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Return To Sender - Faces In New Places Who Have Disappointed

We are now nine weeks into the season and we have had enough time to evaluate what roles players have on their teams. Barring injury, those roles are unlikely to change a huge amount at this stage. We saw a lot of good players change teams in the offseason. Some have had success, like Kirk Cousins and Trey Burton, but there have been a lot of disappointing moves from a fantasy perspective.

In some cases, it is not necessarily that a player has performed worse in his new home, but that he has not put up the numbers that we expected before the season. Interestingly enough, some players' fantasy output is not as bad this season as you may think. Case Keenum was generally considered to have a decent season last year and is generally being viewed as struggling this season. However, Keenum is currently averaging just 1.5 fewer fantasy points this season and is not performing much more inconsistently than he did last season.

Below, I have identified players at multiple positions who have disappointed this year in their new locations. There are some names you might think are missing below, but right now I am not willing to write off players such as Isaiah Crowell or Dion Lewis given the terrible depth at the running back position. Here is a midseason look at some free agent busts and how to approach them in redraft and dynasty leagues.

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The Grass Isn't Always Greener

Alex Smith (QB, WAS)

I am going to start this by looking at the title of this post from a different angle. If you invested in Smith last season in dynasty you are begging for him to be returned to sender. We could clearly see last season just how good the Kansas City Chiefs offense could be and Smith did a great job. Smith had career highs in yards per game (269.5) and touchdowns (26). Smith finished fourth in fantasy points at the quarterback last year. This year he currently ranks 21st. His production was always going to drop when he moved to the Redskins but we have seen Smith regress to the fantasy quarterback who is barely a streaming option. Despite some great matchups recently, a conservative offense and injuries across the offense have made Smith a non-factor in fantasy once more.

Carlos Hyde (RB, JAX)

A promising season has taken a scary turn for Hyde. Through four games with the Cleveland Browns Hyde averaged 20.75 rushes, 71.25 rush yards and 1.25 touchdowns per game. He has also chipped in four receptions for a total of 15 yards, giving him an average of 14.25 fantasy points per game. Since then Hyde has just 11 fantasy points in the three games he has been active and now Leonard Fournette looks set to return next week. His return means that at-best Hyde is going to be in a timeshare going forward and at-worst could be completely marginalized. If you have not already then now is the time to move on from Hyde.

Alfred Morris (RB, SF)

Speaking of players who have seen promising performances nose dive into a complete mess. Morris owners were optimistic after Week 3 when Morris has put up 19 fantasy points in two weeks. Since then he has put up 15 fantasy points in the following six weeks. Raheem Mostert going on injured reserve should mean that Morris sees more touches going forward. However, I am not sure what he can actually do with those touches which is majorly concerning. It is time to stop trying to convince yourself otherwise, this train is off the tracks and stranded and you need to walk away.

Allen Robinson (WR, CHI)

A lot was expected from Allen Robinson this season. After missing nearly all of 2017, many expected him to get back to at least the numbers he put up in 2016 and perhaps even the numbers he put up in 2015. That has not been the case for a couple of reason. Firstly, he has been hobbled at times by injuries and has missed the last two games. Secondly, Mitch Trubisky has not made the steps that many expected this season and that has hampered some of his targets.

Long-term, I still think Robinson can have success but this season has been concerning. Robinson is averaging less in yards per reception, receptions per game and yards per reception than he ever did with the Jaguars. Repeating 2015 was being too optimistic but right now Robinson ranks outside the top-60 at wide receiver in fantasy points, compared to his 29th place finish in 2016. No matter which way you look at it it has been disappointing. I do not want to give up on Robinson but if I need to win now to make the playoffs it is time to cut bait and move on.

Paul Richardson (WR, WAS)

A lot was expected from Richardson in Washington and so far it has been an underwhelming return. Injuries have been an issue and now he has undergone season-ending surgery. However, from a dynasty point of view, I still think there is a case to be made for cutting bait. Only once has Richardson reached double figures and has yet to have five receptions in any one game. Richardson came from seemingly nowhere last season in Seattle and it before this season-ending surgery it looked like he was slipping back into mediocrity.

Michael Crabtree (WR, BAL)

I am not sure what I expected from Crabtree entering the season if I am quite honest. Yardage-wise I had no real expectations and actually, he is not doing terribly in those terms. He is averaging 52.4 yards per game which is only a fraction below his career average. However, over the last three season in Oakland, Crabtree averaged 8.66 touchdowns per game. This year, through nine games, he has just two touchdowns and that inconsistency has really hurt his value. Just once in nine games have we seen Crabtree reach double figures in terms of fantasy points. The emergence of John Brown has made Crabtree second fiddle in the receving game. However, the targets are there and that means in PPR formats he still has some value. In non-PPR formats, it is time to go and find a more consistent performer.

Jordy Nelson (WR, OAK)

When Nelson scored 45 points between Weeks 3 and 5 many people though the talented receiver was back. Since then we have seen him register five receptions on just 10 targets, with 46 receiving yards and a couple of fantasy points. The Oakland Raiders are openly and actively in tank mode right now. The man orchestrating the tank? The offensive-minded head coach John Gruden. That is disastrous news for Nelson as it means the Raiders are unlikely to open the taps and go for it through the air anytime soon. It is time to cut bait in redraft leagues, but the flash we saw earlier this year provided some promise in dynasty formats that he is worth holding for at least one more year.

Cameron Meredith (WR, NO)

I cannot work out how someone playing in such an explosive offense is performing so badly. Meredith flashed briefly between Week 3 and 5 with 15 fantasy points but he has not registered a single target in any of the last three games. Despite the Saints having just four active receivers right now, Meredith is not getting a look. There is absolutely no reason to expect that to change and you should move on from Meredith right now.

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