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It’s that time of the year again. That time when you wake up on Monday morning after Week 1, review the carnage of your fantasy team, and second-guess a few of the draft decisions you made with utmost confidence just a couple weeks ago. Well, that’s what you’ll be doing if you selected any of the players in this column, anyway.
Of course, it’s too soon to cut bait with any of the guys you drafted in the first few rounds. But it’s never too early to start evaluating the players who might be in for a Zac Stacy-esque downfall in 2015.
The selection process for each week’s All-Bust team is pretty simple: I calculate the difference between the projected point totals and the actual outputs of each player. The guys with the worst sums wind up here, with their disappointing performances illustrated by PointAfter visualizations.
Note: All projected point totals were pulled Sunday morning from Yahoo’s standard scoring system. All position ranks are accurate through Sunday’s games.
QB: Peyton Manning, Broncos
Projected points (position rank): 19.9 (4th)
Actual points (position rank): 5.9 (32nd)
So, technically, the ever-enigmatic Joe Flacco was the worst underperformer of Week 1, whiffing on his Yahoo! projection of 17.2 points by 14.5 points. However, it’s doubtful that Flacco was starting for anyone in your league, while Manning’s owners might have been expecting him to carry them to victory.
Quite the opposite scenario unfolded. Manning looked every bit like the 39-year-old who stumbled through the final month of 2014, and nothing like the QB who he’d been, well, basically for the last decade-plus.
Manning averaged just 4.4 yards per attempt, completing 24-of-40 attempts for 175 yards, no touchdowns and a pick. After leading the NFL with 30 completions of 30-plus yards in 2014, his deep ball touch was nowhere to be found on Sunday. The longest completion he had was an 18-yarder to Emmanuel Sanders, whom he overthrew on seam routes multiple times.
Manning’s passer rating for the game was 59.9, just the third time he’d posted a mark that low since signing with Denver. It also stands in stark contrast to his other season openers as a Bronco, when he compiled a 12-0 TD/INT ratio.
All in all, if you drafted Manning in hopes that he’d rediscover his prior Denver form (as well any sort of tangible feeling in his fingers), this was not the season debut you were looking for.
RB1: Adrian Peterson, Vikings
Projected points: 14.8 (1st)
Actual points: 5.2 (41st)
Turns out even Adrian Peterson, perhaps the best tailback of his generation, can’t miss a year of NFL game action and seamlessly resume tearing apart defenses.
Peterson only gained 31 yards on the ground on 10 carries against San Francisco on Monday Night Football, and admitted after the game that he felt “a little hesitant” taking handoffs out of the shotgun formation, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Though that probably contributed to the disappointing outing, the bigger issue was Minnesota’s inability to gain any sort of offensive rhythm against San Francisco’s surprisingly dominant defense. Niners coach Jim Tomsula might not like articulating his defensive process, but he sure knows how to coach up a front seven.
Peterson has averaged at least 4.5 yards per carry in every full season since 2009. He should be back to his old self in no time. But that did nothing to help all the fantasy owners who undoubtedly drafted AP with their first pick and assumed he could waltz back into the end zone without a ramp-up period.
RB2: C.J. Anderson, Broncos
Projected points: 13.0 (7th)
Actual points: 4.8 (43rd)
It’s only Week 1, so I don’t want to misidentify an anomaly as a trend. But after rushing 12 times for 29 yards in a meek performance against Baltimore, it sure looks like C.J. Anderson’s status as the unquestioned No. 1 back is in doubt -- especially after backup Ronnie Hillman gained 41 yards on his 12 carries.
Anderson might have gotten the lion’s share of carries in the second half of last season, but there’s a new coaching staff in Denver now that’s having to deal with a patchwork offensive line. If the Broncos continue to struggle offensively like they did against the Ravens, they might elect to shake up part of the unit. And it’s not as if Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders are going to lose their starting jobs
WR: Sammy Watkins, Bills
Projected points: 8.1 (30th)
Actual points: 0.0 (N/A)
As a whole, the Bills wildly exceeded expectations in a 27-14 win over Indianapolis. That wasn’t the case for their No. 1 wideout, Sammy Watkins, who wasn’t even thrown to until the fourth quarter. Colts cornerback Vontae Davis shut Watkins down, and didn’t allow a single catch on three targets to him.
