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The title of the column says Busts 3.0, but really it should be called Overvalued 1.0. This is all about how these players compare to their Average Draft Position.
Now, what we're doing here is looking at a combination of my first two busts columns in early April and mid-June, including some new names, and seeing where they stack up on the ADP from FantasyPros to eliminate any CBS Sports bias. And one player who is starting to make me nervous is Kelvin Benjamin.
He might be going too high in drafts based on his ADP, which heading into the second week of preseason action is No. 35 overall, and he's the No. 18 receiver off the board. That's about where he's ranked for me now (No. 19 receiver), but I wouldn't draft him until Round 4 in standard leagues.
I want to see how he does through the third preseason game coming off last year's torn ACL, and Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Benjamin has struggled with his conditioning. Meanwhile, second-year receiver Devin Funchess has earned rave reviews in training camp, which could mean more production for him and less for Benjamin.
If he doesn't start generating some positive buzz then I will move him down, which might lead to him joining this list if his ADP stays the same. And then Benjamin will be a player I will avoid in every draft this year.
I was excited about Roethlisberger this year, even with Martavis Bryant suspended for the season and Heath Miller retired. It looked like the addition of tight end Ladarius Green would give Roethlisberger an elite-level playmaker to go with Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell, and this offense would continue to dominate. That could still happen, but now it appears like Green will miss the season because of recurring headaches, along with Bell being suspended for the first three games. And Sammie Coates, through two preseason games, doesn't appear to be a reliable target, leaving Roethlisberger to rely on Markus Wheaton, which could be awful. He also has one or zero touchdown passes in 13 of his past 28 games over the past two years, so sometimes he's been boom or bust from a consistency standpoint. I'd still draft him as a low-end starter in the majority of leagues, but there's no way I'm drafting him in Round 5 as the No. 5 quarterback off the board. He's going ahead of Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, Tom Brady, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, which is a mistake.
I like the way Bortles and the Jaguars played in the first preseason game against the Jets. During his two drives, Bortles was 6-of-7 passing for 105 yards, and he led Jacksonville to 10 points, including a 1-yard touchdown run for Chris Ivory. This is an example of how I expect Bortles to play this season. He should perform better as a quarterback (he had a 58.6 completion percentage in 2015) and the team should improve, but his Fantasy production will decline. Bortles was awesome last year with 4,428 passing yards, 35 touchdowns and 18 interceptions and 320 rushing yards and two touchdowns. But he had 29 touchdowns when trailing, and the Jaguars should improve with their ground game and defense, which should reduce the need for dramatic comeback efforts. Now, in the game against the Jets, Bortles did have a potential touchdown to Julius Thomas, but the two failed to connect. It's not like he's going to get shutout of having good and sometimes great games. But he's being drafted as the No. 8 Fantasy quarterback, and I expect him to be outside the Top 12. He's still worth using as a starter in deeper leagues, but he will regress from last year's production, so if you reach for him in Round 6 based on his ADP you will almost certainly be disappointed.
This is not a mistake. You are reading this correctly. Peterson is being overvalued this year. Now, I realize those words could most certainly come back to haunt me. After all, Peterson has proven to be among the best running backs and best Fantasy options of all time. But Father Time is undefeated, and this could be the year Peterson starts to slow down or, hopefully not, break down. He's 31 now and has hit all the benchmarks we typically tell you to avoid (eight full seasons and nearly 2,500 career carries, including the playoffs). He could definitely remain dominant for another season given his track record, including coming back from a torn ACL to rush for 2,000 yards. But there's potentially more risk than ever to trust Peterson this year at this point in his career, especially at No. 5 overall as the No. 2 running back off the board. I'd rather have Todd Gurley, David Johnson, Lamar Miller and Ezekiel Elliott over Peterson, which is a risk, but one I'm willing to take based on the statistical evidence. Look, it wouldn't surprise me if Peterson is the No. 1 Fantasy running back again this year. But history suggests he could start to struggle at this point in his career, and I plan to stay away unless he falls to the end of Round 1. It's also a big reason why I'm targeting Jerick McKinnon in all leagues because he could be a star if given an increased role.
Freeman should still be the best running back for the Falcons, but he's not going to repeat his performance from last season after he had 265 carries for 1,056 yards and 11 touchdowns and 73 catches for 578 yards and three touchdowns. And he might not come close. He was the No. 1 Fantasy running back in 2015, and a regression is coming this year. He should not be the No. 7 running back off the board in standard leagues, and his ADP at No. 14 overall is too high. I plan on drafting Freeman in Round 3 in standard leagues, and he's a late second-round pick in PPR formats. The Falcons want to give Tevin Coleman more work, which will cut into Freeman's rushing totals. He still has the chance to be highly productive in PPR leagues. But go back to last year when Coleman, who struggled with 87 carries for 392 yards and one touchdown and two catches for 14 yards, including three lost fumbles, was the starter to open the season, and Freeman didn't become a Fantasy star until Coleman injured his ribs in Week 2. Coleman averaged 4.5 yards per carry compared to Freeman at 4.0, which was the lowest YPC among the top nine Fantasy running backs in standard leagues. He also had just four games with 100 rushing yards in 2015, and he needed at least 25 carries in three of those outings to get there. His receiving prowess should save his production, but his carries and overall stats should decline. He's a risk at his current ADP.
