With the vast majority of leagues finishing last week, many fantasy players are embracing those who came up large this season to help them in their leagues. I’ll be taking the opposite approach as I recap what players disappointed their fantasy owners the most in 2015. These players were ones who cost fantasy owners a high pick on draft day but failed to perform at a level that would have been worthy of the pick. Despite this being a huge year for injury, I’m going to exclude players who missed a large chunk of the year for that purpose. Players like Le’Veon Bell or Jamaal Charles going down for the year didn’t make them a bust. They were performing at very high levels so it was just very bad luck.
As I wrote in this space last year, if you were upset about the players performance chances are they’re even more upset than you are. At this point, fantasy sports might be even bigger than the game itself. And those of us who participate in these games don’t have a maximum shelf life of 15 years or so to play them. Because picking defenses and kickers for the most part are crapshoots, I will be adding a second running back and receiver in their place. All player rankings entering this season and standings to this point will be based off ESPN’s scoring.
QB: Matt Ryan, Falcons: As one of the league’s most consistent quarterbacks in an offense that figured to allow for more deep shots downfield, Ryan entered the year as the 8th quarterback on ESPN’s rankings. Thanks to the breakout of various young quarterbacks and decrease in touchdowns, Ryan ranks 19th in points scored amongst all signal callers.
How drastic was the touchdown dip? The fewest touchdowns Ryan had thrown in the past four years leading into 2015 was 26. He currently sits at 19 with a game to go. A matchup with a horrendous Saints pass defense will pad his total numbers, but it will be too little too late for his fantasy owners whose seasons already came to a close.
RB: C.J. Anderson, Broncos: Anderson ended the 2014 season on a tear and as a lead back under Gary Kubiak who oversaw some huge running back fantasy years, he was projected as a top 6 option by ESPN. However, as is the case it’s rarely the Broncos that’s hyped that ends up performing. Through the first six weeks of the year, Anderson failed to score a touchdown or have more than 45 yards rushing.
By the middle of the year, he was firmly in a timeshare with Ronnie Hillman. Despite a few nice performances, Anderson enters week 17 34th among all running backs in total fantasy points scored.
RB: Eddie Lacy, Packers: Probably the most confusing fantasy player of the year, Lacy had been one of the most consistent fantasy performers of the past two seasons. Due to that and playing in a potent offense, Lacy was ESPN’s third running back entering 2015. For one reason or the other, the Packers just didn’t give him the ball like they had in the past.
With one game to go, Lacy has 724 yards rushing and 5 total touchdowns. Those numbers entering this week would place him 27th among all running backs. While he did have some nice games down the stretch, his performance was just too drastic from the projections to not have him here. With the Packers offense figuring to be healthier next season, Lacy has the makings of a nice “buy low” candidate.
WR: Davante Adams, Packers: With Jordy Nelson lost for the year in August, Adams was the next man up who figured to post up big numbers in the Aaron Rodgers led offense. While ESPN was more conservative ranking him 22nd amongst wideouts, many fantasy owners pounced on Adams’ projectiles and some picked him in the second or third round.
Granted, he missed four weeks due to injury, but Adams is currently ranked 84th amongst all receivers in fantasy points. Drops certainly didn’t help his cause and catching just one touchdown to this point certainly didn’t either. Assuming Nelson comes back healthy, Adams figures to be a more valuable fantasy reserve next year as the Packers third option in the passing game.
WR: Andre Johnson, Colts: In the preseason, the future hall of famer catching passes from Andrew Luck sounded like a fantastic idea. Seeing how older wideouts such as Larry Fitzgerald and even Reggie Wayne a few years ago paired with Luck rejuvenated his career, there was no reason to think Johnson wouldn’t be in for a big year. Oh were we wrong.
Johnson never seemed to get fully acclimated in his first year with the Colts and their wide array of receivers mixed with Luck’s multiple injuries certainly didn’t help. It is worth noting however that he did have his best game of the year with Matt Hasselbeck under center scoring two touchdowns in a return to Houston. Ranked as the 23rd wideout entering the year, Johnson is currently the 66th ranked receiver in terms of points scored. Having only two weeks scoring more than four fantasy points certainly contributed in the matter. It has been a joy to watch Johnson throughout his career, so hopefully this won’t be how he goes out.
TE: Jordan Cameron, Dolphins: In their time together, Ryan Tannehill seemed to really get Charles Clay involved in the passing game. So when Clay left in free agency and Cameron a bigger, and very athletic option comes into play, fantasy performance was to be expected. Ranked as the 7th tight end by ESPN, many thought that Cameron would actually outperform those options as a go-to redzone option.
Instead, Cameron despite playing every game sits 29th amongst all tight ends with 44 fantasy points. The redzone dream did not become a reality as he has caught only two touchdowns to this point and has failed to record double digit fantasy points in a game this season. Granted, the Dolphins offense besides Jarvis Landry and Lamar Miller (when they actually give him the ball) has been a dumpster fire this season. Assuming things can only get better, Cameron is a solid bounce back option for 2016.