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Which Studs From 2018 Will Be Duds in 2019? (Fantasy Football)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Jun 11, 2019

Ben Roethlisberger finished as the No. 3 quarterback in 2018, but he’s likely to disappoint big in 2019

Each and every year there are fantasy footballers who buy into last year’s performance, expecting the same thing moving forward. Instead, what they should be looking for are outliers, which will drag those players back down to earth.

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That’s not the only thing we’ll be looking for today, but also which players may have lost opportunity due to talent added on the roster, maybe a coaching change, or maybe their career suggests they’re not the player you thought they were. Whatever the case, these players are the ones who I believe won’t live up to expectations in 2019 when looking at their current draft slot.

Quarterbacks

Patrick Mahomes (KC)
Before you jump on me about calling Mahomes a dud, this is in reference to his current draft position inside the top two rounds. He threw a touchdown on 8.6 percent of his passes in 2018, the seventh-highest mark of all-time. Here’s the list of quarterbacks who are ahead of them, included with their touchdown rate in that season, as well as the following season: Peyton Manning (9.9 to 6.2), Ken Stabler (9.3 to 6.8), Deshaun Watson (9.3 to 5.1), Aaron Rodgers (9.0 to 7.1), Tom Brady (8.7 to 5.0), Mark Rypien (8.7 to 4.6). But Mahomes is different, right? You know what? Everyone who drafted those guys the following year said the same thing. We haven’t even discussed the possibility of him losing Tyreek Hill, either.

Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)
There’s probably a zero percent chance I draft Roethlisberger in any league this year, as I’m unwilling to come close to his current cost. Sure, he finished as the No. 2 fantasy quarterback in 2018. That was with Antonio Brown while throwing the ball 675 times, which was the fourth-most of all-time. Did you also know that a league-high 54.0 percent of his passing yards came after the catch? Losing Brown will hurt more than most like to admit, as Roethlisberger has been a mediocre fantasy quarterback for much of his career. Here’s a comparison between the careers of him and Matthew Stafford, who is currently going as the QB23.

Player Top-5 % Top-12 % Top-18 % Boom % Bust %
Matthew Stafford 16.3% 39.0% 63.1% 12.8% 34.0%
Ben Roethlisberger 14.4% 38.4% 56.9% 11.6% 40.7%

 

Running Backs

Jordan Howard (PHI)
If you’ve been hibernating since the end of the football season, you may have missed Howard being traded to the Eagles for a measly sixth-round pick. While some saw this as a value, Howard is an afterthought now that the Eagles spent a second-round pick on Miles Sanders, the more complete running back. Doug Pederson has allowed one running back to play more than 42 snaps in a game during his three years in Philadelphia: Darren Sproles, a do-it-all running back. Howard topped that number five times while with the Bears in 2018 alone with absolutely zero competition for the early-down role. He’s more likely to be on waiver wires than he is returning to stud status.

Adrian Peterson (WAS)
If anyone knows what the Redskins are doing with the running back position, please let me know. Not only did they re-sign Peterson to a two-year deal, but they also drafted Bryce Love at the top of the fourth-round, said that Derrius Guice‘s rehab is right where it’s supposed to be, and still have Chris Thompson on the roster. I believe the Peterson signing was more Guice insurance than anything, but the Love pick in the fourth-round put my concerns for Peterson over the top.

Kareem Hunt (CLE)
I don’t know how else to say this, but DO NOT DRAFT Hunt in your redraft league this year. I don’t care if he’s there in the 13th round, let someone else take on that burden. Not only is he suspended for the first eight games of the season, but he’s behind a guy who rushed for nearly 1,000 yards despite not starting until Week 7. Did I mention that running back was also drafted by the Browns at the start of the second-round in 2018? The first four weeks of the season are the most important weeks of the season for the waiver wire, so why hold yourself hostage with a guy who’s not even a lock to play once his suspension is over? Not to mention bye week issues you’ll have. On top of that, you’ve never seen him outside a Chiefs offense, where every running back put in the lineup succeeds. I’m not saying he’s not a good player, but Chubb is better.

Wide Receivers

Tyler Boyd (CIN)
It’s like everyone forgot how good A.J. Green is/was and now he’s dropping down draft boards while Boyd is skyrocketing up them. It’s not to say Boyd will return to the waiver wire fodder he was his first two seasons in the league where he scored 15 PPR points just twice in 26 games, but he’s not going to return to the player who saw seven or more targets in 9-of-14 games with Green back in the lineup. Do we really believe Andy Dalton can support two consistent top-24 receivers? That’s what you’re banking on with Boyd, because we know Green will be there if healthy. The only time Dalton has produced two top-30 receivers was in 2014, when Green missed three games, allowing Mohamed Sanu to finish as the WR29. It’s not to say it’s not possible Boyd takes a leap in the new offense, but he’s being drafted at/near his ceiling without a Green injury.

Emmanuel Sanders (DEN)
A 32-year-old coming off a torn Achilles? This is an injury known as a career-killer, as no one has successfully returned from it. In fact, over half of the players who have dealt with it have never returned at all. The Broncos acquired Joe Flacco, who has rarely supported a consistent fantasy receiver, and on top of that, they have former second-round pick Courtland Sutton, last year’s emerging slot receiver DaeSean Hamilton, and then drafted possession-style tight end Noah Fant in the first-round of this year’s draft. Sanders is someone you should let others draft.

Adam Humphries (TEN)
Remember from Week 6 on when Humphries was a consistent receiver you could plug-and-play as a WR2/3 and get a high floor? If you forgot, he was the No. 15 wide receiver from Week 6 through the end of the season. That will not be the case anymore. He went to Tennessee, where we’ve all waited on Corey Davis to pan out, though that hasn’t exactly gone in our favor. On top of Davis as the top guy, they will get Delanie Walker back on the field, and they drafted my top receiver in this draft class, A.J. Brown. Marcus Mariota couldn’t support one consistent fantasy receiver, let alone three of them. Humphries is a solid, underrated player, but he’s on the wrong team.

Tight Ends

Eric Ebron (IND)
You don’t need me to tell you that Ebron’s going to come back down to earth in 2019, right? Let’s say you’re optimistic and aren’t worried about the additions of Devin Funchess and Parris Campbell, or the return of Jack Doyle. He scored 14 touchdowns in 2018, which ranks as the third-most all-time by a tight end. While his targets (110), however, ranked 13th all-time, and his yardage (750) ranked 132nd all-time. Regression is coming.

Jared Cook (NO)
Recency bias is real with Cook, who has been a disappointment throughout his fantasy career. Sure, he’s going to play with Drew Brees in New Orleans, but don’t forget that he played with Aaron Rodgers just a few short years ago. Did you know that 2018 was the first time he scored more than five touchdowns in a season? Or how about that it was his first time topping 54 receptions or 759 yards? Over the last three years there hasn’t been a running back/tight end duo who’s topped 195 targets on the same team (the highest duo on the Saints has been just 151). Over the last two years, Kamara has totaled at least 100 targets, which tells you that Cook’s ceiling is extremely limited.


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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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