Gallery: Fantasy Football busts and why you should stay away
Who you should stay away from in your Fantasy Football draft
In the world of fantasy football, there are "sleepers" and there are "busts." Another way to view those tags, under and overrated. Keep that in mind as you look at the players on this list. They might be terrible options, but when considering average draft position and risk, there are likely better options.
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers, ADP 54
Last year the Panthers sported lousy wide receivers yet somehow the group looks worse this season with Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant and rookie Kelvin Benjamin. This offseason all-pro left tackle Jordan Gross retired and Newton underwent ankle surgery. One of the game's most physical quarterbacks, Newton will certainly boost his passing numbers with work on the ground. It's just that the Panthers are expected to lean even harder on their running backs this campaign. Unless Benjamin immediately produces or tight end Greg Olsen turns into Rob Gronkowski, there aren't many other ways to go.
Nick Foles, QB, Eagles, ADP 61
This is less about Foles from a talent standpoint and more about Philly's quarterback being an ideal regression candidate. Suggesting more than the minuscule two interceptions he threw last season isn't exactly a stretch. More than 25 percent of his 27 touchdown passes came in one game against the lowly Raiders. Overall, Philadelphia's passing game was incredibly efficient which it needed to be for fantasy purposes because the Eagles ranked 27th in attempts. They also had DeSean Jackson last season. Now the Eagles are counting on Jeremy Maclin coming off a major injury to fill in. Chip Kelly's scheme remains run-dominant (fourth in carries last season) though backs LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles will help turn check down throws into sizable gainers. Since he's 86th overall on my fantasy top 150 list, I'm not taking Foles at the start of round six.
Andre Johnson, WR, Texans, ADP 36
Johnson is coming off consecutive seasons with at least 109 receptions and 1,400 yards. Even at 33, there is no reason to doubt he can get there again. Well, except that we're not sure Johnson's head is completely engaged in Houston as he made it clear this offseason he would prefer a trade to contending team. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a passable quarterback, but not a long-term answer, meaning the Texans could turn to rookie Tom Savage if the losses begin piling up. Johnson is also dealing with a hamstring injury in camp. Don't forget that for all of his greatness, Johnson inexplicably has never recorded double-digit touchdowns in any of his 11 NFL seasons. Whether it's Keenan Allen, Pierre Garcon or Larry Fitzgerald, there are safer options in the same general range.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins, ADP 49
Every burgundy and gold fanatic imagines RGIII dropping back to pass and launching a perfect bomb as Jackson races past helpless defensive backs into the end zone. Seeing as the 5-foot-10 speedster set or matched career-highs last season in receptions (82), yards (1,332) and touchdowns (nine), such visions seem attainable. Except all that production came in Philly's up-tempo attack and without any other notable pass catchers in the mix. Washington already has Pierre Garcon, who led the NFL in targets last season, Jordan Reed and Andre Roberts. Jackson is indeed a big play receiver, but he's typically not a volume receiver, which makes his weekly output rather inconsistent. Before last season he never had more than 63 receptions in a season. That ADP isn't insane - and doesn't factor in the Redskin fan tax many in these parts will incur. Let others target Jackson in this range and then scoop up Michael Crabtree, Michael Floyd or Emmanuel Sanders.
