All fantasy owners know the feeling.
You draft some big time players in the higher rounds in hopes they will be a consistent source of points. They aren't necessarily risks on paper—most of the time they are actually smart picks—and in order for your fantasy team to have success, you need them to perform well on an every week basis.
But, they don't.
They don't fill out the stat sheet like they normally do. They might get a nagging injury that causes their production to go down. They get in legal trouble or put in their coach's dog house because of something they did. All of these types of things kill their high level of production that you—the fantasy owner—are so desperate for them to put out.
These players are called fantasy football busts, and they can ruin a completely relaxed Sunday quicker than your ex-girlfriend—who you hate—telling you shes pregnant and its yours. They fester in your fantasy lineups like a cancer eating away at your football mind. You begin second guessing your judgments and ponder whether to start, sit or flat out drop the bums.
In my eyes, a fantasy flop can have decent numbers, but if he is not living up to his potential or playing as well as a guy drafted in his position should play, he is a bust. A bust can get hurt, but he still has to play a few games and underachieve to be considered one.
It is still early in the season, so for these 25 men, there is still hope that they can revive their seasons. Well at least some of them. Here are my top 25 fantasy football players that have given us the most headeaches so far.
These five guys are all big name receivers who just haven't done what is expected of them for their respective teams. They may have okay numbers, but right now they just aren't living up to expectations.
25. Randy Moss, WR, Vikings
He may have four touchdowns this season, which is pretty good, but he has only caught 13 balls so far this year, tying him for 89th in the league. He is behind guys like James Jones, Roscoe Parrish and Josh Morgan in that category. "The Freak" also only has 220 yards which isn't great either, but those low catch totals really hurt his value in PPR leagues.
24. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
Fitz didn't really click with Derek Anderson and his numbers are way down because of it. He's averaged 96.5 catches, 1,200+ yards and 12.5 touchdowns the passed two seasons, but this year he has only 26 catches (on pace for 78) and two touchdowns (on pace for 6 or 7). Max Hall seemed to get him the ball more, so maybe he can get back onto his normal pace with some big games.
23. Marcus Colston, WR, Saints
Colston has yet to find the end zone this year and he hasn't recorded a game over 100 yards receiving. He only has a little over 30 fantasy points this season, ranking him 39th among wide receivers.
22. Brandon Marshall, WR, Dolphins
B-Marsh's numbers are pretty deceiving. He had 10 catches for 166 yards and a score against the Jets a few weeks back, but his totals are only 27 catches for 340 yards and that one touchdown. With subtraction, thats 17 catches for 174 yards and no scores in the other three games he has played. Not exactly second round material—where he was drafted in most leagues.
21. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Although it was clear that Housh's numbers would go down this year, no one could have predicted it would be this bad. T.J. has seven catches for 104 yards and a TD this year. His O-Rank on Yahoo! sites is 80, which has him sitting around a 7th or 8th round pick in most leagues before the season. He is probably a free agent now considering how poorly hes done, so go pick him up if you think he'll turn it around, but behind Mason, Boldin and Heap on Flacco's favorite list, things look glum.
20. Devin Aromashodu, WR, Bears
Devin put up decent numbers in Week 1, catching five balls for 71 yards. The problem is, four weeks later, he has the same numbers. He hasn't caught a pass in the last four games, and he wasn't even on the field for three of them. His O-Rank is 93 in Yahoo! leagues and he was considered a moderate sleeper. The only sleeping he's been doing is on the bench during games.
19. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos
Knowshon has been limited to two games because of injury and he has crossed the goal line twice, but his numbers are not very good. He has 111 yards on 39 carries, rushing at a miniscule rate of 2.8ypc. He has been injury prone early in his career, which makes you want to rip your hair out because hes not even on the field. I don't think I have ever seen a rushing attack this bad in Denver.
18. Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
Witten has been a consistent force over the course of his career, but this season he hasn't done much (20 catches for 218 yards and one TD).
He was ranked the sixth-best tight end on Yahoo! this year, but ranks 17th in fantasy points among tight ends behind inferior players like Tony Moeaki, Benjamin Watson and Tony Scheffler.
For a guy who is considered top flight at his position, he should be doing a lot more.
