5 Fantasy Football Disappointments in 2019Tweet
We are almost a quarter of the way through the football season. It always seems like a long summer before football starts and then when it does the season seems to fly by as you closely watch your matchups, talk about your stellar performance last weekend, or wallowing in another loss. Every year there are break out performances and some nice surprises in fantasy that turn out to be gems that can make or break a season. Unfortunately, there is a flip side of that equation. There are players that get drafted that have a bad year or are put into bad situations that make them under perform your expectations from where you drafted them. There is still time to make changes to a roster to try and salvage a season, but is it time to try and make those changes?
The Steelers came into Foxborough with the expectation that they were contenders this year. The game was even put into primetime because everyone thought that this was going to be a great matchup. Well we all know that didn’t go well and now entering week 4 the Steelers are 0-3 and are sitting at the bottom of the AFC North after losing two close games since the week 1 disappointment. If this wasn’t bad enough Big Ben was placed on IR and now they must rely on a backup to get them through the season. Conner was drafted in fantasy to be the back we saw last year that was the workhorse back in a run optimized offense. His ADP this year in PPR was 9th overall and the 7th RB taken off the board. He is a first-round pick that most managers expected would be able to carry their team, but currently he sits at RB 25 (PPR) and has less than 100 rushing yards, 70 receiving yards, and only 1 TD. So now you have to look at Conner, on a struggling offense, without the teams starting QB, and look at your record to decide what you should do. Alas all is not lost my friends, I believe Conner is still that first round RB that we drafted him as. In the first 3 weeks Conner faced a New England Defense that had time to game plan for the Steelers, a Seattle Defense that added Clowney, and a San Francisco Defense that is much improved over last year and all these defenses rank in the top 10 against the run. Over the rest of the season Conner as the starting back in Pittsburgh will face the second easiest schedule for RBs. Combine this with Mason Rudolph taking over Big Ben, and I think that the Steelers are going to try and lean on their run game to carry them through the rest of the year. I think that Conner is primed to breakout over the rest of the season and should finish as a top 10 RB this year.
JuJu had high expectations coming into this year. As we talked about above the Steelers are not having the year that they planned for. JuJu’s ADP this year was 14th overall and the 6th WR off the board. He was drafted with the expectation that he would be a great WR 1 and would have some huge performances like he did at the end of last year with AB there anymore. Now without Big Ben throwing the ball to him and running the offense they have struggled. In Week 3 he was able to score and had a decent game, but of the 81 yards on 3 receptions he had 76 of them came on 1 long touchdown run. This isn’t optimal for his value going forward, and it doesn’t look like it will improve. The Steelers are coming out of the tough start to their schedule, and this may help the passing game open up for the Steelers and JuJu, but I think that they are going to focus on the run and try and give some help to their new signal caller. The Steelers are also going to face the 4th toughest WR schedule for the rest of the year, leading me to believe that big plays on low receptions are going to be where JuJu scores most of his points this season. This wasn’t the year that Juju, the Steelers, or fantasy managers expected. If Juju is your WR 1 you may be looking at what options you have, especially if you are looking at 0-3 heading into week 4. There may be some hope this week since the Steelers are facing a down Bengals team that has a poor defense, and this game could be a shootout. If Juju can get involved in this game, which I expect he will, and finds the endzone at least once he may have numbers that are like what you expected when you drafted him. If this happens I would look at trying to trade him and see what you could get back for him based on your teams needs, there may even be a RB coming back this week you could try and grab from another owner.
Kerryon Johnson came into this year looking to expand on his success from last year. The Lions showed up this year and started off a bit sluggish, but since Week 1 they have been rather impressive. At 2-0-1 they lead the NFC North and have been playing pretty well, especially their defense. Kerryon’s ADP to start the year was at 28th overall and the 13th RB off the board. As a round 3 pick he was drafted to bring your fantasy roster to the next level and hopefully be a standout RB on your team. So far he is averaging just over 10 points per game, which is not what was hoped for, but last week he found the endzone twice. This is the type of scoring and production that we were all looking for from the second year back. The Lions are looking to keep their good start going and push for the playoffs, but their schedule going forward could cause a few bumps in the road. The bad news is that they will still play their division foes twice each. The Bears have arguably the best defense in the NFL this year so far and have been able to contain explosive plays and keep the scores low, the Vikings yet again have one of the best defenses in the league and are very good at stopping the run, and maybe the most surprising is the Packers defense which has started the year off very productive, although they may not be as good as originally thought after the Thursday night game. Given that the Lions have these 6 games remaining on the schedule that isn’t the optimal set up for success, but they also have matchups against the Giants, Redskins, and Bucs which look like good set ups for Kerryon to succeed. Kerryon is an exciting talent and with CJ Anderson not being on the team anymore his workload share seems to have increased. The Lions look like they can play with almost anyone this year so far which is encouraging. I expect that he will perform well in the good matchups they have on the schedule, but he definitely will have some games where he struggles to get much going. With this I think he is going to be matchup dependent, but he may also be the best option you have some weeks at RB, especially if you drafted him in the 3rd round. Shopping Kerryon in your league to see what kind of value you can get back for him, especially after a big game, or before playing the Giants may be beneficial. If you can trade him away and get a decent fill in for another position on your team that may be the for the best. If not he should be a mid-level RB that can at least get you some value at the position.
