Fantasy Football Flops: Will Chris Johnson, Michael Turner, Wes Welker, and Hakeem Nicks Bounce Back?

I’m starting this weekly column to take a rational look back at the week that was in fantasy football.

What I’m planning on doing is not giving you sleepers or irrational predictions, but rather taking a look at who did not live up to expectations.


Chris Johnson fell well short of expectations in Week 1. Will he bounce back in the future? (Photo by By AJ Guel via Wikimedia Commons)

But I’m not just going to tell you who had bad games; that’s easy. This isn’t a place to tell you that a unproven rookie had a bad day or that a potential sleeper spent the week sleeping rather than breaking out.

Instead, I’m going to look at who did not have good fantasy days when they perhaps should have, and try to decipher whether or not it’s a sign of things to come.

NOTE: It’s been one week. Just one game for each team in the books. Way too early to know anything for certain, but it’s worth taking a look at, since each week matters in fantasy.

Fantasy Flop #4: Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants

Nicks, in my opinion, is the clear No. 1 receiver on the New York Giants. Fantasy-wise though, that won’t always be the case. Victor Cruz, much like Jordy Nelson in Green Bay, is a fantastic No. 2 wideout who can also put up No. 1 wideout stats.

Hakeem finished Week 1 with 4 catches for 38 yards, while Cruz finished with 6 catches for 58 yards. What is concerning for Nicks owners is the 11 targets from Eli Manning that Cruz finished with, compared to just 6 targets for Nicks.

One big fact to remember is that Morris Claiborne and the new(er) Dallas secondary did look much improved, but more was expected out of a player who is a No. 1 wideout in nearly every league.

Fantasy Flop #3: Wes Welker, New England Patriots

There were some unsurprising developments from New England’s season opener against Tennessee. For example, Tom Brady had a good day, finding Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez for touchdowns.

Other things were surprising, however, including Stevan Ridley carrying the ball 21 times for 162 yards. In fact, the Patriots ran the ball more times than they threw it.

When Brady did throw the ball, it was predominantly to his tight ends or his new toy, Brandon Lloyd. In the past, Wes Welker had been a sort of extension of the running game, catching bubble screens and short slants. I realize it’s been one week, but it appears they like what they have with Ridley and might be using him more and more.

Welker is still incredibly useful and an excellent player, but if the Titans game (3 catches, 14 yards) is a sign of things to come, it could spell the end of Welker as an elite fantasy wideout.

Fantasy Flop #2: Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons

Depending on your league, there is a good chance Turner is not your No. 1 back. But if you were one of the few who thought the aging Turner was going to be the same back he’s been in the past, there’s also a good chance he could be your only decent back.

Either way, you’d be looking for more than 32 yards on 11 carries.

It’s well known that Turner has been a workhorse in years past, but I don’t think it’s age (30) that’s catching up to him. I think the Falcons are making a shift to more of an aerial attack, which makes perfect sense.

I think Matt Ryan will make a jump this year, based on the fact that he’s got the best wideout combo in the league (Roddy White, Julio Jones) plus a tight end that can still play at a high level (Tony Gonzalez). It didn’t help that Ryan poached a rushing touchdown, and Jacquizz Rodgers (7 carries, 2 receptions) cuts into Turner’s value as well.

If you expected 2009 numbers out of The Burner, it might be time to temper those expectations.

Fantasy Flop #1: Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans

Four yards on 11 carries looks like a typo, but that’s what Johnson owners were left with after the first-round back’s game against New England. The Titans as a whole had just 16 carries total, compared to 43 passes, which is very disconcerting.

Johnson was supposedly ready to bounce back from a less-than-stellar year in 2011, but four yards is not a good place to start, especially against a defense that is not generally regarded as one of the league’s best.

CJ could still rush for 2K, but he has 1,996 yards left to go in now just 15 games. Tennessee’s season opener was very concerning for those counting on the talented back.

About Chris Callaway

Chris lives and works in La Crosse, Wisconsin, working primarily on-air while doing some writing as well. He is a part-owner of the Green Bay Packers, a Milwaukee Brewers die-hard, learning hockey while supporting the Minnesota Wild, and is also a fan of the Wisconsin Badgers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow him on twitter @ccallaway33.


  1. Week 2 non ppr bowe dwyer or matthews need 1

  2. Well, I lost my #2 RB Fred Jackson for a few weeks. my only options to replace him now are: David Wilson, Jacquizz Rogers, Kendall Hunter, and Mark Ingram…do you think I have a potential replacement for while Jackson is out? or should I look into trades?

