Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Vick, and Other Fantasy Football Players to Avoid in 2013

Each and every year owners draft players whom they believe will help take their team to the promise land.  Yet, time and time again everyone of us (we are all susceptible to this) drafts someone who just stinks up the joint.  Sometimes such a high draft pick is spent on these players that you can’t drop them, and in some cases cannot even take them out of your starting line-up.  To avoid such stress, take a look at the players in which you should avoid in 2013.

Fitzgerald is not the only one upset by his performances, as owners everywhere are too (123tagged.com)

Fitzgerald is not the only one upset by his performances, as owners everywhere are too (123tagged.com)

LARRY FITZGERALD

After making his way to the #2 seed on my Least Valuable Player Of the Year, things are not looking up for Larry.  As I have said before, it is a shame to see such talent go to waste, but with no one to throw him the ball his fantasy value is dismal.  There was some hope for him, as his team was a front-runner to land Andy Reid, yet after he signed with the Chiefs the Cardinals are still left without a head coach for the time being.

With the Cardinals one real need, a quarterback, not a deep position in the upcoming NFL draft it is unlikely that Fitzgerald will get any of the help he so desperately needs.  In addition, one would hope that he could get some help out of his backfield, but the always injured Beanie Wells and their 32nd ranked (75.2 ypg) rushing offense gives me little hope that they can help.

To add insult to injury, this past season Fitzgerald was outscored by Cardinals #2 WR Andre Roberts (albeit it was 100 points to Fitzgerald’s 99 points) as Roberts caught 64 passes for 756 yards and 5 TDs, compared to Larry’s 71 receptions for 798 yards and 4 TDs.

CHRIS JOHNSON:

Stats can sometimes be deceiving.  Johnson finished last year with 1,243 yards rushing and 6 TDs, adding another 232 yards on 36 receptions, good enough for the #13 RB in fantasy.  While those stats would make some players desirable, when you are talking about a former consensus #1 overall pick, the same rules do not apply.

Johnson, who was drafted on average between the 1st and 3rd round, had his NFL and fantasy numbers inflated by a few big games.  In week 4,7,9,10, and 15 Johnson scored 15,31,17,18, and 18 points.  While those are nice outings, those where the only games in which Johnson rushed for over 100 yards (all games he rushed for over 121 yards) and scored more than 11 points for his owners.  In hindsight, 7 times last seasons Johnson failed to score more than 5 points (even scoring 0 in week 5), and rushed for 56 or fewer yards 8 times.

Its also worth noting that Johnson had a career low in receptions, reception yards and a career high in fumbles and fumbles lost.

Amendola doing what else but being injuried (sbnation.com)

Amendola doing what else but being injuried (sbnation.com)

DANNY AMENDOLA

Ok, maybe do not avoid him, but definitely do not waste a high-round pick on him.  Like Fitzgerald, I think Amendola is a fantastic talent with  the potential to be a great fantasy player, but here is my issue; injuries.

Injuries have plagued Amendola throughout his short career, forcing him to miss 22 games in his 4 NFL seasons (to be fair he missed 15 games a season ago).  He also does not catch a lot of TDs (only 7 in 42 career games).  In addition, his career high for receiving yards in a season was in 2010 with 698.

Not to sound contradictory, Amendola does get a load of targets (about 7 a game) and catches the majority of them (just about 5 receptions a game). Nevertheless, he has had an inability to stay healthy and until he can show otherwise I would avoid him.

RASHARD MENDENHALL

Albeit he missed 10 games with an injury and had trouble staying healthy, but the Steelers have made it clear that he is no longer to go-to back in Pittsburgh.

Its not that he was really outplayed by others who got more playing in his absence, in fact that’s not the case at all.  Dwyer and Redman combined for just over 1,000 yards and 4 TDs total.

However, it does seem as if Mendenhall has lost his spot in the Steelers rotation, if he does in fact stay in Pittsburgh.  If he does exit and go elsewhere it will be interesting to see who grabs him, and maybe he will come off of this list, as he has shown in the past that he can put-up noteworthy fantasy numbers, averaging over 1,100 yards and 10 TDs over his last 3 seasons (of course excluding this year).

