15 Bust Candidates (2022 Fantasy Football)
The 2022 fantasy football season is just around the corner. The FantasyPros mock draft simulator is the best preparation for your fantasy drafts. Each year you want to construct your team with a proper mix of good value players and upside sleepers while avoiding players with high bust potential.
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Deebo Samuel (WR – SF): ADP 16.4 | WR6
Coming off an injury-plagued 2020 season, Samuel broke out last year. He averaged a career-high 21.2 fantasy points per game, an 40.6% increase from his previous career best. Furthermore, Samuel scored 338.96 fantasy points last year compared to 269.8 fantasy points in his first two years combined. The jump in production was because of a massive increase in targets, as he had only four fewer targets last year than his total in 2019 and 2020 combined. More importantly, Samuel had an impactful role in the running game last year.
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. 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, Deebo’s targets per game dropped by 50.6%. Samuel is worthy of a top-24 pick. However, he shouldn’t get drafted ahead of more proven wide receivers like A.J. Brown, Keenan Allen, and Tyreek Hill.
Rashaad Penny (RB – SEA): ADP 87.4 | RB33
Since he stepped foot in the NFL, Penny has dealt with injuries. Over the first three years of his career, Penny played only 56.3% of the games. His inability to stay on the field led to the Seahawks declining Penny’s fifth-year option last offseason. Furthermore, Penny didn’t play in seven of the first 11 games last year and has struggled with injuries during the offseason. Even when on the field, Penny has failed to produce.
He has never had a season with over 120 rushing attempts. Penny also had under 90 rushing attempts in each of the first three years of his career. By comparison, he had 92 rushing attempts in his famous five-game stretch last season. Furthermore, Penny had 16 or more rushing attempts in four of those five games. Meanwhile, he had only two career games with over 12 rushing attempts before that stretch last year. More importantly, Penny had an extremely easy schedule during his “historic” stretch. With the addition of Kenneth Walker, drafting Penny is a foolish mistake.
Mike Evans (WR – TB): ADP 27.1 | WR9
Evans has been an elite fantasy receiver since he entered the NFL. He has never finished lower than the WR22 any year and has four top-12 finishes in his career. However, Evans has never been the most consistent fantasy player week in and week out. Last season, he had nine top-24 weekly finishes, accounting for 60% of the games he played. However, Evans finished outside the top 36 wide receivers in 26.7% of games during the fantasy season last year. More importantly, his competition for targets has never been greater.
In the 14 games Chris Godwin played, Evans averaged 15.8 fantasy points per game. Evans averaged 20.8 fantasy points per game in the two games Godwin missed with the torn ACL by comparison. He was also the WR4 during the playoffs on a points-per-game basis, averaging 26.3 fantasy points per contest. Unfortunately for Evans’ fantasy value, Godwin wasn’t placed on the PUP list. Furthermore, the Buccaneers signed Russell Gage and Julio Jones in free agency this offseason. While he won’t bust in the traditional sense, Evans shouldn’t get drafted as a top-10 wide receiver. Keenan Allen, A.J. Brown, and Michael Pittman all have a later ADP than him, and I would take all three before Evans.
Jarvis Landry (WR – NO): ADP 152.5 | WR54
While he was a PPR star early in his career, Landry has struggled the past couple of years. He finished no lower than the WR18 in PPR from 2015-2019, with three top-12 finishes. However, Landry has finished outside the top-30 wide receivers in back-to-back seasons, including a career-worst WR54 finish last year. The big reason for Landry’s regression is the target share and touchdown production.
The last time Landry had a top-24 finish was in 2019. That year he had 138 targets for a career-high 1,174 receiving yards and six touchdowns. However, Landry has never had a double-digit touchdown season in his career and only one year with more than six touchdowns. While he will play a meaningful role for the Saints’ offense, Landry won’t have much of an impact for fantasy players. His upside is limited, given the number of weapons in New Orleans. Instead of drafting Landry, target rookie wide receivers with a later ADP like George Pickens, Jahan Dotson, Jalen Tolbert, and Romeo Doubs. They offer more upside than the veteran.
