I’ve been playing Fantasy Football for about 10 years now, never finishing better than third place. While I’ve heard the stories and known a few who created the time, had the nerve, all the while testing their sanity by owning multiple teams (one guy I know owned a whopping SIX!), I myself had never been brave enough to own more than one . . . until this season that is.
Why this year for the change? I can’t really say that there was a “reason” other than the fact that I guess I was “feeling my oats” and wanted to challenge myself (or dare I say accelerate the graying of my hair).
Owning multiple teams has shown me firsthand why I HADN’T done so in the past! Not only is it nerve-wracking, it’s almost impossible to pull off. The time required to be aware of whose been dropped in what league, is on bye in a particular week, or who is injured (or suspended) and unavailable accordingly is quite an arduous task. One I thought I was up to. Until . . . the proverbial and hypothetical bottoms fell out. This year we have seen a plethora of injuries to star players (Aaron Rodgers, Odell BeckhamJr., David Johnson, J.J. Watt, just to name a few), not to mention underperforming players just not living up to the standards expected of them.
So, without further adieu, I submit to you my Biggest Fantasy Busts After 7 Weeks!
Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders
Amari Cooper was drafted with the 4th overall pick in the 2015 draft. His ability to stretch the field embodied what Al Davis, the late great former Raiders owner craved from wide receivers – speed. Cooper broke Julio Jones’ (more on him later) Alabama freshman records. From there, he goes on to establish himself as a force to be reckoned with by breaking Tim Brown’s Oakland rookie record for receptions. His ascent continued in his sophomore season.
Then came 2017. As Ricky Ricardo routinely asked Lucille Ball “Wha’ Happened?” Cooper went an astonishing THREE GAMES WITH LESS THAN 10 YARDS! Sounds impossible, but it happened. Last week saw Cooper explode for a career-high 210 yards versus the Kansas City Chiefs. While that game obviously stands out, his previous production (or should I say lack thereof) can’t be overlooked, thus landing Amari Cooper on my Biggest Fantasy Busts After 7 Week List.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
October 22, 2017. The previous date referenced records the date of Julio Jones’ FIRST touchdown of the season. Mind you, he played in all five previous Falcons games, but it wasn’t until their SIXTH game that he recorded his FIRST touchdown! Unbelievable when you think that he is regarded by many as the best pass catcher in all of the National Football League.
While he obviously commands a significant amount of attention from opposing defenses, not recording his first touchdown until the sixth game of the season is borderline unforgivable. As the Falcons have struggled on offense with incoming offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian replacing Kyle Shanahan, who left to become head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, all hands on deck are needed to step up, Julio Jones notwithstanding. Julio’s owners (in both fantasy and certainly Arthur Blank in real life) are definitely not happy and would love for his first touchdown to be the first of many to come.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders
Beast Mode is back! A rejuvenated Marshawn Lynch returned to the NFL after a year of rest, relaxation and globe-trotting. After his past couple of down/injury-plagued years in Seattle, his sabbatical should have been just what the doctor ordered, that being a year away from the grind, wear, tear and punishment – both given and received.
However, after seven weeks, Lynch has produced a whopping 266 yards on 72 carries, having scored all of two rushing touchdowns. This “production” is barely 100 more yards than that provided by teammate Jalen Richard (158) on less than half as many carries (35).
After being bowled over by Beast Mode in the past, I excitedly drafted him to one of my two teams, looking forward to what he would bring, only to drop him after his poor play, in addition to his decision to interject himself into the scrum during last week’s game versus the Chiefs, thus leading to a one-game suspension. Perhaps the week off will do him well and he returns with a renewed focus that will make fantasy owners happy while leaving opposing defenses bruised, beaten and battered.
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
Okay, I know. Three of his wide receivers are on the shelf for the year, with a fourth fighting injury. The Giants have a running game akin to, well, they don’t have a running game now that I think of it.
Evan Engram, while showing great promise at tight end, is a rookie. I know all of that is true. However, when you have THAT last name, not one, but TWO Super Bowl victories/MVP’s to your credit (with BOTH having come against Tom Brady), all the while playing for the New York Football Giants, there comes a little thing called scrutiny. Sure all of the previously referenced facts are legitimate. However, Giants fans seek more from their starting quarterback. They don’t just expect a winner, they DEMAND a winner. Eli’s play this season, even with all of the previously cited mitigating factors, has left a lot to be desired. See if you can identify the quarterback below based on his fantasy production thus far:
Quarterback A 136.08 points
Quarterback B 103.02 points
Quarterback C 98.10 points
If you thought that Quarterback A was Eli, then guess what . . . you’re wrong! That’s DeShaun Watson, the rookie signal caller for the Houston Texans. If you said Quarterback B . . . wrong again, as those numbers belong to the erstwhile Josh McCown of the “Somebody Forgot To Tell Them They Were Supposed To Be Tanking” New York Jets. If you picked Quarterback C, then yes, you guessed it, you picked Eli Manning. A rookie and a journeyman respectively, have better fantasy numbers than does the two time Super Bowl MVP. In the Big Apple, those numbers just won’t do. Here’s hoping for a better second half both for and from Eli.
DeShone Kizer, Kevin Hogan, Cody Kessler, aka the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.
This organization, even if by accident, HAS to get this right eventually, don’t they? Their fan base, one of the most loyal in all of professional sports, deserves better. I remember my uncle once looking at me and my three teenaged cousins and proclaiming “If I put the four of you together, I might get half of a good man.” Well, the same can be said about these quarterbacks. Perhaps if combined into one, you’d get a decent FANTASY quarterback. Their collective efforts have led to zero wins and mounting frustration. Start a Cleveland Brown QB at your own risk. Their poor play has reached the point to where I look for available defenses to determine if I can pick them up in anticipation of their dominance due to (insert Cleveland quarterback’s name here) horrid play leading to a big scoring day for said defense.
So there you have it. While not all-inclusive, this is a small sampling of whom I have determined to be some of the biggest busts in fantasy football so far. Perhaps you agree, or maybe not. Regardless, this is definitely not a list that anyone wants to make and immediately wants to remove themselves from. Here’s hoping that some, if not all can make that happen. SOON!