One of Vick's many turnovers this season (6magazineonline.com)

One of Vick’s many turnovers this season (6magazineonline.com)

MIKE VICK

Maybe it’s personal bias, but I know I will catch some fleck for this proclamation, but in my opinion Vick is highly overrated in fantasy (and the NFL for that matter too).

Yes, I am fully aware that Vick can run and gain crucial points for owners, so before you go throwing the importance of a QB who can run in fantasy in my face just know that I am aware.

I’ll also save you the trouble of looking up stats, Vick has 39 career rushing TDs and over 5,500 career rushing yards.

But how about this, in Vick’s 11 year career (excluding 2009, and 2010 when he took over mid-season) Vick has played all 16 games only once.  ONE TIME!  He simply cannot stay healthy and is constantly getting hurt.

And despite the fact that does not even throw the ball the much (career high 423 attempts in 2011, compare that to a mid-level QB with a strong run-game like Schaub who averages over 500 attempts a season) Vick still manages to turn the ball over, a lot.  In fact, in only 10 games last season Vick threw 10 interceptions and fumbled the ball 11 times, compared to his 13 total TDs (12 pass, 1 run).

So yes, Vick can light it up for 20+ points any given week thanks to his legs, he can not do it for all 16 weeks (not to mention he’s getting older).  In addition, are his potential 5  big games worth having him for just that? Wouldn’t you rather a QB who will get it done consistently week in and week out?

ANTONIO GATES

Speaking of injury issues over a career, Gates has had his own issues with that.  Yet, this season he managed to miss only 1 game, although he did not impress owners with his performances.

Since 2003 (his rookie season) Gates has never been so unproductive in a season.  Catching only 49 passes for 538 yards (although he did manage 7 TDs) Gates set career lows across the board (with the exception of his rookie season).

Only 4 times this past season did Gates score double-digit points for owners, contrarily scoring 5 or less points in 11 games.  He caught 6 passes in a game twice season, catching 4 or less in all other games.  He also had a season high of 81 receiving yards in week 5, failing to g over the 100-yard mark all season.

Gates will be 33 come next season, which will also be his 11th in the NFL and things are not looking up for his fantasy value.

MICHAEL TURNER

Turner's career could be on a downfall (blog.ajc.clom)

Turner’s career could be on a downfall (blog.ajc.clom)

The shelf life for RBs in the NFL is not a long time.  This upcoming season, Turner will be entering his 10th season and will be turning 31, both areas that make him an old-dog in NFL terms and it’s showing in his stats.

This season the Falcons made it clear that there will be a spot for Turner’s back-up Jaquizz Rodgers in their backfield.  It’s not as if Rodgers had a 1,000 yard season, because he is not that kind of RB.  He is a versatile, explosive, and big-play capability kind of guy who can steal touches from Turner, and it will be interesting to see how he is used next season.

Nevertheless, let’s take a look at Turner’s stats from a season ago.  Since becoming a feature back in Atlanta, Turner (while playing a full season) has never rushed for less than 1,340 yards, averaged less than 4.1 ypc,  scored fewer than 11 TDs, and carried the ball under 301 times (178 carries, 871 yards and 10 TDs in only 11 games in 2009).

Yet, this season, while playing all 16 games, Turner had 222 carries (an average of 5 less carries a game than a season ago), for 800 yards (gained 71 more yards in 5 less games in ’09), scoring 10 TDs, all the while averaging an embarrassing 3.6ypc.

Only twice this season did he carry the ball for 20+ times, compared to the 8 times he scored single-digit points for his owners a season ago.  All of these stats landed Turner the #17 RB spot in fantasy behind the likes of Steven Jackson and Shonn Greene.

Fantasy Football’s Least Valuable Players of 2012

(yourdictionary.com)

(yourdictionary.com)

Heading into this year’s draft, many players were highly sought after and highly drafted.  Yet, owners who used top picks to get some players did not have it pan out as they had hoped.  With that being said, let us take a look at this year’s Least Valuable fantasy Players.