T.J. Hockenson (TE – DET): ADP 66.8 | TE7
Last year Hockenson was a popular breakout candidate given a lack of proven weapons in Detroit. Unfortunately, he ended the year as the TE15 after he played only 12 games because of injuries. However, Hockenson was the TE6 on a points-per-game basis, averaging 12.1 fantasy points per contest. Furthermore, he had a 21% target share and a 23.7% red zone target share, thanks to the lack of playmakers around him. Unfortunately for Hockenson, much has changed in Detroit.
The Lions re-signed Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond. They also added DJ Chark in free agency and traded up during the NFL Draft to secure Jameson Williams. While these new additions won’t crush Hockenson’s target share, they will limit it. More importantly, Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift are coming off productive years last season and expect to have even larger roles this year. Hockenson isn’t a bad low-end TE1 option. However, his sixth-round ADP is way too high. He also shouldn’t get drafted ahead of Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz.
Aaron Rodgers (QB – GB): ADP 81.8 | QB11
Rodgers has been arguably the best quarterback in the NFL the past few years, winning back-to-back MVP awards in 2020 and 2021. He has been a top-nine quarterback in four straight years, including three top-six finishes. Furthermore, Rodgers has averaged 19.5 or more fantasy points per game in three of the past four years. However, things have drastically changed for Rodgers this offseason. The Packers traded away Davante Adams and lost Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency. They didn’t sign a top-tier free agent like Allen Robinson or trade for Amari Cooper as a replacement. Instead, the Packers signed Sammy Watkins and used three draft picks on wide receivers.
Last year Rodgers was the QB5, averaging 20.8 fantasy points per game. He ranked 12th in the NFL with 531 pass attempts and fourth in passing touchdowns with 37. That means a massive part of Rodgers’ fantasy production came from his passing touchdowns. Rodgers had a 7% touchdown rate last year, tossing a touchdown once every 14.4 pass attempts. However, 11 of his touchdown passes from last season went to Adams, accounting for 29.7% of his total. Removing Adam’s 11 touchdowns from Rodgers’ total, he would have slipped from the QB5 to the QB13 last season. Without Adams, Rodgers lacks the upside to warrant a seventh-round pick.
Kenny Golladay (WR – NYG): ADP 166.5 | WR60
Golladay was labeled an up-and-coming star wide receiver after averaging 15.5 PPR fantasy points and scoring 11 touchdowns in 2019. He then played only five games in 2020 with an injury. Rumor was Golladay used the injury as a way to hold out as contract talks with the Detroit Lions were going nowhere. After signing a massive free-agent deal with the Giants, Golladay was expected to have a breakout 2021 season. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
Instead, he struggled with injuries and posted career lows in several areas, including zero touchdowns on 76 targets. More importantly, the Giants have made two substantive additions to their receiver room since signing Golladay. They used their first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on Kadarius Toney. Then the new regime used a second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on Wan’Dale Robinson. Furthermore, Golladay has struggled with injuries the past two years and appears to have mentally checked out. Instead of using a 14th-round pick on Golladay, target players with a later ADP like George Pickens and Romeo Doubs instead.
No release just vibes pic.twitter.com/NElGcaWDRP
— Theo Ash (@TheoAshNFL) August 11, 2022
Darren Waller (TE – LV): ADP 45.7 | TE5
Last year was a disappointing one for Waller. He struggled with injuries and played only 11 games, ending the season as the TE17. Even on a points-per-game basis, Waller was tied with T.J. Hockenson as the TE6, averaging 12.1 fantasy points per contest. More importantly, his targets per game and touchdown rate dropped from the previous year. Furthermore, Waller had only a 5.6% touchdown rate the past three years despite finishing third among tight ends with nine touchdowns in 2020.
