We’ve reached the quarter-pole of the fantasy football season and a lot of the players that we loved on draft that we don’t even like now. The ESPN/NFL Network types are all jumping on the bandwagon of early Most Valuable Player frontrunners. That’s fine for them. Rainbows and unicorns have their place…just not at The Shop.
The boys all give due praise those who have overachieved or lived up to and beyond expectations, but much more time is spent lamenting those who have stunk up the joint, like Tommy Pants an hour after hitting All-You-Eat Fish Taco Night.
When the bell rings as a customer enters The Shop, not much of the chatter is about the MVPs. It’s the LVPs that we talk about – the Least Valuable Players. Nobody wants LVPs on their roster, but it happens to everybody. Somebody you thought would be the bomb has turned out to be a bust. Although there is still a chance that team LVPs can turn things around, a poll of owners in The Shop league has produced the following list of team LVPs as we turn the page to October and winning and losing becomes more critical.
Arizona – Larry Fitzgerald. Three games. 107 yards. No TDs. That won’t get the job done at any level, much less with the fat stacks he’s getting paid.
Atlanta – Steven Jackson. Jackson has to unhook the plow because he’s just two slow to be an effective featured back.
Baltimore – Torrey Smith. There were high hopes he would take the next step and become a star. A Smith in Baltimore did, but it was Steve, not Torrey.
Buffalo – C.J. Spiller. He makes the highlight film once a month with crazy play, but 50 yards rushing a game and 70 total? No thanks.
Carolina – Jonathan Stewart. With so much garbage, it’s hard to pick just one, but we’ll stick with Sweet Johnny. No Panther RB is worth having.
Chicago – Matt Forte. We like the yardage numbers, but would it kill him to give owners a touchdown or two eventually?
Cincinnati – Andy Dalton. Through three games, the Gentle Ginger has just two TD passes and that despite his team scoring 27 points a game.
Cleveland – Ben Tate. About 80 percent of those in The Shop league had the red flag up on draft day. One didn’t and Tate lasted all of six carries before going down.
Dallas – Jason Witten. The Big Four of Murray/Dez/Williams/Witten is now the Big Three. The others have nine TDs. Witten has 40 yards a game and no TDs.
Denver – Demaryius Thomas. We fully expect this to turn around, but a guy averaging four catches and 47 yards a game is tough to keep trotting out there.
Detroit – Reggie Bush. Classic Bush on display. Less than 70 yards a game and one TD. He’ll have his semi-annual blow-up game when he’s on your bench.
Green Bay – Eddie Lacy. A premium first-round pick, he’s on pace to rush 216 times for just 644 yards and four touchdowns. The problem is likely you can’t bench him.
Houston – Andre Johnson. He leads the team in receptions (22), but Hopkins is the bigger fantasy threat and A.J. doesn’t have a touchdown yet.
Indianapolis – Trent Richardson. The obvious speaks for itself. It did last year. It did on draft day. It does now. The guy is a slug.
Jacksonville – Toby Gerhart. 44 carries for 114 yards and one touchdown. It doesn’t get much worse than that.
Kansas City – Dwayne Bowe. For a No. 1 receiver, no player has stolen more money from his franchise than Bowe. Even when he has a good game, he doesn’t score.
Miami – Charles Clay. After a strong 2013, I don’t care if his mama calls him Clay. We call him Mr. Yuk.
Minnesota – Adrian Peterson. He may find out the NFL’s discipline policy is more severe than his own.
New England – Tom Brady. He has the occasional big game, but the shine is off of Tommy Boy. He’s a pedestrian fantasy QB at best. #Overrated.
New Orleans – Marques Colston. You know you’re rolling the dice taking any Saint not named Brees or Jimmy, but 45 yards a game doesn’t cut it for Colston.
New York Giants – Odell Beckham Jr. He pulled a hammie during OTAs and still hasn’t seen the field. The only difference now is that he cashing fat checks.
New York Jets – Chris Johnson. Remember when he was called CJ2K? 40 rush yards and 10 receiving yards a game won’t get you drinking the Kool Aid.
Oakland – Maurice Jones-Drew. He’s on pace to rush 44 times for 48 yards. Retirement is looming and should have already come.
Philadelphia – LeSean McCoy. He’s getting 20 touches a game, but has 256 total yards and one touchdown – garbage numbers for the No. 1 pick in many drafts.
Pittsburgh – Heath Miller. He catches too many passes to cut him, but less than 50 yards a game and one TD through four isn’t putting him in lineups.
San Diego – Donald Brown. When Ryan Mathews went down, he got his chance. 50 carries and 100 yards later, just go away and take your 2.0 average with you.
San Francisco – Colin Kaepernick. So much talent, so little consistent fantasy production. He should have more than six TDs and is hurting owners who use him.
Seattle – Percy Harvin. The Seahawks gave up a first-round pick and an eight-figure contract to get Harvin. A 7.1 yard receiving average isn’t paying that back.
St. Louis – Tavon Austin. So much talent. So little production.
Tampa Bay – Doug Martin. Yeah, he’s missed two games, but when you average 2.1 yards a carry with a long run of nine yards, you’re a fantasy liability.
Tennessee – Kendall Wright. He’s a playmaker, but not when you average just 9.3 yards a play. Right now, there isn’t a Titan you start by choice.
Washington – Robert Griffin III. RG3 may never play a full season and his confidence is dropping as fast as his fantasy stock is.
Everybody is looking to have multiple MVP types on their roster. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many of them and, considering the names on The Shop’s current LVP list, it could be a long season for those owners with more than one or two of them wasting space on their rosters.
