2016 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Busts 1.0
Can Brandon Marshall and Blake Bortles do it again this year? Our Heath Cummings dives into his top busts for the 2016 Fantasy Football season.
Cummings: Sleepers 1.0 | Breakouts 1.0 | Busts 1.0
There can be a lot room for interpretation in sleeper and breakout picks. Not so with busts. You call someone a bust and everyone knows what you mean.
They are not going to live up to the hype, or at least their ADP. Now, the reasons why players are busts can vary drastically. I hesitate to call anyone that gets injured a bust, but that's technically what they were.
Also, there can be players that perform exactly like I expected them to, but the general consensus was just way too high to begin with. There are plenty of those on this list. Regardless of the reason, these are the 12 players I would avoid in your next draft.
They won't be worth the cost.
I wrote plenty about Bortles earlier this year and why he shouldn't be drafted as a starting quarterback. Well, apparently you guys aren't listening. I used a lot of statistical comparisons in that piece but the main point was that Bortles wasn't actually good in 2015 and his Fantasy performance was solely the result of an unsustainable touchdown rate.
Bortles has a lot of things going for him, including a spectacular receiving corps (more on that below). But if those receivers were really enough to turn him into a good quarterback, that would have shown up somewhere besides the end zone. Bortles finished second in touchdown passes in 2015 (and first in interceptions). Those are the only categories he ranked in the top five and passing yards per game was the only place he ranked in the top ten.
Bortles attempted the sixth most passes in the league in 2015 and the Jaguars have spent the offseason talking about their improved defense and commitment to the run. A very high percentage of Bortles Fantasy points were scored when his team trailed, so if you believe the Jaguars will be better it's even harder to believe that Bortles will be a good Fantasy option.
We've really evolved in the Fantasy community, but not quite as far as I thought. Eddie Lacy was pretty miserable in 2015 after showing up clearly out of shape. There was a short burst in the middle of the season where he looked like his old self, but Lacy finished the season with 117 rushing yards in his last three games combined.
This offseason we've been inundated with stories about Lacy's commitment to getting back in shape. I'm all for believing the human spirit and hoping people overcome their personal demons. I don't want to act like it can't happen in this situation. But Lacy, who accomplished almost exactly as much as James Starks last season, is being drafted in the second round with the likes of Mark Ingram and Doug Martin.
In the next couple of months we're going to hear countless reports about players being in the best shape of their life and we're going to ignore them. Why we've chosen to believe the reports about Eddie Lacy and went back to drafting him as a top ten running back is beyond me. I understand believing enough in Lacy's upside to take him earlier than his 2015 production suggests, but not this early.
C.J. Anderson has certainly shown promise in short spurts over the pat two seasons. He was the number one running back from Week 12-17 in 2014 with 779 total yards and nine touchdowns. He close out 2015 strong as well with 80 percent of his touchdown production and more than half of his total yards in the last five weeks of the season.
Those two spurts make it easy to understand why the Broncos wanted him back but hard to see why he hasn't put together a 1,000 yard season yet. The Broncos figure to lean heavily on the run with the void they have at quarterback, but opposing defenses know that as well. There's also the matter of Devontae Booker, the team's fourth round pick. Booker is already more of a threat in the passing game and could take over if Anderson struggles with injuries once again.
Speaking of injuries, it's been five years since Jonathan Stewart put together a 16 game season. Last season was a career high in carries for Stewart but we're talking about a 29 year old running back that has missed 23 games over the past four years.
I would place Stewart's ceiling right as a mid range RB2 in Fantasy and that's where he's currently being drafted. His touchdowns will likely be limited by the use of Mike Tolbert and Cam Newton in the red zone. You can find 800 rushing yards and 6-8 touchdowns much later in the draft, there's no reason to use a fourth round pick for an injury-prone running back on the wrong side of the aging curve.
