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9 Bust Candidates (2022 Fantasy Football)

Aug 19, 2022
Tom Brady

Is this the year where Father Time finally catches up to Tom Brady?

Drafting a player early in your fantasy draft only to see them significantly underperform and tank your season is disheartening, to say the least. Our analysts have gone team by team to figure out which players have the best chance to bust in 2022. Here are the top 10 players who you should think twice about selecting on draft night.

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Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

Tom Brady (QB – TB)


No quarterback in the Super Bowl era has started at age 45; Tom Brady will be the first. We’ve seen other great quarterbacks play at a high level and then suddenly careen over the age cliff and have terrible seasons. It happened to Brett Favre at age 41. It happened to Peyton Manning at age 39. Who’s to say Brady is immune to a similar fate at an even older age? Brady’s longtime running buddy, TE Rob Gronkowski, has announced his retirement, and ace WR Chris Godwin could miss the start of the regular season while recovering from a torn ACL that wasn’t repaired until early January. Brady may indeed be the GOAT, but he’s far from a safe fantasy option in 2022.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Antonio Gibson (RB – WAS)


Antonio Gibson is facing a major uphill battle for maximum upside that he’s virtually hands-off in the first five rounds. He finished as a fantasy RB2 in just 53% of his games last season. Three of them came in games that J.D. McKissic missed last season. McKissic — keep in mind half-point scoring — finished as fantasy RB2 in five of the 11 games he played last season. With third-round rookie running back Brian Robinson added into the mix as a likely candidate to earn touches on early downs and at the goal line, the volume distribution in the Washington backfield is not favoring Gibson’s fantasy upside. Third-round running backs have earned 125 touches on average since 2013, making it unlikely AG is able to repeat his fourth-ranked 300-touch workload from a season ago.
– Andrew Erickson

J.K. Dobbins (RB – BAL)


J.K. Dobbins had a terrific rookie season in 2020, but now he’s coming back from an ACL tear that cost him the entire 2021, and he reportedly sustained LCL damage, too. Reports about Dobbins’ recovery haven’t painted a clear picture. Even if all systems are a go, the Ravens are likely to use a committee approach at RB once again, and Dobbins isn’t likely to catch many passes since QB Lamar Jackson rarely throws to his RBs.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Beyond our fantasy football content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – that optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football draft season.

Amari Cooper (WR – CLE)


Amari Cooper’s ranking of WR23 in ECR is astoundingly optimistic. Even if we aren’t factoring in a looming suspension for Deshaun Watson, Cooper is a player on the decline. Cooper has seen his yards per route run drop in each of the past three seasons. Last year with Dak Prescott, he could only muster a WR25 finish, but we’re ranking him even higher this year? Cooper can pull off a middling WR3 season on a run-first team, but landing inside the top 24 is difficult to envision.
– Derek Brown

Patrick Mahomes (QB – KC)


Tyreek Hill’s departure cannot be ignored. The duo of Patrick Mahomes/Hill ranks second in combined passing touchdowns (41) since 2016 — despite Mahomes not becoming the starter until the 2018 season. There’s genuine concern about his top-tier weekly ceiling without Hill that is not being factored into his QB3 ADP and ECR ranking.
– Joe Pisapia

Josh Jacobs (RB – LV)


Josh Jacobs was a volume hog last year, ranking ninth in opportunity share and weighted opportunity, but that will be difficult to repeat in 2022. Jacobs’ ranking of RB23 in ECR is ambitious, considering he’ll be sitting on the sidelines on many passing downs. Brandon Bolden, Kenyan Drake and Ameer Abdullah ranked fourth, sixth and 15th in yards per route run last year among running backs (minimum 20 targets, per PFF). If any of these backs also eat into his red-zone work, he’s toast in 2022.
– Derek Brown

Ezekiel Elliott (RB – DAL)


Ezekiel Elliott averaged 11.5 fantasy points per game over the final eight weeks of the fantasy season. He scored six TDs. Tony Pollard averaged 10.5 fantasy points with just one touchdown scored. It’s so obvious Pollard is going to have a larger role — especially as a receiver — after finishing third in yards per route run over the final eight weeks. Zeke is just holding onto TD equity in a high-powered Cowboys offense, making him super dependent on surrounding circumstances. If he doesn’t score or the OL regresses, Elliott managers are in for a rude awakening.
– Andrew Erickson

DK Metcalf (WR – SEA)


There are a lot of WRs that failed to meet expectations last season who fantasy managers are hoping to bounce back in 2022. That’s going to be the narrative after how things shake out for DK Metcalf after this season with Geno Smith and Drew Lock at quarterback. Metcalf thrives off touchdown production — 32 touchdowns over his first three seasons — but I anticipate scoring to be in short supply for this 2022 Seahawks offense. There’s also no guarantee that Metcalf holds a stranglehold as the team’s target share leader after he and Tyler Lockett have posted nearly identical target shares over the last two seasons.
– Andrew Erickson

Damien Harris (RB – NE)


Rhamondre Stevenson (93) and Damien Harris (86) split touches nearly 50/50 in the team’s remaining seven games. In the six games they played together, Stevenson slightly edged out Harris in expected fantasy points per game (9.3 vs. 8.9). Harris’ overall production was heavily inflated by his 15 touchdowns, which were nearly six more than his expected output.

With a limited role as a receiver, Harris has a limited fantasy ceiling that is accompanied by a super shaky floor if he loses volume to other Patriots’ running backs or fails to score touchdowns at the same rate as last season.
– Andrew Erickson


If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Trade Analyzer – which allows you to instantly find out if a trade offer benefits you or your opponent – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

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