Fantasy Football: Chris Johnson and 4 Struggling Stars Owners Should Hold
Fantasy football leagues are not decided within the first two weeks of the season, so why decide the fate of your studs in that same time period?
Being in an 0-2 hole is a tough pill for any fantasy owner to swallow, especially if it's at the hands of an under-performing top-round choice like Chris Johnson.
But the NFL season is a long one, despite how short it may seem to us football enthusiasts. And with that, fantasy studs can be thrust back into the limelight at any point.
Most importantly, owners in turmoil can't afford to get too cute. Start your studs and don't give up on them just yet. It's too early.
There are few exceptions to this rule, but here are a few that certainly are not:
Chris Johnson, Running Back, Tennessee Titans
Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Mike Munchak swore that Chris Johnson would get more opportunities against the Baltimore Ravens, and he wasn't lying. Johnson carried the ball 24 times in comparison to his nine-carry output in Week 1.
Unfortunately, the extended opportunity did not translate to better production. Johnson marched to the tune of 53 yards rushing while his fantasy owners had to restrain themselves from marching off of a cliff.
The Ravens rushing defense is a stout one, and few running backs garner much productivity against them—even ones as talented as Johnson. That, coupled with his training camp holdout should make for a slow start in most cases.
Johnson has Denver and Cleveland on the horizon. Smart money expects him to bounce back in a huge way, and soon.
Mike Williams, Wide Receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Peter Aiken/Getty Images
One catch for negative four yards in Week 2 just doesn't cut it for Mike Williams.
But to be fair, his output could have been much greater. Williams had a touchdown catch called back due to a penalty.
It speaks volumes when a receiver is still targeted in the red zone and could have had a serviceable outing during a terrible passing day. Imagine what Williams is capable of when things actually go the Buccaneers way.
Also, factor in Josh Freeman's performance so far. Freeman has thrown just five deep passes all season and completed only one. If the law of averages is applied, we can expect much more deep balls in the coming weeks. There is no question that Williams would benefit most from that.
DeAngelo Williams, Running Back, Carolina Panthers
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
The Carolina Panthers rewarded DeAngelo Williams with a hefty contract this offseason. It's just too bad they haven't rewarded him with a hefty workload.
In the young season, Williams has just 43 yards on 17 carries in an offense that does not seem inclined to abandon the pass anytime soon. Jonathan Stewart has also been effective, which leaves many Williams owners uneasy.
But Williams has the benefit of facing an NFC South division that has struggled against the run so far this season. Eventually, teams are going to have to respect Cam Newton's ability to throw, and Williams could see defenses become more vulnerable to the run when that happens.
Williams could have been drafted anywhere from the second to sixth round in most fantasy leagues. Owners should wait this out before ditching a precious early pick.
Mario Manningham, Wide Receiver, New York Giants
Al Bello/Getty Images
Mario Manningham's recent concussion is a concern that shouldn't be scoffed at, but there is hope that he will return sooner than later.
Manningham has just put up eight points in standard PPR (points per reception) leagues, but barring the loss of significant time, I'm not ready to cut the cord just yet.
Let's not forget that Eli Manning has leaned heavily on the production of his "X" and "Z" receivers, or his receivers lined-up wide. This has remained true in 2011, but the offense hasn't found a way to stay on the field enough for it to matter fantasy-wise.
If Manningham is healthy enough to play in Week 3, he could shock with a solid output against a great Philadelphia Eagles pass defense. With Nnamdi Asomugha blanketing Hakeem Nicks, Manningham could see a rise in targets like Julio Jones did against them in Week 2.
Mark Ingram, Running Back, New Orleans Saints
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Mark Ingram has yet to live up to lofty expectations, but we have yet to see the best from the rookie out of Alabama.
Ingram earned the role of the goal-line back in the New Orleans Saints' backfield, and still receives carries inside the 10-yard line despite having zero touchdowns.
But against stout run defenses like the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, rushing touchdowns are far from a guarantee. He faces another difficult Week 3 matchup against a much-improved Houston Texans front seven, but better times await. The Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have all had troubles against the run this year, but could provide a stage for Ingram to break out.
For now, the backfield is still his in New Orleans with Pierre Thomas serving as a change of pace back. I'd be hesitant to start Ingram in Week 3, but his owners could do a lot worse.