Forte recently returned to practice leading up to the second preseason game for the Jets after dealing with a hamstring injury. That's alarming already for a 30-year-old running back with more than 2,000 career carries and 2,500 total touches and eight full seasons in the NFL. There's also a terrible track record of running backs who change teams after turning 30, with Herschel Walker (1992) and John Henry Johnson (1962) the only two to gain 1,000 yards under that criteria. Now, Forte is going to a great system for offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, and he should continue to be a viable receiver out of the backfield for Ryan Fitzpatrick. But Bilal Powell will also play a prominent role for the Jets, and this could be close to shared backfield, including Khiry Robinson potentially working in short-yardage situations. Forte could still have some excellent moments this season, but he's not worth drafting in Round 4 as the No. 16 running back off the board. I wouldn't draft him until Round 6 in standard leagues (Round 5 in PPR), and he could definitely let a lot of Fantasy owners down if you reach for him this year. He was amazing with the Bears, but his best days are clearly behind him. It's not a bad idea to target Powell in Round 11 in all formats since he could be just as good as Forte this year.
Murray was amazing in the preseason opener against the Chargers with six carries for 93 yards and a touchdown. You couldn't have asked for a better debut with the Titans than that, especially considering what happened to Murray last year with the Eagles when he struggled with 702 rushing yards and six touchdowns and 44 catches for 322 yards and a touchdown. But if you're judging him based on the first preseason game then you have to be excited for Derrick Henry (10 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown) and even Bishop Sankey (three carries for 52 yards and a touchdown) since both ran well. It's more likely that San Diego has a bad defense, and the Titans "exotic smashmouth" run game just had a great day. I'm not convinced that Murray can get back to the level he showed in 2014 with the Cowboys when he was the No. 1 running back in the NFL with 392 carries for 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns and 57 catches for 416 yards. That's because he had almost 500 total touches, including the playoffs, and his body could just be spent, even at 28 years old. He's worth the gamble in Round 6 in most formats, but he's clearly being drafted ahead of that. Henry will play a prominent role for the Titans this year, and I'm afraid Murray will let Fantasy owners down again like he did in 2015.
Like Peterson, this one is going to rub some Fantasy owners the wrong way because of how talented Hopkins is and the way he performed in 2015. He was awesome with 111 catches or 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns on 192 targets, and he was the No. 6 Fantasy receiver in standard leagues. He did that despite some awful quarterback play from Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates and Brandon Weeden, and hopefully he can be dominant again. But I'm not confident Brock Osweiler is an upgrade at quarterback, at least compared to Hoyer. And the offense around Hopkins got better with the addition of Miller and Will Fuller, and we could see improvement from second-year receiver Jaelen Strong as well. But when you look at Hopkins from 2015, his season was almost a tale of two halves. During the first eight weeks of the season, Hopkins averaged 14 targets per game and never had less than 11 in any outing, which allowed him to average 8.25 catches, 108 yards and .75 touchdowns per game. But Hopkins never saw more than 12 targets in any of his final eight games and averaged just 10 per outing, and his per game averages slipped to 5.6 catches, 81 yards and .63 touchdowns. If you project his stats over his final eight games for the season he would have finished with 90 catches, 1,296 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those are still amazing stats, but it shows a slight decline from the player being drafted as the No. 4 receiver and eighth overall player. And I expect Houston to lean more on Miller this year than last year's running back combination led by Alfred Blue, which should lead to a decline in targets for Hopkins. Is he still someone you should target as a starter in the majority of leagues? Absolutely. But he should be drafted after A.J. Green and Dez Bryant toward the end of Round 1 or beginning of Round 2 in standard leagues.
Edelman still has the chance to be good this season, but it's doubtful he's going to great. And based on where he's being drafted in standard leagues in Round 4 at No. 40 overall as the No. 19 receiver off the board that's just too soon. The good news for Edelman is he appears to be fine with his surgically-repaired foot. He returned from a brief absence in training camp and appears on track for Week 1. The bad news is he'll be without Brady for the first four games because of his suspension, and the receiving corps has more mouths to feed than ever before in New England. You know about Rob Gronkowski, Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola, but the Patriots added Martellus Bennett, Chris Hogan and rookie Malcolm Mitchell this offseason. All of these guys will compete for targets, and even though Edelman should be No. 2 in the pecking order behind Gronkowski, his value takes a hit. He averaged almost nine targets a game last season and nearly 10 in 2014, but Brady won't have to lean on him to the same level as the past two years. I'm fine drafting Edelman in Round 4 in PPR leagues, but I'd rather have him in Round 6 in standard formats.
