Fantasy Football: The 7 Most Inconsistent Week-to-Week Performers

Marco PatitucciContributor IIAugust 2, 2012

Fantasy Football: The 7 Most Inconsistent Week-to-Week Performers

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    As the most popular fantasy leagues are head-to-head, having fantasy stars that produce on a week-to-week basis is important to success. Avoiding a roster with too many players that are dependent on big performances for their fantasy relevance is just as important.

    While few receivers will hit double-digits every week (or QBs hit 20-plus), there are some players whose week-to-week production was of particular concern in 2011 and could be again in 2012.

    Looking only at players who project in the Top 100 this year, here are the seven most inconsistent performers of 2011 on a week-to-week basis and thoughts on whether or not they will be able to spread their production more evenly in 2012.

     

    Weekly fantasy point totals are given in ESPN standard scoring format, detailed here.

Steve Smith , Carolina Panthers

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    Weekly Fantasy Production (in points)

    Week 1: 29

    Week 2: 13

    Week 3: 1

    Week 4: 18

    Week 5: 13

    Week 6: 6

    Week 7: 14

    Week 8: 17

    Week 9: Bye

    Week 10: 3

    Week 11: 12

    Week 12: 6

    Week 13: 3

    Week 14: 12

    Week 15: 14

    Week 16: 2

    Week 17: 12

     

    Playing with rookie QB Cam Newton, Smith was destined to experience some inconsistency even as the go-to receiver. While Smith's production was at the mercy of Newton's passing, Newton had the benefit of balancing out a lack of quality passing performances with quality rushing performances.

    Smith had six games of six or fewer fantasy points, including a devastating two-point total in Week 16—championship week for most leagues. Newton’s throwing statistics should be more consistent in his sophomore season, but there will still be weeks when he relies more on his legs, costing Smith valuable targets.

    While Smith is likely to finish in the Top 15 of fantasy-scoring WRs, the unreliable week-to-week performances mean Smith is not an ideal fantasy WR1.

Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers

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    Weekly Fantasy Production (in points)

    Week 1: 13

    Week 2: 14

    Week 3: 4

    Week 4: 15

    Week 5: 1

    Week 6: 16

    Week 7: 5

    Week 8: Bye

    Week 9: 16

    Week 10: 18

    Week 11: 24

    Week 12: 2

    Week 13: 9

    Week 14: 14

    Week 15: 2

    Week 16: 23

    Week 17: 34

     

    The No. 2 scoring fantasy WR in 2011 was incredibly inconsistent, as he tallied 57 of his 210 fantasy points in Weeks 16 and 17—that’s more than a quarter of his season’s point total.

    While Nelson has the benefit of playing in one of the league’s top passing offenses (third in 2011) both Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley command a lot of targets from Aaron Rodgers as well. Because of Rodgers' preference of keeping multiple receivers involved, Nelson is unlikely to be a consistent fantasy producer in 2012 or duplicate his 15-TD performance.

Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers

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    Weekly Fantasy Production (in points)

    Week 1: 4

    Week 2: 1

    Week 3: 11

    Week 4: 10

    Week 5: 15

    Week 6: 0

    Week 7: Bye

    Week 8: 2

    Week 9: 2

    Week 10: 10

    Week 11: 12

    Week 12: 3

    Week 13: 3

    Week 14: 3

    Week 15: 13

    Week 16: 5

    Week 17: 11

     

    Davis will be entering his seventh season with the 49ers. While he has remained a fairly steady TE1 since his breakout year in 2009 (965 yards, 13 TDs), he hasn’t yet had sustained success that matches his talent. Of course, the hindrance of a revolving door of coaches and coordinators in San Francisco seems to have come to a halt with the arrival of Jim Harbaugh's staff last season. 

    With Alex Smith the unquestioned starter for the second season and Harbaugh in year two of his coaching tenure, there should be some stability to the offense. Davis could also benefit from the addition of Randy Moss if he is still an effective deep threat. Defenses began closing off the seam route that had been so successful for Davis with the absence of a true vertical threat on the outside.

Benjarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Weekly Fantasy Production (in points)

    Week 1: 9

    Week 2: 13

    Week 3: 1

    Week 4: 13

    Week 5: 26

    Week 6: 6

    Week 7: Bye

    Week 8: 0

    Week 9: 6

    Week 10: 0

    Week 11: 10

    Week 12: 16

    Week 13: 7

    Week 14: 1

    Week 15: 10

    Week 16: 1

    Week 17: 19

     

    Last season with the Patriots, Green-Ellis continued his TD-poaching ways, tallying 11 on just 181 rushing attempts. Unfortunately, his overall fantasy production was unpredictable, with 61 of his 138 fantasy points coming in three games (Weeks 5, 12 and 17).

    An increase in carries should be in order for Green-Ellis with a more run-balanced offense in Cincinnati, although a repeat in the TD department will be tough.

DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Weekly Fantasy Production (in points)

    Week 1: 16

    Week 2: 2

    Week 3: 3

    Week 4: 17

    Week 5: 14

    Week 6: 4

    Week 7: Bye

    Week 8: 3

    Week 9: 0

    Week 10: 0

    Week 11: 8

    Week 12: 7

    Week 13: 3

    Week 14: 11

    Week 15: 2

    Week 16: 11

    Week 17: 14

     

    The big plays were few and far between for Jackson in 2011, as he fell even further from his peak as the No. 4 fantasy WR in 2009, settling at No. 27. Jackson is still a top-10 deep threat in the NFL, but he hasn’t developed enough prowess as a route runner underneath to keep defenses honest and remain a WR1 in fantasy.

    Jackson may not even end up as the No. 1 receiver on his team this year, as Jeremy Maclin comes into the season healthy and ready to produce at a high level after playing in 13 games last season with five TDs (Maclin had 10 TDs in 2010).

    Jackson could be a valuable piece if he gets back to his big-play ways, but not at his current ADP of 56.

Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins

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    Weekly Fantasy Production (in points)

    Week 1: 3

    Week 2: 2

    Week 3: 8

    Week 4: 26

    Week 5: 24

    Week 6: 3

    Week 7: 3

    Week 8: 6

    Week 9: 2

    Week 10: 4

    Week 11: Bye

    Week 12: 3

    Week 13: 27

    Week 14: 4

    Week 15: 0

    Week 16: 5

    Week 17: 2

     

    The Indianapolis Colts had well documented struggles last season in what may be the first of several transition years, finishing 2-14. The inconsistent offense and QB play meant Garcon was hard-pressed to produce fantasy value on a week-to-week basis. Three outstanding performances highlighted his 2011, with Weeks 4, 5 and 13 making up 77 of his 122 fantasy points.

    While Garcon has left the Colts for the Redskins, he is likely to experience similar inconsistency in Washington with rookie QB Robert Griffin III at the helm.

Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos

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    Weekly Fantasy Production (in points)

    Week 1: 3

    Week 2: 16

    Week 3: 11

    Week 4: 11

    Week 5: 14

    Week 6: Bye

    Week 7: 5

    Week 8: 0

    Week 9: 28

    Week 10: 1

    Week 11: (-1)

    Week 12: 11

    Week 13: 15

    Week 14: 3

    Week 15: 7

    Week 16: 6

    Week 17: 14

     

    Part of McGahee’s inconsistency in 2011 was a result of being part of the Tebow-led offense that emphasized the run—but not always with McGahee. Before Tebow took over as the starting QB in Week 7, McGahee was consistently in double-digits for fantasy scoring.

    McGahee should have more consistent carries and production in a more conventional offense with new Bronco Peyton Manning. The only new potential threat that could hamper McGahee’s consistency in 2012 is rookie RB Ronnie Hillman, a third-round draft pick.