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Biggest Disappointments of the 2021 Fantasy Season

Unless you’re in a league that accepts more than a usual amount of teams in the playoffs, your season might be over already. That sucks. If you’re 2-5 or worse, you have some serious problems. Most of those problems are probably because you have one or more of these players who have been major disappointments. Do any one of these guys have a chance at turning this around? Or are they doomed to be terrible footnotes on an awful season? Let’s take a look.

Scoring data from FantasyPros based on half-ppr.

Draft data from FantasyData.com.

Allen Robinson 

It really does not get more disappointing than this. Everyone else drafted in the top 36 has at least some games that were pretty good, even if some of them have been injured for a long time. Robinson has not. He’s somehow failed to get over double digits a single time this season in half-PPR. The closest he got was in Week 2 where he caught two passes for 24 yards and a touchdown. It’s been an absolutely insane fall from grace for one of the best receivers in the 2010s, and it would’ve been near impossible to see coming. In four full seasons of work, Robinson went over 1,000 yards in three of them. He had over six touchdowns in all of them. This year, he’s on pace for 571 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games. 

Before the season, most people were hoping Justin Fields would actually improve Robinson’s fantasy production, especially after a promising preseason. It’s clear now that Fields was actually the reaper of death. Fields is having immense trouble adjusting to the NFL, and his coaching staff is doing him no favors. Two games in a row a coach told Fields there were 12 defenders on the field and to snap it for a free play, only for that to not be the case at all. It’s absurd that’s happened at all, much less twice.

Fields has only topped 200 yards passing once, with 209 against the Detroit Lions. He can’t possibly throw this poorly all year. Combine that with hopefully increasing chemistry and Allen Robinson should at least fall into a decent performance eventually, but you should be so far beyond starting him at this point it won’t matter. It’s pretty clear that Fields and Robinson are not a winning combination.

Can He Come Back?

There are two scenarios that could salvage Robinson’s value now. One, Andy Dalton comes back in for whatever reason. Under Dalton it’s not like Robinson was amazing, but he got 11 targets and six catches in Week 1. This is by far his most in both categories. He also caught his only touchdown in the half that Dalton played in Week 2. It still wouldn’t be a season that returned value for you, but at least he would be playable, probably.

The second is a trade. Rumors swirl about unhappy players getting traded all the time. They rarely come true, like early rumors about JuJu Smith-Schuster. It did happen for Zach Ertz though, who immediately had a good week with his new team. The talent of the man that caught 102 passes for 1250 yards last year is still in there somewhere. Receivers don’t instantly become washed like this without an injury. A new team with a better producing quarterback could instantly vault Robinson into a usable WR again. 

What Should You Do?

Given that Robinson’s value right now is rock bottom and no one is going to give you anything for him, I’d hold onto him. The trade is the most intriguing part of this. Unless someone is willing to give you a flex of some sort, even if it’s only for a week or two as an injury/bye fill in because you desperately need wins, there’s really no harm in keeping him. His floor is terrible, but his ceiling in case of trade is actually quite high, much higher than pretty much anyone else on the waivers right now. 

Brandon Aiyuk

This one is pretty simple. Aiyuk was drafted as WR 22, and he’s currently WR 95. He is droppable, and the only reason people haven’t is that he represents a fifth round sunk cost in the draft. Aiyuk is simply not a player on this offense. He hasn’t even been out of games, and he’s actually playing a fine complement of snaps, 71% the past two weeks. He just isn’t being targeted or even looked at. If your name isn’t Deebo Samuel or you aren’t a running back, you may as well not exist in this offense. This is with George Kittle out, who has been a disappointment but at least turned in 9.8 and 13.6-point performances. Not terrible for a tight end. 

Can He Come Back?

There is only one hope for Aiyuk to possibly flirt with relevancy, and it’s not Trey Lance. Lance played in a game and a half with Aiyuk, and Aiyuk got seven total targets and three total catches. Samuel on the other hand, got 22 targets and 11 catches. The workload isn’t even close, and once again that’s with no Kittle. No, Aiyuk’s only hope is that Samuel and Kittle get hurt for the rest of the season. He might even need Mohamed Sanu to go down too, who has outperformed Kittle in less game time.

What Should You Do?

If you need two, maybe three guys to get hurt before you are fantasy relevant, you aren’t worth keeping. Is there a chance Aiyuk has a “popoff game” here or there, especially compared to some of the other guys in the 90s? Sure, but there is no possible way you are starting him at any point, and will never take advantage of such games. Ask yourself this. In what situation are you playing Aiyuk, where about 30 guys are more likely to do SOMETHING at least?

