Five Permanent Fantasy Football Downgrades (for the Rest of the Season)

Larry Johnson

Larry Johnson Photo Credit: Icon SMI

See Also: Five Permanent Fantasy Football Upgrades


Larry Johnson, RB, Kansas City Chiefs – Two weeks ago we gave an unequivocal recommendation to out and out drop this broken-down pony from your fantasy roster. Not bench him. Not try to trade him. Drop him. And, yet, he’s still owned in 63% of Yahoo! leagues. Why? What are you waiting for? There’s no imminent fantasy renaissance in the cards here; in fact, by the time you read this he may have been released following his childish post-game Twitter tirade. Johnson’s ill-timed (and misdirected) rants would just be an excuse for the Chiefs to part with their former franchise player earlier than they would be anyway. There’s just nothing left to see here.

Earlier this week we named the NBA’s Most Depressing Players of 2009; Johnson would most certainly warrant top honors for a similar list for the NFL. Though seven games, Johnson is averaging a paltry 2.7 YPC, has failed to breach the 90 yards rushing mark in a given week, and has more fumbles lost (1) than touchdowns (0). He had a fantastic 2 ½-year fantasy run in the mid-00’s, but those days are but a fond memory.

Roy Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys – Williams was considered a can’t-miss prospect coming out of Texas back in ’04… then the Detroit Lions drafted him, and somewhere along the way the franchises’ legacy of futility, the mounting losses, and the poor surrounding talent began to rub off on him. He’d make the most difficult catches and (repeatedly) drop the easy ones. He missed games. He underachieved. He was, finally and mercifully, traded to the Dallas Cowboys after 4 ½ so-so seasons with the Lions. Credit Detroit for cutting their loss while they still could and dumping off their overrated wideout on the unsuspecting, desperate Cowboys for a wealth of draft picks.

Nothing has changed so far for Williams in Dallas, where he was awarded a massive five-year, $45 million extension last year. Just to recap, Williams has crossed the 1,000 yard threshold just once in his five full NFL seasons (in 2006, when he caught 82 balls for 1,310 yards and 7 TDs). He’s never scored more than 8 TDs in a given season. In 10 games last year with the Cowboys, he caught a measly 19 passes for 198 yards and 1 TD. And, through the first five games of this season (he missed one due to injury), he has a ho-hum 12 for 230 and 1 TD, while his fellow Cowboys WR Miles Austin goes apeshit.

Yahoo!’s Michael Silver echoes what we’ve also been thinking for some time now: it’s time to admit that Roy Williams just isn’t a #1 receiver. And he’s nothing more than a weak flex play on your fantasy team, either.

Three more fantasy football downgrades after the break…

Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets – The national media loves him, and they want you to love him too. They want you to fawn over him and read about him GQ and call him the second coming of Tom Brady. Yes, they want to get your fantasy panties all up in a bunch over the Jets savior known as “Sanchize.” (Get it? Get it?)

But while many have been busy reading and believing the headlines, Sanchez has been hard at work dragging down the fantasy teams of those owners who’ve not learned to separate hype from reality. Did you know that only Jake Delhomme has thrown more picks (13!) than Sanchez (10)? Or that his passer rating (61.5) is lower than that of guys like Kerry Collins, Trent Edwards, and (gulp) Marc Bulger? Or that the only QBs with lower completion percentages (52.8%) are Josh Johnson, JaMarcus Russell, and Derek Anderson? He’s going to get better—but not moreso than Detroit’s Matthew Stafford will—but this is a rookie quarterback on a run-first team, folks. There’s very little fantasy value here this year.

Terrell Owens, WR, Buffalo Bills – I know it’s tough to part with a fantasy name brand like Owens, but plugging him into your starting lineup every week is about as productive as a dog chasing its own tail. T.O.’s dropoff in production has been shocking, but remember, this is the NFL and these things have a tendency of happening fast. Last year, Owens recorded his third-straight season of catching at least 10 TDs, finishing with a respectable 69 catches for 1,052 yards and 10 TDs.

That was fantasy-friendly Dallas, though, and this is Buffalo, where Owens is now at the mercy of the sad QB combo of Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Though six games, he has just 18 catches for 242 yards and 1 TD… but it’s not all on his quarterbacks. Owens has lost a step or two, along with his motivation (which is puzzling since he’s on a one-year deal). There could be one or two decent showings on the docket still—like in Week 10 against the shitty Titans secondary—but there’s little reason to keep the faith. Should you cut him? I don’t know what your depth is like, but I’d at least consider it.

Clinton Portis, RB, Washington Redskins – See Larry Johnson. We’ve wanted nothing to do with Portis on fantasy draft day for a few years now, and though to his credit he’s successfully defied our low expectations to this point, Father Time (and a porous offensive line, and a lame-duck quarterback, and a lame-duck head coach) have finally caught up with a guy who used to be one of the league’s most dynamic talents out of the backfield.

That “strong game” two weeks ago against the Chiefs (15 carries for 109 yards) was but a mirage—Portis is donezo, and we want you to move on. Though he now has a bye week to, in the words of former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci, “freshen up,” Portis is nursing an assortment of injuries that at some point are likely to shut him down for the season. Even if he keeps trudging along in this hopeless offense, there’s very little upside.

See Also: Five Permanent Fantasy Football Upgrades

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