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Fantasy football: Underachieving stars, and what to make of them

David Johnson, Dalvin Cook and Andrew Luck aren’t playing like top options. Can they, and others, turn it around?

Fantasy managers of Odell Beckham Jr. could suffer

Fantasy managers of Odell Beckham Jr. could suffer due to the Giants' porous offensive line. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Fantasy football managers need not fret over a star player putting up one bad week to start the year. A subpar two weeks, on the other hand, should at least raise eyebrows.

Exempting disclosed injury as the cause, it’s not always easy to tell if a bad start is the beginning of a trend or something isolated. Bad games happen to every player at some point, and some of them are bound to happen directly out of the gate.

This week, let’s take a look at some slow starters who entered 2018 with high expectations and figure out how much to be concerned.

Andrew Luck

Fantasy fanatics knew the risks with the Colts QB, who has battled shoulder issues for years and didn’t play in 2017. But the fact is he was drafted as a top-10 passer, and that’s not what he has been thus far.

His 15.4-point average makes him a bottom-third QB through Week 2, and his 4-3 TD-INT ratio doesn’t instill confidence. Still, Luck should be able to get it together in the coming weeks and rack up yards. Stick with him.

Jimmy Garoppolo

As least Luck put up a solid 19.5 in Week 1. Garoppolo, the 49ers’ young franchise QB, ranks 25th at the position despite sleeper potential. He has not exceeded 17 points yet, which is roughly average for a top-10 passer in fantasy.

Jimmy G won’t be this bad all year, and it would be a surprise if he didn’t leapfrog the likes of Ryan Tannehill (Dolphins) and Mitchell Trubisky (Bears) eventually in points scored. Still, the position is too deep to justify starting him. Can’t fault anyone who wants to cut bait, either.

David Johnson

Similar to Luck, the Cardinals RB barely played last year after dislocating his wrist in Week 1. But few were too worried as Johnson was a consensus top-five pick. While Week 1 looked solid, he followed with a dud in an ugly shutout loss to the Rams.

Arizona’s offense does not look good at all. Running backs are much less valuable on bad teams and Johnson only has six catches on 11 targets thus far. He’s not even a big passing game factor now. Might want to explore a trade, but don’t sell for pennies on the dollar.

Dalvin Cook

The Vikings RB, who looked fantastic last year before injury cut his season short prematurely, has been ineffective as a runner. Nobody would be happy with an average of 3 yards per carry.

Cook currently is the 25th-best RB after a borderline top-10 overall preseason rank. Owners shouldn’t worry just yet, though. He’s been effective catching passes out of the backfield, and he’s bound to improve his per-carry rate. He’ll be just fine.

Odell Beckham Jr.

Why is OBJ here, just a week after blowing up for 22 PPR points? If you watched the Giants play the last two weeks, you’d understand. Their offensive line is threatening to derail their hopes of redemption, and the star WR already is suffering from it.

Beckham has yet to find the end zone, and his four catches for 51 yards against the Cowboys on Sunday night were disheartening. He’s too good to disappoint all season, but don’t be too shocked if he produces more like a WR2 by season’s end.

Jack Doyle

Although not an elite TE, the Colts’ Doyle was expected to be a viable option after the top five. So far, that’s not the case, as he’s caught just nine passes for 80 yards in two games.

The good news: Luck is looking his way. Doyle ranks fourth at the position in targets. Patience, in this case, figures to be rewarded soon.

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