Friday - Jan 15, 2021

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Don’t Trust Them!

Last week we talked about Stretch Run Saviors, players that owners can count on to produce in the final month of the season. Think of this article as a companion piece to Stretch Run Saviors, except going in the opposite direction. I’ve put together a list of players that owners should think twice about trusting in the crucial final month of the season and the fantasy playoffs.

Many of these players were top draft picks and owners don’t really have the option to bench them. Still, if you’re in a league where the trading deadline hasn’t passed yet, you might want to seriously consider trading a number of these fantasy football studs.

Andre Johnson

I consider Andre Johnson the poster child of this article. AJ owners have been through a lot this season. They’ve been lied to multiple times by Texans’ coach Gary Kubiak, who made AJ’s hamstring injury seem a lot less serious initially than his now six week injury really was. All signs are pointing towards AJ finally returning to action next weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

This was supposed to be a hopeful week for AJ owners but with the devastating news of the Texans probably losing Matt Schaub for the season, the quarterback downgrade to Matt Leinart definitely hurts Johnson’s value. What may hurt AJ’s value the most though is his too easy schedule going forward.

Let’s take a look at the Texans’ schedule for the rest of the season, particularly the fantasy playoffs, Week 14-16. In the fantasy playoffs the Texans play the Bengals, Panthers and Colts. I’ll give you that the Bengals matchup is good because the Bengals have a solid run defense and the Texans will have to pass to win the game.

On the other hand, AJ’s two matchups with the Panthers and Colts should be massive red flags for owners. Both teams have two of the worst run defenses in the NFL and it’s easy to see the Texans building a huge lead in those games and running Arian Foster, Ben Tate and even Derrick Ward down those team’s throats. Why would the Texans need to pass it to AJ, if they’re up by 200 points?

With AJ probably returning in Week 11 and trading deadlines approaching, owners should strongly consider trading Johnson before it’s too late. AJ might have a few good games between now and the fantasy playoffs but his outlook in the final weeks of the season, when owners need him the most, does not look promising.

Roddy White

I think it’s time for Roddy White owners to accept some ‘Tough Love’ and some ‘Real Talk’. Through 10 weeks, White only has one 100-yard game, three touchdowns and is averaging about four catches and 52 receiving yards over his last four games. He barely makes the Top 20 list of fantasy receivers and made crucial mistakes to help my beloved Falcons lose a pivotal divisional matchup against the Saints last weekend.

One of the most talked about stats over the last couple years has been targets and White is always mentioned as a receiver who gets a ton of targets each week. I ask you though, if White isn’t doing anything with the vast majority of those targets, what does it really matter if he’s getting the ball thrown his way so much? Targets don’t equal points, they only equal opportunities.

Roddy White owners have watched Julio Jones vastly outplay him over the course of the season. Earlier in the season, Roddy owners got briefly excited when Jones went down with an injury but it really had virtually no impact on Roddy’s mediocre stats as he caught seven passes and had 73 receiving yards and a touchdown over those two games. Horrid numbers.

Regardless of schedule, I just don’t see Roddy improving over the long haul. Roddy owners should seriously consider trading him and seeing what they can get for a player, whose name still carries a lot of weight in most fantasy circles.

All Saints’ Wide Receivers Not Named Marques Colston

After Week 11, bye weeks are over and owners have absolutely no excuse  anymore to start any of the Saints’ receivers. I’m talking about Lance Moore, Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson. No excuse. This season, only Colston and tight end Jimmy Graham can be trusted for every week production. Besides those two though, it’s an eternal crapshoot deciphering which Saints’ receiver will have a good game.

Last Sunday Robert Meachem had 2 catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. The previous four games he had a grand total of five catches for 62 yards. Before Lance Moore had only one catch for 28 yards last Sunday, he had two straight touchdown weeks. The three games before, Moore had touchdowns in two straight weeks. 

And Devery Henderson, the worst of the bunch, has done virtually nothing since he set the fantasy world on fire the first two games of the season with two 100-yard receiving games. You want to stay away from all three of these guys and get them out of your lineups as soon as possible. Starting one of these guys in the crucial final month of the season is asking for trouble as you have a great chance of getting below mediocre numbers on any given week.

Dwayne Bowe

Bowe has had a fantastic fantasy season, ranking just outside the Top 10 fantasy receivers in most scoring formats. With Matt Cassel going down with a potential season ending injury, the Chiefs new Quarterback is the massively inexperienced Tyler Palko. The Chiefs’ upcoming schedule is brutal with a resurgent Patriots’ defense up next, then the Steelers, Bears and the Jets.

Bowe gave his owners a lot better season than they expected and he would’ve probably continued to produce if Cassel hadn’t gotten hurt. Unfortunately, Palko, whose thrown five touchdowns, 12 interceptions and had four fumbles in preseason games over his career, is the type of quarterback that can drive a dagger through the heart of Bowe’s fantasy value. Owners may want to consider more reliable alternatives moving forward.

Michael Vick

Vick has been atrocious over the last couple games, averaging 170 passing yards and throwing three interceptions and zero touchdowns. He’s currently suffering from broken ribs and is not a guaranteed start this weekend against the tough defense of the Giants. Going forward he faces a number of tough defenses including the Seahawks (in Seattle), the Dolphins, the Cowboys and the New York Jets.

Hopefully, Vick owners drafted a viable backup for him as now is the time for Vick to ride the pine until he can get healthy and start producing again. He’s certainly not a recommended start this weekend against the Giants, who held him to under 200 passing yards and an interception earlier this season. Vick hasn’t necessarily been a bust this season, at least not yet, but if he falters in the home stretch, the ‘Bust Tag’ will be appropriate.

All Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Besides the Colts, the Bucs are the most disappointing team in fantasy football this season. Josh Freeman has been a big bust and has thrown 7 interceptions to 4 touchdowns over the last 3 games. LeGarrette Blount, after missing a couple games to injury, doesn’t even make the Top 30 in fantasy running backs. Blount has 3 touchdowns on the season and has averaged just over 50 rushing yards a game after returning from his injury.

The biggest bust of all has to be Mike Williams, a player who was drafted with high hopes of being a solid Number 2 Receiver. Williams can’t even crack the Top 50 list of fantasy receivers and has only 1 touchdown on the season. At this late stage of the season, it’s irrelevant to even look at the Bucs’ schedule for the rest of the season. This team has played so consistently putrid that owners should know by now that starting any Buccaneer is a risk not worth taking.

Good Hunting!

Ed Bonfanti

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