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Best Ball Bust for Every NFL Team (2022 Fantasy Football)

Aug 19, 2022
James Conner

Several factors go into building a winning best ball team. One of those factors is identifying which players will let your team down and bust. Another is knowing which players have league-winning upside, especially in the later rounds. Today, we’ll focus on the former and identify the top best ball bust for every NFL team.

The average draft position (ADP) used for this article comes from Underdog Fantasy.

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CTA

Arizona Cardinals

James Conner (RB – ARI): ADP 33.1

Last year in his first season with the Cardinals, James Conner had arguably his best fantasy season ever. He was the RB5, averaging 15.9 fantasy points per game. However, 45.2% of his fantasy points came on his 18 touchdowns. Conner averaged 1.2 touchdowns per game last season, 16.7% higher than his previous career-high in 2018. While he averaged 15.9 fantasy points per game last year, Conner’s production dropped when Chase Edmonds played. He averaged only 11.7 fantasy points per game in the seven contests Edmonds played over 40% of the snaps, a 26.4% drop from his season average. While Edmonds left in free agency, the Cardinals signed Darrel Williams and drafted Keaontay Ingram. Connor will have touchdown regression this year and bust at his current ADP.

Atlanta Falcons

Cordarrelle Patterson (RB – ATL): ADP 109.3

While he should have another productive year in 2022, Patterson is the most likely Falcons player to bust at his current ADP. Over the final four games last season, Patterson averaged only 0.5 fantasy points per touch and 4.8 fantasy points per game. He struggled to hold up for an entire season at running back, and the Falcons had to go back to Mike Davis. While they released Davis earlier this offseason, fifth-round rookie Tyler Allgeier will fill his role. Patterson isn’t an awful pick at his ADP, but he lacks the upside of other running backs in this range, including James Cook and Ronald Jones.

Baltimore Ravens

J.K. Dobbins (RB – BAL): ADP 56.3

Dobbins missed last year after tearing his ACL in the preseason. While he should be ready to start the year, there have been reports that Dobbins could begin the season on the physically unable to perform list (PUP). Even if he starts Week 1, who knows how healthy he is coming off the injury. Furthermore, Dobbins was only the RB21 as a rookie despite averaging six yards per rushing attempt. He also had a limited role in the passing game, seeing 24 targets in 15 games. More importantly, Dobbins will split the backfield work with Gus Edwards and Lamar JacksonJosh JacobsAJ Dillon and Tony Pollard have a later ADP than Dobbins, and I would draft all three over him.

Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen (QB – BUF): ADP 30.1

Allen will NOT be a bust in the traditional sense. He won’t let fantasy players down after back-to-back years as the QB1. However, his early third-round ADP is way too high. Allen averaged 23.7 fantasy points per game last season. Tom Brady averaged 22 fantasy points per game, only 7.2% less than Allen by comparison. Yet, Brady’s ADP is four rounds and 50 spots later. More importantly, Allen averaged 6.6 fantasy points per game on the ground last season. The Bills have talked about lightening his rushing workload this season to try and protect his long-term health. Allen could end the year as the QB1 but might not outscore the rest of the quarterbacks enough to warrant a third-round pick.

Carolina Panthers

Christian McCaffrey (RB – CAR): ADP 2.3

When he is on the field, McCaffrey is arguably the best running back in the NFL. He averaged over 20 fantasy points per game in 2018 and 2019. However, McCaffrey has played only 10 of the last 33 games because of injuries. In those 10 games, he has averaged 19.1 fantasy points per game. While McCaffrey remains one of the top running backs in the NFL, the injuries over the past two years can’t be ignored. If he stays healthy, McCaffrey is worth a top-three pick. However, what are the odds of that happening in 2022? Instead, fantasy players should pick either Cooper Kupp or Justin Jefferson with their top-three selection. Both wide receivers offer similar upside to McCaffrey but come with less downside.

Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Burrow (QB – CIN): ADP 70.1

While he was the QB8 last season, Burrow’s fantasy value has gotten overblown because of the Super Bowl run. Burrow averaged 19.6 fantasy points per game, making him the QB10 on a points-per-game basis. However, he scored over 20 fantasy points in only five of the first 14 games last season. Yes, Burrow had those two excellent fantasy playoff performances in Week 16 and 17 to help many win championships. However, he averaged 17.2 fantasy points per game the rest of the year, making him the QB14 on a per-game basis. Burrow won’t be a total bust, but drafting him in the fifth round is a mistake.

