Fantasy Booms & Busts Thru Week 7

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    Updated: October 17, 2014
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    As we approach week seven of the NFL season, the true performances of individual players and teams are starting to take shape. Nowhere is this truer than fantasy football. Every year in fantasy football there are highly drafted players who woefully underperform, aka “busts.” Conversely, every year there are fantasy players who drastically outperform their projections, aka “booms.” With that in mind let’s take a look at the biggest fantasy busts and booms of the year so far.

     

    BUSTS

     

    Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

    Courtesy of blogs.thescore.com

    Jamaal Charles began the year ranked as a consensus top three fantasy pick. Last year he ran for over 1,287 yards to go with twelve touchdowns and caught the ball for 693 yards and seven touchdowns. 2014 has not gone so well for him. Through four games played, Charles has barely over 200 yards from the line of scrimmage with three touchdowns, two of which came as a receiver.

    Frankly, Charles numbers are no fault of his own. He missed roughly a game and a half with a high ankle sprain, but since coming back Charles has looked good, averaging 5.2 yards per carry over two game. The problem has been that he’s not getting the ball enough since his return to do any real damage. While the emergence of Knile Davis are somewhat restricting Charles’ touches, the real issue is Andy Reid’s play calling.

    Barring the game that Charles was injured in, the Chiefs’ star is averaging 12.33 touches per game, unacceptable for an elite back. In the Chief’s most recent game, Reid repeatedly chose to have an ineffectual Alex Smith pass against the 49ers, despite the fact they were clearly unable to stop Charles, who was averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Already this season Reid has twice admitted he’s doing a poor job of getting Charles the ball. If you own Charles in a fantasy league you better hope that’s the last apology you’ll hear from Andy Reid this season

     

     

    LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles 

    Courtesy of nj.com

    2013 MVP candidate LeSean McCoy finally broke out this week in the Eagles romp over the Giants to the tune of 149 yards on 22 carries. McCoy’s fantasy owners must be breathing a sigh of relief after a dreadful start. Chip Kelly and the Eagles have denied McCoy is injured, and have continually fed him the ball regardless of performance, so touches aren’t the issue. McCoy just isn’t doing very much with the ball when he gets it. Even after his breakout game, McCoy has 422 yards on a 3.6 yards per carry average through six games. He has more fumbles (two) than touchdowns (one). Owners of McCoy in fantasy leagues are praying the man known as Shady has finally returned to 2013 form.

     

    Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

     Adrian-Peterson Slider

    Somehow the top three ranked fantasy players going into the season, Peterson, McCoy and Charles, have all ended up on the bust list and Adrian Peterson is the biggest bust of them all. Certainly Peterson hasn’t had a chance to prove himself on the field, but he probably won’t suit up for the rest of the year. In fact there’s a very good chance he will never play in the NFL again. Charles and McCoy owners may think they have it rough, but it’s been a walk in the park for them compared to what Peterson owners, Zygi Wilf included, have endured.

     

    Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions 

    Courtesy of cbssports.com

    Megatron finally stood up for himself this week and said he won’t play until he’s one hundred percent healthy. That doesn’t really help you if he’s on your fantasy team at the moment but it should down the road. 

    Johnson has tried to play through a high ankle sprain he suffered in week three against the Packers with disastrous results. Since the ankle sprain he has had a total of three catches in two games. When you drafted Megatron in the first-round I’m sure twenty-two catches for 348 yards and two touchdowns isn’t what you imagined heading into week seven.

     

    Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos

     

    Unlike the rest of the bust list, Montee Ball was probably not a first-round fantasy pick in your league. But he likely went in the second-round and most certainly was gone by the end of the third. 

    In limited touches last year for the Broncos, Ball looked very good, averaging 4.7 yards per carry and 7.3 yards per reception. Unfortunately due to blitz protection issues, he lost his starting job to Knowshon Moreno mid-way through the year. With Moreno gone to Miami, Ball spent the off-season correcting his protection issues and appeared poised for a breakout year. Given the Broncos’ high-powered offense and Ball’s natural abilities, he seemed sure to thrive. 

    Unfortunately, Ball has been wildly ineffective this year and is on the verge of losing his starting job. He’s currently averaging 3.1 yards per carries with one touchdown. Not what you’re looking for out of a second-round daft pick.

     

    BOOMS

     

    DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys 

    Courtesy of ibtimes.com

    DeMarco Murray was consistently ranked as a second or third-round back in preseason rankings, often right behind Montee Ball. Murray has exceeded all expectations so far and has emerged as the single most valuable fantasy football running back on the planet. 

    Murray is scoring at a rate normally only seen by quarterbacks. Of the top ten scoring players in the ESPN fantasy football rankings, Murray, ranked fifth, is the only non-quarterback. Through six games Murray has racked up 785 yards on 4.9 yards per carry. He has six touchdowns and has reached 100 yards in every game he’s played. If he can keep this pace up Murray would become only the eighth running back in history to eclipse 2,000 yards in a single season.

     

     

    Justin Forsett, RB, Baltimore Ravens

     

    Perhaps the biggest sleeper of them all is Ravens’ running back Justin Forsett. With the unexpected release of Ray Rice, Forsett was swiftly elevated to the role of starter after going undrafted in most leagues. 

    Forsett won’t be breaking any records this year but he has been consistently good and is currently ranked 8th amongst running backs according to ESPN standard scoring. His 408 yards rushing on the season may seem pedestrian, but his 6.4 yards per carry is anything but. Not bad for a guy who was surely on your league’s waiver wire before the season began.

     

    T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

     

    As Reggie Wayne continues to age gracefully like a fine wine, T.Y. Hilton has quietly emerged as Andrew Luck’s go-to receiver. Ranked in the mid-to-late twenties on most preseason wide receiver boards, Hilton is currently the 9th highest receiver according to ESPN’s standard fantasy scoring. Hilton has been absolutely on fire as of late with 498 yards in his last four games, giving him a total of forty catches for 604 yards on the year. He’s on pace for an astronomical 1,611 yards for the season.

    The only thing holding Hilton back is his touchdown total, which stands at a paltry single score. This is has less to do with Hilton and more to do with his quarterback, Andrew Luck. Of Luck’s fourteen touchdown passes this year, only four have gone to wide receivers, with the rest divided between tight ends and running backs. If Luck can get Hilton the ball more often in the end zone, Hilton could easily vault into the top five of fantasy wide receivers.

     

    Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens

     

    The Steve Smith revenge tour is in full swing. Left for dead and buried by both the Panthers and the fantasy community, Steve Smith did not rank in any of the major fantasy publications top 100 players after signing with the Baltimore Ravens this off-season. 

    Steve Smith is currently 3rd in wide receiver scoring on the ESPN fantasy leaderboard. Through six games he has thirty-five catches for 573 yards and four touchdowns. He is averaging an absurd 16.4 yards per catch. He is on pace to rack up over 1,500 yards receiving. Do not doubt Steve Smith.

     

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