Fantasy Football 2012: 5 Potential Week 1 Busts
Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE
Week 1 of the NFL season is finally upon us. With that is the commencement of fantasy football season.
While most of us are combing the waiver wire for last second sleepers, there may be reason for concern that a few of our ordinarily reliable options will flounder in their first game.
That's not to say that these players won't be productive this season. 17 games is a lot of action to put up stellar numbers, and the cream of the crop eventually rises to the top.
However, Week 1 always poses an interesting dynamic of uncertainty, along with some flukey performances (ie: Kevin Ogletree). With that, injuries, or even just bad matchups can cause some fantasy stars to underwhelm in their first game.
Let's take a look at five players you may want to risk sitting this week.
Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers WR
Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Mike Wallace.
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After sitting out almost all of training camp, Mike Wallace is in line to start Sunday against the Denver Broncos. While for many that's enough to insert him into their Week 1 lineup, it may be prudent to wait and see how Wallace performs before you play him.
Not only is Wallace going up against a stout Denver Broncos defense, but he was a marginal No. 1 wide receiver last season.
In his last nine games, Wallace had only three touchdowns and never went for more than 85 yards. As teams began to key on him, Wallace's numbers clearly faded down the stretch and his fantasy value was marginalized.
With that, the emergence of Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders will limit the amount of targets Wallace gets. All things considered, Mike Wallace is will still emerge as a reliable fantasy option as the season progresses, but it may be a stretch to expect any significant production from him in Week 1.
Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans RB
Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson.
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It took Chris Johnson three games last season before he rushed for 100 yards, and four games before he got into the end zone.
While Johnson made himself into a reliable fantasy option in the middle of the season, the star running back faded down the stretch, much to the dismay of fantasy owners. He may rebound to have a productive 2012 campaign, or then again he might not.
However, either way, the matchup this week does not bode well for Johnson's fantasy value. The Titans open up against a Patriots team that can score in the blink of an eye. This game has the makings of a shootout, which doesn't do much for a running back's numbers.
If the Titans get caught playing catchup vs. Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Co., Chris Johnson's opportunities will be limited. Think twice before starting him this week.
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Benagels WR
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A.J. Green is a fantastic football player.
He had an unprecedented rookie campaign, and he seems primed to follow it up in 2012 with another great performance. However, the Bengals play the Ravens this week. Needless to say, starting a young wideout against a dominant, veteran Ravens defense is a risky proposition.
A year ago, the Ravens gave up less than 200 yards per game through the air, while only averaging 6.7 yards per completion. 2012 is a new season, and with that comes the possibility that team's will be able to throw the ball on the Ravens this year. But we won't know that for a least another few weeks.
For now, we have to assume that the Raven's will once again shut down top wide receivers. A.J. Green might be in for a tough game this weekend.
Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins RB
Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush.
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Up until last year, Reggie Bush was a poor fantasy option. With New Orleans, Bush had trouble getting carries in a crowded backfield. With that, his only meaningful production came through the air.
However, his breakout 2011 campaign silenced a lot of his critics. Not only did Bush rush for more than 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, but he got into the end zone six times.
However, the Dolphins matchup with the Texans this weekend does not bode well for Bush's fantasy stock. He may be a reliable flex option for the majority of the season, but the Texans are primed to possess the top defense in the NFL this season.
A year ago the Texans ranked fourth in the league in rushing defense, which they may even improve upon this year. With that, the Dolphins lack of a threat at wide receiver will enable Houston to stack the box against Reggie Bush. Don't look for him to be productive this week.
Andre Johnson, Houston Texans WR
Houston Texan's wideout Andre Johnson.
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Andre Johnson is obviously a viable fantasy starter this season. His size, speed and overall athleticism make him a nightmare for any defense to match-up with. That being said, he might be a little rusty heading into Week 1.
Johnson is coming of a hamstring injury in 2011 and missed some time this preseason with a rib injury.
Expect the Texans to let Arian Foster and Ben Tate carry the offensive load this week. It makes no sense to overplay Johnson and put him in stressful situations if it's not necessary. The 31-year-old wideout has not played a full 16-game season since 2009, so look for Houston to tread with caution this time around.