Langford is the first of two backs on my bust list that have seemingly fallen into a starting running back job. Opportunity may be the biggest factor in Fantasy Football, but you also have to have a baseline of talent to hold on to that opportunity. I'm not certain Langford does. He was a top 25 running back in 2015 because of a relatively high touchdown volume, but the eye test (and his yards per carry) tell the story of a mediocre back.
The Bears drafted Jordan Howard, a much better power runner, late in the draft. Langford will be the starter in Week 1, but Howard presents two concerns. One is that Howard becomes the goal line back, erasing the one thing that helped Langford's value in 2015. The bigger issue would be if Howard takes the job midseason, which seems at the very least possible.
I never thought Alfred Morris was as bad as everyone else did, but I think it's kind of funny that people are now excited about Matt Jones in this offense. Jones is not as good as Morris. Sure, he's a better pass catcher, but that's it. Jones has more size, but he doesn't use it well and he doesn't make people miss. He ran for a paltry 3.4 yards per carry in 2015 and that was over a significant sample size. The only reason I'm not more down on Jones is the dearth of competition in Washington.
I am a huge Brandon Marshall fan, but there should be little doubt he won't be as good as he was in 2015. Marshall set a career high with 14 touchdowns and came close to career highs in both receptions and yards. He's also 32 years old, which doesn't bode well for repeating that type of season.
Maybe more worrisome for Marshall is the quarterback situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick has yet to come to terms with the Jets and there is not another quarterback on the roster that would inspire confidence. The best case scenario is the club works something out before the start of training camp, but that also seems like the least likely scenario as well.
Marshall is being drafted as a top ten wide out, which is too high for me. The most likely scenario seems like a finish in the mid-teens. That mid-teens finish would be fine but Marshall will have to dodge several bust scenarios to get there. I could see Marshall's age, quarterback situation, or both conspiring to disappoint owners who draft him in the second round.
I'm shocked Edelman is being drafted as high as he is in standard leagues. He set a career high in touchdowns with seven in 2015, which is exactly how many games he missed. Edelman has played 16 games exactly once in his career and benefits greatly from playing with one of the best quarterbacks in the universe. It's more likely than not that quarterback is missing the first four weeks of the season. If you're projecting 12 games for Edelman and four of them might be without Brady it's really difficult to see how he's a top 30 wide receiver.
If you take Allen's production from his first eight games and double it you have one of the great possession receiver seasons of all time. If that sounds like a backhanded compliment, that's only partially intentional. Allen is really good at what he does and the Chargers are going to feed him the ball. The problem is that Allen is going to require that huge volume because touchdowns and yards are going to be hard to come by. He's scored just eight touchdowns since his rookie year. I don't see a big change in that department in 2016.
I felt like Tate was a little bit undervalued in 2015, especially when Calvin Johnson was out. Now that Johnson has retired, that script has completely flipped. If everything goes right for Tate, I do believe he could justify the expectations that come with his draft position, but there are plenty of reasons for concern. This offense (team) could be pretty bad and tate has never scored more than seven touchdowns in his career. I'm also worried about his yards per catch after they fell to a paltry 9.0 in 2015. Finally, with the contract this team gave Marvin Jones it may be foolish to expect Tate to get #1 targets.
Hurns was outstanding in 2015 and I don't begrudge them giving him a new contract. He's Robin to Allen Robinson's Batman and I've already talked about the coming touchdown regression in Jacksonville. I have to believe Robinson (who is one of the more talented receivers in the league) is going to get his. I would expect this would mean a reduction in targets for Hurns, especially in the red zone.
I'm not actually all that worried about Barnidge's sports hernia surgery. Best we know now he'll be back weeks before the regular season starts. This is more philosophical than anything. If you show me a 31 year-old that doubled his career totals in every statistical category last season, I'll show you a player that you should expect to be worse. This won't be right every time, but the othe rfactors surrounding the Browns lost offense lead me to believe that Barnidge is more one year wonder and less late bloomer.
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