Cleveland Browns

Amari Cooper (WR – CLE): ADP 65.2

With a potential Deshaun Watson suspension still up in the air, it’s hard to evaluate the Cleveland offense. At this point, Watson will get suspended. But for how many games is unknown. Even if Watson started all 17 games, Cooper isn’t the best wide receiver to draft. The veteran has never averaged more than 12.9 fantasy points per game in any year of his career. He also has never scored over eight touchdowns in a season. Furthermore, Cooper averaged only 1.6 fantasy points per target last year despite an 18.8% target share. Therefore, I’m not drafting Cooper at his current ADP if Watson gets suspended for more than six games.

Chicago Bears

N’Keal Harry (WR – CHI): ADP 214.7

The Bears lack many appealing fantasy players, and the ones they have are getting drafted at an appropriate ADP. Some might consider drafting Harry with their final selection after his trade from New England to Chicago. However, that would be a mistake. After being a first-round pick in 2019, Harry has fallen off the fantasy radar. He has only four touchdowns in three years and has never had a season with over 310 receiving yards. Despite the Patriots lacking elite wide receivers the past two years, Harry has averaged only 3.1 fantasy points per game. The Bears have one proven wide receiver in Darnell Mooney. Yet, Harry is behind the curve in learning the Chicago offense. He is not worth a pick in best ball drafts.

Dallas Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott (RB – DAL): ADP 40.9

While Elliott ended last year as the RB6, that doesn’t tell the entire story. Part of the reason he finished that high was because he played all 17 games. On a points-per-game basis, Elliott was the RB15, averaging 13.4 fantasy points per contest. Furthermore, Elliott was hard to trust each week throughout the season. He scored under 10 fantasy points in nearly half the games last year despite averaging 15 touches per game in those contests. More importantly, Tony Pollard earned more of a role last season, and his role will continue to grow this year. Zeke’s days as an elite RB1 are over.

Denver Broncos

Javonte Williams (RB – DEN): ADP 25.1

Everyone was extremely excited to draft Williams a few months ago. However, the return of Melvin Gordon has thrown a wet blanket on the Williams hype. Despite the return of Gordon, Williams is currently getting drafted as the RB12 on average and ahead of Nick Chubb. While his ADP isn’t ridiculous, it’s too high for a running back that finished as the RB23 in points per game last year. Furthermore, the addition of Russell Wilson will give the Broncos a reliable and explosive passing attack. While Williams will reportedly earn more of a workload this year, the return of Gordon is a concern. Until Williams’ ADP slides closer to the end of the third round, I would avoid drafting him.

Detroit Lions

T.J. Hockenson (TE – DET): ADP 88.5

Hockenson was a popular breakout tight end, given a lack of proven pass catchers in Detroit. Unfortunately, he struggled and ended the year as the TE15 as he dealt with injuries. When Hockenson’s season was cut short by injuries, Amon-Ra St. Brown stepped up and won fantasy championships for many players. He projects as Jared Goff‘s go-to receiver this season. Furthermore, the Lions re-signed Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond, then added DJ Chark before trading up during the NFL Draft to select Jameson Williams. Hockenson will be a solid low-end TE1 this year, but he lacks the upside to finish in the top five. Fantasy players are better off waiting a couple of rounds and drafting Zach Ertz instead.

Green Bay Packers

Aaron Jones (RB – GB): ADP 17.3

After the Packers lost their top two wide receivers from last year’s team, many are excited to draft Jones this season. While Jones is not a traditional bust, his ADP is too high given the presence of AJ Dillon. Jones averaged 3.6 fantasy points per game more than Dillon last year. However, that was a result of his six receiving touchdowns. Dillon had more rushing attempts, yards, and touchdowns than Jones. He also ate into Jones’ work in the passing game. Jones will be a reliable fantasy running back this season. However, his upside is limited, thanks to Dillon.

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Houston Texans

Marlon Mack (RB – HOU): ADP 175.6

Given the lack of proven players on the Houston offense, it’s hard to find a clear bust candidate. However, Mack is someone I refuse to draft. He has played only seven games the past two years because of a torn achilles and several healthy game-day inactive scratches. Furthermore, he has averaged over 12.5 fantasy points per game only once in his career. More importantly, Mack won’t have a featured role in the backfield with Rex Burkhead and rookie Dameon Pierce on the roster. If you are targeting late-round running backs with upside, draft Mark IngramBrian Robinson, or Sony Michel instead. All three have a later ADP than Mack.

