by Angel Maldonado
2019 was among the wildest years of fantasy football I’ve been a part of. Expected studs like David Johnson and Joe Mixon flopped while the embattled Derrick Henry and the underutilized Austin Ekeler thrived. Odell Beckham Jr disappointed yet again while Devante Parker finally realized his potential. Plenty of superstars let us down this year, so let’s go ahead and close the book on 2019 by checking out the biggest disappointments of the season.
Odell Beckham Jr
Odell Beckham Jr. did, surprisingly enough, manage to crack over 1,000 yards receiving in 2019. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, that’s about all he managed to do for a team that had no identity and no idea how to best utilize its play-makers. Still, Odell does deserve a fair share of the blame. Many times it looked like he ran out of steam and he failed to make catches that he made look routine in years past. Regardless of the circumstances, seeing a WR33 finish from someone that should have been a WR1 is a massive disappointment. Credit to Alex Kurpeski for calling this since June of last year.
Even when Johnson was the lead back for the Cardinals, he was hanging on by a thread. Coming off a disappointing 2018 season, many expected Johnson to return to his 2016 form and be a top fantasy asset. It quickly became evident that this would not be the case. Johnson averaged more than 3.7 YPC only twice from Weeks 1-7, at which point injury became a concern. While touchdowns saved his fantasy value early on in the season, it only delayed the inevitable. After months of ineptitude, he was completely replaced by the younger, more explosive Kenyan Drake. He finished 2019 with 715 total yards and 6 touchdowns, a massive disappointment considering his situation and cost. He should not be on fantasy radars as a Top 30 option in 2020.
JuJu Smith Schuster
As Antonio Brown insinuated on Twitter, JuJu did not have a great 2019. Unlike most others on this list, however, this does not overly concern me. He had to deal with injuries to himself and to his elite QB. Once Big Ben went down, it was silly to expect anything more than middling numbers. Still, there’s hope for 2020. All signs indicate that Big Ben should be under center for the Steelers and, with JuJu fully healthy and with a better supporting cast, 2020 could be the year for the extremely young and talented Wide Receiver. Remember, he’s only 23 and only going to get better as a receiver. Despite his less than favorable performance, it was still a better 2019 than Antonio Brown’s and I fully expect a rebound and career year from JuJu in 2020.
Cooks wasn’t expected to be a world beater by any means, but he had a brutal 2019. For the firs time in his career, Cooks failed to reach the 1,000 yard club as he finished with 583 yards on 42 receptions. With the Rams offense as a whole falling back down to Earth after two years of dominance, Cooks was arguably the biggest loser. Add a nagging concussion that limited him significantly and you have the recipe for a down year. Here’s hoping 2020 is a healthier, more productive year for the speedster.
I blame the Bengals far more than I do A.J Green for his disastrous and infuriating season. The Bengals, somehow, never placed Green on IR and gave hope to many people who drafted Green thinking he was going to be a steal at the discounted price they got him for. Alas, Green never really came close to playing a snap for the Bengals this season… and can you blame him? The Bengals were in full tank mode and Green can’t be blamed for wanting to sit that out. With Joe Burrow on he horizon for a Bengals franchise starved for success, could Green return? It’s possible, but owners will be hard pressed to invest significant draft capital after such a disappointing 2019.