17. Robert Meachem, WR, Saints
Meachem broke out in a big way in 2009, catching 45 balls for 722 yards and nine touchdowns, putting up very consistent fantasy numbers.
This year has been much different as Meachem reached the end zone for the first time this past weekend, and has only hauled in 10 balls for 111 yards all season.
With an O-Rank of 87 and an average draft position somewhere in the 9th or 10th round, those aren't good numbers at all.
16. Marion Barber/Felix Jones, RBs, Cowboys
I put these guys in the same category because they are playing the same position on the same team, and if one is running effectively, the other is too.
This year, Jones (O-Rank=44) had the higher expectations because of his big play ability. Neither of them have done much of anything this season. Jones hasn't reach paydirt yet and only has 197 yards rushing and eight receptions in five games.
Barber (O-Rank=53) hasn't faired much better, running for 144 yards and only one score, while catching three passes for six yards. These guys were both drafted in the top five or six rounds of the draft, so they should be producing a lot more than they are.
The Cowboys are in shambles, so I would stay away from any player on that team not named Romo or Austin right now.
15. Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals
Here is another guy who can't seem to stay healthy. Wells missed the first two games of the season before debuting Week 3.
He has 39 rushes for 129 yards, good for 3.3ypc and he still hasn't reached the end zone. His 20 carries for 35 yards against the Saints is terrible and he doesn't catch the ball out of the backfield at all.
For a guy being drafted around round three or four, I almost think I should put him higher on this list.
14. Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers
Crab had a breakout game this passed Sunday night, catching nine balls for 105 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers are promising, but the fact that he only had 11 catches for 139 yards and no scores in four weeks before this is a cause for concern.
Michael's production has gone up the last three weeks. The problem is that when your quarterback is Alex Smith, nothing is certain. So Crab's a bust for now, but I think he can turn it around more so than others.
13. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs
Bowe has been pretty terrible this season. He has averaged 38 yards and only scored once through four games.
He hasn't had a game with more than four receptions and only has nine for the year. He was the 17th ranked WR in Yahoo! this year, but he ranks 61st among wide outs as of today.
He had a couple of big dropped balls against Indianapolis last week and things just aren't looking up for him right now.
12. Pierre Garcon, WR, Colts
After turning into one of Peyton Mannings favorite targets last year, Garcon has been hampered by injuries so far this season. He's missed two games already and has lost significant ground on Austin Collie as the teams number two wide out.
With guys weapons like Collie, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and Addai out of the back field, it is going to be hard for Garcon to make a big impact this season.
Garcon has an O-Rank of 67 and was drafted around the 7th round in most leagues, and with a stat line of 10 catches for 111 yards and no touchdowns, he has had zero value to any team through the first five weeks.
Maybe he will get up to speed, but only time will tell.
11. Hines Ward, WR, Steelers
Now this ranking may not be fair to Hines considering who he has had to deal with at quarterback, but even so, he has taken a back seat to Mike Wallace in the production category and is not on pace for his usual numbers at all.
He had a big Week 1, reeling in six passes for 108 yards. Owners were excited for Ward doing well without Roethlisberger in there.
But since opening day, Ward has just six catches for 57 yards and a touchdown.
Projected as a top 20 wide receiver, he is certainly not up to par with expectations. Having Big Ben back is sure to help though.
Sims-Walker had a nice season for Jacksonville in '09, grabbing 63 passes for 869 yards and seven touchdowns. He had very high expectations going into this year, as he was projected to be David Garrard's big play threat, and a top receiver in the league.
2010 has not been so kind to Mike thus far.
He only has 16 receptions for 185 yards and two touchdowns with a fumble lost mixed in there. He has been held to no catches in two games already and a huge chunk of his yards and receptions came in a 10 catch, 105 yard effort against San Diego. He caught eight balls in the second half when the Jags were down big.
Sims-Walker has not been consistent at all and now there are trade rumors surrounding him to add a distraction to his list of troubles. I don't think Jacksonville's offense is consistent enough this season to get him back on track, but anything is possible.
In '08 and '09, Greg Jennings was one of the NFL's top receivers. He eclipsed 1,100 yards both seasons, with a combined 143 catches and 13 touchdowns. He emerged as Aaron Rodgers deep target and a fantasy gem.