Baker did not start the year off on the right foot. The Browns didn’t either, and hardly any of their star-studded roster played in the preseason and it showed the first few weeks. They did bounce back some against the Jets. The Browns are now 1-2 and are looking to try and bounce back from their sluggish start, and a lot of eyes are looking to Baker to bring the team back into contention. There have obviously been some questions raised about the play calling from the coaching staff as well, but the team has also just not looked in sync. The line in front of Baker has not given him a lot of support thus far and looks to be very suspect. Baker was drafted as the 4th QB off the board this year in PPR at 54th overall. Through week 3 he is sitting at 23rd in fantasy points. People drafted Baker on the hopes that he would be as good as he was down the stretch last season, and with the addition of OBJ that the offense would be explosive and score frequently. Unfortunately, I don’t think that is going to happen this year or at least not right away. Until the Browns can give him more time in the pocket to assess the defenses and make the right reads without having to leave the pocket I don’t see his 56% completion rate going up, or his interception to touchdown ratio improving. Baker is going to face the 8th toughest schedule for the season against some good opposition. In the next 4 games he will go up against 4 top 20 defenses in the league so far this year and 2 of the top 5 defenses in the Patriots, 49ers, Ravens, and Seahawks. By the end of the year Baker may turn the ship in the right direction with the help of his team mates but at this point his outlook is not good, and he should not be a starter on your fantasy team. There are some good streamers out there with good matchups that will put you in a better situation to win each week.
Zach Ertz did not start the year off on fire by any means. Through week 4 he has 24 receptions and just over 10 yards per catch and no touchdowns. Ertz was drafted as the 2nd TE off the board at 26th overall. A lot of people were talking about the big 3 TEs from last year and how good they were going to be again this year. The Eagles have not looked their best this season but they have been staying in games, and have been competitive. One of the biggest questions about Ertz coming into this year was how the Eagles would use the multiple TE sets with Goedert in the mix. So far this year the Eagles offense hasn’t looked smooth and seemed to struggle to get into a rhythm consistently. Through week 4 Ertz has not found the endzone but he has been averaging 6 catches a game which is consistent production at the position. Goedert has only found the endzone once so far, so it appears that there isn’t a huge advantage for him there especially since he only has 4 targets all season. Even though Ertz is not performing at a high level that most expected, he is still ranked as the 9th best TE in PPR though week 3. The Eagles do have a tough schedule in the middle of the season and will face one the harder schedules against TEs, but Ertz is a top tier talent. He has shown how he can take a game over and dominate the middle of the field when needed. Even if he keeps the same production up he is still a top 10 TE at a position that is hard to find consistency. I expect that he will finds the endzone and begin to produce at the level people that drafted him expected. The other great news is that during the fantasy playoff time Ertz will be going up against Dolphins, Giants twice, and the Redskins. These teams should leave plenty of open space and advantage for Ertz to bring home that trophy.
The 49ers have started the season off very hot, and their defense is playing better than most expected. This means that they are being set up to have a good year and possibly make a playoff push after starting 3-0. The focal point of the 49ers passing offense last year was Kittle, and he was drafted as such after setting records for the TE position last year. Kittle hasn’t had a huge breakout game yet this year though and that is making some people nervous. Currently Kittle is sitting as the 10th best TE in PPR points this season. This is fine since TE is hard to find points for each week and having a top 10 player on your roster at their position helps, but fantasy managers were expecting more. So far this year the 49ers have been plagued by injuries again and they are having some issues with finding the right WR combos who will be productive for them. Defenses know that they want to target Kittle and since they are not having much success outside of him he has been struggling to find big open spaces like he did last year. The good news is that the 49ers seem to have found some consistency at WR and have shown that they can stretch the field for Kittle now. Don’t ring the alarms on Kittle he will be just fine as the 49ers move along through the season. Kittle also has the 3rd easiest schedule against TEs for the rest of the season, and gets to plat the Cardinals, the worst team against TEs, twice still. Kittle should be just fine for the rest of the year, and hopefully will set some new records.
5 Fantasy Football Disappointments in 2019Tweet