Each week, I’ll take a look at some of the top fantasy players that have been struggling lately. This week, we’re talking about DeSean Jackson and Mike Wallace among others. I’ll go beyond the numbers to let you know why they are struggling, what they need to improve on and what the chances are your fantasy star picks up his play in the coming weeks.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Wilson continued his disappointing fantasy season last week, putting up just 123 yards and an interception, with the saving grace being 77 yards rushing. For quite a few players in this weekly feature, I mention how the player’s struggles aren’t his fault, I feel this is truly the case with Wilson.
While in some cases, Wilson shows his shortcomings throwing the ball, the offensive line has been atrocious. Wilson, on the season, has been under pressure a whopping 45% of the time. Some of the main problems have been their two offensive line studs from last year, Russell Okung and Max Unger. Okung has been banged up and is on the shelf for a while and Unger just seems to have taken a step straight backward this year. Unger also missed last week’s game and probably won’t play this week either.
To many people’s surprise, outside of Okung and Unger, last year, this wasn’t a very good offensive line. Now with those two out for the time being, with Unger returning, but off to a slow start, it’s going to be rough going for a little while. You can probably safely sit Wilson for now, but he has a strong chance to pick up his play near the end of the season as this line gets healthy and playing better.
Players to Monitor
Eli Manning, NYG – Yuck. The Giants brought in 10 offensive lineman for tryouts this week.
Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
This is the same Chris Johnson that we’ve seen for the last couple of years. He doesn’t have a bunch of running room, he can’t run with power and it doesn’t take much to bring him down. He relies on the big play too much to be a consistent fantasy player, and that showed on Sunday.
Against the Jets, he ran for 21 yards on 15 carries. If you’re still drafting Johnson, I hope you’ve learned your lesson and stop. Sure, he’s had 1000 yards in each of his 5 NFL seasons, but that doesn’t amount to much when he’s the most inconsistent player in fantasy football. He also only have 4 receptions on the year.
Rashard Mendenhall, Arizona Cardinals
Mendy hasn’t been all that great this year. On the season, he has 52 carries for 176 yards and 1 TD. Over his last two games, he’s totaled 21 carries for 50 yards.
He’s been just awful lately and while his offensive line is struggling as expected, Mendy isn’t helping matters. You haven’t seen any tough runs from him and it looks like he’s lacking burst. Last week, head coach Bruce Arians criticized Mendy for running out of bounds late in the game while protecting a lead last week.
He’s not on the good side of the coaching staff, his line is awful and he has backups that are pressing him for playing time. Things don’t look good right now, but you can’t drop him just yet. He’s still the starting back for the Cardinals and he’s been banged up. Give him a couple more games and if he doesn’t give you anything to be optimistic about, cut him loose.
Players to Monitor
Daryl Richardson – Richardson has been pretty bad so far this year and he may lose his starting job soon, but give him one more week with the Jaguars up on the schedule this week.
Ray Rice – I would’ve examined him a little more, but I think he was severely hampered due to injury last week. However, if he doesn’t pick up this week, he’ll be in the breaking bad hot seat.
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
After a monster start to the season, he has just 5 catches for 96 yards in the past couple games.
Jon Stulberg, on the FF Locker Room show a couple weeks ago, said it best. All teams have to do is press him off the line and be physical and he isn’t going to be productive. That’s exactly what teams have done, as well as key in on him in the passing game, thanks to the lack of weapons around him in the passing attack.
In all fairness, he had a couple tough matchups lately, going against Denver and Kansas City. However, this week, he has a favorable matchup against the Giants in which he should have a solid game, then up against Darrelle Revis and the Bucs for what should be a lackluster performance. Inconsistency is going to be the story to this season for Jackson, so pick your spots and temper your expectations and feel free to plug him into your lineup this week.
Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins
Wallace owners should be hoping he can pick up his play, but don’t count on it. Outside of the Colts game, Wallace has 6 catches for 81 yards. He still has upside, but he’s nearly droppable at this point.
He’s had a case of the drops and lacks any physicality on the field. Outside of not catching any deep balls or getting open, the Dolphins offensive line isn’t helping matters either. Ryan Tannehill has been sacked a league-leading 18 times so far. Wallace can’t get deep and haul them in and that likely won’t change.
Wallace has a career ypc average of 16.9, but this year, it’s just 11.7.
Players to Monitor
Tavon Austin, STL – The Rams aren’t getting the ball to him in space, so he really can’t let loose and run. I’m still hopeful, but my optimism is fading.
Eddie Royal, SD – Just and FYI, this is the Royal we likely are going to see the rest of the season.
Hakeem Nicks, NYG – He could bounce back this week against the Eagles, but be wary, because we know what the downside for Nicks looks like right now.
No significant fantasy players are struggling.
Players to Monitor
Brandon Myers, NYG – The Giants are having Myers stay in and block more than normal, which unfortunately isn’t where he makes his money.