The stats Baldwin posted last season were staggering, and he finished as the No. 7 Fantasy receiver in standard leagues. He had 78 catches for 1,069 yards and 14 touchdowns on 104 targets, and Fantasy owners might be drafting him with the expectation of a repeat performance this season. Baldwin also has a good track record when he gets at least seven targets in a game, which has happened 13 times over the past two seasons, and he's scored double digits in Fantasy points in 10 of those outings. I can see Baldwin around 75 catches and 1,000 yards again this year, but he should return to single digits in touchdowns - maybe even half of his 2015 production. Baldwin took off starting in Week 12 last season, which coincided when Jimmy Graham (knee) got hurt, and he had 34 catches for 530 yards and 11 touchdowns in his final six outings. That's 44 percent of his catches for the season, 50 percent of his yards and 79 percent of his touchdowns over that stretch. As you can imagine, that's impossible to replicate, and I expect Tyler Lockett to be more involved this year. I wouldn't draft Baldwin before Round 5, but he will likely be gone by then in the majority of leagues with owners having unrealistic expectations for his performance this year. That's what his ADP suggests, and I consider him overvalued.
The receiver who should be impacted the most with the Jaguars passing attack coming back down to Earth should be Hurns. While Allen Robinson will also regress, Hurns could have the biggest fall since his production from 2015 will be hard to replicate. He had 64 catches for 1,031 yards and 10 touchdowns on 105 targets, and he was the No. 15 Fantasy receiver in standard leagues. It's highly unlikely he'll score a touchdown once every 10 targets with Jacksonville getting better production from the running game and not being put in the position to chase points every week. One indicator for Hurns regressing could be his production once Thomas got going in Week 11, and Hurns scored double digits in Fantasy points just twice in his final six outings. He still has the potential to be a No. 3 Fantasy receiver, but I expect him to be more of a No. 4 option. He remains risky in Round 6, especially since he's being drafted ahead of better options like Donte Moncrief, John Brown, DeVante Parker, Lockett, Marvin Jones and Sterling Shepard. I consider all of these receivers to have a higher ceiling, and Hurns will be more of a disappointment than an asset to your Fantasy team this year.
There are some reports that say Eifert might not play until early in the regular season as he recovers from ankle surgery as the result of an injury in the Pro Bowl. It's just a disastrous situation for a player who had a breakout campaign last year as the No. 6 Fantasy tight end in standard leagues with 52 catches for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns. We hope he's back sooner than later and can pick up where last season ended, especially with Cincinnati in need of help in the passing game now that Jones and Mohamed Sanu are gone. Green should be dominant, and Tyler Boyd is emerging as a sleeper. But if Eifert is 100 percent then he could easily play at a high level. Now, he'll have to improve in some areas since he was extremely touchdown dependent last year. He only had five games with more than 50 receiving yards, including one after Week 8, and he also had just three games with more than four catches. And even if he does get better in terms of catches and yards, his touchdowns should still decline since he led all tight ends with 11 red-zone touchdowns, and he scored six touchdowns inside the 10, which trailed only Gronkowski and Jordan Reed, who both had seven. But the biggest knock on Eifert is his injury status, and hopefully Fantasy owners realize the length of time he could be out. That should eventually lower his ADP, which is absurdly high in Round 6 as the No. 6 tight end off the board.
There aren't many scenarios right now where I want to draft Graham, let alone consider him the No. 12 tight end in standard leagues. It's unlikely he'll ever get back to the same player we saw dominate for the Saints from 2011-14. The patella tendon knee injury he suffered last year has been devastating for players, most notably Victor Cruz, who has yet to play after hurting his knee in 2014. It was somewhat surprising Graham was activated off the PUP list, but he's yet to participate in team drills following the second preseason game for the Seahawks and could be limited to start the year. But while health is the biggest factor for Graham, you also have to recall how he played in his first year in Seattle before getting hurt. He scored two touchdowns in 11 games and had just three games with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league. There were some positive moments, and when he had at least eight targets, which happened six times, he scored at least seven Fantasy points in a standard league in five of those outings. But you're not drafting Graham with the hope he scores seven Fantasy points. I'd rather gamble on Dwayne Allen, Antonio Gates and Bennett, who are all going after Graham based on ADP and have much more upside. Maybe Graham can overcome this injury and prove why Seattle invested in him last year with a strong comeback, but I'm skeptical. And I would pass on him at this spot in the draft, especially as the No. 12 tight end off the board.