You Call These Fantasy Studs?[the_ad id=”63198″]Just because a Fantasy player is owned in virtually every league you know of, there is no guarantee that they’ll be earning their spot week in, week out. Sometimes, “it”, whatever “it” is, deserts a player for weeks at a time. It may come back, or it may not.
Here, I take a look at three players currently sitting on a whole load of NFL.com Fantasy league teams but have so far this season, and the last two weeks certainly, offered practically diddly squat to their owners. I also offer my thoughts as to what their future looks like, and whether or not they are worth keeping around.
Russell Wilson, Quarterback (owned in 94.2% of NFL.com leagues)
Going into the 2016 season, many thought Wilson could build on his strong finish to the 2015 season and go on to become a dominant player in the league, as well as in fantasy circles. It’s safe to say that it hasn’t happened yet. Wilson hasn’t thrown a single touchdown pass in his last three games and has been held to less than 300 yards in each of those games. A genuinely dangerous threat with his feet as well as his arm, Wilson’s rushing has been an absolute nonfactor this season. He hasn’t rushed for more than 16 yards in a single game, his tally in Week 1, and he has failed to score a single rushing touchdown. Over the last two weeks, in standard scoring, he is the 21st highest scoring quarterback.
Wilson’s next four games are against the Bills, Patriots, Eagles, and Buccaneers. The Bucs is the friendliest of these games, allowing the 7th most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season, while the Bills and Eagles are both in the top ten regarding fewest points allowed. Wilson’s appeal, and ceiling are capped as long as he isn’t fully fit, and ideally, it might be advisable to look elsewhere for your fantasy team’s quarterback needs. It may be worth trying to pick up Dak Prescott (available in nearly half of NFL.com leagues) and leave Wilson on your bench for the time being. The Cowboys next four games are against the Browns, Steelers, Ravens and Washington, all teams slightly more generous to quarterbacks than the Murderers Row the Seahawks will be facing.
Mark Ingram, Running back (98.5%)
Sean Payton gave vent to the same frustration that has plagued Ingram’s fantasy owners all season in Week 8 when he benched the former first-round draft pick after his second fumble in two games was returned for a Seahawks touchdown. Payton allegedly had no intention of keeping his leading rusher on the pine for the whole game, but the play of Tim Hightower (no stranger to putting the ball on the ground himself) meant Ingram sat behind both him and Daniel Lascoe for the rest of the contest. Even without this misery, Ingram has been hugely underwhelming this season. He has yet to top 77 rushing yards in a game, and his only rushing score of the season came back in Week 4. Forty running backs have scored more fantasy points than Ingram over the last two weeks, including such fantasy superstars as Shaun Draughn, Reggie Bush and Peyton Barber. Wow.
Given Ingram’s inefficiency so far in 2016, it is hard at present to be positive about him going into even matchups that should be suited to him. The Saints next opponents are the 49ers, a team who could not be more welcoming to running backs this season, but with Ingram now at best part of a timeshare with Hightower, he can’t be trusted with RB1 expectations. He should be viewed as an RB3 or flex option until such time as Hightower’s grip on his place loosens…if it ever does.[the_ad id=”65749″]
Doug Baldwin, Wide Receiver (97.7%)[the_ad id=”58837″]Baldwin’s struggles are directly proportional to the poor form of his quarterback (mentioned above), and are lending weight to the feeling that Baldwin’s blistering finish to 2015 was more a serendipitous marriage of time and place than a true breakout, at least in fantasy terms. Baldwin scored 14 times last season, including a run of 12 in his last eight outing. So far this season, he has two touchdowns, but only one since Week 1. This score came in a Week 3 rout of the 49ers, a game that saw Baldwin chip in with 164 yards to go with his trip to the end zone. In the four games since then, Baldwin has just 205. He is way down in the fantasy doldrums at present, sitting behind the likes of Taylor Gabriel and Dontrelle Inman at WR48.
Much like with Wilson, it’s hard to trust any pass catchers in Seattle as long as Wilson continues to hold the offense hostage. Baldwin’s incredible 2015 is beginning to have the appearance of an outlier season, and not a trend to be monitored, especially when one remembers that 45% of his career touchdown grabs came last season. He should be held in reserve for the time being, unless you own him in deep leagues. There he should be treated with the level of expectation one would hold towards a WR3 or flex option.
Neil’s been playing fantasy football for ten years, including a victory in 2014 in a league arranged by NFL.com Fantasy expert Adam Rank. Huge Philadelphia Eagles fan, and follows the fortunes of the England cricket team, usually with his head in his hands for both. Neil lives with his fiancé Kate and their daughter Zoe. He is an atrocious Words with Friends player.