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Fantasy Football Dynasty Busts: Running Backs and Wide Receivers

May 23, 2016

Was Dallas really a good landing spot for Ezekiel Elliott?

Was Dallas really a good landing spot for Ezekiel Elliott?

Bust is such a dirty work in fantasy football, and it’s even worse when using it in dynasty football. The fate of your team’s future can depend on selecting that wide receiver or running back and having them blossom into studs.

I’m going to point out a few guys that, in my opinion, have high bust potential. Be it because of situation or talent these guys could end up as waiver wire fodder in a few years…

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Wide Receivers

Michael Thomas (NO)
Thomas goes into New Orleans as what fantasy owners hope is the Marques Colston replacement. Not so fast. First, he needs to climb a depth chart that includes two proven wide receivers in Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead.

Yes, the Saints run a lot of three-wide offensive sets in which Thomas may see some playing time, but Drew Brees spreads the ball around better than any other QB not named Tom Brady. Even if we assume that Thomas has a good rookie season with Brees as his QB, how many more years will the single-season record holder for passing yards play in the NFL? Brees is 37 years old and is in the twilight of his career, and if Brees decides to retire in one or two more years, Thomas’ value will hinge on the QB that replaces him.

That’s a big risk for a guy that will probably go in the first round of your rookie draft. That’s a steep price to pay.

Will Fuller (HOU)
First, before I tear down Fuller and label him a potential bust, I’d like to preface it by saying, “I like Fuller and will probably own him in at least one league.” With that said, the potential is there. We don’t yet know what Brock Osweiler is.

Everyone has almost given him a pass and has assumed he is going take this offense and run with it? Really? The same guy that couldn’t make the Denver Broncos’ skill players fantasy relevant on a consistent basis last year?

Osweiler has all the weapons he needs to succeed as a QB, but that doesn’t mean he will. DeAndre Hopkins has already proved he can not only “remain relevant” in fantasy, but can be a stud with bad quarterbacking. It’s a lot harder for a WR2 or WR3 to stay relevant with a bad QB, so while I expect Fuller to be good, the potential is there for him to end up as bust as well.

Running Backs

Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)
Say what? Yes, I said it. He is a bust candidate.

I’m not saying he will be a bust, but he most definitely could be a bust — and an epic bust at that. He is the consensus No. 1 pick in rookie drafts, and I’ve seen him as high as No. 4 in redraft leagues. Before we look at why he could end up a bust, let’s look at why he is so highly touted in fantasy football this year.

He plays behind the best offensive line in football, he has a Pro Bowl QB in Tony Romo and an All-Pro wide receiver on the outside ensuring Elliot will not see many eight-man fronts. Those are the three things that all the “experts” are saying will help him be successful. Now let’s poke holes in that…

Offensive lines are hard to keep intact in the NFL with free agency. Teams aren’t willing to spend top dollar on every guy on the line. It is very easy to go from a great line to a bad line very easily through free agency or injury.

Just ask the Eagles, who a few years ago had one of the best offensive lines in football, only to end up near the bottom one year later. Even the Seahawks had issues last year after trading away center Max Unger to get Jimmy Graham.

And then there is Romo, who at 36 years old has broken his collarbone now a whopping three times and has had back surgery, all in the last few years. There is no guarantee that Romo plays another two of three years. And Bryant? He too has had some injuries and was a shell of himself last year, returning too early from a foot injury.

Everyone is looking at the glass half full, but if you look at it half empty, Elliot could be one if the biggest busts in fantasy football history if things don’t go the way we all assume they will.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t draft him No. 1 in your rookie draft, that would be crazy, but I wouldn’t bet the house on him either. Don’t trade up to get him unless you can really afford to do so.

I had planned to do more than one running back in this column, but how do I follow that? I bet nowhere else on the internet will you read someone calling Ezekiel Elliott a bust — but things don’t always go as we expect.

Geoff Lambert is a correspondent at FantasyPros. You can read more from Geoff by visiting his site GoingFor2.com or follow him on Twitter @GeoffLambert77.

Busts, Correspondent, NFL