    • I really liked what I saw from Kendall Hunter on Sunday. Was at the game in person, and he’s going to be an excellent complement to Frank Gore. I also like how the Falcons look like they’re going to use Jacquizz too. Too soon to tell anything on Wilson. I don’t think you could go wrong as a fill in with any of those four, but just from the eye test on Sunday, I’d lean Hunter.

  3. I started 2 of those guys. Glad I had Rodgers and Peterson.

  4. i got the packers D do you think they are a contender 2 yrs ago or pretender like last yr i have a chance to pickup the jets D which is the better option

    • Chris Callaway says:

      Rosco – I see the Packers as being somewhere between those two. They are an opportunistic defense that will have games with defensive touchdowns, sacks by Clay Matthews and perhaps a punt return by Randall Cobb. Take Sunday for example. The defense did not look great, but CM3 still had 2.5 sacks and Cobb had a return touchdown. You obviously can’t count on the touchdowns every game, but I’m encouraged about the fantasy prospects of the Green Bay D. Stick with them over the Jets.

  5. In my PPR league I got this offer:

    I get – DeSean Jackson
    I give – Darren Sproles

    A couple notes: Return yardage counts and my other starting WR is Amendola. I also have Chris Johnson as a RB as well and I was thinking about countering with CJ for DJax. Any thoughts?



    • Chris Callaway says:

      I think you’re more likely to find WR help down the line than RB help, so I wouldn’t do the deal. With return yardage counting and it being a PPR league, I’d be more apt to keep Sproles. And CJ had an awful game, but it’s too early to cut your losses just yet.

  6. How much value do you think Brandon Jacobs will have when he returns from injury? Will he eat into Kendall Hunters touches?

    when Mikel Leshoure returns from suspension will he be worth a pick up?

    thanks in advance for your help,

    • It’s hard to tell with Brandon Jacobs. I know SF signed him for a reason, but it’s hard not to think of him as a glorified fullback. In that regard, I think he cuts into Gore’s production as a goal-line back rather than Hunter in the open field.

      I do like Leshoure, and I think the Lions do too. They’ll be anxious to see what they have with him, plus Kevin Smith is their starter. Take that for what it’s worth. I drafted him in multiple leagues.

      • Thanks for your response….I have one more question, what do you think of Mark Ingram? will he ever be the feature back worth a fantasy start every week?

        • In short: yes, but not with this current Saints team. Too many other mouths to feed on a pass-dominant offense. I think he has the ability to be a consistent fantasy contributor, but just not with New Orleans. His value would go way up if he were ever to get traded.

  7. Would you trade Chris Johnson for Hakeem Nicks straight up? Other RBs are Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte, Fred Jackson, Kevin Smith. Other WRs are Steve Smith and Dez Bryant.

  8. fantasy guy says:

    who would be your guy to have on fantasy team this yr Cobb or Heyward Bey do you think jacquizz rogers will be fantasy worthy over turner this yr…im thinking starter by week 7 ?

    • Chris Callaway says:

      I think Turner will be the starter as long as he is healthy, but perhaps in name only. I can see his role diminishing and Jacquizz Rodgers getting a much bigger roles, especially as a Darren Sproles-type pass catcher out of the backfield. And as for Cobb vs DHB, look at the offenses. DHB certainly has the potential of a 4-180-2td type of day, but you can’t count on those. I think you will be able to count on Cobb out of the slot for GB, with 5-60 with the occasional TD, plus return yardage.

  9. who do you start lloyd, welker, or floyd. pick 2

  10. Definitely Lloyd, and I’d rather have Tom Brady to count on than Kevin Kolb. Go with Welker as well.

  11. Hi Chris,

    PPR League, who should I start? Looking for 2 out of:

    Chris Johnson
    Ryan Mathews
    Dexter McCluster
    Alfred Morris

    Also — Philly’s D or Cinny’s D


    • Chris Callaway says:

      It looks like Mathews will be starting, so I’d pick him and Chris Johnson, easily.

      • Thanks for the response Chris! I apologize, I wasn’t clear enough on my positions. I have a toal of 1 RB spot, 1 Wr spot and 1 Flex to fill. And one of the RB or flex spot is filled by Sproles. So do I go CJ or Mathews at the other RB spot? And then I’ll go Amendola at my WR spot.

        • Chris Callaway says:

          Ridley absolutely trashed the Titans defense last week, so I understand the argument for Mathews, but i can’t advocate sitting your first round pick this early in the season. Too much talent. Go with CJ.

  12. Hi Chris,
    If Revis remains out, would u still start Wallace over Colston and Austin this week?
    Romo vs tough SEA defense is a risk, Smith vs DET is safe…what would you do?

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