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12 Fantasy Football Busts for 2018

Jul 5, 2018

Derrick Henry’s fantasy upside is capped by Dion Lewis’s signing

The real fireworks will be here soon enough as with each passing day, we get closer to the football season and more importantly, your fantasy drafts. If you’re new to fantasy, congrats on taking the plunge. All summer, we’ll be providing advice courtesy of the top experts around the industry so you can get opinions from multiple viewpoints. In this case, perhaps one of the biggest things we hope to help you avoid is wasting an early round pick on a player who is the most likely to disappoint you by season’s end.

Unfortunately, it’s highly likely one or two players will be “busts” relative to where you draft them. Just because a guy finishes with a decent stat line doesn’t mean he can’t be a bust still. Afterall, if Le’Veon Bell or Ezekiel Elliott finished as RB2s, or even worse RB3s, that’s clearly a huge disappointment considering they’re being drafted with the top 3 picks in many drafts. So with that in mind, 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?

Derrick Henry (TEN)
Consensus RB: #22
“I could understand Henry’s ADP landing in the late-third/early-fourth had the Titans cut DeMarco Murray and replaced him with a middle-round rookie in the NFL Draft, but Tennessee signed Dion Lewis to a four-year deal worth $19.8 million, with $8.3 million guaranteed. Lewis’ deal has the most guaranteed money of any 2018 free agent running back not named Jerick McKinnon. Since 2015, backs that received at least $6.0 million guaranteed in free agency averaged 14.7 touches per game the ensuing season. Last year, DeMarco Murray handled 14.9 touches per game for the Titans, and that left 11.7 touches per game for Henry. If Lewis sees the aforementioned 14.7-touch average, it’s not going to leave much opportunity for Henry’s touches to grow. And let’s not forget Lewis is good. He’s still only 27, has a career 4.8 yards per carry, and is a very capable receiver out of the backfield.”
John Paulsen (4for4)

“The Titans made it all very clear that they are continuing with a tandem by bringing in Dion Lewis. Everybody and their dogs know this, yet Derrick Henry’s ADP of RB17 shows the public still want that square peg to fit into a tidy high RB2 hole. I’d like nothing more if things were different. We cannot exclude the possibility that Dion Lewis finishes higher than Henry after the fantasy points are added up. Drafting Henry at this level will only disappoint.”
– Richard Savill (Fantasy Six Pack)

“I like Derrick Henry and believe his upside is well within the top-25 running backs this season, but his path there isn’t as easy as some because Dion Lewis stands in his way. Lewis is a better three-down back than Henry, which means Henry will most likely need consistent leads to salt away in the fourth quarter to keep Lewis from out-snapping him each game. I’ll take Lewis’ versatility over Henry’s early-down work every draft.”
– Chet Gresham (WalterFootball)

David Johnson (ARI)
Consensus RB: #4
“There’s a lot that could go wrong for David Johnson. He’s playing in a new offense with a new QB behind what looks like a leaky offensive line. That’s not exactly an ideal situation for a RB. When Johnson led all RBs in fantasy points back in 2016, the Cardinals finished 6th in points and 9th in total yards. I don’t expect this year’s version of the Cardinals to be nearly as good. Then factor in that Johnson has suffered season-ending injuries the past 2 seasons (sprained MCL, dislocated wrist) and is currently holding out. I’m taking Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott and Antonio Brown before I consider Johnson.”
– Jared Smola (Draft Sharks)

Kareem Hunt (KC)
Consensus RB: #7
“I’ve always been attracted to Andy Reid’s running backs and loved Hunt last year, but I’m staying away from him at his current cost. On Twitter the other day, I mentioned that even though Kareem Hunt tallied just one carry in Week 17 (they rested the starters), he finished with 90.7 percent of the team carries in 2017. Just four running backs have cracked the 79 percent mark over the last three years. Not only is Spencer Ware coming back, but the Chiefs also signed third-down specialist Damien Williams in free agency. While I don’t think Hunt will be a complete bust, he’s extremely unlikely to live up to his current price. Another name I’d be weary of is LeSean McCoy.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

LeSean McCoy (BUF)
Consensus RB: #12
“McCoy hits his age 30 season and he’s surrounded by one of the worst offenses in football. There’s no one else on the Bills you’re proactively drafting here, and I dare McCoy to somehow make this work. Buffalo did all it could to get Tyrod Taylor out of town, but this year’s quarterback play will likely be worse – this organization will take a step or two backward before it moves forward again. If you don’t like the overall setup, you can’t trust McCoy in Round 2. (I also think Jerick McKinnon’s ADP is crazy-expensive; Kyle Shanahan is a heck of a coach, but it’s not like he’s never wrong on personnel. And McKinnon did ordinary things with a perfect setup in Minnesota last year.)”
– Scott Pianowski (Yahoo! Sports)

