8 Supposedly Star Players Who Will Continue to Fall Flat in Fantasy Football
The fantasy season is a month old, and so it's time to evaluate if that frustrating early round pick is going to turn it around, or if he's destined for a season of disappointment.
Did you draft Stevan Ridley and currently find yourself questioning whether he or some waiver wire pickup should start in your flex spot? Are you considering a seemingly lopsided trade offer for Doug Martin and not sure if you should bail on the young star from Tampa Bay?
This is the point in the season where overreacting to a player's disappointing start will cost you in the playoffs (if you even make the playoffs). But it can also be the right time to jump ship on a star player and get value for his name—and avoid the disappointing weeks of low point totals that follow.
So who are the players you should cut ties with to improve your fantasy team? Here are eight players you probably drafted and should now try to trade for a decent value.
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
Who: Russell Wilson
Why He'll Continue to Fall Flat: His team is too good.
Russell Wilson is a fine football player, and if I were starting a real NFL franchise in a living room or a sports bar with my friends, he'd be one of my first picks.
But I play fantasy football instead, and that means Wilson isn't very valuable, because his team is just too darn good, and it's limiting his opportunities. When the Seattle Seahawks get out to huge leads, Wilson doesn't get the chance to run up the score and continue to throw.
Wilson was near the bottom of the NFL's starting quarterbacks in the "passes attempted" category last season, and he'll finish there again in 2013. In fact, he's only attempted two more passes than Josh Freeman, who has played one fewer game than Wilson.
And with Wilson only earning three points per game as a runner, he's not making up for his lack of productivity as a passer by running.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Who: Doug Martin
Why He'll Continue to Fall Flat: His team is a train wreck, and his offense isn't efficient.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a mess right now, mainly due to their handling of their starter-turned-disgruntled backup quarterback Josh Freeman. Not caught up on that situation? Ryan Van Bibber has you covered over at SB Nation.
And in his first game with new QB Mike Glennon, Martin was running into brick walls of stacked boxes designed to blitz the rookie and plug every gap to prevent Martin from running free.
This problem doesn't seem like it will be solved soon, as the Buccaneers lack depth at receiver to spread the field and dictate better matchups.
If you can find someone who thinks Martin will turn it around, trade him now. This offense is poorly designed, and the situation surrounding the team is downright toxic at the moment.
Martin is a fantastic player with awful surroundings at the moment. That mean's going to fail to live up to his top-five draft pick status, and if you can get top-five value for him, take it
Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots
Who: Stevan Ridley
Why He'll Continue to Fall Flat: Bill Belichick.
The New England Patriots are a fantastic team. It's a well-run organization with excellent schemes on offense and defense.
And the Patriots don't care at all about your fantasy football team.
So far this season, Stevan Ridley has split time on the field with Brandon Bolden and LeGarrette Blount.
Ridley could be a great fantasy player, but as long as he's in New England, his scoring just isn't predictable enough to rely on.
Steven Jackson, RB, Atlanta Falcons
Who: Steven Jackson
Why He'll Continue to Fall Flat: He's got too many miles on his legs, and his offense isn't conducive to serious scoring in fantasy football.
Steven Jackson is 30 years old and has been running hard in the NFL for 10 years. He's a fantastic player, but that's just too much abuse to remain healthy and relevant for a full season.
Jackson is currently on the sidelines and will return in the next few weeks. But he's going to have to be used more sparingly as he's showing signs of wear after a long NFL career.
And even if he was the workhorse of the offense, he'd still not have guaranteed fantasy relevance. The Atlanta Falcons don't have a great offensive line, but they do have a loaded passing attack.
Before he comes back and has any disappointing games, you should see what value you can get for him.
Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Who: Vincent Jackson
Why He'll Continue to Fall Flat: Same reasons as Doug Martin. His team is a mess, and his rookie QB isn't good enough to provide consistent, relevant fantasy points.
For Jackson, the problems are the same as Martin but compounded because he actually has to receive passes from an unprepared rookie quarterback to be fantasy relevant.
Refer to this breakdown by SI.com's Doug Farrar for more information on the inadequacies of the Tampa Bay offense, which hasn't changed much even with a less talented player under center.
Jackson was a player I targeted heavily in the offseason, because I believed the Buccaneers were going to work to keep him open. So far they've done a decent job of that, but now he doesn't have a quarterback to provide the numbers he needs to justify his draft position.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Who: Dwayne Bowe
Why He'll Continue to Fall Flat: Alex Smith's arm isn't conducive to Bowe's big-play ability.
On average, no player in the NFL throws shorter passes than Alex Smith.
Consider that statement and what it means for your fantasy team if you're relying on Dwayne Bowe.
That statistic comes courtesy of Pro Football Focus (subscription required), who calculate the average depth of a quarterback's passes over the course of the season. Alex Smith is a half yard behind the next highest starting quarterback, Tony Romo.
But to really put his status as kind of the dump-off pass, consider this. Michael Vick and Cam Newton's average depth of throw is almost double that of Smith. The average pass for Smith goes just over six yards. For Newton and Vick, the average throw is just under 12 yards.
That means it takes Alex Smith twice the work to get the same fantasy points for yardage as top fantasy quarterbacks. And it means Bowe isn't being put in a position to succeed given his breakaway speed.
This isn't going to change anytime soon, either, because Kansas City is going just fine with Smith throwing the ball as he does.
Danny Amendola, WR, New England Patriots
Who: Danny Amendola
Why He'll Continue to Fall Flat: Bad luck.
Danny Amendola could be one of the best wide receivers in the NFL over a 16-game season, especially with Tom Brady spinning the ball around on offense.
The problem is, he just cannot stay healthy. And it's not one nagging injury for Amendola, but rather a series of seemingly disconnected and unfortunate ailments which hold him back from realizing his potential.
He's not going to have surgery for his most recent groin injury, which included a complete tear of muscle from bone according to Les Carpenter of Yahoo Sports. So whenever he does come back (especially if he comes back too early), he'll likely still be in pain of some kind.
Amendola could land some value from someone looking to cash in on the New England passing attack that's bursting with potential. At this point, you should take it and move on.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings
Who: Kyle Rudolph
Why He'll Continue to Fall Flat: He needs to score touchdowns to be relevant, and his team just isn't going to score enough to provide fantasy value.
Rudolph was drafted as if he was a starting tight end, but at his current pace, he's barely worthy of bye week fill-in consideration.
If he continues at his current pace, he'll finish with fewer catches, targets, yards and touchdowns compared to last year. And last year, he was really only fantasy relevant because of his ridiculous amount of red-zone success.
But the Minnesota Vikings are not going to score enough to make Rudolph relevant again this season. With uncertainty at quarterback and a new intermediate target in Greg Jennings in the mix, there's just not the same kind of targets for Rudolph inside the 20.