2010 was supposed to be no different, and after Packers starting running back Ryan Grant went down for the year, Jennings was getting even more attention.
But Greg has disappointed so far.
Since Week 1 (five catches for 82 yards and a TD), Jennings has struggled, snagging only nine balls for 101 yards and two touchdowns in the last four weeks. He is supposed to be a consistent target for Rodgers, especially with such an abysmal rushing attack. Donald Driver and Jermichael Finley have outplayed Jennings and are getting more targets because of it.
Word has it that Finley is out for 8-10 weeks with a leg injury and could be put on IR if he doesn't heal on schedule. This could help Jennings out fantasy-wise because he could get more targets, but it could also hurt him because Finley draws defenders.
Then again, so does Jennings.
At the end of the day, without a sound running game, safeties can sit back and keep Jennings from getting open down field, and I fear this could be a big down year for number 85.
A couple of weeks ago Shonn Greene would have been at the top of this list, but he has bounced back from a slow start to have respectable numbers.
In 2010, Greene has 280 yards and a touchdown, averaging 4.5ypc. He had a big game against Buffalo—who hasn't?—rushing for 117 yards on 22 carries.
The reason he is on this list is because he has been outplayed by his counterpart LaDainian Tomlinson and has taken a backseat because of it.
Greene's O-Rank was nine and he was a first round pick for a lot of you fantasy footballers out there, and I'm sure he has caused you headaches on more than one occasion. Those fumbles can take years off your life too.
With LT not being drafted til the very late rounds, maybe even going undrafted, it makes the Shonn Greene pick look even worse. Shonn has picked up his production, but he still won't be worth a fifth rounder, let alone a first rounder, this season.
Kolb is the only player I have on this list that is solely flopping because of bad luck. He was injured Week 1 with a concussion and Michael Vick came in and stole the show.
With Vick hurt last week and possibly this week as well, Kolb has a chance to prove himself to Andy Reid, but Reid has made it clear that Vick is his guy and Kolb will take a seat once Michael is back.
Kolb hasn't played terrible when has been in, but his numbers are mediocre at best and he just hasn't looked very comfortable at times. The chances of Vick coming back this week are pretty good, so I don't expect to see much of Mr. Kolb for the rest of the season as long as Mike is healthy..
The factor that makes Kevin a bust is that his O-Rank is 71 and he was drafted in round eight or nine in most leagues.
When you have to drop a player you picked in the first 10 rounds because he doesn't start anymore, he definitely belongs on this list.
Normally, its hard for a team defense to be a true bust, but when you're projected as the third best defense by Yahoo! and you are ranked 26th overall in fantasy points, people start scratching their heads..
The Vikings defense hasn't really been bad, they just haven't made the big plays that get you fantasy points. Minnesota only has six sacks, two interceptions and three forced fumbles through four games.
They have only surrendered 55 points this season which is v very good. And they have kept this struggling Vikings offense in games, but when you can't force turnovers or get to the quarterback, your fantasy value isn't much.
Harrison ran for 663 yards in the Browns final three games of the season—including a 286 yard effort against the Chiefs—helping them earn a four game winning streak to end their year.
He didn't have a good rapport with Head Coach Eric Mangini, and he still doesn't, but he was supposed to be the guy in Cleveland after rookie Montario Hardesty went down for the year.
Instead, bruiser Peyton Hillis beat out Harrison for starting reps, forcing Jerome to a backup role. Harrison has an O-Rank of 78 and was expected to be a serviceable backup or RB2 in some deeper leagues, but he has seen minimal action all year and has a whopping eight fantasy points for the season.
I know that the Hillis talk was going on preseason and Harrison wasn't expected to be a star, but splitting carries was expected and Harrison hasn't touched the ball in two of the Browns five games and in the little time he's seen, he lost a fumble.
Maybe this rank is a little off, but when you have a guy that is supposed to get a good amount of touches and is drafted in the mid-rounds of fantasy drafts across the world, he turns into a pretty big bust and that lands Harrison in my top five.
In every season that Chad Ochocinco has played a full 16-game schedule as a pro, he has recorded at least 1,000 yards and five touchdowns. He is a perennial Pro Bowler and a fantasy stud.