Jerick McKinnon (SF)
Consensus RB: #14
“McKinnon is facing heavy expectations for a RB who has never been a full-timer and does not have the size and bulk to tolerate a heavy workload. He also won’t be a consistent goal-line runner, and the Niners offense that everyone is gushing about needs time to gel.”
– Scott Engel (RotoExperts)

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

Mike Evans (TB)
Consensus WR: #9
“Bust is a strong word for Mike Evans, but I don’t think he’s going to return top 10 numbers in 2018. While he did finish No. 3 in 2016, he failed to crack the top 12 in his other three NFL seasons. He might get a lot of targets, but his career catch percentage (53.4%) is the 8th-worst out of the 84 receivers who saw at least 200 total targets from 2014 to 2017. I believe that his targets are under pressure from DeSean Jackson, an improving Chris Godwin and two good tight ends (O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate), and Evans isn’t efficient enough to overcome a drop in usage. Throw in a three-game suspension for Jameis Winston, and things aren’t setting up particularly well for Evans in 2018.”
John Paulsen (4for4)

Tyreek Hill (KC)
Consensus WR: #13
“Hill is in for a decline in both efficiency and volume this year. His 11.27 yards per target last year ranked 2nd among 277 WR seasons of 80+ targets since 2013. Hill’s elite speed should continue to make him more efficient than most, but expecting him to repeat THAT level of efficiency isn’t wise. On the volume side, free-agent acquisition Sammy Watkins figures to see a bunch more than the 62 targets #2 WR Albert Wilson garnered last year. Some of those extra looks will come at the expense of Hill. The move to QB Patrick Mahomes only adds more volatility to Hill’s 2018 outlook.”
– Jared Smola (Draft Sharks)

Adam Thielen (MIN)
Consensus WR: #12
“I’m concerned about Adam Thielen this year, as not many have factored in how big of a loss offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was to his potential. Once Norv Turner left the Vikings mid-2016, Shurmur made the slot role extremely important, and it was the reason we saw Thielen and Stefon Diggs get so much production while playing there. On top of that, new quarterback Kirk Cousins has never targeted a wide receiver more than 6.9 times per game, which would amount to 110 targets in a season, a far cry from the 143 Thielen saw in 2017. The argument can be (and should be) made that Diggs is the better fantasy asset in 2018. JuJu Smith-Schuster is another one who I’d avoid at his current price, as he ranked 55th in targets per game among wide receivers in 2017. ”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT)
Consensus WR: #21
“Smith-Schuster is someone I’m not going to reach for this season. His numbers were incredible last year, especially his seven touchdowns and 917 yards on just 58 receptions. That’s a healthy yards per reception and touchdown ratio to be repeated and I like the addition of James Washington and Vance McDonald enough to believe he’s being taken too early this season.”
– Chet Gresham (WalterFootball)

Allen Robinson (CHI)
Consensus WR: #18
“I have no problem saying no to Allen Robinson at his current ADP. He might as well not even be on my board. He’s coming off a torn ACL and he was an inefficient mess in 2016. We haven’t seen good football from him in three years. Wideouts changing teams always make me a little nervous, and although I am hopeful the new, modern coaching regime can make some sparks fly with the Bears offense, Robinson is not where I’d place my chips. You’re paying for the high end of his range.”
– Scott Pianowski (Yahoo! Sports)

Marvin Jones (DET)
Consensus WR: #22
“Jones more than doubled his touchdown count in his first season with the Lions, which is hard enough in itself to match, but I’m also wary of Kenny Golladay emerging as the BabyTron we all were expecting in 2017. With a secure WR3 role on the Lions, Golladay might now take his tacit experience to downgrade Jones. As a result, I sense we might be looking at Jones ending outside of the top 30 fantasy wide receivers.”
– Richard Savill (Fantasy Six Pack)

Amari Cooper (OAK)
Consensus WR: #15
“Cooper is still being overrated based on his pure talent and youth. I have no reason to believe he is suddenly going to become more consistent and dependable other than maybe Jordy Nelson starts showing him the finer points of the game.”
– Scott Engel (RotoExperts)

Thank you to the experts above for naming their bust candidates. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and check out our latest podcast below for more fantasy advice.

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