Fantasy Football 2012: 10 First-Half Busts

Ryan BrowerContributor IIIOctober 31, 2012

Fantasy Football 2012: 10 First-Half Busts

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    Back in August when you were doing your research, these were guys you thought you were going to be able to count on. Guys who would bring you to the promised land of a fantasy football title.

    But that is why they play the games, because sometimes guys you thought were reliable end up being no-shows. Halfway through the fantasy football season, here are the top 10 busts from the first half—hopefully none of these guys are on your team. 

10. Aaron Hernandez

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    New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was being drafted this year like the third best tight end in the league, which he is.

    The problem is he went down with a high ankle sprain in the second game of the season after hauling in six catches for 59 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. He has since missed five games, continuing to have setbacks in practice each week.

    If he can return to the field 100-percent healthy at some point this season, he can put up top tight end numbers, though—in the three games he has played in this year, he has scored 12.40, 9, and 5.40 fantasy points in Yahoo! standard fantasy leagues. 


    What to Do with Him

    Hold onto Hernandez if you have another viable TE option right now. If he gets back on the field, he will produce like a top-five tight end. 

9. Andre Johnson

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    If you did your homework right this year, you realized that the over-30 slump for wide receivers is real—though Reggie Wayne is certainly proving to be the outlier this year.

    The Houston Texans are ranking 18th in the NFL with 230.6 passing yards/game, while ranking sixth in rushing yards/game with 140.9. They also have one of the top defenses in the league, which hinders Andre Johnson's fantasy potential even more.

    Plus, with the emergence of tight end Owen Daniels as a top-five fantasy producer, Andre's production has fallen off the cliff. Sitting 36th in Yahoo! standard-scoring leagues with 56.40 fantasy points, Andre has only eclipsed 100 yards in a game once this season, and he only has two touchdowns.


    What to Do with Him

    The Texans play the Buffalo Bills this week, who have one of the worst secondaries in football. Hope for Andre to have a solid week and then sell high on him to a wide receiver needy team. 

8. Baltimore Ravens Defense

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    Speaking of aging players, the Baltimore Ravens defense fits the mold for severed production off the 30-and-beyond cliff.

    The core of this once elite defense—Ray Lewis and Ed Reed—are both upwards of 34. And the 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Terrell Suggs, had missed the first six games of the season with a torn Achilles. But as soon as Suggs came back, they lost Ray Lewis for the year with a torn triceps—though he is no longer the feared linebacker he once was, he still is the obvious leader of the team.

    No longer a top-five defense, they are now producing more like a top-15/top-20 fantasy defense. They are allowing 23 points/game, which puts them right in the middle of the pack as far as defenses go.


    What to Do with Them

    If there are better waiver-wire options out there (the Minnesota Vikings, the Miami Dolphins or the Atlanta Falcons, to name a few), consider picking them up. The Ravens will still be a decent matchup play the rest of the way out, but they are no longer a safe bet to just be kept in your starting lineup for the entire season. 

7. Greg Jennings

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    It seems we've seen more of Greg Jennings in Old Spice commercials this year than on the field.

    Bothered by a nagging groin tear the entire season, Jennings has only played in three games. He is slotted for surgery on the tear later this week and is expecting to be back on the field around Week 13 or 14, which is highly optimistic.

    Drafted like a WR1, Jennings has only 14 receptions for 98 yards and one touchdown in this highly important contract year. Maybe if he hadn't been doing pushups with girls on jet-skis on his back, he'd be a playing a little more often this year...


    What to Do with Him

    Obviously he's going to be out at least a few more weeks. If you don't have the bench spot to waste, drop him for someone who is actually on the field right now. If you're sitting pretty for the playoffs, go ahead and hold onto him since they play the Titans and Lions during the fantasy playoffs.

    If you want to get something back for him and need dire help, get anything you can from a team who is looking to solidify themselves for a playoff run. 

6. Ryan Mathews

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    Ryan Mathews has shown shades of LaDainian Tomlinson when he's on the field. But he's not on the field enough to consistently put up L.T.-type numbers.

    And now with a struggling Philip Rivers (what else is new) Norv Turner is starting to scale back the Chargers offense. Mathews was being drafted as a top five this year, and in many cases he can be.

    But considering he has already missed two games this year, his benching for fumbling issues and the inconsistency of the Chargers offense, he is hardly a solid RB1.


    What to Do with Him

    Mathews has an easy schedule ahead, but you've gotta have a feeling that after this latest fumble/his injury history that he'll end up missing a few more games. Upgrade your team somehow by going to someone with RB problems, as Mathews has only put up more than 10 points in one game this year. 

5. Tony Romo

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    Tony Romo is like the daunting roller coaster you decide to ride after wolfing down a chili cheese dog—he's up and down the whole time, and you eventually find yourself vomiting at some point.

