Ranking the NFL's biggest underachievers

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

October 6th, 2021

With about a quarter of the 2021 National Football League season in the books, the fortunes of some players are trending downward. Fantasy owners are left wondering what’s happened, and those in their organizations may be asking the same question.

Let’s take a look at five of the NFL’s biggest underachievers to this point in the campaign.

5. Jameis Winston (New Orleans Saints)

Winston threw five touchdown passes in a 38-3 shellacking of the Green Bay Packers to start the season. He’s thrown just three since then, and his 223-yard performance against the Giants was his first 200-yard game of the season. These numbers just aren’t enough to move the needle, and New Orleans will need more out of Drew Brees’ replacement to be serious contenders moving forward.

4. Calvin Ridley (Atlanta Falcons)

Most of the Falcons’ offense could be on this list, but I’ll focus on Ridley, who was expected by many to be an elite wide receiver this season. Despite the hype, though, he’s found the end zone just once in his first four games, and he’s been held to 63 yards or less in three contests. The target volume has been there, and it’s entirely possible he wakes up, but it’s been a slow, slow start.

3. Robert Woods (Los Angeles Rams)

The Rams' offense has been humming like a finely-tuned machine for most of the season, but Woods seems to be stuck in neutral. He does have two touchdowns through four games, but he also has just 15 receptions for 172 yards. Woods’ track record suggests he’ll get more looks as the season goes along, and for the sake of those who invested heavily in him in fantasy drafts, here’s hoping that happens.

2. Ronald Jones II (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Jones rushed for just shy of 1,000 yards a season ago and played a pivotal role in Tampa Bay’s run to Super Bowl glory. So far this season, though, he’s averaged less than six touches per game. Even after finding the end zone on Sunday night, Jones seems to have taken a clear back seat behind Leonard Fournette on the depth chart.

1. Allen Robinson (Chicago Bears)

This one isn’t all on Robinson. Much has been made of the quarterback situation in the Windy City and how hot-seated head coach Matt Nagy has handled it. It’s affected the entire offense, and Robinson has been hurt as much as any skill-position player. Consider this: His 63 yards against Detroit this past Sunday were nearly double his prior season-high of 35, and he’s caught just seven passes over his last three games.