This year started no different for Ocho as he hauled in 12 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown. Him and T.O. were supposed to be a deadly combination for Cincinnati this year. The last four games, its been Owens putting up the numbers and Ochocinco who has been the forgotten man.
Chad has caught 14 passes for 157 yards in past month, pretty much matching his total from the first game alone. He hasn't crossed the goal line since the first game and is disappointed fantasy owners everywhere.
Defenses are honing in on him and leaving T.O. in single coverage, which is in turn getting him more targets and more production. With the Bengals struggling mightily, maybe this will change, but for now Chad is one of the top fantasy flops of this season.
In 2009, Stewart and DeAngelo Williams both ran for over 1,000 yards. Williams' speed and Stewart's brute proved to be quite a match up problem for defenses.
Stewart ran for 1,133 yards and 10 touchdowns to go along with 18 receptions for 139 yards and a score. He was consistent throughout the season and it was thought that the Panthers offense was going to be geared towards the run this season with first year starter Matt Moore under center.
Things didn't really go as planned and the Panthers have been one of the worst teams in the league with an 0-5 record, and Stewart's stats are a reflection of the problems Carolina's been having.
Jonathan has 119 yards rushing on 36 carries. He has scored twice, with one of them being on a 55-yard catch and run in which there were no defenders within 20 yards of him.
Williams has almost double the amount of touches Stewart has, and it doesn't look to get any different down the road. He is only averaging 3.3 yards a carry—a significant drop off from his 5.1 a season ago—and on such a bad offense with a struggling line, you can't expect his stats to be good at all.
He may have won you some match ups last year, but he has little to no value by now and fantasy owners would be wise to get rid of him.
My third Saint on the list, Pierre Thomas was a hot commodity before the season as he was supposed to get an increase workload and plenty of touches in the red zone for Sean Payton this year.
He saw a lot of action in the first three games, until an ankle injury sidelined him for the past two. With an O-Rank of 21 on Yahoo!, he was getting drafted anywhere from late in the second round to the fifth round, but he hasn't really made owners proud so far this season.
With 147 yards rushing and 133 receiving in three games, those aren't bad numbers, but on a predominantly passing team and a nagging injury that could hamper him for the rest of the year, it is looking gloomy for number 23.
Not to mention the fact that the Saints offense isn't nearly as high powered as it was last season, and it just doesn't add up to a great year for Pierre. If he can recover fully from this injury and play consistent football he can shed the "bust" label, but his stats are just not what you expect from a top running back in this league.
I'm basing this strictly on the fact that he was very hyped up in the preseason and for where he was drafted in most leagues, it definitely hasn't work out for owners.
I'm afraid this last "hoorah" attempt by Favre isn't exactly working out as he had hoped. The Vikings are 1-3 and on the verge of losing sight of the NFC North crown.
Favre's 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions feel like a distant memory, as the veteran has had a rough go of it this year. He has five touchdowns and seven interceptions already, and his mighty comeback attempt was shot down at the hands of Dwight Lowery's pick six at the end of Monday night's game in New York.
Brett did look much better with Randy Moss in the mix and I am sure Sidney Rice's return will help his cause, but considering what he did last year and the great rushing attack he has to support him, he has not been great at all.
Favre is completing a career low 56.3 percent passes with a QB rating of 67.0, which would also be a career low. He lost fumbles twice against the Jets which consequently cost his team the game.
His nine turnovers are nothing new as he has a history of giving the ball away, but considering his O-Rank of 48 putting him somewhere in the fifth or sixth round, he has certainly not lived up to the hype. With most leagues only requiring you to start one quarterback, I am sure most Favre owners have had to bench him or at least consider benching him after his first three games.
The game against the Jets was promising for Favre, but he has to be careful with the ball if the Vikings are going to win games. Nonetheless, he is the biggest bust in fantasy so far this year.
Remember, these rankings are for the first portion of this season, so some of these players can—and probably will—turn it around. But for now they just haven't represented their name like we know they can, and fantasy owners should be weary for the rest of the season.
Phil Lombardo is a Bleacher Report writing intern and a senior journalism/mass communications major at St. Bonaventure University.
Any comments/likes would be much appreciated! Become a fan by going to his B/R page and be on the lookout for many more articles to come! Also, follow him on Twitter at ThePhilLombardo, thanks!