Once more, like the Most Valuable Players, the LVPs are based on expectation vs. output and what it cost to get the player.  Nevertheless, without anymore interruption let’s start with:

3. Eli Manning

Manning almost hit 5,000 yards a season ago, yet this year (through 16 weeks) with only one game left, he is projected to have his lowest passing yardage season since 2008 (4,021, he currently has 3,740) and his first sub-4,000 yard season since 2007.  His 21 passing TDs are 8 off of where he was last year, though his 15 INT are currently one fewer than he had a year ago.

Nevertheless, Manning was the most wanted QB outside out of the big-4 this year (Brady, Stafford, Rodgers and Brees), yet he has not lived up to any of that.  Eli is currently the 19th ranked QB in fantasy, behind guys like Roethlisberger who missed 3 and a half games.  His ranking has come from having 4 games of 5 or fewer points (including a 3-game stretch where he scored a combined 10 points).  He has also only had three 300+ yard passing games compared to 4 games in which he did not throw a TD pass.  He also does not rank in the top-10 in any of the major QB statistics (yardage, TDs, QB Rating).

2. Larry Fitzgerald

What a shame to have all the talent in the world and have nobody throwing to you.  I almost feel bad putting Fitzgerald on this list, but numbers never lie and facts are facts.

Fitzgerald was ranked the #2 WR, behind Megatron, in most preseason rankings.  Yet, with one week remaining, Fitzgerald is currently the #39 WR in fantasy, 1 point behind Percy Harvin (has not played since week 9),  2 points behind Jordy Nelson (missed 3 consecutive weeks), 52 points from being inside the top-1o WR, and 108 points away from #2 WR Brandon Marshall.

Only 5 times has Fitzgerald scored double-digit points, and caught 6 or more passes., while four times this season he only caught 1 pass.  His 69 receptions are his fewest since 2006 (missed three games that season) , his 785 receiving yards are his lowest since 2006 as well, his 4 TDs are his lowest since 2010 where he caught 6 (6 is lowest ever, also caught 6 in 2006).  Unless Fitzgerald can catch for over 215 yards, it will also he his first sub 1,000-yard season ]where he played all 16 games since his rookie season.

Mathews made is No.1 but for all the wrong reasons (gnightmoon2006.blogspot.com)

Mathews made it to No.1 but for all the wrong reasons (gnightmoon2006.blogspot.com)

1. Ryan Mathews (a.k.a the man who had more broken clavicles than touchdowns)

Mathews, my #5 ranked player overall in the preseason and experts had him just as high, fell flat on his face this season.  Although it really may not be fair to him, as the Chargers offense as a whole was distraught to say the least this year.

Although Mathews missed the first two games of the season, and will miss the final two, he still had a big enough sample size to classify him as big of a bust as he was.

In the 12 games Mathews played, 0 times he rushed for 100 or more yards, 8 times he rushed for 67 or fewer yards, only 3 times he rushed the ball 20 or more times, he averaged 3.8 ypc, 1 time he scored double-digit points, and only 1 time he found the end zone (surpassed by his two broken clavicles).

With such a poor output, Mathews is currently ranked the #30 RB, behind the likes of Vick Ballard (has not even been the starter all season), Andre Brown (missed 7 games, soon to be 8), Willis McGahee (been on IR since week 11), DeMarco Murray (missed 6 games), and Joique Bell (only rushed the ball 10+ times twice all season long).

What happened to Reggie Bush?

Bush was benched a week ago and was less than stellar last night, now owners everywhere wonder “What happened?” (bleacherreport.com)

He was on pace for over 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns, now he isn’t even expected to hit the 1,000 yard mark, and only 6 TDs.  He was the second overall running back after three weeks, now he’s #19.  He was the clear-cut starter in Miami, and now Daniel Thomas has threatened his spot. He was even benched a week ago after a costly fumble.  So what the heck has happened to Reggie Bush?

