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Fantasy football managers almost always have reasons to be concerned. But at the quarter(ish) pole of the 17-game 2022 NFL season, some may be ready to press the panic button on certain players.

But that can mean re-tooling rosters via trade or looking for the next hot waiver-wire pickup. Patience is a virtue, and panic is a last resort.

Still, here are three players — or, in one case, a group of players — who have fantasy managers sitting with the panic button within easy reach throughout Week 4.

Is Russell Wilson ever going to cook in Denver?

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson became famous for the “Let Russ Cook” offense that centered around his talents in Seattle, but he hasn’t come close to heating up a TV dinner in the Mile High City.

Fantasy managers drafted Wilson as a second-tier QB1 in the late-to-middle rounds, along with the likes of Derek Carr and Kirk Cousins.

The Broncos are 2-1, but Nathaniel Hackett’s offense has looked disjointed, and Wilson is averaging 12.3 fantasy points per game, ranking him 23rd among fantasy quarterbacks in ESPN leagues. That’s nearly seven points below his career average. By comparison, the Las Vegas Raiders are 0-3 with Carr averaging 17.3 fantasy points per game (QB12), and Cousins (QB15) is putting up 15.4 fantasy points per game for the Minnesota Vikings.

In terms of production, Wilson is also well behind the Detroit Lions’ Jared Goff (QB11) at 18.5 fantasy points per game and the Atlanta Falcons’ Marcus Mariota (QB13) at 16.3.

Even if it’s not time to press the panic button on Wilson, it’s certainly time to find a Plan B until he gives a reason for hope.

Patience for Atlanta TE Kyle Pitts

At draft time, the expectation was that Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts had the tools to overcome a run-heavy offense and a reclamation project at quarterback in Marcus Mariota to become at least TE3 behind the Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce and the Baltimore Ravens’ Mark Andrews.

So far, that hasn’t happened, and Pitts has failed to approach his ceiling as a fantasy breakout start.

Through three games, Pitts is TE16, averaging 7.2 fantasy points per game in ESPN point-per-reception (PPR) leagues. He has yet to find the end zone heading into Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.

It’s not because the Falcons aren’t scoring. They’ve scored 26 or 27 points in each of their three games.

Rookie wide receiver Drake London has led the team in receptions (16/214/2), but Pitts had five catches for 87 yards and a season-high 13.7 fantasy points in last week’s win over the Seattle Seahawks.

Patience over panic is required for Pitts — maybe due to the limited options on the waiver wire and the trading block.

Anyone in the Seattle Seahawks’ passing game

D.K. Metcalf
D.K. Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks jumps over Casey Hayward of the Atlanta Falcons | Steph Chambers/Getty Images

It’s difficult to look at D.K. Metcalf and not want to use a top fantasy draft pick on him. And I’ve seen it happen.

The problem is, even when Russ was cookin’ in Seattle, you could never trust any one Seahawks receiver in fantasy week in and week out. Things are not any different with Geno Smith running the show.

Through three games, Metcalf is WR42, averaging 11.2 fantasy points per game in ESPN PPR leagues. Tyler Lockett is WR31 (14.0 fantasy points per game) thanks to big weeks against the San Francisco 49ers (19.7 points) and Atlanta Falcons (16.6 points), but he has yet to find the end zone.

Lockett may have similar production this week, or he could revert to his Week 1 numbers (5.8 points).

The ceiling is always high for Metcalf, who finally scored a touchdown in a 17.4-point performance against Atlanta after two pedestrian weeks. He had double-digit targets (12) for the first time this season but totaled just 13 in Weeks 1 and 2.

The floor is high for Lockett, just as the ceiling is for Metcalf.

Fantasy owners who have been on this roller coaster with Seahawks receivers before knew at draft time they should be fully prepared to panic if they’re counting on these options as WR1s.

Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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