9 Fantasy Football Busts for 2017

Jul 6, 2017

The odds are stacked against Jordan Howard in 2017

The worst feeling at the end of a season is knowing one guy derailed your championship hopes because of the draft capital he cost you. Unfortunately, it’s highly likely one or two players will be “busts” relative to where you took them. Now let me say this first, the definition we’re using for a bust in this article relates to players who severely disappoint relative to their cost, not the final stat lines they produce (since it’s possible a player is still useful, but not to the initial expectations).

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we asked our featured experts below to evaluate the current Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) and name players they feel have bust written all over them. We’re setting the bar with players ranked within the top 24 of their positions. Here’s who they picked.

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Q1. What RB in our consensus top 24 should fantasy owners fear the most as a bust candidate?

Jordan Howard (CHI)
“The “Sophomore Slump” for running backs is a real thing. Defensive coordinators get an entire offseason to scheme for you and let’s face it, the only person that NFL teams will worry about on the Bears is Jordan Howard. Since 2012, there have been five rookie running backs to score over 180 fantasy points in their rookie season. They are Doug Martin (2012), Jeremy Hill (2014), Todd Gurley (2015), Ezekiel Elliot (2016) and Jordan Howard (2016). Look at the numbers between the rookie seasons and the sophomore seasons below.

Martin (2012): 16 Games played, 319 carries, 1,454 yards (4.6 YPC), 11 TDs.
Martin (2013): 6 Games played, 127 carries, 456 yards (3.6 YPC), 1 TD.

Hill (2014): 16 Games played, 222 carries, 1,124 yards (5.1 YPC), 9 TDs.
Hill (2015): 16 Games played, 223 carries, 794 yards (3.6 YPC), 11 TDs.

Gurley (2015): 13 Games played, 229 carries, 1,106 yards (4.8 YPC), 10 TDs.
Gurley (2016): 16 Games played, 278 carries, 885 yards (3.2 YPC), 6 TDs.

This Sophomore Slump trend will continue for Howard in 2017.”
– Mitchell Renz (Gridiron Experts)

“The Bears offense is very concerning. Can Jordan Howard have the same success in year two with defenses loading up to stop the run? Because let’s be honest, how much does a passing attack led by Mike Glennon or rookie Mitch Trubisky targeting Cameron Meredith and Victor Cruz really scare defenses? Is the Sophomore Slump a real thing? Howard finished as the RB9 in 2016 thanks to rushing for the second-most yards in the league (1,313). In Trent Richardson’s rookie season in 2012, he rushed for 950 yards and 11 TDs (RB9), the following year he had half the yards and scored just three times (RB34). In 2013, Zac Stacy rumbled for 973 yards and 7 TDs (RB18). The following year he scored just once and finished with less than 300 yards (RB68). Most recently, it was Todd Gurley who as a rookie rushed for 1,106 yards and 10 TDs (RB5), but in 2016, he didn’t reach 900 rushing yards and scored just six TDs (RB19).”
– Bill Enright (FFChamps)

Joe Mixon (CIN)
“Ever since the Bengals selected Mixon in the second round of this year’s draft, his ADP has steadily increased with the expectation that he is set to become a three-down back. While I do not disagree that Mixon has a three-down skill set, I do believe that there are far too many question marks for me to invest in him now that his ADP has climbed into the third round. Will Gio Bernard dominate passing down work once he is fully recovered from his ACL tear? Will Jeremy Hill steal goal line carries? Will Mixon have any room to run behind what is expected to be one of the league’s worst lines? Will Mixon prove to be competent enough in pass protection to be trusted, always a big question regarding rookie runners and especially important with a poor line. It almost seems unfair to include a rookie in a “bust list,” but with a third-round price tag (and rising), owners are expecting borderline RB1 numbers from Joe Mixon. With all the doubt surrounding his role and the state of the offensive line, my expectations for him are significantly lower.”
– Matthew Hill (DataForce Fantasy Football)

