The Buffalo wide receiver should stay on your bench this week
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson is listed as questionable with a sore shoulder for the team’s Week 11 game against the Miami Dolphins. He has been given the “decent chance to play” status by Buffalo coach Chan Gailey, but Johnson’s decent is not enough for him to be in your starting lineup this week. Johnson injured the shoulder last week against Dallas.
After starting with fantasy games of 14.6, 19.6 and 19.4 over the first three weeks of the 2011 season, Johnson has fallen off the map for a majority of the season. He has scored in double digits just once since Week 3 — a 12.4-point day in Week 6 against the Giants. Weeks of 8.7, 9.9 and 1.8 points make one of the feel-good stories of 2010 a fantasy sit in Week 11 of the 2011 season.
Johnson’s production, or lack thereof, coincides with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick also seeing his torrid pace come to a screeching halt. After he scored 20-plus fantasy points in the first three weeks of the season, Fitzpatrick has gone above 16 just once and below 13 three times.
Johnson had this same sort of nosedive last season. After three games in six weeks of eight catches, 158 yards and a score, 11 catches, 145 yards and eight catches, 137 yards and three scores, Johnson fell off as a lead fantasy receiver. He never topped more than 69 yards and had just one score over the final six weeks of the 2010 season.
Johnson is the Bills’ leader this season in targets (71) and catches (44) and yards (531) but has done little with them in the last six games. He averages 12.1 yards per catch and has just four scores as a team’s No. 1 receiver. Last season, he averaged 13.1 yards per catch with 10 scores.
And it stinks this week in particular that Johnson’s production has declined … depending on which Miami team we see, of course.
The Bills take on a Dolphins team today that is seventh worst in the NFL against fantasy receivers. Miami has allowed opposing team’s No. 1 receivers to average 14.7 fantasy points per game. No. 1s caught at least one touchdown in the first six games of the season and averaged 4.5 catches for 79.2 yards and 1.2 TDs (27-475-7).
So that’s the good news about playing against the Dolphins. The bad news for No. 1 receivers is that over the last three weeks they have averaged five catches for 64 yards and have not scored. The last three weeks have produced an average of 8.9 fantasy points per game against opposing team’s No. 1s, which included Hakeem Nicks, Dwayne Bowe and Jabar Gaffney.
The Fitzpatrick-Johnson combo has not paid off for weeks now, add in the questionable, iffy, sore shoulder status of Johnson and the play of the Dolphins against No. 1 receivers over the last few games and there is no way I am touching Johnson in Week 11.
By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter