Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
We’ve referenced this a billion times before but sometimes only the Grinch can sum up a player’s performance. “Stink. Stank. Stunk.” Sorry folks but there’s no pulled punches here. After carefully watching Newton since his rookie season, we can tell you with certainty that it’s not Newton’s shoulder to be worried about. Go back to last season, when Newton was hotdogging into the end zone on a short, goal line carry. He turned into the little boy he is at heart and started a premature celebration. On that play, the safety broke off his block and completely mashed Newton. Newton got all “Gumby legged” and then threw his huge frame into the end zone. The lone score didn’t make anything better, long term. Newton’s confidence has been shook and he’s suffered a mental road block since then. For all those new to the sport, Newton is not a pocket passer. He’s best out of the pocket, extending plays, and using his running ability to set up his pass. Now, Cam and his coaches all seem scared to return to what really works. Newton should not be used as a starter, seasonal or daily, until he strings together 4 high end games, which we question is possible. Wasting an opportunity against the Saints will result in fantasy banishment.
Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
We mentioned last week that RnF had Miller on their roster. We also mentioned that Miller needed to post his best game of the season and fend off D’Onta Foreman. Sadly, Miller did not do that. The Texans are clearly already planning on releasing or trading Miller to free up cap space as they make it a point to get Foreman involved. Miller’s value has always been reliant on volume and now that volume has been axed in half. Miller has gone from being the last running back you could mention as RB1 to being a barely usable flex in PPR only formats. A lot can change, like an injury to Freeman or the Houston LT breaking off his boycott, but it’s clear as day that Miller is being boxed out of a long career in Houston and in doing so, a short stay on our rosters.
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
We can’t remember such an agreeable top overall pick with Johnson since LaDainian Tomlinson was going for 30 touchdowns. Johnson was force fed a borderline weird workload in the opener until WHAM. End of season. Johnson may be the only consensus option that only ended up playing for 17 minutes or so. The only other comparison we can draw is when Tom Brady tore his ACL against the Chiefs after establishing himself as the quarterback you needed to have. By Christmas day, don’t be surprised if Carson Palmer is benched and Bruce Arians is fired. There’s a lot already playing against Johnson in 2018 so don’t hold out hope for any sort of late 2017 playoff savior-ship.
Terrelle Pryor, WR, Washington Redskins
RnF is beginning to reach a point where we may not acknowledge Pryor any more. He may be referred to the “Player formerly known as quarterback” just so his name won’t have to pass through our frontal lobe. Pryor has been awful. He’s cost himself millions of dollars and looks totally lost. We don’t blame quarterback Kirk Cousins. He’s trying to give his tall “former quarterback” looks but it’s not translating. We do however blame Jay Gruden as Gruden has not adjusted from losing DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garcon. The routes and plays look forced and unpracticed as no one is on the same page. When your 180 lb running back leads the team in receiving, you’ve got problems pal. Pryor may bounce back, and very well could as he’s yet to run a real deep route on the sideline on a play where Cousins is focused on him (again, wake up Gruden), but the first quarter of the year has been miserable to watch. Sorry we recommended him. Sorry he went to Washington. We’re on to 2018.
Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Just like with David Johnson, injuries can derail your dreams of a championship quickly. Not that Robinson was being drafted anywhere near Johnson, he was still a valuable bounce-back option that people were going in on as early as the third round. The first quarter of game one put a nail in that coffin pretty dang quick. With Robinson asking for money and Jacksonville spending all their resources on the defense, look for A-Rob to be in a more appealing jersey next season. Not that gold doesn’t bring out the light in his eyes, but he could end up finding greener pastures. With the Jets after the draft the top quarterback? Arizona after Larry Fitzgerald retires? Washington after they re-sign Cousins and let Pryor walk? 2018 could be very optimistic for Robinson but 2017 has put the Jags’ receiver on the bust Mount Rushmore.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings
Look at all the glowing remarks we had with Diggs. The overall takeaway is that Diggs has proven to be quarterback proof. Rudolph, however, has turned out to be quarterback dependent. It’s Sam Bradford or bust with Rudolph and we all know that Bradford is mostly bust. The former Fighting Irishman was barely even used in the opener before his quarterback got hurt. Rudolph was on the sideline for the entire first quarter and was then used as an extra lineman for the most part. Any hopes of matching or surpassing his 2017 totals are gone. He’s now designated as LT2 for “Left Tackle Two” as he’ll be blocking for Dalvin Cook as the forgotten man.