It’s funny how a team can be performing so well on the field, while their brand-name fantasy contributors can simultaneously be so cripplingly disappointing.
Denver is 6-0, but Peyton Manning and C.J. Anderson are unquestionably the biggest busts at their respective positions thus far.
And the Packers might still be undefeated, but some fantasy owners have to be frustrated with the way their offense has been operating. Sure, Aaron Rodgers, we know that you’re so talented that it doesn’t really matter who you throw the ball to. But do you have to feed so many long bombs to Jeff Janis while more fantasy-relevant players on your team are starving for points?
Alas, NFL teams care not about our silly fantasy games. We know Mike McCarthy doesn’t, anyway. Three of his players made the Week 6 All-Bust team, including two repeat performers from last week. As long as Green Bay keeps chugging along as the NFC favorite, you can be sure McCarthy won’t bat an eye.
Notes: Each week’s entries are determined by calculating the difference between the projected Yahoo point totals and the actual outputs of each player. PointAfter visualizations illustrate the players with the worst sums. All projected point totals were pulled Sunday morning from Yahoo’s standard scoring system.
QB: Eli Manning, Giants
Projected points (position rank): 17.0 (14th)
Actual points (position rank): 10.8 (26th)
The two low scorers of the week were Michael Vick and Marcus Mariota. But they don’t qualify as busts for two reasons: both missed game time with injury, and neither was started in more than 20 percent of Yahoo leagues this week.
Meanwhile, Eli Manning takes over for his brother in this spot after his first multi-interception performance of the season on Monday Night Football. After tossing a touchdown pass to Odell Beckham Jr. on the opening drive, the Giants didn't score again. Manning failed to top 200 yards for the first time since Week 1, and couldn't even help New York capitalize off three interceptions from counterpart Sam Bradford.
RB1: Eddie Lacy, Packers
Projected points: 13.8 (6th)
Actual points: 2.0 (T-52nd)
Eddie Lacy had a seemingly cushy matchup this week against a Chargers defense that had allowed 5.1 yards per carry against opposing running backs. However, while Lacy’s backfield mate James Starks relished the opportunity (10 carries, 112 yards, two total touchdowns), Lacy gained just three yards on four carries. He was lucky to tack on 17 yards on two catches.
Despite operating in Green Bay’s prolific offense, Lacy hasn’t found the end zone or reached double digits in fantasy since Week 1 against Chicago. Starks is somehow owned in just 17 percent of Yahoo leagues. That will change this week. At this point, he’s more than just a handcuff for Lacy. He might be Green Bay’s No. 1 back, at least from a fantasy perspective.
RB2: Adrian Peterson, Vikings
Projected points: 16.2 (3rd)
Actual points: 5.7 (30th)
Several starting tailbacks had worse raw outputs on Sunday than Adrian Peterson (take a bow, Melvin Gordon and Charcandrick West). But none of them faced higher expectations than Peterson, who was fresh off a bye week and had averaged 5.0 yards per carry through his first four games.
In Kansas City’s stout run defense, however, Peterson met his match. He gained just 2.3 yards per carry on 26 attempts, with half of his carries yielding two yards or less.
This is likely just a bump in the road for Peterson, but it should be noted this is the second time he’s appeared on the All-Bust lineup this season.
WR1: Randall Cobb, Packers
Projected points: 12.5 (1st)
Actual points: 3.8 (T-61st)
Appearing in this space for the third straight week, Cobb’s struggles have coincided with Green Bay’s rather pedestrian showings on offense recently. Sunday’s outing was arguably the most concerning as it relates to Cobb, who caught just two of five targets for 38 yards.
When Jordy Nelson went down, the one thing we all figured was that Cobb’s touches would go up. But that hasn’t really been the case. He’s gotten virtually the same amount of targets per game, and he’s not doing as much with them.
Cobb hasn’t been targeted in the red zone once over the past two weeks, either. While he remains a comfortable WR1 going forward (he’s still the team leader with nine red zone targets this season, four more than runner-up James Jones), maybe the sky-high expectations placed on him during the preseason were a little too optimistic.
WR2: A.J. Green, Bengals
Projected points: 12.2 (4th)
Actual points: 3.6 (T-65th)
A.J. Green has had a predictable comedown since his 10-reception, 227-yard explosion in Week 3. The low point was on Sunday, when Bills rookie corner Ronald Darby limited Green to four receptions and 36 yards.
Still, Green has mostly stayed afloat during the toughest three-game stretch of Cincinnati’s schedule (Kansas City, Seattle and Buffalo). After the Bengals enjoy a bye next week, you should feel good about slotting him back in your lineup for a favorable contest against Pittsburgh.
TE: Richard Rodgers, Packers
Projected points: 6.7 (7th)
Actual points: 3.4 (23rd)
Richard Rodgers wasn’t exactly a bust this week, but Sunday truly didn’t produce any head-scratching performances from the position. Of the projected top 16 tight ends, only Rodgers (two receptions, 34 yards) and Martellus Bennett (six catches, 59 yards) scored less than six points.
Even Rodgers racked up more yards than he did in Weeks 1-3. He’s been quite consistent on that front, never gaining more than 45 or less than 15. His fantasy value will rise and fall each week depending on whether he reaches the end zone.
FLEX: Antonio Brown, Steelers
Projected points: 10.8 (12th)
Actual points: 2.4 (T-72nd)
No one wants Ben Roethlisberger to return from his sprained MCL more than Antonio Brown, whose 2015 campaign can be neatly categorized into two halves sandwiched around Roethlisberger’s injury during Week 3’s contest against St. Louis.
In games Roethlisberger started, Brown had 336 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Vick’s three starts yielded 111 yards and no scores.
If Vick is still under center next week against Kansas City, it wouldn’t be crazy to bench Brown if you have an embarrassment of riches at wideout. Otherwise, though, you have to hope he’ll form some sort of chemistry with Vick or potential replacement Landry Jones.
D/ST: Arizona Cardinals
Projected points: 9.5 (2nd)
Actual points: 1.0 (T-25th)
The Cardinals might have bottled up Antonio Brown, but they couldn’t force a turnover against a Steelers team led by a washed-up Vick and a 26-year-old making his debut in meaningful NFL competition.
For that, fantasy’s second-best defense through Week 5 gets a wary side-eye heading into a matchup against the desperate Ravens next week.
KICKER: Matt Bryant, Falcons
Projected points: 9.0 (3rd)
Actual points: 3.0 (T-23rd)
Matt Bryant has been one of the league’s most consistent kickers since inking with the Falcons in 2009. But his field-goal services were not requested last Thursday night, as Atlanta fell 31-21 to New Orleans.
Bryant did nothing to deserve his spot on the All-Bust team, but that’s no comfort to the owners who started him in 83 percent of Yahoo leagues this week.
As Bryant surely knows, football is rarely a fair game.