By Ari McCoy ’17
This has been a tumultuous start to the fantasy football season. Early suspensions to top tier players including Tom Brady and Le’veon Bell, and injuries to Jamaal Charles and Tyler Eifert forced owners to search for replacements before even setting their opening week lineups. Injuries have hit a number of top players, leading to younger, less experienced players stepping up. With two rookie quarterbacks leading winning teams through six weeks in Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz, this season has kicked off with a number of abnormalities.
While players every year are expected to bust or struggle for parts of the season, this year we have seen some significant players drop off. Adrian Peterson began the season poorly, rushing for 31 yards in Week One before tearing his meniscus, leaving him out for the rest of the season. Deandre Hopkins, one of last year’s top fantasy receivers, has struggled to develop chemistry with new quarterback Brock Osweiler and is currently averaging only 8.9 points per game in standard scoring. Arizona wide receiver John Brown, considered among many analysts to be the best of the Arizona wide receivers for this year’s fantasy season, has averaged a mere five points per game as the Cardinals have been unable to find any rhythm offensively. When many top players are unable to perform, there are always other players who are forced to step up their games.
Because of the numerous top players struggling out of the gate, there have been some surprising breakouts. Marvin Jones, the second wide receiver on the Bengals depth chart last season, is currently seventh in the league in receiving yards at 529 yards over six games. Running back Tevin Coleman, a backup in Atlanta, is currently ranked eighth among running backs in standard scoring, one spot ahead of the Falcons’ starter, Devonta Freeman. Christine Michael, expected to be a backup to Thomas Rawls at running back in Seattle, is now sixth in points per game at the position. In a year with so many struggling stars, these players have been season savers for desperate owners.
Like in previous years, there has been volatility among top players. With less heralded players taking their places among the league’s best, it will be interesting to see who regains their form and who continues to fall in the second half of the season.