Those who owned Watkins last year can attest to his boom-or-bust production, as he failed to record four points in eight of Buffalo’s games, combining for just 210 receiving yards in those contests.
Still, it’s possible the hamstring injury that affected Watkins in training camp was slowing him down a bit. He should have an easier go next week against New England, who no longer have Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner to rely on outside.
WR2: Odell Beckham Jr., Giants
Projected points: 12.8 (3rd)
Actual points: 4.4 (51st)
It pains me to put OBJ in this slot, given that the All-World superhuman very well might have sustained a concussion on a brutal hit from Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox. But the doctors cleared him, so -- wait, what? You say they probably didn’t? And Beckham wound up with 8.4 less fantasy points than originally projected, the worst mark among WRs on Sunday? AND the Giants ended up losing in devastating fashion?
You can’t convince me these things aren’t directly related, because Beckham had never before resembled a dazed and confused mortal more so than he did yesterday.
TE: Greg Olsen, Panthers
Projected points: 7.0 (7th)
Actual points: 1.1 (39th)
In virtually every fantasy draft I participated in this year, whoever picked Greg Olsen received the equivalent of a polite golf clap from the rest of the room. Olsen was a bit underrated last year as the No. 3 TE in standard formats, and was expected to battle with Travis Kelce for that distinction in 2015.
But while Kelce lit up Houston for 106 yards and two touchdowns, Olsen was blanketed by the Jaguars. Jacksonville limited the Pro Bowler to a single reception and 11 yards on three targets, a far cry from the production everyone expected given his status as the team’s top target amid an otherwise horrid receiving corps.
Olsen can at least take solace in the fact that he gets a turn against the Texans next week following Kelce’s huge day against them.
FLEX: Calvin Johnson, Lions
Projected points: 11.5 (7th)
Actual points: 3.9 (53rd)
Maybe it was too optimistic to expect Johnson to return to his old form this week after he didn’t take a single preseason snap. Matched up against a formidable San Diego secondary, the 29-year-old only recorded two catches on four targets for 39 yards.
It also didn’t help that San Diego completely dominated time of possession. Matthew Stafford’s 30 attempts would’ve tied for his second-lowest total in 2014, limiting Johnson’s touches.
Many fantasy “experts” are down on Megatron after an ankle injury caused him to missed three games and essentially act as a decoy in a couple others. This, despite the fact he averaged more than 13 points per week upon returning. I don’t expect Johnson to appear in this column again anytime soon this season, if at all.
D/ST: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Projected points: 8.3 (7th)
Actual points: 0.0 (T-30th)
Okay, so maybe we all underestimated Marcus Mariota. And looking at the box score, giving up 309 yards isn’t all that bad. It also didn’t help matters that the Bucs committed 12 penalties for 97 yards, nor that Tampa Bay’s offense had a net loss of 22 yards in the third quarter.
But consider that Tennessee had 317 yards after three quarters before calling off the dogs. Even without Jameis Winston’s horrible pick-six, this game wasn’t going to go any other way.
In the end, it’s inexcusable for a team coached by Lovie Smith, a supposed defensive guru, to give up 42 points to the Titans, who never topped 28 points last season.
KICKER: Adam Vinatieri, Colts
Projected points: 8.1 (20th)
Actual points: 0.0 (32nd)
Vinatieri missed his only field goal attempt of the day, a 52-yarder, to match his total for failed attempts last season. And since the Colts were behind by three possessions by the time they scored their first touchdown, they elected to go for two points whenever they scored. So, Vinatieri didn’t have a chance to redeem himself, and was thus the only kicker to put up a goose egg on Sunday.