Tevin Coleman (ATL)
“If I had to choose one, it’d be Tevin Coleman. Of the top 24 running backs in 2016, 22 of them finished with more than 190 carries, showing just how difficult it is to enter that group without volume. Coleman saw just 118 carries in 2016 and scored on eight of them. With Kyle Shanahan gone, he’ll not only fall off in touchdowns, but he won’t finish as a top-30 option.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Christian McCaffrey (CAR)
“McCaffrey concerns me as a potential bust candidate because Jonathan Stewart has actually been a solid running back for the Panthers. Last season, he battled through an injury and suffered behind a lousy offensive line, opposite of stacked boxes because Cam can’t throw footballs. Plus, the Panthers are apparently infatuated with Curtis Samuel who could claim some carries for himself too. So it isn’t that I think McCaffrey isn’t talented, just that he might not get the opportunity we are all prone to assuming he deserves right away.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Q2. What WR in our consensus top 24 should fantasy owners fear the most as a bust candidate?

Jarvis Landry (MIA)
“After seeing 10.1 targets per game from Week 10 of 2014 through Week 4 of 2016, Jarvis Landry took a nose-dive in Adam Gase’s offense. As Devante Parker and Jay Ajayi got healthy, Landry’s production dipped. Over the final 12 games of the season, Landry saw just 7.1 targets per game, netting 7.85 fantasy points per game. If you were to look at that on a per-game basis, it would have been the No. 39 WR in 2016. They also haven’t offered him a contract extension, seemingly making him expendable. That’s a whole lot of bad for a guy being drafted as a top 20, and sometimes top 15 wide receiver.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Brandin Cooks (NE)
“The New England Patriots are certainly going to be a fun team to watch in 2017. They are absolutely LOADED on offense. So loaded that you just don’t know where the fantasy points are going to come from and for that reason I’m a bit hesitant to pull the trigger on Brandin Cooks at his current ADP of the mid 3rd round. No Patriots wide receiver has finished in the top 15 since Wes Welker in 2012. Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski soak up too many targets and Cooks is much more of a deep/big play threat than a move the chains receiver. One ball and just way too many weapons to expect Cooks to consistently post borderline WR1 stats.”
– Bill Enright (FFChamps)

Alshon Jeffery (PHI)
“Fantasy football is about having fun. Owning Alshon Jeffery is the opposite of fun. He will be a headache for fantasy owners in 2017. Think about this, in the last two seasons he has missed 11 games and played in only 21. In the games he played in, he was questionable for 13 of them. On top of that, owners need to have in the back of their minds the possibility of another suspension that would have him miss 10 games. Just simply too many headaches and not enough upside for a guy who has scored only six touchdowns the last two years who now plays on a team that had 16 passing touchdowns a year ago.”
– Mitchell Renz (Gridiron Experts)

Allen Robinson (JAC)
“The Jaguars spent this offseason revamping their identity, selecting the draft’s top back, Leonard Fournette, with the number four overall pick and adding talent to their defense. Despite the clear message out of Jacksonville that the Jags are wanting to become more of a grinding, defensive-minded team, visions of Allen Robinson’s 2015 breakout have him going in the third round of early drafts. This is a mistake. The changing philosophy, combined with Marqise Lee’s mini-breakout (Lee made 63 receptions for 853 yards, only 32 fewer yards than Robinson) make Robinson a poor bet to return value.”
– Matthew Hill (DataForce Fantasy Football)

Keenan Allen (LAC)
“I am a Keenan Allen fanboy to the core, but that doesn’t mean I don’t consider him a bust candidate. He has the biggest bust potential of the group because he hasn’t caught a football in 20 months, plus the Chargers have Hunter Henry, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, Dontrelle Inman, Antonio Gates, some guy named Melvin Gordon who is going to command 300 touches and they just added Mike Williams. There is a very real chance that he is nowhere near the same player we saw before and disappears entirely off the map. But just because someone has significant bust odds doesn’t mean he doesn’t also have the upside to see 180 targets and receive for 1,450 yards. For what it’s worth, that is the pace he was on as a 23-year-old in 2015.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Thank you to all the experts who gave us their bust candidates. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter. Also check out our latest podcast below for more great advice.

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