Odell Beckham Jr

This one is tough to swallow, as I was a fan of OBJ going in. He seemed like a low-risk, possibly high reward guy. He was going in the 6th or 7th round and would at worst be a flex play when healthy and at best could contend for a WR 1 spot considering his immense talent. That was not the case. Then again, the health part was a caveat. Apparently, BOTH of OBJ’s shoulders are hurt, which cannot be helping things. Even when he was healthy from Weeks 3-6 (kind of, he got hurt in Week 6) there wasn’t much potential there. He saw solid volume and yards in two of those games, and was pretty much ignored in the other two. That includes a game where the Cleveland Browns scored 42 points. 

Now Baker Mayfield is dealing with his own shoulder problems, one that will no doubt affect him all season and could knock him out if it gets any worse. Even when Mayfield was in though, this offense is so committed to running the ball it doesn’t really matter. Mayfield has only been over 250 yards passing twice, and he’s only thrown six touchdowns. They are 29th in the league in pass attempts. This offense just does not throw the ball enough. They especially don’t throw it to wide receivers in the red zone. 

Can He Come Back?

If both OBJ and Mayfield were healthy, I think there would still be some hope for them. OBJ’s catch percentage is below 50% for the first time in his career, and I’d bet that corrects eventually. He’s also going to score some touchdowns at some point, and in four of five games he saw a solid amount of targets. He could hold on as a decent flex play if he and Baker were healthy. Problem is, they aren’t and with both their shoulders hurt you really never know when either of them will be forced out of a game.

What Should You Do?

Neither guy can be trusted week-to-week, and he’s only the barest of desperation plays at this point as a fill-in. On name value alone he’s probably not droppable, but honestly with his production, inconsistency and now injury, he really should be. He’s currently WR 77, and averaging just 6.4 points per game. He did have two double-digit games with Baker out of four, which isn’t the worst ratio, and there’s no way he stays touchdown-less all year if he plays like I mentioned before. If you’re really desperate I wouldn’t hate throwing OBJ in, especially if Baker is playing, I wouldn’t say either Robinson or Aiyuk fit that bill right now.

Robby Anderson

A breakout season last year where Anderson topped 1000 yards for the first time in his career had people excited, especially since he also caught 95 balls, a career-most by 32 whole catches. Suffice it to say, that hype has not paid off, with Anderson sitting at WR 62 averaging just six points per game. He’s managed to score twice, but has only been over 50 yards once which is very disappointing. The chemistry just hasn’t been there with Sam Darnold, and for a guy who was supposed to be a solid flex that hasn’t come through at all.

Can He Come Back?

More than anyone else on this list though, I’m actually pretty high on Anderson making something of himself the rest of the way. The targets are the key, as he’s had 49 so far this season, good for seven a game which isn’t terrible, and even better, in his last four games he’s had 38 targets, or 9.5 per game which is fantastic. He’s just not catching these targets for whatever reason, sporting a 36.7% catch percentage on the year. There’s no way that stays. He’s leading the league in drops, but his hands weren’t an issue last year, and it only explains five of the incompletions. Last year may have been a positive fluke, but this one is a negative one. Positive regression almost has to come, and if he continues to see the same targets his yardage should shoot up significantly. 

Sam Darnold also doesn’t seem destined to be the quarterback there for much longer. We’ve seen Anderson succeed before with a different QB in this offense, so another switch, no matter who it may be, could seriously boost Anderson’s value. 

What Should You Do?

Anderson, unlike most of these guys, deserves a bench stash still. The targets are too high for him to stay this unproductive forever. Either the targets go down (a possibility) or his production goes up, there’s almost no other outcome. Not only that, but what are you getting for Anderson at this point anyways? There’s a ceiling there that is higher than almost anyone on the waivers right now, so why not keep him around?

Honorable Mentions

Miles Sanders – Didn’t really feel the need to pile on a guy I already gave up on, and is also hurt. I’ll say one thing though. The last half he played was the most carries he’s gotten in a half pretty much all year, so that’s at least somewhat encouraging. 

Mike Davis – Ditto the above, but there really is no positive outlook for Mike Davis. In fact it’s more negative than ever. You have to be hoping for a Cordarelle Patterson injury at this point. Even if Patterson does go down, I wouldn’t hold my breath. There are more valuable handcuffs.

Stefon Diggs – Would’ve made the list if this had been before last Thursday, as he finally popped off. That was inevitable with how good Josh Allen is and has been.