Indianapolis Colts

Matt Ryan (QB – IND): ADP 153.5

Trading for Ryan was a good move by the Colts. However, it won’t change his fantasy value much. The former Atlanta star has averaged under 18 fantasy points per game four of the past five years despite playing with elite wide receivers like Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. While Michael Pittman is an emerging star, he’s not an elite receiver yet. More importantly, Ryan has never been a high touchdown producer. He has thrown under 30 touchdowns in 11 of his 14 seasons. Furthermore, Ryan offers no rushing production, averaging only 104.9 rushing yards per year in his career. Instead of drafting Ryan, target a quarterback with more upside like Zach Wilson.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Evan Engram (TE – JAC): ADP 178.3

Like the Texans, the Jaguars lack proven players on offense. Thus, it’s hard to find a clear bust candidate. However, you should avoid drafting Engram with one of your later-round picks. He has averaged under 9.5 fantasy points in all but one year of his career. Furthermore, Engram had six touchdowns as a rookie with a 20% target share. More importantly, he has only 10 receiving touchdowns over the past four years despite playing 77% of the games. He also had a career-low 408 yards last season despite the rest of the New York receiving core struggling with injuries. Engram will have to earn his snaps in Jacksonville with Dan Arnold already on the roster. There are several better late-round options at tight end, including Hayden Hurst.

Kansas City Chiefs

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC): ADP 84.3

Last year, the hype around Edwards-Helaire caused many to move him up in their rankings. Unfortunately, those fantasy players regretted the move as Edwards-Helaire was the RB40 last year, averaging 10.8 fantasy points per game. He averaged only 2.3 targets per game last season after averaging 4.2 targets per game as a rookie. While the loss of Darrel Williams could open up more targets for Edwards-Helaire, the Chiefs recently re-signed Jerick McKinnon. He had 27 touches compared to only 15 for Edwards-Helaire in the two playoff games both running backs were active. Fantasy players should avoid using a top-100 pick on anyone in this backfield.

CTAs

Las Vegas Raiders

Darren Waller (TE – LV): ADP 43.7

Waller won’t be a bust in the traditional sense. However, he is going too high as a mid-fourth-round pick. The Raiders no longer need to rely on him like they did a few years ago. In 2020, Waller averaged 9.1 targets and 14.1 fantasy points per game. Last year he averaged 8.8 targets and 10.2 fantasy points per game in the 10 games he played over 20% of the snaps. Furthermore, the emergence of Hunter Renfrow and the addition of Davante Adams will cause Waller’s target share to shrink. While he is still a talented tight end, fantasy players are better off waiting to draft a tight end than paying a fourth-round price for Waller.

Los Angeles Chargers

Austin Ekeler (RB – LAC): ADP 6.4

Barring an injury, Ekeler should have a top-10 season. However, taking him as the third running back off the board and as a top-seven pick is too high. Last year, Ekeler averaged a career-high 19.3 fantasy points per game. His average last year was 29% higher than his average in 2020 and 15% higher than his previous career-high in 2019. The reason for his jump in fantasy production was the touchdowns. Ekeler scored 20 touchdowns last season after scoring 25 in the first four years of his career. The addition of Isaiah Spiller will cut into Ekeler’s workload, especially around the goal line. Last year, Ekeler had 10 goal-line rushing attempts and a 7.2% touchdown rate. Expect Ekeler to regress this season.

Los Angeles Rams

Allen Robinson (WR – LAR): ADP 47.7

The Rams don’t have a clear bust candidate. However, while the chances are slim, Allen Robinson is the one most likely to bust. After back-to-back WR1 finishes in 2019 and 2020, Robinson was the WR86 last season, averaging only 5.7 fantasy points per game. He averaged 9.5 targets per game in 2019 and 2020, but that number dropped to 5.5 last season. The drop in production isn’t a massive red flag given Chicago’s awful coaching staff last year. Yet, Robinson won’t see 9.5 targets per game in Los Angeles as long as Cooper Kupp is healthy. Robinson isn’t a bad pick as the WR22 off the board, but he lacks the upside of similar wide receivers in that range.