Despite a lack of weapons around him, Waller only had a 5.6% touchdown rate during his three years as the starter. Now, the Raiders have their best receiving core in Derek Carr‘s career. Hunter Renfrow is coming off a career year. While he had a slight bump in targets, Renfrow averaged only 2.4 more fantasy points per game without Waller in the lineup. More importantly, Davante Adams is one of the best red zone weapons in the NFL and will further limit Waller’s touchdown upside. Waller isn’t a reach as the fifth tight end off the board. However, I can’t draft him in the fourth round.
Hunter Renfrow’s splits w/ & w/o Darren Waller
W/ Waller – 11G | 7.2 tpg | 14.4 PPR FPPG | 6 TD
W/O Waller – 6G | 8.2 tpg | 16.8 PPR FPPG | 3 TD
— Mike Fanelli (@Mike_NFL2) August 12, 2022
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC): ADP 64.7 | RB25
After a solid rookie season, Edwards-Helaire’s fantasy production fell off a cliff last season. His fantasy points per game dropped by 12.6%, and his yards per touch dropped 7.8%. Furthermore, Edwards-Helaire has struggled with injuries in his career, missing 30.3% of the games. More importantly, his work in the receiving game dropped dramatically last year because of Darrel Williams.
While Williams signed with the Arizona Cardinals in the offseason, fantasy players should be concerned about Edwards-Helaire’s regression last year. He averaged two fewer rushing attempts per game while playing 7.6% fewer snaps. More importantly, Isiah Pacheco has earned first-team reps in training camp and more work in the passing game. Between the regression from last year, his injury history, and the emergence of Pacheco, drafting Edwards-Helaire as a sixth-round pick is a mistake. Tony Pollard and Ken Walker have a later ADP. I would take both before Edwards-Helaire.
Derrick Henry (RB – TEN): ADP 4.7 | RB4
After a few quiet years to start his career, Henry had back-to-back monster seasons in 2019 and 2020. He averaged 20.3 fantasy points per game over those two years, averaging 5.2 yards per rushing attempt and scoring a touchdown once every 20.5 touches. Last year, Henry was on pace to run away with the RB1 title before he suffered a foot injury that ended his regular season after eight games.
While Henry was on pace to end the year with 465 rushing attempts for 1,991 yards and 21 touchdowns, his yards per rushing attempt average dropped from 5.4 in 2020 to 4.3 last season. Furthermore, it was his lowest yards per rushing attempt average since his second year in the NFL. Coming off the first severe injury in his career, fantasy players should wonder if Henry can play all 17 games with his high workload. Additionally, the Titans no longer have an elite wide receiver after trading away A.J. Brown this offseason. As a result, Henry is a risk as a top-five pick. I would draft Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook over Henry.
Evan Engram (TE – JAC): ADP 185.3 | TE21
Engram is like a reoccurring nightmare for the fantasy football community. He makes numerous preseason sleeper articles every year but ends up having a disappointing fantasy season. Engram was the TE6 as a rookie, averaging 11.6 fantasy points per game. However, he needed to finish second among tight ends with 115 targets that year to finish as a top-six fantasy tight end. Travis Kelce scored 59.9 more fantasy points that year on only seven more targets by comparison. More importantly, Engram has repeated let fantasy players down since his rookie year.
After scoring six touchdowns as a rookie, Engram has scored 11 total touchdowns over the past four years. Despite averaging 6.6 targets per game in his career, Engram has averaged only 10.5 fantasy points per contest. He has averaged only 1.52 fantasy points per target in his career while repeatedly struggling with drops. Furthermore, Dan Arnold will cut into Engram’s snaps and could earn the starting role. Last year, Arnold averaged 7.6 fantasy points per game in Jacksonville, while Engram averaged a career-low 6.8 in New York. Instead of using a late-round pick on Engram, target a tight end with more upside like Hayden Hurst or Brevin Jordan.
— NFL Rumors (@nflrums) July 26, 2022
Pat Freiermuth (TE – PIT): ADP 114.7 | TE12
Last year Freiermuth was the TE13, averaging 9.5 fantasy points per game. However, he was the TE17 on a points-per-game basis. He was also very touchdown dependent as a rookie. Freiermuth had six targets inside the five-yard line and an 11.7% touchdown rate, while 27.7% of his fantasy points came on touchdowns last season. Furthermore, his fantasy production dramatically changed when he failed to find the end zone.
