Fantasy Doctor: Great fantasy players with the terrible actual teams

Fantasy owners know which players are best.

Whether they beat you or beat on other teams for you, we all know which players lead their respective positions. Peyton Manning dominates the quarterbacks, Jamaal Charles the running backs — anyone can figure it out.

While these productivity monsters tear up fields every week, though, it’s easy for owners to forget just how bad some of their teams are. That’s why I’ve decided to take a break from starts and sits this week to shine some light on three of the best in this situation, to help fans see why they deserve more credit than most.

Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings (2-7)

People can say what they want about Marshawn Lynch, Matt Forte and Charles, but none of them are Adrian Peterson. Watching him run every week is exciting, and that’s coming from a Bears fan. He doesn’t just run for the gaps — he fires through them and sometimes makes his own. The rest of the offense was nothing more than a sideshow on Thursday night against Washington. The game was Peterson’s, and he showed it.

Unfortunately for him, Christian Ponder is his quarterback. Ponder is wholly unimpressive every time he makes it onto the field, which is six of nine games this year. Peterson also has to deal with Greg Jennings and his ego, which is very much unwarranted amidst his dud of a season. No, more often than not, the leadership duties fall on Peterson, and the guy is only human. While he tries his best, he can’t always win as a one-man army — and it’s for that reason that Peterson earns my sympathy.

Victor Cruz – New York Giants (2-6)

Poor, poor Victor Cruz. His Giants squad is abysmal just two years after winning the Super Bowl. Every game, his signature salsa dance loses its flare. Maybe it’s because when he looks at the scoreboard, more times than not he finds his team trailing. Getting stuffed in the early season against the Broncos was one thing, but being outscored 69-7 in the next two weeks was downright demoralizing.

But as Eli Manning seems to be losing his edge, Cruz consistently proves why he is still a force to reckon with — no matter how terrible his team is this season. After back-to-back seasons with more than 1,000 yards with an average of 84 grabs, Cruz isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. So far, he has 677 yards with just over half as many grabs (47), averaging 84.6 yards per game — and he still has six games to push farther. The touchdowns may not be as common this season, but Cruz refuses to relinquish his spot in the “top receiver” category. Salsa away, Victor. You’ve earned it.

Andre Johnson – Houston Texans (2-6)

I don’t think anyone really knows what happened to Matt Schaub before his injury, but something certainly was out of sync. I used to be terrified by the Texans offense, but a broken Arian Foster and quarterback inconsistency could barely startle a kitten. A close loss to the Colts may have inspired some, but anyone who watched that game knows there was a single man responsible for defending the home field for so long.

In his 11th season, Andre Johnson is still abusing defenses and making stellar grabs to try and put his team ahead. Against the Colts, he caught nine for 229 yards and three touchdowns. Sadly, his performance will only earn him the affection he deserves for a short time, as his team’s passing game is in shambles. Johnson’s touchdowns were his only of the season simply based on the fact that no one is available to throw to him. And yet, he continues to make the best of his situation. Johnson averages the same 14.3 yards per catch as last season, and has upped his yards per game to a career-high 101.6. No, Houston doesn’t copy, but that doesn’t mean Johnson wants to abort. He may be alone, but he’s a receiver on a mission.

J.J. is a sophomore in Media. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Wilsonable07.