helps to start with a great draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is also important. Here's a look at players worth considering, and others who would look better in someone else's lineup.

Catch ‘em while you can

Alex Green, RB, Packers.  The second-year back was pressed into service after Cedric Benson went out with a foot injury.  Green ran well, and he could get a chance to do more if Benson can’t go in Week 6.  Though you won’t want to start him against the mighty Texans defense, he’s a valuable handcuff with solid upside.  James Starks (toe) is expected to return soon, but that horse left the barn weeks ago.

Randall Cobb, WR, Packers.  James Jones collected two touchdowns, but Cobb led the team with 82 yards and a TD of his own.  With both Greg Jennings (groin), Jermichael Finley (shoulder) and Benson dealing with injuries, Cobb should continue to play an integral role in the Green Bay offense.

Don’t be fooled

William Powell, Alfonso Smith, LaRod Stephens-Howling, RBs, Cardinals.  Beanie Wells is already on injured reserve.  Now Ryan Williams is out for the season with a shoulder injury.  One, or probably all, of the above will now carry the load for one of the league’s most inept rushing teams.  Stephens-Howling is arguably the pick of this litter, but he’s dealing with his own hip injury.  It’s best just to avoid this mess completely.

Josh Gordon, WR, Browns.  Before you wade into the Cleveland passing game with this rookie, take a deep breath and ask yourself why.  Because he scored twice on his only two catches of the game?  Because he’s caught nine passes in five games?  Because Brandon Weeden is his quarterback?  No, no, no.

Devery Henderson, WR, Saints.  Every year around this time, I remind you not to be sucked in by another impressive performance by Henderson.  It doesn’t matter than Lance Moore and Jimmy Graham are dinged up.  Henderson is as unreliable as they come.  Trust me on this.

Originally published on the blog Fantasy Fools.

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About the author

Ladd Biro was named 2010 "Football Writer of the Year" by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Ladd's nationally syndicated columns have appeared in more than 20 publications -- including the Dallas Morning News, San Francisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Sun-Times and Sporting News magazine -- since 2003. During the NFL season, he can be heard nationwide on Sporting News Radio as host of the weekly "Fantasy Files" program, dispensing his unique blend of wit and wisdom. Since 2009, all his written fantasy content can be found on the Fantasy Fools blog.

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