Risky top-tier fantasy football players

DALLAS - With the fantasy football playoffs upon us, one bad week could mean the end of your season. When it comes to the top scoring fantasy players, there are three different types.  The first is a player who has a very high floor, and consistently puts up respectable point totals each week, even when they have a bad performance.  They may not have quite as high a ceiling as the other two types, but their consistency is their strength.  

The second type is a “boom or bust” player.  They are capable of being the highest scoring fantasy player in any given week, while also just as capable of laying an egg.  The third type of player is the elite of the elite.  Guys like Tom Brady and Le'veon Bell who have extremely high floors and extremely high ceilings.  

Obviously, you want to go with types one and two and stay away from the boom or bust guys. However, that isn’t how things always work out.  Sometimes those players are available, and it is hard to turn them down.  Additionally, you may have acquired them with expectations of something different due to past history, but they have suddenly changed into a roller coaster this season.

Either way, with no room for error in the fantasy playoffs, a goose egg laid by one of your top players can kill your championship hopes.  

Here are top scoring fantasy players that are also the riskiest plays during the playoffs.  Most of these guys have boom or bust qualities, while others are using smoke and mirrors to make you think they are better than they are.  You may have to play them either way, just don’t be surprised if they happen to have a bad performance.  Hopefully, you will have some consistent players around them to help shoulder the burden if they have a rough outing.

Top scoring players are qualified as follows:  Top 10 scoring average for quarterbacks and tight ends, top 20 scoring average for running backs and receivers.  The ranking next to each player’s name indicates where they fall on the points per game scoring list at their position.

Kareem Hunt, 4th – He started out the season as the talk of the league.  He was dominating and at the top of almost every rushing statistical category.  Then, in Week 6 suddenly everything changed.  From that week’s matchup against the Steelers until now, Hunt has failed to rush for more than 87 yards in a single game.  That includes totals of 21, 46, 37 and 17 yard rushing performances.  He also hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 3.  

To make matters worse, over the last four weeks his fantasy points totals are 9, 9, 10 and 2.  His arrow is trending downward and he will be facing a tough Jets run defense this week.

Dak Prescott, 10th – The Cowboys offense has been hurting and the main source of that has been the play of Dak Prescott.  Yes, he got sacked a lot against Atlanta.  Yes, he is missing Ezekiel Elliott, but great quarterbacks don’t need perfect conditions to produce.  

In five of his last six games, including both wins against Washington, Dak has thrown for 179 yards or less.  Over that six game span, he also has a total of just six touchdowns to go with eight turnovers.  His point totals from those games are even uglier.  

From Week 8 forward, he has scored 6, 25, 15, -1, 3 and 14 fantasy points. The fact of the matter is that Prescott just isn’t producing right now.  You should bench Dak Prescott for at least the next two weeks.  He needs to put back to back solid fantasy performances together before you can trust him again.

DeMarco Murray, 16th – It is actually pretty surprising that he is still in the top 20.  He has put up single digit point totals in 7 of his 11 games.  If you take away his Week 3 outlier against Seattle, he hasn’t rushed for more than 59 yards in a game.  

If you have him and are still starting him, you probably aren’t in the playoffs.  If you actually did make the playoffs, you should replace him with someone else…immediately.

Jerick Mckinnon, 18th – Back as recently as Week 8 against the Browns, it looked as if Mckinnon was going to be a major factor going forward.  From Week 5 through 8, he put up point totals of 29, 25, 8 and 26.  

However, during their bye week, the Vikings obviously decided Latavius Murray was going to be their guy and he has drastically outperformed Mckinnon.  At this point, he is only a flex play at best and it is almost impossible to predict him having a huge game.  It is more likely he underperforms than helps you in the playoffs.

Joe Mixon, 19th – He is coming off the best game of his young career (30 points), but don’t let that fool you.  Before last week, is highest rushing total on the year was 62 yards and his highest point total was only 13 points.  

He is ranked 19th in average scoring among running backs, but a lot of that is coming from his play last weekend.  He is a flex play at best, if he is your RB1 or RB2 you could be in big trouble.

Devonta Freeman, 21st – We are including Freeman, although he is ranked outside the top 20, because he is such a big name.  In the four games Freeman was healthy after the Falcons came back from their bye week, he is only averaging 9 points per game.  

Meanwhile, Tevin Coleman has averaged 16 in his absence.  Freeman may have a big game or two left in him this season, but it is more likely he stays in the 6 to 12 fantasy point range.

T.Y. Hilton, 20th – This year, he is the definition of both “boom or bust” and “smoke and mirrors.” In three games this season, Hilton has scored 36, 29 and 42 points for an average of 35.6 points per game.  

In the other eight games he has played, he hasn’t scored more than 8 points and is averaging just 4.6 points per game.  It is impossible to start him with any sort of confidence.

Jack Doyle, 5th – Although he is having a pretty good season overall, he has scored 7 or fewer points in five of his eleven games played.  It wouldn’t be quite as scary if he hadn’t posted a point total of 2 points twice already this season.

Jared Cook, 9th – He is averaging 9.5 ppg, but has scored 7 or fewer points in six of his eleven games played.  He also only has one touchdown scored on the season.  He had two big games against Kansas City and Miami in Weeks 7 and 9, but otherwise has shown to have a pretty shallow ceiling.  His potential reward almost doesn’t outweigh his “bust” risk.

Jason Witten, 10th – The Cowboys icon is also averaging just 9.5 ppg, and has added four games where he has scored just 1 point.  Overall, he has scored 7 or fewer points in half of his games played.  If you have a safer option, it would be advised to go in that direction.

 

Need some more tips for your fantasy team? Be sure to ask Blake on Twitter @blakegibbs.

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