Percy Harvin, WR, Seahawks, ADP 52
Big time difference maker for the Seahawks. The key is Seattle has enough else going to keep winning when Harvin misses games. That's a trickier proposition for fantasy owners if they use a late fourth/early fifth round pick on the guy who only played in 10 games the past two seasons. The idea that Seattle will feature him as a kick returner doesn't help with my fears. By the way, Harvin has never topped 1,000 receiving yards in a season even when he played all 16 games in 2011, though he also rushed for over 340 yards that season. Outside of the occasional reverse, don't expect Seattle to feature the 5-foot-11 receiver in that way, though they'll certainly feed him when possible. In fact the Seahawks must be creative because Harvin isn't a classic No. 1 target. The ADP is reasonable, but if I'm taking a WR in this range give me Michael Floyd or Cordarrelle Patterson.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills, ADP 88
The fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft, Watkins is quickly turning into the king of the one-handed catch. Just remember that fantasy players don't receive extra points for such acrobatics and that the need to make difficult grabs is a sign your quarterback isn't accurate. Put Watkins on 15-20 other NFL teams and look out. Paired with second-year QB E.J Manuel and "look out" is what you might hear on passes the way golfers yell "fore" following errant shots. If Watkins is available in the 8-9 round range and would be my WR4, that's a risk I'd consider. Key word, consider. Many fantasy owners will target the hype regardless. Unless Manuel improves quickly in camp or C.J. Spiller suffers an injury leading to the Bills shying away from the run, avoid the buzz.
Anquan Boldin, WR, 49ers, ADP 114
The physical receiver has been a better NFL threat than fantasy stud in recent seasons, but at least he's been the primary target. Not the case in San Francisco this season now that Michael Crabtree returns from injury. The 49ers also acquired Bills WR Steve Johnson; still have potent tight end Vernon Davis and love running the ball. Boldin went for 85-1179-7 last season. Expect all those numbers to drop in 2014. He remains a safe play, but unless that's what your team needs in round nine, target upside receivers like Rueben Randle or Justin Hunter.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots, ADP 29
I love Gronkowski; everybody does (linebackers and defensive backs not included). When he's on the field, Gronk is the best fantasy and real world tight end. Sorry, Jimmy Graham. However, in a once bitten, twice shy kind of why, I can't justify spending a 2nd-3rd round pick on a player who missed 14 of 32 games over the past two seasons. Gronk, Graham and Julius Thomas give owners a major weekly advantage. But the risk is too high if it means passing on a top-15 running back, top-12 wide receiver or say Aaron Rodgers. Should Gronkowski slip into the fifth or maybe late in the fourth, giddy up.
Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers, ADP, 44
The former University of Maryland star schooled defenses last season with 13 touchdowns. That's two more than Davis had the prior two seasons combined. As mentioned with Boldin, the 49ers have more mouths to feed yet aren't suddenly expected to become a volume passing attack. Davis yardage totals haven't been overwhelming, meaning he's struggle to live up to fourth-round status unless he does find the end zone repeatedly. I'd target him in the 6-7 round range, meaning he's much closer to Greg Olsen and Jason Witten then the top 3-4 options.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks, ADP 8
There's the wear-and-tear; Lynch had over 400 touches last season including the playoffs. Great stat via CBS's Jamey Eisenberg: Over the past 10 years there have been 27 times where a running back has had 400 or more touches. Only five times has a RB produced an increase in Fantasy points the following season. There's also impressive second-year running back and fantasy sleeper Christine Michael ready to show more this season. Seattle runs enough for all to be productive, but the 28-year-old Lynch looks more like a second-round selection than a top-10 pick.
Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers, ADP 23
After a strong rookie season, Martin averaged a paltry 3.6 yards per carry last season playing behind Tampa Bay's suspect offensive line. The line might not be much better, but the coaching staff is different. Backup Bobby Rainey and rookie Charles Sims will also pick up work, thus limiting Martin's touches. Running backs go early in drafts and the field of quality options thins out sooner than hoped. If you want Martin, the end of round two it is. If you're like me, target Giovani Bernard or Alfred Morris in this range.
Ben Tate, RB, Browns, ADP 64
Always liked the former Auburn star's game and hoped he would get a chance to start. That chance came midway through last season when Arian Foster went down. Shrugs. Playing on a lousy team didn't help, but Tate averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry in five of his final eight games. He's got his own injury history, having missed seven games over the last two seasons. Cleveland's scheme works in Tate's favor. Rookie Terrance West (ADP 117) breathing down his neck does not. Wait for the rookie rather than taking the veteran in the 5/6 round range.