DeSean Jackson and 4 NFL Players Fantasy Owners Want to Punch in the Face
Fewer things frustrate fantasy GMs than taking a previous year's stud with a high pick only to find themselves saddled with an expensive bust not even worth trading.
Equally as frustrating is when a single player dooms the fortunes of a whole offense full of playmakers, rendering once-proven starters into fantasy pariahs.
Here are four players who have caused fantasy GMs fits all 13 weeks of the season.
WR DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
Jackson's 47 receptions for 1,056 yards and six scores (not to mention his 16 rushes for 104 yards and another score) brought nothing but joy to his fantasy owners last year, but his numbers this year have provided little more than pain and frustration.
Jackson is in a contract year, which at first glance would mean he'd be playing as hard as he can to nab as much money and time as possible. Instead, he's been sulking after watching free agent after free agent score high-paying contracts in the off-season with no payday for himself.
The result has been an up-and-down year marked with more down than up. Injuries to Vick first kept Jackson's production low, but now it's his inability to make plays that has caused him to be benched as a coach's decision a number of times.
Though Jackson's on pace to catch more passes than he did last year, as he's already grabbed 43 of them, his yardage is significantly lower. He has just 698 yards off of receptions this season and a mere two touchdowns, and he's rushed just five times for 14 yards.
Clearly, that's not the kind of production expected out of a starting fantasy wide receiver; through 13 weeks, Jackson has cost his fantasy owners more wins than he's helped them earn.
RB Peyton Hillis, Cleveland Browns
Last year's break out performance by the Cleveland Browns' Peyton Hillis made him one of the most-coveted fantasy football running back of 2011. However, through 13 weeks, those GMs who drafted him are wishing they'd employed a different strategy.
Whether it's the Madden Curse or just a series of unfortunate circumstances unrelated to Hillis' appearance on the video game's cover this year, one thing is certain—Hillis is far more of a liability than an asset to his fantasy owners this year.
In 2010, Hillis rushed 270 times for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns and caught 79 passes for 276 yards and two scores. This year, held down by injuries, illness and ill-feelings toward a team that has yet to extend his contract, Hillis has just 73 carries for 522 yards and two scores and 18 catches for 104 yards.
It doesn't help that Hillis has only seen action in six of his team's 12 games this season, but when he has been on the field his production has been very boom-or-bust, harmed in part by the fact that the Browns are awful on offense this season, in general.
Hillis is young and could certainly have a bounce-back year in the future. However, fantasy GMs are going to approach him with far more caution after his poor 2011 showing.
RB Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
To say that the Tennessee Titans' Chris Johnson had a slow start to his season would be an understatement. Coming off of a preseason contract holdout, Johnson didn't have a 100-yard day until the fourth week of the season and waited until Week 9 to have a second one.
The 2009 leading NFL rusher with 2,006 yards, Johnson had a bit of a drop-off in 2010, with 316 carries for 1,364 yards, 11 touchdowns and 44 receptions for 245 yards and a score. However, that's nothing compared to his inconsistent and low-production 2011.
So far this year, Johnson has earned 852 yards on 206 carries and scored just four rushing touchdowns, while catching 40 passes for 272 yards and no points.
He's gone from 112 all purpose yards one week to 65 the next and has only just found his rhythm in the last four weeks.
Though it seems that whatever had been keeping him held down earlier this season has been relegated to the past, his fantasy owners can never be confident that he won't slump again, costing them dearly as the playoffs loom large.
QB Curtis Painter, Indianapolis Colts
While recently-displaced Indianapolis Colts starting quarterback Curtis Painter was on the radars of only the most desperate of fantasy GMs this season, if you play fantasy football, you have every reason to want to give him a swift kick in the rear.
Simply put, Painter's incompetent play has tanked the fantasy value of some of the most reliable, highest-producing starters in the game. Colts wide receivers Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon and tight ends Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme were perennial high-scorers with Peyton Manning under center.
This season with Painter (and now, potentially, with Dan Orlovsky), those once-studly players have become fantasy pariahs, practically useless as week-to-week starters without a consistent quarterback leading the Indianapolis offense.
Prior to his Week 12 benching, Painter completed just 54.3 percent of his passes, for 1,541 yards, six touchdowns and nine interceptions, making the Colts one of the lowest-scoring teams on the year.
The Colts clearly had no proper contingency plan in place when it became obvious that Manning wouldn't be suiting up for his longtime team this year, nor did they have any idea how to structure an offense that would play to Painter's (meager) strengths.
Therefore, four of fantasy football's biggest playmakers have been non-factors this season. There's nothing more shocking than seeing Wayne sitting on the waiver wire, knowing no one wants to pick him up. That's all on Painter, who dragged Wayne, et al., down with him.