After 41 points in the first two weeks, a knee injury knocked Bush out out of his week 3 match-up versus the Jets and he hasn’t been the same since.  In fact, since week 2 (31 point performance, bringing his two week total to 312 total yards) Bush has a combined 47 points, including only two touchdowns and two weeks of double-digit fantasy points( and only 457 total yards in 8 weeks).  Only twice in that span has he run for more than 60 yards, and even last night versus the Bills (who give up the most points in fantasy to RB) Bush managed only 2 ypc, gaining 20 yards on 10 rushes (the Bills give up on average 5.2 ypc and 153 ypg on the ground).

Bush’s lackluster performance has owners everywhere furious, and wondering if he is even worth starting anymore.  So I will take a look at his remaining schedule and determine if in fact he should be in your starting line-up.

Bush’s schedule:

In his remaining 6 games, he faces:

-New England x2 (7th rush defense in NFL, rank 9th in fantasy to point allowed to RB)

-San Francisco (6th rush defense in NFL, give up least points to RB in fantasy)

-Seattle (13th rush defense in NFL)

-Jacksonville (28th in NFL and 30th in fantasy) and Buffalo (last in NFL and fantasy) again.

Based solely on schedule, I would say other than those two give-me games against Buffalo and Jacksonville that if you have another option than Bush, start him.  Also because:

-New England (26th in NFL pass defense,  27th in fantasy to points allowed to opposing QBs)

-Buffalo (25th in pass defense, 31st in fantasy)

-Jacksonville (21st in pass defense, 18th in fantasy)

This means that in 4 out of those 6 games, the Dolphins are likely to throw the ball, and throw it often.  Granted Bush can catch out of the backfield, but not enough that I would feel comfortable in him.

Unless Bush snaps out of this funk, or if we soon realize that this is really him, I say that he is NOT a must start anymore in most fantasy leagues.

I hope this helps, good luck.

 

 

Vick, Roethlisberger, Smith, and Cutler likely out; who can fill in?

With Vick, Roethlisberger, Smith and Cutler questionable for this weekend, are there QBs out there that you can grab off the waiver wire to help you win week 11?  Yes they’re:

Ryan Fitzpatrick- facing Miami is week 11 who:

  • rank 21st in points  allowed to fantasy QBs (16.3 ppg)
  • Allowed Luck to throw for a rookie-record  433 yards and two TDs in week 9
  • ranked 28th in NFL in pass defense 278 ypg,
  • MIA defense has only 8 INT (tied 15th in NFL)
  • Fitzpatrick is currently 16th QB in fantasy tied with Romo (ahead of Schaub and Eli)
  • Fitzpatrick: tied for 8th in NFL with 17 pass TDs
  • Fitzpatrick is available in 55%of leagues

Sam Bradford-

  • Has his favorite target back in Danny Amendola
  • Threw for 275 and 2TDs against the 49ers in week 10
  • Facing the Jets in week 11 who are tied for 18th with only 7 INT this season
  •  The Jets are also tied for 22nd with only 16 sacks
  • Bradford is only owned 40% of leagues

Carson Palmer– facing New Orleans in week 11 who :

  • Ranks last in fantasy points to opposing QBs (21.4 ppg)
  • 31st in NFL allowing 307 passing yards/game
  • 29th in NFL allowing 19 pass TDs
  • Last in NFL allowing 8.6 yards/attempt
  • last in NFL allowing a long-pass of 95 yards this season (closest is Tampa with 82)
  • Last in NFL allowing opposing QB rating of 104.4
  • tied for 26th in NFL with only 5 INT
  • Palmer is 3rd in NFL with 2,723 passing yards,  and tied for 10th in 15 TDs
  • Palmer is 9th ranked QB in fantasy and 11th fantasy player overall
  • Palmer is owned in 66.8% of leagues

Andre Johnson, RG III and other Top Surprise and Let-downs in Fantasy Football

When calculating top surprises and top let-downs it is important to understand exactly what the formula is. However, unlike all those dreadful math classes you took throughout school, this formula is easy to understand.   In fact, it’s quite simple, the equation is as following: expectation vs. actual output.

