There seemed to be more of the same in Week 6 for several of the fantasy-relevant players who have been mentioned in this space over the past few weeks. C.J. Anderson and Alshon Jeffery continued to have sub-par fantasy performances for their relative draft positions and abilities.
Anderson did run with purpose and broke some tackles on a couple of plays. The problem was that his three biggest runs/receptions were called back due to holding penalties, including one that negated a nifty catch and run for a touchdown.
Trying to avoid redundancy for this exercise is important, and sadly there are more than enough disappointing players to keep the series alive and well.
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. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers has been the definition of putrid this season, and to be honest the last two seasons. In the past we could blame injuries to his offensive line, or an injury to his favorite target. What are the excuses this season though? His offensive line is one of the best in the league. In Week 6 he was rushed the least out of any quarterback yet he still made ill-advised passes, fumbled a couple of times and threw a rare interception at home.
The Verdict: PANIC
Whether it is holding on to the ball for too long, getting stuck in the pocket, or the coaching staff’s fault something is very, very off. Thankfully, this is a quarterback and he can likely be benched for a serviceable and likely better, option at the moment. It has been six weeks folks, and Mr. Rodgers’ name is the only thing keeping value. Either way if you are a Rodgers owner you should be panicking and looking for other options. Rodgers shouldn’t be dropped in most formats, but there should be zero guilt in benching him and seeing how he does against the Bears Thursday night.
2. Todd Gurley, RB, LA Rams
In the beginning of the season Gurley wouldn’t have been thought of as a risky first-round pick, especially considering he may very well have been the first running back to come off the board. Now however owners are becoming more and more disgruntled by the week. Their first-round pick is not producing elite running back numbers.
The Verdict: Panic
Gurley has only rushed for more than 70 yards twice this season. He only has three touchdowns with two coming in one game. He has yet to rush for 100 yards in a game. The Rams’ offensive line is not holding up, or giving him holes to run through. Gurley is grinding out yards, and making things happen when most backs couldn’t, but in fantasy that doesn’t matter. He is currently ranked 18th in FantasyPros’ strength of schedule for the remainder of the season, which isn’t all that encouraging either.
Gurley is a particularly tough case, as an elite pick you can’t drop him. His trade value will never be lower unless you are in a Dynasty format. I also won’t advise benching him unless you have stronger options.
You need to be worried, there is no doubt about it. The question is, can you really do anything about it? Get feelers on trades if you can in seasonal leagues. Now is not the time to let a player with a big name sink your team.
3. Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Owners were excited hearing Charles’ comments that the training wheels were ready to come off but that was quickly halted when the Chiefs announced they would ease him back into the game plan. This week was exactly as the Chiefs expected. Charles got just 11 total touches for 47 yards, although a short touchdown run provided his fantasy owners some much-needed points. However, it appears that those fears of not getting a workhorse running back after patiently waiting for Charles to return are coming to fruition. Spencer Ware dominated the carries (24 to Charles’ 9) and the Raiders (131 yards, TD) in Kansas City’s road iwn.
The Verdict: Patience
This was only his first full week back folks. Yes Ware is a very good back and has every right to continue to get carries. He also will continue to get said carries. Both of these backs are explosive and talented enough to do damage. Although Charles won’t be that dynamic, clear-cut RB1 you may have been hoping for, he will provide fantasy points, and likely at value considering where you drafted him. This backfield could easily resemble Atlanta’s current setup, which is certainly fantasy viable. Charles is too big of a talent not to become more and more valuable. You have waited this long. Please don’t panic now.
4. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
This one is more of a secondary effect following the knee injury, reportedly a torn meniscus, that Ben Roethlisberger suffered on Sunday. Brown’s weekly status as an elite and safe starting option has taken a bit of a hit as there’s no timetable yet for Roethlisberger’s return. Last season, Brown didn’t score and averaged less than 60 receiving yards per game in the four games that either Michael Vick or Landry Jones started in place on an injured Roethlisberger.
The Verdict: Patience
No one can predict the future, and although something happened last year it is guaranteed to repeat itself. However, owners will surely be feeling the effects over the next few weeks with one of the top fantasy players in the game missing the quarterback that feeds him the ball. You can only be patient. If your team is struggling mightily with Brown now, you may need to see if you can’t make a move to bolster your playoff hopes. If you are a top seed currently you will simply have to ride out the storm and hope things get back to normal in a few weeks. Maybe just maybe Brown will produce like he normally does, but there are no guarantees. Expect the worst folks, and the worst with Brown is a borderline top-50 WR.
5. Matt Forte, RB, New York Jets
Forte’s carries have dropped significantly over the past three weeks. After getting 52 attempts and rushing for 196 yards and three touchdowns in his first two games, Forte’s workload and production have both dropped off significantly. Over his last four games, he has averaged less than 13 carries per game and hasn’t run for more than 65 yards in any game. He’s also caught two or fewer passes in each game during this span and hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 2. This is obviously disconcerting for Forte owners who got a nice early boost from their mid-round selection.
The Verdict: Panic
Those counting on a turnaround on Monday night, can’t be happy to see these numbers – 9 att., 19 yds., 1 rec., 3 yds. Forte could be wearing down, and the Jets may be trying to keep him as fresh as possible to make it through the season. However, it’s not as if Bilal Powell’s carries have significantly increased. He had just three on Monday (for 10 yards); of course New York was playing catch up for practically the entire game. It does appear that Forte has been used primarily as a runner rather than a receiver, which is concerning considering his track record as one of the league’s most productive pass-catching backs prior to coming to the Jets.
Hopefully you are not relying on Forte as your first running back, but the cause for concern is there. And Monday night did nothing to alleviate any of those fears, so perhaps it’s time to move on from the veteran for a younger and more reliable back. Looking ahead, Forte’s schedule is tough, ranked 21st at the position according to FantasyPros.
— 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 socalledfantasyexperts.com. Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.