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Fantasy Football 2016 Patience or Panic: Carson Palmer, Dez Bryant, Rob Gronkowski

Carson Palmer

Carson Palmer

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After the initial installment of 2016’s Patience or Panic, it’s time to take a look at our next crop of struggling fantasy superstars or guys who were taken early in drafts.

Several of the players listed below could be considered a carry-over from last week (in terms of consistent disappointing results) or even the beginning of the season. Either way the season is still technically young for the NFL but in fantasy leagues it could be critical mass. If you are looking at a 0-4, or a 1-3 start you could be feeling the pressure to win now and make drastic changes to remain competitive.

Some of these reactions are justified while others may be a little too dramatic, no matter what your record is.

Panic or Patience will be here every week, but for now you need to know if that big-name player who is stinking up your roster is worth holding on to, benching, trading away or even cutting.

Patience or Panic?

1. Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Palmer is still throwing the ball plenty but his success rate is nowhere near where it should be considering the weapons he has at his disposal. His first two weeks of the season looked fine, but the same can’t be said for his Week 3 (287 yards, no touchdowns, 5 INTs) and Week 4 (288 yards, one TD, INT, fumble lost) outings. To make matters worse, Palmer is in the concussion protocol after leaving Sunday’s home loss to the Rams late. With Arizona set to face San Francisco on Thursday, the short week doesn’t give Palmer a lot of time to be cleared to play, while his recent results leave plenty to be desired.

The Verdict: Patience

We know what Palmer is capable of, and his weapons appear to be endless. This is hopefully just a slow start and hopefully facing the 49ers (provided he’s cleared to play) this week will help right the ship. Let’s just hope it is Palmer playing and not Drew Stanton.

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2. Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland Raiders

Murray hasn’t had more than 10 carries since Week 1 (14). He also hasn’t rushed for more than 59 yards all season. Murray has been similar to Jeremy Langford where touchdowns are masking his lack of usage and production (4.3 ypc) when he does get the opportunity.  

The Verdict: Panic

I am worried about Murray to the point of benching him. The stable of backs in Oakland seem to be doing their job, but in fantasy landscapes it is a nightmare. Panic about Murray but don’t drop him. Bench him unless you truly have no other options, or even better find a desperate owner and trade him away.

3. Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks

Rawls will be missing more time with the hairline fracture in his fibula, and hadn’t looked great to start the season as it was. Now you look at the player who has been hyped in fantasy lands for the past three seasons Christine Michael and something has finally clicked. Michael has grabbed the bull by the horns and wants the lead back role. If and when Rawls comes back it will not be in a guaranteed role.

The Verdict: Panic

I hope those who used an early-round pick on Rawls were able to snag Michael too to increase your chances of ending up with a top-10 fantasy RB. As for Rawls, see how deep you roster is. If there’s no injured reserve (IR) spot to use to stash him or there are plenty of options on your roster/the waiver wire, then you will need to make the call. I wouldn’t argue with anyone dropping him, but I would be fine stashing as well.

4. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys

A touchdown saved Bryant’s stat line in Week 3, but we also found out after that game that he was dealing with a knee injury that turned out to be a hairline fracture. Bryant for whatever reason is not a favorite target of rookie QB Dak Prescott, and in Week 4 he was held out because of the injury. There’s no guarantee when Bryant will back, but his owners have little choice other than to wait and see. Bryant’s trade value is as low as it has ever been.

The Verdict: Patience

Look forward to Week 8. Prescott is playing very well so it seems hard to believe that Tony Romo will just be handed the starting job when returns, but he will and deservedly so. With Romo’s success Bryant’s usually follows. This one stings but you have no choice but to start Bryant when he plays and hope he gains some momentum before Romo’s return.

5. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

I don’t even want to write this. It has been two weeks since his return and he has been putrid. All of New England was in Week 4 though. You can be upset, you can be concerned but you cannot panic about Gronkowski.

The Verdict: Patience

Tom Brady returns this week AND it is against the Browns folks. Big Gronk’s triumphant return is officially here. You survived four weeks without him, now you can enjoy the risk and stop regretting the high draft pick you used to get him. Don’t trade him for anyone or anything and don’t start waiver wire fodder over him. Just don’t.

— Written by Chris Meyers, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the FSWA. Meyers' work appears on many other sites, including Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.