- One of the things that is a staple at The Shop is that revenge is cold and best served publicly to send a message to everyone. When the Panthers cut loose Steve Smith, there were some who speculated he signed with the Ravens simply because they were playing the Panthers – don’t let the timing of the schedule release interfere with a good story. Mr. Smith lined up opposite his old team and tore them up like nobody’s bidness. Well played, Squire.
- Most of us new Andy Luck was going to be something – that name alone gives you a clue. But who would have thought that he would be on fire like this? He’s on pace for 5,200 yards 52 touchdowns. The Big Three fantasy quarterbacks just invited in a new member.
- Teddy Bridgewater didn’t throw a touchdown, but considering the JV team that was surrounding him in his first NFL start, leading an offense that put up more than 550 yards of offense is pretty impressive. It may be all downhill from here, but most debuts don’t go that well. Tip of that hat to you, Teddy Time.
THE RAZOR’S EDGE
10. Kickin’ Cousins – Things tend to change in a hurry in the NFL. For four days, the NFL smooth talkers were all kissing up to Kirk Cousins. After his community college effort Thursday night in which he helped make a bad situation much, much worse, those spotlight has turned in Washington to a candlelight vigil for RG3’s return. Oh yeah, a rested Seahawks team is coming to town for a prime time fight. Good luck with that one, Captain Kirk.
9. The South Won’t Rise Again – The Panthers had every opportunity to run away with the NFC South. The started 2-0 with a divisional road win and a convincing smackdown of Detroit. Since then, they’ve taken their show to the AFC North. They won their first two games by scoring enough points for their defense to handle. In the last two games against the Steelers and Ravens, they’ve been outscored 75-29. There’s no shame in losing a fight. Getting knocked down early, knocked out late and left for dead is shameful. The handwriting is on the wall – score 24 or more and you beat the Panthers.
8. The First Cutler Is the Deepest – Jay Cutler is a quality NFL quarterback. Nobody disputes that, but, when he plays the Packers, he sucks out loud. As a Bear, he is 1-10 against the Packers. He sucks in September. He has sucked in October. And November. And December. Even January. If the Bears are going to take the top spot in the NFC, losing at home the Green Bay isn’t going to get it done. Cutler should be forced to wear one of those practice T-shirts that says “Property of the Green Bay Packers” because they own him.
7. Don’t Remember the Titans – Tennessee was viewed as the only team with a legitimate shot at competing with Indianapolis for the AFC South title. After going into Kansas City and laying a beatin’ down in unfriendly confines, all those who had made them a trendy pick to be one of the up and coming teams in the AFC were full of themselves. Since then, they have lost by 16 at home to Dallas, by 26 at Cincinnati and by 27 at Indianapolis. Granted, October brings more gravy than the Thanksgiving table at Pops Watson’s place, but the damage has already been done. They’ve been outscored 27-0 in the first quarter and 24-13 in the fourth. Crash and burn, baby. Crash and burn.
6. Stinking Up Two Continents – You’re welcome, London. Not only did the NFL give you Miami and the Raiders (at least their home fans got a pass), they brought their vintage “Just Lose, Baby” motto across the pond to infect the Thames. Mission Accomplished. Through four games, the Ray-duhs have been outscored 68-6 in the second and third quarters. They have scored 28 of their 51 points in the fourth quarter against prevent defenses. Seeing as Jacksonville is the next host team coming, England has to ask itself if Roger Goodell has asked the country, “Hey, pull my finger!”
5. W-R-E-T-C-H: JETS! JETS! JETS! JETS! – The good news for the Jets is that they’re 1-0 against AFC teams. The bad news is two-fold. That win is against Oakland, who everybody appears capable of beating. The other is that they had a chance to be 4-0. They had the ball down by one score late in the fourth quarter in each of their last three games against the NFC North. They lost them all. Some teams are finishers. Some teams get finished.
4. Putting the Double-L in Steellers – They always say the Steelers travel well. Fortunately for them, they’re travelling to Jacksonville and Cleveland the next two weeks. But, to lose at home to Tampa Bay – the same team that got the SMU treatment from Atlanta 10 days earlier. That was film that was exploitable. Instead, two teams from Ohio gained ground on them and neither of them played.
3. Nothing New Here – The Saints have always been one of the most dangerous teams in the league at the Superdome and they always tend to dominate at home. Sean Payton hasn’t lost a home game in the last two years he’s been on the sidelines, but, put New Orleans on the road and they’re easily beatable. They blew a lead to Atlanta. They lost a game at Cleveland as time expired. Those were more execution issues. Their loss to the Cowboys was embarrassing. They got throttled and trailed 31-3 before Dallas took its foot off the gas. With road games remaining with Detroit, Carolina, Pittsburgh and Chicago, if the Saints want to make the playoffs, they had better go 8-0 at home.
2. Dirty, Dirty Birds – Atlanta had a golden opportunity to get off to a 3-1 start, especially seeing as they were playing a Minnesota team that was without Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph, its best run blocking offensive lineman and playing a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start. It should have been a kill shot. Instead, the Falcons defense allowed Minnesota’s JV team – Teddy Bridgewater, Matt Asiata, Jerick McKinnon and Jarius Wright – to run all over them and score seven times. It was a great chance to make a move on both Carolina and New Orleans. Not only didn’t they do it. They were embarrassed by how they didn’t do it.
1. The Boston Pee Party – The Patriots have stunk much of the season, losing the opener to Miami and only beating the Raiders by seven at home. Monday’s humiliating loss to the Chiefs was humbling to say the least. The Pats have been outscored 53-26 in the second half of games and it hasn’t been against a Murderer’s Row. It’s been against Miami, Minnesota, Oakland and Kansas City. They Patriots have been the best organization in the NFL for the last decade. It looks like that may be changing.