A bust refers to a player that was drafted much higher than how he actually performed. These are guys that you drafted in the early rounds with every intention of starting each week only to pull your hair out later as you have to make sit/start decisions. Doug Martin from Tampa Bay was drafted last year in the first round in virtually every league. The same goes for Ray Rice and Trent Richardson. All drafted early with the expectation of being a RB1. All failed completely to live up to expectations leaving fantasy owners scrambling to try and even make the playoffs. These are the guys that we're urging caution on this year.
One quick comment before we take you through the list. We are NOT saying to bypass these guys all together. The caution here is to consider where they are being drafted. Don't reach for these guys; however, if they fall to you in a later round, by all means - draft them. Consider the perceived value versus the likely result and draft accordingly.
The guys listed here all have name value. People in your league will recognize them. Let them be the ones to reach...
== QB ==
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
An excellent argument can be made that Cam Newton shouldn't be drafted as your starting QB unless you're in a very deep league. Our first concern is with the offensive line in Carolina. There are question marks around their ability to protect their QB. Newton hasn't made his name with his arm, but rather with his legs. His ability to scramble and gain yards on the ground is what made him a relevant fantasy QB. Newton's rushing yards and scores have declined. The guy is coming off an ankle surgery that we don't know how it will affect his production. These are not the kinds of things that get us excited about a fantasy QB. Compound that problem with the fact that his receiving corp is brand new. With the exception of Greg Olsen, Newton hasn't thrown to any of these guys before. Cam Newton is ranked 9th among all QB's on FFN and we're not confident that he'll deliver consistently enough to warrant that placement when it's all said and done.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
He has the championship ring, but that doesn't mean that he'll deliver a championship to you. He's currently ranked 14th on FFN, but someone is inevitably going to draft him sooner because of the Michael Vick effect. Like Newton, RGIII, Kaepernick, and Vick, Wilson is a talented runner. He went from 4 rushing scores in 2012 to just 1 last year. His average rushing yards per game went up by only 3 yards. He threw for more yards last year, but he's still a very low 200 yards/game QB. A healthy Percy Harvin and Doug Baldwin should help boost his numbers, but Wilson will likely be a backup or bye-week filler. We like Wilson, but if you're drafting him as your starter, you're making a mistake.
== RB ==
Knowshon Moreno, Miami Dolphins
We know lots of fantasy owners who were happy with Moreno's production last year. He was a value pick that paid off handsomely and thrived in that Denver offense. Fantasy owners with a short memory are going to want to see similar production out of him again this year, and that just isn't going to happen. We're finally seeing Moreno's value drop on FFN and Lamar Miller has finally eclipsed him in the FFN rankings. That's good news. Miami gave him a 1-year deal which doesn't inspire much confidence. Couple that with arthroscopic knee surgery a few weeks ago and reports of being out of shape, and there should be red flags waiving all over. Moreno is not worth owning this year. He should be available on the waiver wire if he is ever able to return to fantasy relevance.
Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons
We owe much to Steven Jackson. We owe fantasy championships to him for his stellar production while with the Rams. FFN owes the iAlerts feature to him, because Joe lost a championship due to SJax. Joe was on his way to Lambeau Field for a Week 16 game and Jackson was a last minute inactive on his team. Joe lost the championship by 1.5 points which prompted the iAlerts feature to be created. Good or bad - SJax has done it all, but his production is simply not what it used to be. He averaged 3.5 YPC last year and lost much of the PPR-gold that we fondly remember. The Falcons drafted Devonta Freeman who has a lot of potential and doesn't have the wear & tear that 2,700+ carries can put on a body - a feat that Jackson has shouldered. Jackson is ranked 30th among RB's on FFN which puts him in the RB3/Flex range. If his hamstring issue during camp is any indication of what we can expect from him this year, it's tough to expect him to stay healthy all year. It's even tougher to expect him to finish the year where he's currently ranked.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Oakland Raiders
We might as well include Darren McFadden here as well. They are ranked 33rd and 39th respectively on FFN. Run DMC technically sits atop the Raider's Depth Chart, but that will change shortly. MJD will likely be the starting back, but he's also going to reach the dreaded 2,000-carries threshold this season that has served as a bellwether for so many running backs. Even if MJD were perfectly healthy and his legs were fresh, he'll be splitting carries each week with Run DMC. With a reduced workload, McFadden may stay healthier longer, but he still has a greater chance of being elected President of Russia than he does going a whole season without injury. We just don't see either of these guys being able to contribute to your fantasy team in any meaningful way.
Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills
The Bills like to run, and even with the addition of Sammy Watkins, we don't see that changing anytime soon. Jackson turned in a decent year in 2013 due to an increased workload with C.J. Spiller dealing with an injury. What a difference an off-season makes. Spiller is back and healthy this year, Jackson's age (33) becomes a concern, and the Bills went and got Bryce Brown for added depth. Jackson is ranked one spot behind MJD on FFN, and if we're concerned with MJD's ability to meet expectations, you can be sure that we have the same concerns with Jackson. It's a crowded backfield in Buffalo and Jackson becomes no better than a bye-week filler or occasional flex play.
== WR ==
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
Do you remember the concern many people had when Manning left Indy and Reggie Wayne was going to have to start catching passes from this new kid Andrew Luck? It turned out that Reggie Wayne became Luck's security blanket. In PPR leagues, Wayne became a monster gobbling up receptions. The past is the past and we're drafting for today and the future. The simple fact is that Reggie Wayne is no longer going to be the guy putting up WR1 or even WR2 numbers. Add T.Y. Hilton, new addition Hakeem Nicks, and TE Dwayne Allen to the mix, and there may not be enough targets to go around. Wayne's numbers have been dropping, and even if they start to level off, he's not likely to finish any higher than his current FFN ranking of 38.
Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
Julian Edelman filled the void for Brady when Wes Welker went to Denver & Danny Amendola got injured, and he turned in quite a performance hitting triple digits in receptions (105). The talent is there, but our concern is the quantity of targets. We'd bet heavily that Danny Amendola misses time...again...this season, but the Pats have upgraded their receiving corp this year. Rob Gronkowski should be ready and that's a big target that Brady didn't have much of last year. Brandon LaFell (a great sleeper candidate by the way) will be lining up for the Patriots as well. Edelman will still contribute this year, but he's not going to repeat the 100+ receptions he had last year. Temper your expectations.
Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks
There are few guys as explosive and talented as Percy Harvin. In fact, Harvin is the epitome of what we stated at the beginning of this article. He has tremendous name value, but we don't draft on name value alone. Seattle is a run-first offense and Harvin has dealt with health issues for the past two years. He's ranked 19th on FFN and we've seen him ranked as high as 11th on some of the sites we aggregate from. That means that there will be someone who drafts him as a WR1. The Seahawks finished last season near the bottom in pass attempts per game, and when we consider the fact that Harvin has never had a 1,000 yard season, it becomes likely that he doesn't reach the expectations that many have for him.
I usually look at players and how well they do in-side-the-twenty. I'd rather have an RB that gets 6 at the goal line, instead of getting a point for every 10 yards. I disagree on 8 of theses.
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