The Five Biggest Fantasy Football Busts of 2011 (and Five Players You Should Pick Up Now)

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Tom Lorenzo, Senior Editor RotoExperts.com

It took about half the season, but we’re finally starting to see signs of life from Chris Johnson. Could it be, though? Is he really alive? After compiling 110 yards from scrimmage in Week 9 against the Bengals, the 2nd toughest matchup for opposing running backs, you can’t help but think that this may be a sign of good things to come for CJ2K. Sure, he’s only scored one touchdown in eight games and he’s still only averaging 3.0 yards per carry, but if you watched Johnson this past Sunday you saw some nice cuts, some breakaway speed and a few elusive carries. He didn’t look like a Top 5 Fantasy player, but he at the very least looked usable, going forward. With that said, Johnson has undoubtedly been the biggest bust in Fantasy Football. You can say that Jamaal Charles killed your chances at winning the title, but at the very least you knew with Charles that you needed to replace him. With Johnson, you probably started him, at the very least, in six or seven of the past eight weeks. That’s killer.

So with the top spot taken, and with last week’s column dedicated to the “best of” the first half of the season, I figured I’d take a look at the five biggest busts (after Johnson, of course) in Fantasy Football and then tip you to five players to target this week off the waiver wires. The good, the bad and the ugly.

TOP 5 BUSTS IN FANTASY FOOTBALL

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PEYTON HILLIS

You can point to the injuries all you want, but we all know that some, if not all of the injuries were a bit exaggerated. I’m not going to call him out for faking injuries, but… You know what I’m getting at here. Hillis, a second round selection in most leagues, has 211 yards on 60 carries and just two touchdowns in four games. Again, you can point to his sore throat or his beat up hammy, but I’m calling him out. It’s been a terrible season for Hillis and it’s safe to say we’ve all become victims of the Madden curse, yet again.

RODDY WHITE

There was a time when White was in the same conversation among the likes of Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson at the top of the list for the best receivers in the game. Now, he’s on pace for 86 catches, 1002 yards and six touchdowns. To be honest, that’s WR2 value from a once top-tier guy. You can blame a lot of his subpar play on Matt Ryan and the, at times, stagnant Falcons offense, but a lot of the blame also falls on White. I do see slightly better days ahead for him, but it might be time to pass the torch to Julio Jones as the top WR talent in Atlanta.

DEANGELO WILLIAMS

I had my reservations about Williams heading into the season, but I didn’t think he’d be useless. At best, I thought he could be a nice value as a RB2. Instead, he’s the third best runner on his own team. And we don’t even have an injury to point to. He’s simply just not getting the job done. Call it the Cam Newton effect or call it symptom of the “I just got paid” syndrome, whatever you want to point to, Williams has been virtually useless.

DESEAN JACKSON

I’ve gone on record a number of times saying that Jeremy Maclin, not DeSean Jackson, is the best WR in Philadelphia. Still, Jackson was drafted some two rounds earlier than Maclin and, at best, is a decent WR2. He has just 29 catches in eight games. That’s unbelievable. For a guy who has big-play-ability, he also only has two total touchdowns. Teams have done a great job of adjusting to Jackson, keeping him in front of them and forcing him to go across the middle, which he won’t dare do. For a WR taken in the third round in many drafts, he’s been no better than the likes of Early Doucet and Antonio Brown, who went un-drafted in standard leagues.

DEZ BRYANT

This was a tough one. I wanted to say Reggie Wayne, but really this season’s stumble isn’t solely on him. Andre Johnson has legitimate injury concerns and Brandon Lloyd and Mike Williams were both pegged for a letdown of sorts. Bryant, however, was looked at as a top-tier talent ready to bust out. Unfortunately, he gets lost in routes, lost in games overall and lost on your roster. It’s hard to not start him, but at this point you almost can’t count on him in 2-WR leagues. If it weren’t for the four touchdowns, he’d be completely useless. He has just 26 catches for 443 yards. If there’s any consolation, he almost has to break out. With Miles Austin injured and the Cowboys facing a pretty easy schedule going forward, he has to return WR1 numbers. Right?

TOP 5 WAIVER ADDS FOR WEEK 10

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SAM BRADFORD

I know if you’re going off last week’s performance, Bradford doesn’t look like a good option, especially since he struggled a bit against a weak Arizona secondary. However, he did start to get into a little groove with Brandon Lloyd. This week might not be the best week to pick-and-plug him in, with a tough matchup against the Browns. The next two weeks, though, Bradford plays Seattle and then a rematch against Arizona. This is where you might be able to catch lightning in a bottle.

ROY HELU

Everyone’s talking Helu, and for good reason. With his 14 catches and 146 total yards last week against the 49ers, it’s clear that Helu is the lead runner for the Redskins going forward. Well, at least until Mike Shanahan pulls the plug on him. There’s no reason not to add Helu and play “the now.” Ryan Torain seems done in Washington and Tashard Choice is hurt, so Shanahan has no choice but to let Helu do his thing. He’s definitely valuable in the short-term.

BEN TATE

I’m with you, thinking that Tate and Arian Foster can’t post another dual 100-yard game, but if there ever was a week for them to repeat that feat, this might be it. The Bucs have allowed 134 yards per game (26th) on the ground and let up eight rushing touchdowns. With Andre Johnson unlikely to play, Matt Schaub will lean heavily on Foster and Tate both on the ground and through the air.

LAURENT ROBINSON

With Miles Austin (hamstring) out for the next 2-4 weeks, look for Robinson to continue to get good looks from Tony Romo. He already has 10 cathces for 135 yards and two touchdowns over the past two weeks, and that’s with Austin in the lineup. The schedule should also benefit Robinson, with a few of the worst defensive secondaries in the game on the docket over the next four weeks.

EARL BENNETT

I don’t necessarily buy into Bennett in the same way some of my colleague do, but I think he certainly has value this week. After returning to the lineup on Monday night against the Eagles, having missed the five previous games with a chest injury, Bennett caught five passes (on five targets) for 95 yards and a touchdown. I don’t think you’re going to see much better than that performance from Bennett, but as a flex play with the ability to haul in 5-6 catches, especially for PPR leaguers, Bennett is worth a look.

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