In the six games he scored a touchdown, Freiermuth averaged 13.9 fantasy points per game and 2.6 fantasy points per target on 5.3 targets per contest. However, he averaged only 6.9 fantasy points per game and 1.46 fantasy points per target on 4.7 targets per contest when he failed to score a touchdown. Over a 17-game pace, Freiermuth would have been the TE3 in the games he scored a touchdown last season, while he would have been the TE23 when he failed to find the end zone. Freiermuth is too touchdown-dependent for you to draft at his current ADP. He belongs outside the top-12 tight ends.
Tyler Boyd (WR – CIN): ADP 134.1 | WR50
As the 50th wide receiver off the board, calling Boyd a bust might be a stretch. However, there are several other wide receivers around his ADP I would draft over Boyd. Last year, he was the WR31, averaging 11.5 fantasy points per game. Unfortunately, it was the fourth year in a row where Boyd’s fantasy points per game average dropped by at least one fantasy point from the previous year. Last year he had only 94 targets, his lowest total since 2017.
Furthermore, Boyd’s numbers dropped when Higgins was on the field. Last year Boyd averaged 7.5 targets and 14 fantasy points per game in the two games without Higgins. However, he averaged only 5.6 targets and 11.1 fantasy points per game in the 14 games with Higgins by comparison. Over the 16 games he played last season, Boyd would have finished as the WR35 with his 11.1 fantasy points per game average. Boyd lacks the upside I want from an 11th-round pick. Give me Skyy Moore (WR52), Jarvis Landry (WR53) or DeVante Parker (WR57) with a later ADP instead.
Dawson Knox (BUF – TE): ADP 96.2 | TE10
After scoring 146.5 fantasy points over the first two years of his career, Dawson Knox scored 164.1 fantasy points last season. He scored nine touchdowns in 15 games, tying him for the most receiving touchdowns by a tight end. By comparison, Knox scored only five touchdowns in his first 27 career games. More importantly, he was the TE11 last season because of his 18.4% touchdown rate, while 32.9% of his fantasy points came from touchdowns. Though touchdowns are the name of the game for tight ends, Knox’s fantasy production took a massive hit when he failed to find the end zone.
In the seven games he found the end zone, Knox averaged 16 fantasy points per game and 3.21 fantasy points per target. However, he averaged only 6.5 fantasy points per game and 1.44 fantasy points per target in the eight games he failed to score a touchdown. Furthermore, Knox averaged 19.5 fantasy points per game and 3.54 fantasy points per target in the two games where he scored multiple touchdowns last season. His fantasy points per game drop by nearly 60% when he fails to score a touchdown. With Davis taking on a larger role and the additions of James Cook and O.J. Howard, Knox shouldn’t get drafted as a top-10 tight end.
Mike Gesicki (MIA – TE): ADP 113.8 | TE12
Despite a lack of weapons in Miami, Mike Gesicki was the TE8, averaging 9.7 fantasy points per game last season. He had only two receiving touchdowns, ranking 34th among tight ends. Furthermore, Gesicki’s two receiving touchdowns were the fourth most on the Dolphins and accounted for only 6.1% of their offensive scores. If he struggled to find the end zone last year, how many touchdowns will Gesicki score with the addition of Tyreek Hill?
Miami also signed Cedrick Wilson in the offseason, adding more competition for Gesicki. Furthermore, he had 412 slot snaps last year, according to PlayerProfiler, the most among tight ends. With the additions of Wilson and Hill, Gesicki won’t play as much in the slot this year. More importantly, Gesicki had a route participation rate of 78.9%. However, that number could regress as Gesicki reportedly will be asked to block more this season. Gesicki has never averaged more than 10.6 fantasy points per game any year of his career. There is no reason why he should get drafted ahead of Cole Kmet or David Njoku.
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