The busts column is probably the one that draws the most ire from readers. I get it, because no one wants to hear their favorite player called a bust. But what those readers don't seem to understand is that I don't choose the busts, ADP does.
A prime example is the rookie running back class. In June I called most of the 2020 running back class busts. But a lot has changed since then. Damien Williams opted out, so we all agreed Clyde Edwards-Helaire was a top 20 pick. Do I still think mid-Round 1 is too high? Yeah, but he's not a bust. Meanwhile Jonathan Taylor, Cam Akers, D'Andre Swift and Ke'Shawn Vaughn all saw their ADP fall. None of them is being drafted before Round 5, according to CBS ADP, and so you won't see any of them on my bust list below. I wish I could say the same for the elite quarterbacks and defenses.
It was no fan of calling Patrick Mahomes a bust at his first-round ADP last year, and now I have to do it for both Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. While it's true that most quarterbacks have an ADP higher than I'd prefer, most quarterbacks have a reasonable outcome where they could justify their cost. For Mahomes and Jackson to justify a Round 1 pick, they'd have to repeat their outlier seasons from the past two years. You should never draft a player at a spot where they have to repeat a performance no one has ever repeated.
Specifically for Jackson, you should understand he could lose double-digit touchdowns and a few hundred rushing yards to regression. These are my No. 1 and No. 2 quarterbacks, so please don't take this as me saying they're bad. It's just that no quarterbacks are worth a first- or second-round pick in a one quarterback league. There are simply too many good late-round options for that to be a good strategy.
Speaking of bad strategy. I am fully behind the Steelers and 49ers having elite defenses this year. But there is no way either should have an ADP in the top 100. Right now both of them do. Like the quarterback argument, this is one I make every year. I made it with Jacksonville in 2018 and I made it with the Bears in 2019. Elite defenses don't generally repeat the things that make them elite. And even when they do, they aren't worth more than a Round 12 pick. The same goes for kickers, for those of you who still use them.
Now that I've told you not to draft the two best quarterbacks and defenses in football, here are six more busts I'm avoiding at their CBS ADP.
Le'Veon Bell RB
KC Kansas City • #26
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
I spent most of the offseason defending Bell and calling him a regression candidate. But after his public spat with Adam Gase and reports of Frank Gore getting 40% of the touches, I'm out. I'd consider him late in Round 4 in PPR or Round 5 in non-PPR, but I'd rather just not draft him at all.
BUF Buffalo • #26
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
It seems every report out of Buffalo is either touting Zack Moss or highlighting a mistake by Devin Singletary. At the very least it seems Moss has earned a sizable share of the work, but this could go very bad for Singletary very quickly if Moss dominates short yardage and passing downs. The Buffalo offense is not one I expect to be good enough for running backs that they can share evenly and be viable Fantasy starters. Don't draft Singletary before Round 6.
DEN Denver • #25
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Between Melvin Gordon's rib injury and reports of Phillip Lindsay's improvement as a pass catcher, I can't get behind Gordon in Round 3. Denver has been very open about desiring a committee approach, and like Buffalo I'm not sure this offense is good enough to support a starting Fantasy back who is only getting 60% of the touches. I'd settle on Gordon in Round 5, but like Bell I'd prefer not to draft him at all.
ARI Arizona • #10
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Hopkins has been one of the best in the NFL over the past five years, so I don't want to disrespect him. But he's been below 8 yards per target in four of those five seasons. That matters because I don't expect he maintains his 10 targets per game in Arizona's spread offense. if you project Hopkins for 140 targets like I do, then you're looking at an 1,100-yard season. That's assuming he's as efficient with Kyler Murray as he was with Deshaun Watson. It's hard for me to find top-three upside in Hopkins this season. I wouldn't draft him until late Round 3.
DK Metcalf WR
SEA Seattle • #14
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Receivers are going so late that it's hard to find busts at receiver. This is more about where Metcalf is going in relation to other receivers. I'd strongly prefer Terry McLaurin and Courtland Sutton, who are being drafted right after him. I'd also rather draft Stefon Diggs, A.J. Green. D.J. Chark and Michael Gallup. All of those receivers have 120-target upside at least, and I'm not sure Metcalf can get there in Seattle's offense without an injury to Tyler Lockett.
TB Tampa Bay • #87
Age: 31 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Could Gronk turn the clock back to 2017? It's possible, I suppose. But it's not very likely on a new team after he took 2019 off. It's far more likely he takes a back seat to Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. In fact, he'll probably share some of the tight end targets with O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. I expect Gronkowski to be much more impactful for the Buccaneers than for your Fantasy roster. He's a fine late-round pick as a low-end starter, but you shouldn't even consider him in Round 6 or 7.
So which Fantasy football busts should you completely avoid? And which running back going off the board early should you fade? Visit SportsLine now to get cheat sheets from the model that called Baker Mayfield's disappointing season, and find out.