2016 Fantasy Football: Fantasy Duds — Volume 1
In this article I’ll be covering my four biggest Fantasy duds this season. All of these players have high hopes but are destined to let you down. The fact that there are no receivers is just a coincidence. You can look out for more duds in the future, and there will likely be at least one or two WRs on that list. Be sure to at the very least do your research on these guys and consider the fact they are being grossly overvalued.
QB Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
Strictly by the numbers, Cousins looks like a breakout star in the making in 2015. He exploded in the second half of the season and racked up 4,166 yards, 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. On top of those solid stats, he also led the Redskins to an NFC East championship. Nevertheless, I’m not sold on Cousins as a valuable Fantasy asset.
He struggled mightily on the road and made his impact against inferior opposition. Despite winning the woefully bad NFC East with a mediocre 9-7 record, they didn’t defeat even one team with a winning record and the Bills were the only team that was actually at .500. They only played three teams all season with a winning record and lost those games by a combined score of 105 to 46. In those three games Cousins threw for just 620 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions. He also fumbled nine times during the season to go along with his 11 interceptions. It really all culminated in the playoffs when the favored Redskins were never competitive against a then struggling Packers team.
Cousins could very well prove me wrong this season and take that next step. Nevertheless, as of now I’m taking guys like Tyrod Taylor, Jameis Winston and even Andy Dalton over him. Clearly the Redskins aren’t completely sold either considering they decided to franchise tag him instead of signing him to a long-term deal.
RB Dion Lewis, New England Patriots
If you watched Lewis play last year or at any point in his career since high school really, he jumps off the screen as a dynamic athlete. It’s obvious why Fantasy owners are so excited about him. In only seven games last season, he caught 36 passes, put up over 600 yards from scrimmage and scored four touchdowns. The guy is quick, shifty and is a remarkably talented back. Nonetheless, injuries are a major concern.
Beyond missing nine games in 2015 with a torn ACL, he also was limited through multiple games with an abdominal injury. The issue runs deeper than that, though. His career has been marred by injuries. Since being drafted in 2011 by the Philadelphia Eagles, he’s missed 49 games. Lewis has only totaled 85 career carries and 39 receptions throughout his five year career.
It doesn’t help how unpredictable Bill Belichick is with his running backs either. They’ll have a handful of other backs in the rotation as they always do, and at least one of them you’ve probably never heard of will be a breakout star in 2016.
RB Demarco Murray, Tennessee Titans
Murray is looking to bounce back after a predictably dramatic decline last year. I’m completely writing him off as I did prior to last season. He’ll once again have a horrendously miserable season. I predicted he’d be outside of top 30 RBs in rushing last year (he finished 27th) and I have no reason to believe he’ll be any better this year. He should actually be significantly worse. After over 2,300 yards from scrimmage and 13 TDs in 2014, he finished 2015 with just 702 yards on 3.6 yards per carry on the ground with six rushing touchdowns.
His production in 2014 was historically great, however, as he totaled an unholy 497 touches. No player in NFL history has ever physically bounced back from such a colossal workload. Murray was already injury plagued so this was just the nail in the coffin. I’ve heard quite a few Murray apologists blame Chip Kelly and the dysfunction surrounding the Eagles and their personnel for Murray’s short-comings in Philly. Nonetheless, Ryan Mathews still ran for a very respectable 5.1 yards per carry behind a solid run-blocking offensive line. The Eagles discarded Murray to the Titans as rapidly as they could and I do not anticipate the change to do him any favors.
The Titans have done nothing to lead Fantasy owners to believe they can sustain an operational or steady rushing attack. While the backs in Tennessee have been lackluster at best, the line and system are just as alarming. Murray is very unlikely to turn around a rush offense that hasn’t been inside the top-25 since 2013, and I wouldn’t expect him to be the RB1 by midseason after the team invested a high second-round pick in Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry.
TE Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
Jordan Reed’s situation is actually eerily similar to Dion Lewis. When he’s healthy he’s unbelievable. In 2015, he led the team in catches (87), receiving yards (952) and scoring receptions (11). With that said, health is a major worry. In Reed’s case, it’s not even an issue of he may miss a game or two, it’s a matter of he may never play another snap of football given one more hit to his head.
To go along with frequent soft tissue and other various injuries, he has five documented concussions that have cost him games since 2011. His concussion in 2013 was so severe he was put on injured reserve and missed the final seven games of the season. There was fear the concussion he suffered last season that cost him two games could have been a season or even a career-ending injury.
He is yet to play more than 14 games in a season and through three pro seasons he’s missed 14 total games. Fantasy owners shouldn’t get too far ahead of themselves with him. All those red slags he had prior to 2015 are still very evident.