Week 3: Player Downgrades
Player Downgrades is a column focused on suggesting a handful of players who are losing fantasy value. Rather than focus on injuries, these are the players who are healthy and getting playing time, but are still underachieving. It's ultimately up to you whether you decide to bench, trade away, or drop them.
Moving forward into Week 3 is where you're going to have to start making some tough decisions. For example, if you added Ben Tate to fill-in for Arian Foster temporarily, it looks as though Tate has lost a lot of his value. Also, there are a lot of wide receivers who have yet to produce and it may be the right time to begin dropping some of them.
There's no reason to panic just yet, but in order to maintain a competitive roster, your bench should be full of potential, not slumping non-achievers.
It's not a good time to be a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. After two straight blowout losses, the Chiefs are not the playoff team they were in 2010. It certainly doesn't help that two of their best players are out for the year (RB Jamaal Charles and S Eric Berry). While things can't stay this bad much longer, now is the time to sell, sell, sell! Cassel has five turnovers (four INTs, 1 fumble lost) in two games. This appears to be the year of the QB2. Cam Newton, Jason Campbell, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Chad Henne and even Rex Grossman all look like better options right now. Cassel will eventually start to turn this team around, but don't let him do it in your starting lineup. Cassel is expendable as your team's QB2 and you should feel no remorse cutting him loose because (if anything) you want him doing damage on another team instead of your own.
His 39-yard performance in Week 1 completely disgusted you, yet maybe you hoped he would persevere. You would have been wrong to feel that way because McNabb, quite frankly, is one of the worst quarterbacks in the league right now. Minnesota has one quality pass threat in Percy Harvin and beyond that, there's no one there to help McNabb. Realistically, he will still end the season as a Top 25 performer at his position, but is that really saying much? There are too many other high ceiling prospects with hot starts fueling them to allow McNabb to accumulate dust and Campbell's Chunky Soup on your bench. McNabb has the fourth worst passer rating in the NFL and he'll likely drop down a spot after Eli Manning plays tonight. Maximize your team's value by adding a better option from waivers.
Logical fantasy owners assumed that the Carolina Panthers would lean on running back DeAngelo Williams this year. Carolina would be breaking in rookie QB Cam Newton. They could have let Williams walk via free agency, but presumably gave him his pay day as a sign of their confidence in him. Everything on paper would have led you to believe that he was going to have another big year. Unfortunately, the game isn't played on paper. Newton has dominated the offense, taking this team on his back. Williams only had five carries in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers. He's not a total bust just yet, but if you're using him as your RB2, this is cause for concern. Don't forget about backup back Jonathan Stewart, who's still hanging around and taking away nearly a dozen touches per week. In fact, Stewart had eight receptions for 100 yards against the Pack. That kind of output is more the exception rather than the rule, but Williams has to be on your trade block. You can't afford to have a consistent dud in your lineup every week at such a key position.
The Indianapolis Colts are now 0-2 and for an offense that was once a great bastion of fantasy points, it's time to begin cutting your losses. Last week we downgraded wide receiver Pierre Garcon and now we include his teammate Austin Collie. In the regular season opener against the Houston Texans, Collie was held without a reception. That worst case scenario could only be improved upon, but in Week 2 (at home against the Cleveland Browns) Collie had three catches for 24 yards. Quarterback Kerry Collins has completed just 50.7 percent of his passes and the team as a whole just can't seem to punch it into the endzone. Looking ahead, Collie has to be sent packing. The only Colts' receiver that should be rostered is Reggie Wayne. Rather than wait this one out, look for a trade partner who may be interested in Collie as a buy-low addition to their team.
Randy Moss circa 2007 he is not. Many fantasy owners reminisced about Moss' huge breakout year with the New England Patriots and assumed that Ochocinco would undergo the same kind of fantasy metamorphosis. Not quite. Ochocinco has been used more as a decoy thus far with only three receptions for 59 yards. Like most great offenses in this league, there are a lot of options to choose from on this team. So far, tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Bruce Gronkowski, and wide receivers Wes Welker and Deion Branch have had their time in the limelight. Will next week's gameplan focus on Ocho? Maybe it will, maybe it won't. Rather than sticking him in your flex spot and hoping for the best, it's time to at least sit him. Consistency is far more important than the false hope of a big game. So far, he's done nothing with the Patriots that deserves a starting spot, so until he does, bench him because that's essentially what New England has done.