To make it even simpler, when determining a surprise or a let-down I look at what was expected from them entering the season, and what have they actually done.  There are some players who have underperformed significantly, however it may have been due to injury (Greg Jennings) so players like that are not on this list.

With that being said, let’s get into it:

boston.cbslocal

Surprises

5. A.J. Green– We all know Green’s expectations, especially after a strong rookie campaign where he caught 65 passes for over 1,000 yards and 7 TDs (with a rookie QB).  However did we know he would be this good, this quickly? He currently:

  • 9th in NFL in receptions (44)
  • 8th in yards (636)
  • 1st in TDs (7)
  • 6th in rec yards/game (90.9)
  • Currently tied for 1st as top WR in fantasy (with Victor Cruz), with the Green coming off of a bye week, and Cruz yet to have his

Tied for 4th:

Alfred Morris- Like I have said before with him, he’s a rookie and a Shanahan RB, two things I rarely ever trust.  Yet he has defied my doubts and made me a believer, he currently:

  • 3rd in NFL in YDS (717)
  •  4th in NFL in RUSH YPG (89.6)
  •  3rd in NFL in TD (5)
  • 5th overall RB in fantasy
  • He’s also coming off back-t0-back 120+ yard rushing games

Adrian Peterson- We all know how good All Day AP is, but are we forgetting the fact that he is only mere months removed from major knee surgery to repair not only his ACL, but also his MCL? Despite all those obstacles, AP has managed, though eight games, to:

  • 1st in NFL in YDS (775) 
  • 1st in NFL in RUSH YPG (96.9) 
  • 9th in NFL in TD (4)
  • 2nd RB in fast, only behind Foster

3. Heath Miller– Like I said before, he’s a good TE there is no denying that, but when is the last time he’s been relevant in fantasy?  Well regardless of his past-seasons offensive slumps, this season, through eight weeks Miller is:

  • 5th in the NFL in TD (6)
  • 9th among TE in receiving (336)
  • 5th among TE in receptions
  • 2nd in TE in fantasy with 69 points, ahead of Gonzales, Graham, Davis and Witten

2. Stevan Ridley- Who has more fantasy points 8 weeks into the season, Ray Rice or Stephen Ridley?  Trick question, through 8 weeks the highly sought after Rice and little-known Ridley have the same amount of fantasy points (100).  Not only is this a huge surprised because it’s Ridley second year, but he’s also a New England RB, and NE isn’t known for their run game, however, thus far Ridley is:

  • 4th in NFL in YDS (716)
  •  5th in NFL in RUSH YPG (89.5)
  • 3rd in NFL in TD (5)
  • 3rd in Fantasy with 100 points for RBs

1.RG III- How can you argue? He still leads all of fantasy in scoring, and has put up pretty phenomenal numbers on his way to doing so, thus far the rookie sensation is:

  • 5th in NFL in CMP% (66.8)  
  • 7th in NFL in RAT (97.3)
  • 2nd in NFL in rush TD (6) also 17th in rushing yards, ahead of Richardson and Forte (476)
  • 1st in all of fantasy, 1 point ahead of Rodgers, despite RG III missing time against the Falcons

Let Downs

Johnson won’t have much to celebrate soon if he doesn’t turn things around (boston.com)

5. BenJarvus Green Ellis– Once the Law-firm was traded to the Bengals; he was expected to be The Man.  However, he hasn’t quite lived up to his expectations,

  • Ranks 21st in NFL rush (436)
  • Tied for 25th in TD (2) which is as many as Tom Brady has
  • Has yet to rush for 100 yards in a game this season
  • Scored double-digit fantasy points twice
  • Currently 24th overall RB in fantasy

4. LeSean McCoy– After scoring 20 total TDs and accumulating over 1,600 total yards a season ago, and being ranked the #3 overall fantasy player heading into this year’s draft, McCoy currently ranks:

  • 15th in NFL rushing (506)
  • Tied for 25th rush TD (2)
  • Ranks 12th in fantasy RB
  • 47th overall fantasy player

3. Phillip Rivers- granted he lost Vincent Jackson, but he still has Gates, Floyd, added Meachem, and has Mathews, yet Rivers has not had a good fantasy or NFL season at all, he currently ranks:

  • 24th in fantasy QBs, behind guys like Kolb, Wilson, Bradford, and Ponder
  • 24th in NFL passing (1,646)
  • Tied for 12th in TD (10)
  • 5th in INT (9)
  • Has 2 games with under double-digit points, and only 1 game with over 20 points

2. Calvin Johnson– Megatron, the #6th overall ranked player heading in the draft, average draft position was 7.5 overall, and coming off of an historic year a season ago, with over 1,600 rec yards and 16 TD, Johnson currently ranks:

  • 12th in NFL rec (41)
  • 7th in rec yards (638)
  • Tied for 82nd in TD (1)
  • Ranks 18th in WR for fantasy
  • 3 double digit games thus far, but has 4 games with 9 points or under

1. Andre Johnson– Regarded as a top-10 player pre-draft, Johnson has not even come close to living up to what is expected from him, Johnson currently ranks:

  • 32 in NFL rec yards (444)
  • Tied for 51st  in rec TD (2)
  • 32nd in rec (34)
  • 37th WR in fantasy, behind guys like Santana Moss, and Josh Gordon
  • 5 games with 8 points or fewer

What We Learned In Week 6…

With week 6 now in the books, many things where brought to light during the course of play such as:

(buzzfeed.com)

Trent Richardson left Sunday’s game with a rib-injury.

During Sunday’s game against the Bengals, Trent left the game with a rib-injury and did not return.  Since Richardson is owned in 100% of ESPN leagues and started in 98.6% of them, many owners where affected by his injury.  However, owner’s stress-level should have come down a little after John Clayton reported that the rookie sensation should play this Sunday against the Colts.  Clayton also reported there was no broken bones, just cartilage damage, and Richardson is day-to-day but is likely to play.

DeMarco Murray left Sunday’s game with a foot-injury.

Amidst a strong game vs. the Ravens, Murray left with a foot-injury, and did not return, leaving Felix Jones to take over in the backfield.  ESPN.com reported that Murray is likely out this upcoming week against the Panthers, and that the team is likely to evaluate him on a week-to-week basis.

If both Murray and Richardson are no-gos this week, look out for:

Felix Jones- why not? He’ll be the only option and after a strong performance last week even when Murray was still in, Jones is likely to get most of, if not all, of the touches.  He also is facing the Panthers in week 7, who has conceded the 27th most point to fantasy RBs with 21.8 ppg.

Vincent Ballard- who? He is Donald Brown’s replacement, with Brown out for another week or two after getting knee-surgery last week.  Though Ballard struggled against the Jets (25 rushing yards and 17 receiving), so did his entire team.  One promising thing is that despite his ineffectiveness, he got the majority of the carries and touches.  This week he faces the Browns who rank 20th vs. opposing RBs in fantasy, and 25th in the NFL, allowing 131.ypg on the ground.

Lewis won’t be making any more tackles like this this season, after a torn triceps will sideline him for the remainder of the 2012-13 season (tigertownson.com)

Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb are out for the season.

These injuries could be detrimental to the Ravens and owners who have them.   Since they are owned in 100% of leagues, that means a lot of owners out there are affected, likely someone reading this.  With the Ravens loosing their leader in Lewis and their top corner in Webb, it might be time to start looking for new defenses to start in week 7 since the Ravens will be taking on the Texans effective offense that ranks 10th in total offesne (363 yards/game) and 5th in scoring with 28.8 ppg.

Other Defenses to look for:

Vikings: Currently a top-10 defense in fantasy and facing the Cardinal’s in week 7, an offense that ranks 30th in the NFL with 283.0 ypg and tied for 26th with 18.3 ppg.