    Every year he has been a starting quarterback, Tony Romo has finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback. He's always been painful to watch, but theory this year went that if you didn't want to draft an elite QB early, then the consistent Romo could be had in the mid rounds and you'd still be alright.

    Romo has been atrocious this year, though. He has only nine touchdowns compared to a league-leading 13 interceptions, he has scored more than 15 fantasy points in Yahoo! standard-scoring leagues only three times this year (and in last week's effort against the Giants, he still threw four interceptions).

    In Yahoo! standard-scoring leagues, Romo currently sits as the No. 20 QB, and finishing as a top 10 QB will be very difficult.


    What to Do with Him

    If you have a solid backup then play it week-by-week with the matchups. If not, ride it out with him and just know that he is going to have major ups and major downs. If you want to part ways with him, don't expect much in return. 

4. LeSean McCoy

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    Preseason, LeSean McCoy was in the discussion for being picked first overall. After Week 8, he is 13th in running backs scoring in Yahoo! standard-scoring leagues.

    A true workhorse, LeSean McCoy only has 127 rushing attempts and 28 receptions this year while the Eagles offense has struggled.

    He also has only two rushing touchdowns after finding the end zone 17 times last year on the ground. It seems like head coach Andy Reid knows he needs to get LeSean the ball more, and he did last week against the Falcons.

    Despite his major drop-off from last year, he still has scored fewer than 10 points only once this year. 


    What to Do with Him

    Shady may have hurt you a few weeks this year when you were expecting more out of him, but if Andy Reid wants to keep his job, he is going to have the offense run through LeSean McCoy.

    I'd put money on LeSean finishing in the top five in running backs by season's end. Hold onto him and watch him go off against some easy matchups coming up. 

3. Larry Fitzgerald

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    If someone had told you before this season started that halfway through the year that Arizona Cardinals third-year wideout Andre Roberts would have more fantasy points than teammate Larry Fitzgerald, you would've laughed right in their face.

    And today you'd be apologizing, because that's the case. Fitz has been hindered by the worst offensive line in football and absolutely no running game, allowing teams to key in on stopping just him—which has allowed Roberts to flourish in man coverage.

    Fitz is averaging a paltry 63.9 yards/game and only has three touchdowns. Drafted as the consensus No. 2 wide receiver in football, Fitz has a hard task ahead of him to get you your value back in the second half. 


    What to Do with Him

    Fitz has finished more games this year with fewer than 10 fantasy points (five times) than he has with more than 10 fantasy points (three times) in Yahoo! standard-scoring leagues.

    He squares off with Green Bay and Atlanta the next two weeks, two games in which the Cardinals will most likely have to score lots of points. If you're in need of help in other areas, it's not a bad idea to sell high on Fitz after one of these two weeks if he goes off. 

2. Darren McFadden

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    Darren McFadden hasn't finished as a top-10 fantasy running back since 2010 because of continual injuries.

    The talk has always been that Run DMC could be the best fantasy back in all of football if he just stayed healthy for a whole year—last year, he averaged just under 15 fantasy points/game while playing in only seven games.

    Well, this year he hasn't missed a single game, yet he is only the 19th scoring fantasy running back in Yahoo! standard-scoring leagues.

    Averaging only 3.3 yards/carry, DMC has had massive trouble producing in the Raiders' new zone-blocking scheme. But the last couple of weeks, he has appeared to be figuring things out. Still, though, he is far from being fantasy's top scoring back this year.


    What to Do with Him

    Coming off an injury, you probably drafted him in the late first or early second round, which means you may have a solid RB corps. If that's the case then stick tight with him. If you're struggling then look to unload him now after his solid performance last week against the Chiefs. 

1. Calvin Johnson

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    Last year after Week 8, Calvin Johnson had hauled in 11 touchdowns. This year, he only has one.

    Yes, one.

    Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense have struggled mightily this year, but with a massive game last week against the Seahawks (Stafford went 34-of-49 for 352 yards and three scores), Megatron was nowhere to be found. He has had two straight games with only three receptions and less than 50 yards, and he hasn't scored since Week 3.

    He is also tied for third in the NFL with six drops. It was widely debated this offseason if he was worth the No. 1 selection in fantasy drafts. And if he did go No. 1 in your league—or even as the No. 1 wideout—he's severely under-produced this year. 


    What to Do with Him

    Dare we say the Madden Curse lives another year? It really depends on your situation whether you should trade Megatron or not.

    If you're looking like a shoo-in for the playoffs, hold onto him, as he still has two matchups with Green Bay and one with Indy. If you're struggling, sell high on him, potentially after this week, when he has a chance to tear apart Jacksonville's awful secondary.

    But remember this: If there is one man who can finish as the top scoring wideout after finishing the first half of the season at 19th, it's Megatron.