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Every year, certain players are highly drafted in drafts by fantasy owners due to the belief that they will vastly outperform expectations throughout the season. Oftentimes, these players carry a significant amount of hype due to breakout potential, elite status, or lack of alternative options on their teams.

However, with every player that does meet the threshold for good performance, there seem to be several similar players that fail to live up to the lofty expectations placed on them by fantasy owners. Whether the players are drafted at the beginning, middle, or end of drafts, not living up to the draft capital spent on them is one of the weekly dilemmas for fantasy owners.

Because fantasy owners tend to hold on to players that they believe in for too long, it is important to recognize warning signals from players early on so that the players can be removed from lineups and the damage of their poor performances can be mitigated. Let's take a look at some players at each of the skill positions who have shown some worrying signs this week. Fantasy owners should proceed with caution with the following players.

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Warning Signals - RB/WR/TE

Ronald Jones (RB, TB)

It's never a good sign when you are a highly-touted rookie and you get left out of your team in the first game of the season. That is exactly what happened to Ronald Jones, a second-round pick by the Buccaneers who was inactive for the team's stunning victory over the New Orleans Saints in Week 1. Jones had a lot of hype around him going into the preseason, yet failed to deliver and ultimately was labeled as the team's third running back on the depth chart. Hopefully, this was just a teaching moment from coach Dirk Koetter, as leaving Jones on the inactive list for too long could completely kill his fantasy potential. Nevertheless, fantasy owners who spent a mid-round pick on Jones will likely be reconsidering that selection unless there is some rapid change in how Jones is used by his new team.

LeSean McCoy (RB, BUF)

Watching the Bills vs Ravens game on Sunday was certainly not pretty. However, the biggest catastrophe might have been the performance of star running back LeSean McCoy, who was only able to carry the ball seven times for 22 yards and secure one reception for a loss of one yard. Clearly, McCoy's talent is not in dispute, as the running back has been an elite option for fantasy owners over the last few years. However, due to his situation and age, McCoy will most likely not be worth the early pick that fantasy owners spent on the talented runner this year. Fantasy owners should hope that McCoy gets traded to another team. If not, there will be minimal fantasy value for the veteran running back for the rest of the season. In other words, expect many performances that are similar to what we all saw on Sunday.

Chris Hogan (WR, NE)

In the absence of Julian Edelman, wide receiver Chris Hogan was expected to take the reigns as the team's top wideout and deliver some massive performances early in the season. This thinking led to Hogan being a popular mid-round pick for fantasy owners. However, if Week 1 is any indication, that may not have been the wisest choice. Hogan was only able to haul in one catch for 11 yards on the day, despite being targeted a few times throughout the game. Whereas fellow wide receiver Phillip Dorsett shined, Hogan largely disappeared during the team's victory over the Texans. Hopefully, the talented wide receiver will be able to rebound after this week's poor performance. Nevertheless, it will be difficult for fantasy owners to start Hogan in Week 2, further killing the narrative that the wide receiver was supposed to provide elite value for the first few weeks of the season.

Sammy Watkins (WR, KC)

In the team's victory over the Chargers this weekend, Sammy Watkins played exactly as most people expected. Drawing away coverage from fellow playmaker Tyreek Hill, Watkins posted a modest stat-line of 21 yards on three catches after seeing five targets throughout the game. It's clear that the Chiefs cooked up a gameplan that centered on wide receiver Tyreek Hill and his ability to exploit the weaknesses in the Chargers defense. Even star tight end Travis Kelce only had one catch for 11 yards. Given the fact that most fantasy owners spent a mid-round pick on Watkins, and the fact that there will be games where Watkins certainly gets a ton of looks, it may not be time to press the panic button just yet on the talented but oft-injured receiver. It may be wise not to start Watkins until fantasy owners see some more consistent involvement in the team's offense going forward.

Trey Burton (TE, CHI)

Although he was double-teamed for much of the night and had to suffer through one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history, tight end Trey Burton still disappointed with one catch for 15 yards as his only returns on the evening. Burton may still be adjusting to the team's offense, but unless he is able to haul in some more catches and get more redzone looks, it may be that the talented tight end is heading toward bust territory sooner than most realize. Despite this initial setback, it is too early to feel panicked about Burton's prospects this year. The Bears had a tough matchup against the Packers and were in the lead for the majority of the game, minimizing the need to heavily target Burton. If fantasy owners drafted Burton, they likely selected him as their starting tight end. Give him another week to prove himself before throwing the towel in on a player who was signed to be one of the team's top offensive weapons this year.

 

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