Daryl Richardson is getting more and more action for the Rams

Steven Jackson’s back-up Richardson is getting implemented into the offense more and more as the weeks come. After amassing 99 total yards last week versus the Dolphins, whose run-defense is highly underrated, and rotowire.com reporting that Jackson’s contract has been restructured to let him walk at the end of the season if he wishes, is it possible that Richardson will start seeing even more action?  I believe so, and for those in need of a back-up RB or possible flex in deep leagues, I would recommend scooping Richardson before others become aware of him.

Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers look to be back to normal

After Manning’s neck-surgery, and ranking Rodgers my biggest let-down thus far, these elite QBs look to be back to their old ways.  After 41 points through his first 3 weeks, Rodgers has since scored 89 points in the last three weeks.  He went from #19 QB in fantasy, to now being ranked #2.  He also went from not even being in the top-10 in QB rating, to now being ranked #1.

Manning has also been on a tear since his shaky start versus the Falcons.  After that 3-int performance, in Manning’s last 4 games he has thrown for 1,314 yards in addition to his 11 Tds and 1 int.  During this hot-streak, Manning has moved up the fantasy rankings, now the #3 QB in fantasy football.

Top Fantasy Football Surprises and Let-Downs

It may be only 4 weeks into the NFL and fantasy football season, but it’s never too early to discuss surprises and let-downs.  Therefore, I decided to take a look at the top-5 players who have pleasantly surprised owners, and the 5 who have let their owners down the most.

I will do this quarterly, so every 4 weeks (8, 12, and 16) to take a look at what has changed.  In order to determine surprises vs. let-downs, I will look at players, where they were drafted in most leagues, what were their expectations, and compare all that to their actual performances.

***It’s worth noting that before is start this, through 4 weeks, in the top-15 players(standard scoring leagues) , there is only 1 RB (Arian Foster), 0 WR, 13 QBs, and 1 defense( Bears).

Let’s start with the positives and look at surprises (in standard scoring leagues).

RGIII sure has a lot to smile about (lugaluda.com)

Top surprises:

1. Robert Griffin III– Any real surprise here?  He is an obvious choice, and here is why:

  • He leads fantasy in scoring with 100 points
  • Thrown for 1,070 yards and ran for 252
  • 4 TD passes, 1 int, 4 rushing TDs
  • “Worst” performance was last week vs. Tampa Bay where he scored  22 points
  • Currently tied for 1st in the NFL with 4 rushing TDs
  •  3rd in competition percentage , 69.4%,
  • 4th in QB rating with 103.4

2. Alfred Morris– He has made me go against one of my few rules in fantasy, and that is to never trust a Shanahan running back, however he’s:

  • 5th RB overall
  •  Averaging just under 15 ppg.
  •  5th in the NFL with 376 rushing yards.
  • Tied for 1st with rg3 and Arian Foster with 4 rushing TDs.
  • Average draft selection= 101.3 overall (11th -12th round).
  •  Referred to as “that other Redskin rookie.”

3. CJ Spiller- Despite his injury, he’s:

  • Led all RB in scoring through three weeks even with coming out of week 3 early
  • Currently in a 3-way tie for 2nd for fantasy RBs with Rice and Charles (62 points)
  • 1st in NFL in yards per carry with 8.3 (2.1 ypc more than rg3 who is second)
  • 8th in overall rushing with 341 yards
  • 2nd in NFL with 3 rushing TDs
  • Also has 9 receptions for 119 yards and a TD.
  • That’s with really only playing 2 real game since he took over in week one after Jackson went down
  • 4. It’s a tie- Matt Ryan–  We all knew he was good, but this good?
  • 2nd in fantasy with 92 points
  • Lowest scoring game was 17
  • 2nd in NFL with 11 TD passes,
  • 1st  in NFL passer rating (112.1)
  • Tied for 6th in passing yards with Peyton Manning (1,1,62)

Heath Miller– People forget how much of an offensive weapon he used to be, but this season:

  • Before his week 4 bye, Miller was tied for 3rd in fantasy for TE, ahead of Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski.
  • Tied for 1st in NFL with 4 receiving TDs
  • In 3 games, 15 receptions and 129 yards.
  • Currently 6th over for TEs even with Bye week (8 points behind leader Tony Gonzales)
  • His last two seasons combined, 93 receptions- 1,143 yards and 4 TDs.
  • Most TDs in single-season is 7 in 2007.