Miami Dolphins

Tyreek Hill (WR – MIA): ADP 21.2

After Hill got traded to the Dolphins, his fantasy value took a massive hit. Despite whatever nonsense Hill has stated publicly, catching passes from Tua Tagovailoa is a substantial downgrade from Patrick Mahomes. Furthermore, Jaylen Waddle had over 100 receptions and a 24.8% target share last year. While Hill might eventually play up to his second-round ADP, expect a rocky start to begin the season. The Miami offense added several new pieces this offseason and will need time to gel. Therefore, Tagovailoa will lean on Waddle and Mike Gesicki early in the season, especially if the Dolphins consistently force Hill to run downfield routes. He will have several big performances this season, but Hill will have several disappointing ones too.

Minnesota Vikings

Irv Smith (TE – MIN): ADP 122.4

The last time Smith played in an NFL game was almost two years ago. He missed last season after suffering a knee injury in the preseason. Smith averaged only 6.4 fantasy points per game in 2020 despite an 11.6% touchdown rate. He has never had a season with over 40 receptions or 375 yards. More importantly, Kj Osborn stepped up last year with Smith out of the lineup. While he should have some fantasy value this season, Smith is the 11th tight end drafted on average. He should not be anywhere near the top 12. Pass on Smith at his current ADP. Instead, draft Robert Tonyan or Gerald Everett two rounds later.

New England Patriots

DeVante Parker (WR – NE): ADP 138.1

The Patriots lack many fantasy-relevant players. Thus, finding a glaring bust candidate is difficult. However, Parker should not be an option in the 11th round of your drafts. He has averaged over 9.6 fantasy points per game in only one season in his career. Furthermore, Parker had nine touchdowns that season. By comparison, he has 15 total touchdowns in the other six years of his career. Last year the Patriots had the eighth-fewest pass attempts in the NFL as their offense is centered around the running game. More importantly, Parker has struggled to stay healthy in his career and has missed 27.3% of the games the past two seasons. Therefore, there is no reason why you should draft Parker this early in your best ball drafts.

New Orleans Saints

Michael Thomas (WR – NO): ADP 80.9

The last time we saw Thomas on the field, Drew Brees was still playing. Thomas has missed the past 1.5 seasons because of an ankle injury. Furthermore, he recently was played on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to start training camp. More importantly, Thomas had a 27.9% target share in 2020 and a 33.2% target share in 2019. The Saints’ No. 2 wide receiver those two years were Emmanuel Sanders and Ted Ginn Jr. That wouldn’t be the case after the Saints drafted Chris Olave and signed Jarvis Landry this offseason. Even if Thomas is ready for Week 1, will he play all 17 games? Even if he does, his target share and fantasy production won’t be anywhere near what it was a few years ago.

New York Giants

Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG): ADP 17.9

I am 100% on board with drafting Barkley at the right price. A few weeks ago, he was an early third-round pick and a value at that ADP. However, Barkley’s ADP has shot up recently. He has become a mid-second-round pick and the RB10 drafted on average. The last time fantasy players saw the elite Barkley form was in 2019 when he averaged 29.8 fantasy points per game over the final three weeks of the year. Since then, Barkley has averaged 3.5 yards per rushing attempt, 9.4 fantasy points per game, and has missed 55% of his potential games because of injury. If his ADP returns to the third round, I will get back on the Barkley hype train.

New York Jets

Elijah Moore (WR – NYJ): ADP 66.5

While he had good moments during his rookie season, Moore shouldn’t be a top-75 selection. The former Ole Miss receiver averaged 10.6 fantasy points per game last season. However, he scored under 7.5 fantasy points in 45.5% of the contests. Furthermore, Moore missed six games because of injuries. During the offseason, the Jets added several pass catchers, including using a first-round pick on Garrett Wilson. As a result, the former Ohio State star will be challenged as a rookie for the No. 1 wide receiver role. New York also re-signed Braxton Berrios in the offseason and decided to bring back Corey Davis. While he could have several huge weeks this season, Moore will need to fight for every target, thus making his ADP too high.

