5 Potential 2019 Fantasy Football Busts

Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2019


A fantasy bust is a guy who we've paid too much for compared to the value that he produced for our team. If you drafted Le'Veon Bell last year in the first round, you know how devastating drafting a fantasy bust can be. If you had drafted Zeke Elliott instead, your fantasy season may have ended much differently. While mandatory minicamps don't start until next month, that doesn't mean that we can't start looking ahead to the guys and situations making us think twice before clicking the Draft button.

Leonard FournetteLeonard Fournette (RB - Jacksonville Jaguars)

Last year I coined the phrase "Leonard Fournitis" to describe the medical condition of my fantasy team. Here was a guy who was drafted late in the first round and essentially provided a whopping half season of production. When Fournette is on the field, he has the potential to be a three-down back, but a combination of personal immaturity and what seems like a permanent hamstring issue leaves his availability in question.

Another point to take into consideration transcends Fournette himself, and that deals specifically with new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and new QB Nick Foles. When we look at DeFilippo's stats as offensive coordinator for the Browns and Vikings, he has consistently maintained at least a 60/40 pass/run ratio which is good news for Foles and the passing game, but doesn't look so great for Fournette and the run game. Trying to find a more analogous example, we need look no further than Dalvin Cook. Under DeFilippo, Cook averaged 11 rushing attempts for 40 yards and 0 rushing touchdowns. When DeFilippo was fired, Cook saw 19 touches for 136 yards and 2 scores against the Dolphins.

His current ADP of 3.02 is more appropriate than last year, but there's still going to be hesitation when we see his name on the draftboard.

Todd GurleyTodd Gurley (RB - Los Angeles Rams)

Despite playing only 14 games, Todd Gurley finished the 2018 season as the number one fantasy running back in standard scoring. He's a freakishly talented player on a dynamic offense that knows how to best utilize him, and his ADP of 1.07 effectively guarantees that he's going to be someone's first round pick. So why would we caution folks by placing the "potential bust" label on him?

The reason is because we don't have a lot of good information on his knees. There has been plenty of speculation about potential arthritis, and if true, that's likely to limit his workload and fantasy production. The team has not been forthcoming with information, and all we really have to go on is what we've been able to see. Against the Saints in the Conference Finals, Gurley carried the ball just four times. In the Super Bowl following two weeks of rest, he saw his production limited at 10 carries for just 35 yards. This was not the Todd Gurley that got people to their fantasy playoffs nor was it the guy who almost single-handedly handed fantasy championships to owners in 2017 putting up 40+ points in Weeks 15 and 16.

There's ample reason to expect Gurley to miss some time again this year. The Rams traded up to draft Darrell Henderson in the third round which wasn't a positive sign. Gurley is going to be a bit of a roll of the dice. He's either going to help lead your team to fantasy relevance, or he's going to help you lose your league in the first round. Given his ADP, that's a lot of risk for what is supposed to be your safest pick.

Antonio BrownAntonio Brown (WR - Oakland Raiders)

It's a bit surreal to see Brown - the #1 fantasy pick in 2017 and a mid-first round pick in 2018 - going in the middle of the second round in early fantasy football drafts. His ADP of 2.07 is less about his talent and more about the supporting cast. There's a significant difference between the Oakland and Pittsburgh offenses not least of which is at the QB position. With Brown, the Raiders have a legitimate wide receiver threat that will have defenses scheming with him specifically in mind, and there won't be a JuJu or Bell/Conner to dilute that. The whole of any offense is greater than the sum of its parts.

His projected stats for 2019 are surprisingly on par with his actual 2018 production with the exception of an anticipated five fewer touchdowns. The projected stats would seem to indicate that Oakland will feed him the ball often - not unexpected given the dollars they doled out for him. Brown's strengh of schedule is fairly tough with brutal matchups against the Jaguars and the Chargers in the fantasy playoff weeks of 15 and 16.

Dalvin CookDalvin Cook (RB - Minnesota Vikings)

There's some good news for Dalvin Cook owners. The first is that Latavius Murray is gone which means that some of those vultured touchdowns should come back to him. The second is that the offensive line in Minnesota should be marginally better than last year and Cook has the potential to be a traditional workhorse running back.

The concern here is with Cook's current ADP of 2.04 and the high likelihood that he'll miss time this year due to injury. In his first two seasons, he's been healthy for a combined 15 games. The Vikings have indicated that they plan to be more run-heavy this season, but Cook's utilization isn't expected to change. His projected rushing yards have him 10th among all backs and his projected fantasy points on the season have him 12th among his peers. It will be interesting to see how he rises/falls over the next few months. Let's not forget that the Vikings added Boise State RB Alexander Mattison in the third round of the draft this year. Mattison is the type of powerful runner that is similar to the role that Murray played for the Vikings. A healthy Cook and a limited Mattison would be the best of all worlds for Cook owners.

Phillip LindsayPhillip Lindsay (RB - Denver Broncos)

Denver was successful running the football last year and a lot of that had to do with Phillip Lindsay. He surpassed the 1,000 yard mark, averaged 5.4 yards per carry, and saw the endzone a phenomenal 10 times as a rookie (nine rushing and one receiving touchdown).

With a new head coach and a new offensive coordinator, now is not the time to miss reps with the team, yet Phillip Lindsay is still dealing with a wrist injury suffered at the end of last season and is expected to be limited at OTAs. He's a smaller running back at 5' 8" and 190 lbs which traditionally has not automatically put him into 3-down back territory. He's almost certain to be in a timeshare with a healthy Royce Freeman who is currently getting the reps with new QB Joe Flacco.

Lindsay's early projected stats show a slight regression in rushing yards and rushing scores.


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