Heading into the 2018 season, expectations were high for a number of players — these individuals in particular. Yet, all they’ve done is disappoint.
If you forget the fantasy stats for a second, and take a deeper look at the numbers, you’ll soon see what we see — that these individuals, who should be having Pro Bowl seasons, just aren’t living up to the hype in 2018.
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Following a breakout 2016 season in which he rushed for just over 1,200 yards and scored 16 rushing touchdowns, Johnson just hasn’t looked like the same player in 2018. This has absolutely devasted fantasy football owners who spent a high pick on the former Northern Iowa standout.
Sure, the Arizona Cardinals star dislocated his wrist in the season opener last season and is still trying to get back to his normal self, but he’s averaging just 3.2 yards on 15.1 carries and only 47.9 rushing yards per game. Not the sort of production you’d expect — or hope — to get from a star of Johnson’s caliber. Considering the Cardinals are playing rookie Josh Rosen under center, this is even more of a tragedy.
Case Keenum, QB, Denver Broncos
Case Keenum had a magical season last year. He began the season as the Vikings’ backup quarterback, then took over when Sam Bradford went down with an injury and wound up leading Minnesota to an NFC North crown and a birth in the NFC championship game.
This is the player the Denver Broncos hoped they were getting when they signed Keenum in the offseason. That hasn’t been the case (no pun intended).
Last season, Keenum was second in the NFL in completion percentage and eighth in quarterback rating at 98.3. This season, his quarterback rating is down to 81.0 and his completion percentage has dropped from 67% to 63%. When you watch Keenum play this year, he looks flustered in the pocket and consistently takes too much time getting rid of the ball. Bottom line, Keenum looks like one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL this season. If he wants to remain the starter next year, he better figure out how to reverse course. And fast.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
The second-year running back out of Stanford, who should’ve won the Heisman Trophy his final season in college, has been a disappointment in 2018. That said, his issues aren’t entirely his fault.
Last season, McCaffrey had just two rushing touchdowns. This season, he has none. The Panthers coaching staff is simply not using him to his fullest potential. McCaffrey was drafted into a perfect scenario — he could be used in a college-like offense with a mobile quarterback in Cam Newton. But things haven’t gone as planned.
Newton often looks for huge big plays downfield and ends up forcing balls into tight windows causing turnovers; all while McCaffrey is wide open for the check down. The biggest way for Carolina to be successful on offense is simple — get McCaffrey the ball.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants
Back in August, Beckham Jr. signed a five-year contract extension worth $90 million with $65 million guaranteed. So far in 2018, he hasn’t really played up to the deal. And the man at the top of the organization has been quick to call him out.
According to NFL.com’s Judy Battista, Giants owner John Mara came out and said, “I wish he would create the headlines by his play on the field as opposed to what he says and what he does off the field. I think he needs to do a little more playing and a little less talking.”
Here’s the underlying question: Why did you give him the contract in the first place? Beckham is special, yes, but he can also be quite the headache. And, Mara obviously knows about the controversies the elite wide receiver has had on and off the field. In the end, you’re better off spreading the money around to multiple positions.
It’s clear that Beckham isn’t back to 100%. However, when you sign a contract of that magnitude, you have to do better. You have to be better. Odell has been nothing but disappointing in both areas.
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