For all the fantasy managers out there who have one win or fewer through six weeks, we have something in common. For all the fantasy managers out there who’s bench currently has one player with a projection because everyone else is either injured or on a bye, we have something in common. For all the fantasy managers out there that have an average margin of defeat of .2 in the last two weeks, we have something in common. Needless to say, my outlook on the fantasy realm is not looking good. However, misery enjoys company. With that in mind, here are a handful of players in line to struggle, just like you and I have so far.
Romeo Doubs @ Denver Broncos – Doubs got off to a hot start to the year, with 20 catches for 224 yards and three touchdowns in the first four weeks. Prior to falling off a cliff in week five and recording one catch for four yards, Doubs benefited from the losses of Aaron Jones, Christian Watson and Luke Musgrave. All three demand a significant target share and are expected to play this week. Additionally, Jordan Love performed unsustainably well in the first three weeks, leading the league in percentage of throws that resulted in a touchdown during that span. Doubs benefitted from a good share of that production, meaning regression is likely to continue for him too. Week five may have been a glimpse of what our expectations for Doubs should be going forward, as he is likely to struggle again against a Broncos defense that is begging to give up 200 total rushing yards.
Alexander Mattison vs. San Francisco 49ers – Mattison has quietly put up decent RB2 numbers in the last several weeks. He has seemingly recovered from his ugly performance against the Eagles and Minnesota’s acquisition of Cam Akers, both of which tanked his fantasy stock. As someone who isn’t overly confident in his talent, I think we’re due to see the Mattison of old some time soon. It makes sense for the regression to come this week, as he is facing a 49ers team that just got their first loss of the year handed to them by a P.J. Walker-led Cleveland Browns. Expect the likes of Nick Bosa, Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner to be even more hungry than usual in what should be a get-right-game for San Francisco. Mattison will likely struggle against San Francisco’s star studded defense, especially if the game script forces the Vikings to throw in order to keep up with an equally elite offense.
George Pickens @ Los Angeles Rams – Similar to Doubs, Pickens is also likely to suffer from the return of the primary option in his wide receiver room. Diontae Johnson, the team’s clear number one target coming into the season, is on track to return this week. This is bad news for Pickens, as he was held to a target share of approximately 12% when Johnson was healthy in week one. They will also travel across the country to play the Rams, who have given up just one touchdown to wide receivers this season. As a prime example of a boom or bust option, all signs point to the latter for Pickens in week seven.
Joshua Palmer @ Chiefs – Since Mike Williams’ season-ending injury in week three, Palmer has seen a clear uptick in usage rate but hasn’t done a ton with it. In the two full games he’s played without Williams, he’s cashed in on big chunk plays to somewhat salvage his fantasy day, but he’s also left a lot of opportunities out there. Coming off of a game where the offense looked like it was a clear step below Dallas’, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chargers look to work Quentin Johnston further into the game script. Palmer still has the opportunity to break big plays in that scenario, however relying on that type of production isn’t sustainable. This is especially true against a Kansas City defense that ranks seventh in PPR points allowed to wide receivers so far this season.
All Rams and Cardinals RBs – Although it is tempting to try to strike gold on the waivers with a backfield who’s number one option recently got injured, there isn’t much value in either of these cases. Before going down, James Conner and Kyren Williams both ranked at an elite level in terms of snap share, meaning neither of their teams loved any of the options behind them. In the Cardinals’ case, this is also supported by the fact that they signed Damien Williams in order to supplement a seemingly insufficient option in Keaontay Ingram. In Los Angeles, Sean McVay and Matt Stafford are more than capable of moving the ball down the field primarily through the air, and will likely do so against a porous Seattle defense. No one in the running back room for either of these teams should be viewed as anything better than a touchdown-dependent flex.