Philadelphia Eagles

A.J. Brown (WR – PHI): ADP 26.5

When Brown got traded to Philadelphia, his perceived fantasy value jumped. However, his situation isn’t as good as it was in Tennessee. Brown had a 20.9% target share the past two years with the Titans. Now he will have to compete with Dallas Goedert and DeVonta Smith for targets. Meanwhile, Brown has struggled to stay healthy in his career, missing six games over the past two years. Brown is a solid WR2 to have on your team if he can stay healthy. However, his ADP currently makes him a top-11 wide receiver. Brown has a higher ADP than Keenan AllenMike Williams, and Michael Pittman Jr. I would draft all three before Brown.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Najee Harris (RB – PIT): ADP 9.4

Despite ending last year as the RB4, averaging 15.2 fantasy points, Harris averaged only 0.7 fantasy points per touch and 3.9 yards per rushing attempt as a rookie. With the change at quarterback, Harris won’t see the same number of dump-off passes he did last year with Ben Roethlisberger. Furthermore, he averaged 3.8 receptions and 15.2 fantasy points per game last season if you remove the Week 3 game where Harris had 14 receptions. By comparison, his next highest reception total last year was six. The Steelers have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL and now have a quarterback who can run. Expect regression from Harris this season.

San Francisco 49ers

Deebo Samuel (WR – SF): ADP 19.3

After an injury-plagued 2020 season, Deebo Samuel broke out last year. However, after scoring 36.5 fantasy points on the ground in his first two years in the NFL combined, Samuel scored 84.5 fantasy points on the ground last season. Furthermore, 90.3% of those fantasy points came over his final eight games. During those final eight games, Samuel averaged only five targets per game and 1.96 fantasy points per target. Unlike the first half of the season, George Kittle was healthy, and Brandon Aiyuk wasn’t in the doghouse. With those two ready to contribute, Samuel’s targets per game dropped by 50.6%. Between his unusual role last season, ongoing trade request and injury history, I’m not spending a top-24 draft pick on Samuel.

Seattle Seahawks

Rashaad Penny (RB – SEA): ADP 93.3

Rashaad Penny is arguably the most polarizing running back in fantasy football. After scoring only 140.6 fantasy points in his first three years in the NFL, Penny scored 118.7 fantasy points in 10 games last season. However, 107.7 (90.7 percent) of his fantasy points from last season came over the final five weeks of the year. Furthermore, the Seahawks used a second-round pick on Kenneth Walker. While Penny will reportedly get most of the work on the ground, it’s only a matter of time till he suffers an injury and is on the sidelines. Don’t waste a top-100 pick on a player who has scored under seven fantasy points in 73% of his career games. Pass on Penny and grab Walker a full round later.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Leonard Fournette (RB – TB): ADP 21.7

Last year Fournette was the RB7, averaging 15.8 fantasy points per game. It was his highest average since his rookie season. Furthermore, he averaged a career-high 0.89 fantasy points per touch in 2022. However, Fournette is reportedly up to 260 pounds, and the coaching staff isn’t happy about it. While he has rebutted those reports, it’s still a concern. More importantly, the Buccaneers used a third-round pick on Rachaad White. He will have a role on third down and in the passing game. Last year, Fournette had 69 receptions for 454 receiving yards and a career-high two receiving touchdowns. If he loses touches to White on early downs, Fournette will bust at his current ADP.

Tennessee Titans

Ryan Tannehill (QB – TEN): ADP 178.1

Two years ago, Tannehill posted career highs in fantasy points per game (21.5) and passing touchdowns (33). Unfortunately, he regressed last year, averaging 15.8 fantasy points per game while tossing only 21 touchdowns. Any hope of Tannehill rebounding this season ended when the Titans traded away A.J. Brown during the NFL Draft. Now, Tannehill has a pair of rookie wide receivers and Robert Woods, who is coming off a torn ACL. The only thing in Tannehill’s favor is his rushing ability. He has scored seven rushing touchdowns each of the past two seasons. While the rushing upside is appealing, it’s not enough to overcome the lack of proven weapons in the passing game. I would take a chance on Deshaun Watson before drafting Tannehill.

Washington Redskins

Antonio Gibson (RB – WAS): ADP 73.3

Gibson was the RB10 last year, averaging 13 fantasy points per game. However, he averaged 14.5 fantasy points per game in the five games J.D. McKissic missed with a concussion. Unfortunately, Gibson’s situation dramatically changed this offseason with the return of McKissic and the drafting of Brian Robinson Jr. There are reports that Robinson will take over as the short-yardage back. Last year, Gibson had 52 red-zone touches, the fourth most in the NFL. He also had six goal-line rushing attempts. If those touches go to Robinson, Gibson’s fantasy value takes a massive hit. Furthermore, he won’t have much work in the passing game with McKissic healthy. Unless something changes, Gibson should be on your do not draft list.


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