5. Ben Roethlisberger- never thought of as an elite fantasy scorer, but this season:

  • Before his week 4 bye, he was third in all of fantasy with 65 points, 4 behind Matt Ryan.
  • Despite bye, 4th in NFL with 8 TD passes.
  • Only 21 TDs all last year,
  • 5th in yards per game with 301 (ahead of Stafford, Ryan, Peyton and Rodgers)
  • Still 14th overall in fantasy with bye.

Let Downs:

Rodgers may not be smiling for long (packermedia.com)

1. Aaron Rodgers-I never thought I would say this and I will likely catch a lot of flak for this, but based on stats thus far, Rodgers has been a let-down.  He was selected  1st overall in many leagues, average drat was 3rd overall, and has led fantasy in scoring last 2 seasons and now, 4 weeks in his numbers are terrifying pedestrian:

  • Before his 27-points vs. Saints, Rodgers was tied for 19th in QBs (Now he is the 1th ranked QB)
  • He is 1st in league in completion percentage (69.9) and 7th in TDs, but he’s 13th in passing yards.
  • He is 24th in the NFL in yards per attempt
  • 1st in the NFL with 16 sacks.
  •  I don’t think he is a bust, or will become seasons end, but when you are talking about Aaron Rodgers, you think greatness, so far he hasn’t been.
  •  I expect 20+ point performances week In and week out,
  • Yet weeks 2 and 3 combined he got 19 against Seattle and Chicago, showing he can be stopped and he can be sacked.
  • I’m being a stickler but he has 3 INTs this season, and only 6 last year.
  • 2. CJK– O-line or not, I’ve lost faith in him as a must-start each week.
  • I previously defended him and after his performance last week vs.  Houston where he rushed for 141 yards, that was just short of 3 times what he rushed for in first 3 games combined.
  •  He was drafted 9th overall on average, and if he wants to be taken seriously again as a legit fantasy player he needs to duplicate this performance often, almost every week.
  • He currently is the 32nd ranked fantasy RB, tied with Donald Brown who had a bye last week and one point ahead of Leshoure who missed the first 2 games.
  • 25th in rushing overall with 186 yards
  • Tied for 39th in yards per carry with 3.2
  • 20th with 58 attempts.

3. Tony Romo– the numbers speak for themselves:

  • He was drafted on average in the 4th-5thround
  • Currently ranks 23rd overall QB, 1 point ahead of Blaine Gabbert
  • 5 TDs and 8 INTs
  • Even without his 5 INT performance against the Bears, he had 4 TDs to 3 INTs with 2 fumbles lost.
  • He’s got the weapons and they’re healthy, he just needs to throw better.
  • He is 10th in comp % and 8th in yards in the NFL
  • But he has 10 turnovers already

4. LeSean McCoy– 3rd ranked player in preseason rankings, however:

  • Currently ranked 15th among RBs and not even top-50 overall.
  • Highest scoring game was 13 points.
  • Although he ranks 3rd in rushing, he has only scored 1 TD.
  • His reception numbers are hurting, averaging 4.2 yards per catch, but he averages 4.7 yards per rush
  • The TDs just aren’t there after he scored 20 a season ago.

5. Larry Fitz– It’s not fair to him since he is a great receiver with no consistency at QB, but this is fantasy.  After being ranked #2 WR in preseason, through four weeks:

  • 22nd ranked WR.  He’s behind guys like James Jones, Brandon Hartline and even his own teammate Andre Roberts.
  • His average draft was 14th overall, which means 1st -2nd round.
  • NFL rankings:  35th in yards (225)
  • Not even top-50 in yards per catch (11.5)
  • Tied for 18th in reception with 22
  • Tied for 25th with catches over 20 yards with (4).