Rick Olson
Building Up Steam

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Every week you turn on the game and sit there either with your mouth agape as your top-three pick puts up another dud, or you shake your head in disgust every time the ticker displays his teams' stats and his don't pop up because (as you know) they are so bad.

You know that if they would just play like they are capable of, like you have seen them do in years past for someone else's team, you would have a chance. Yet at this point, they continue to plod along, breaking your heart every week.

Chances are you have at least one of these underachievers on your roster.   If you do, then cheer up. We are going to get you some closure on this player right now. We'll take a look at them and their outlook for the rest of the season so you will know whether or not they are going to help you or if you should look to go another direction.

Aaron Rodgers – Rodgers was the number one QB taken in drafts this year. It wasn’t even close. Even in leagues where the owners were subscribing to the notion of waiting on a QB, he was still almost always off the board by the 2nd round. He is currently the 11th ranked QB in standard leagues. What do we make of this?

There are better QB’s out there right now. Yes, I just said that. Just like Tom Brady earlier in the year, eventually you have to face the facts that something is not quite right in cheese city. He started out the year on fire throwing for 813 yards and seven touchdowns with one interception in the first two games. Over the next three games he has only managed 833 yards and three touchdowns with three picks and that is with a bye week thrown in.

It’s very surreal to be suggesting that you bench the mighty Rodgers for good match-ups with other options, but in every league that I am in where I have a back-up QB on my roster (66% of them), my back-up QB is ranked higher currently than Rodgers. What does that tell you?

I would never suggest trading Rodgers, especially with an easier schedule on the horizon, but after looking like he has so far and potentially losing Randall Cobb (knee) and James Jones (shin) for a few weeks you may just want to consider going to the bullpen on weeks with good match-ups. Discount double-check to those whose bullpens include Philip Rivers, Sam Bradford or Jay Cutler.

Ray Rice – Rice has been a workhorse for many championship teams over the years. He has hardly ever been a No. 1 pick, but almost always goes in the top-five and always goes in the top-10 as he did this year.  

So far he is a colossal flop. He is averaging 39.4 yards a game rushing on 14.2 attempts. His usual saving grace, the passing game, has failed him as well averaging four catches per game on only five targets for a miniscule 4.35 yards per catch and zero TDs.

The worst part is he has a very tough schedule ahead with the Steelers twice, Bengals twice, and the Browns, Jets, Patriots all once and the Bears and Lions on the road! That's not pretty.

If you have him you are most likely playing him. This is the tough part. I think it's possible they start feeding him the ball more and he does better. I think it's more likely that he does not. NFL players today bounce back from injuries like never before. The hip however has been a tricky one. Rice is dealing with exactly that as well as a tough schedule and an offensive scheme that seems to have gone away from him in comparison to past years.

Things looked bright last week when they fed him the ball 27 times rushing to go along with six receptions. It really seemed as if the corner had been turned. Then a good match-up in Green Bay rolls onto the schedule and it's the same old situation. Fourteen rushes for 34 yards and 3 catches. At this point it does not look good for Rice. Actually, it looks like a word I dislike more than bad, that word is inconsistent.  

I loved having Rice in the past, he was always a consistent 15-to-20 points with some weeks even more. This year he looks to be shrouded in the dreaded 'I' word. If you have Rice hope for better days with more attempts ahead but be ready to look in a different direction if things stay the same and it's looking like that might be the more probable outcome.

Trent Richardson – Much like Rice, Richardson had another superstar performance written all over him this season. Instead, he has managed just 16.4 attempts and 51.2 yards per game for two different teams. Even that 3.12 yards per carry are not as low as his 1.6 catches a game on 3.2 targets for a total of 57 yards and zero TDs on the year.  

It's craziness. At the beginning of the year you could blame it on a bad team. Then he gets traded to a really good team and even though they were winning (before losing last night versus the Chargers) he still hasn't done much and for what it's worth, his old team has done way better without him.

He has only found the end zone twice and since joining a much better passing team with a much better QB (Andrew Luck), he has only caught two passes in four games. There just isn't much to cheer about. I hear the conspiracy theorist starting to murmur about the possibility that the Browns knew something we didn't. It may not be true but the fact is that it is never good if those rumors start circulating. It only means times are bad.

He does have a bye coming up after playing the Broncos this next week, but his schedule does not get any easier after that. Much like Rice, if you own him you better hope for better days with more attempts but prepare for low numbers and aggravating Sundays because something is wrong and I think only the Cleveland Browns know what it is.



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