Published On: Tue, May 15th, 2018

Fantasy: 7 bust candidates to avoid in your draft

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In an effort to save you from the frustration that comes with a disappointing fantasy pick, here are this year’s top bust candidates.

Average draft position (ADP) data courtesy of Fantasy Football Calculator and is based on 12-team leagues with standard scoring.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers

Before you lose your mind after seeing the new golden boy, Jimmy G, on this list, take a breath and read the rest of this paragraph. The issue here is draft capital and the heavy investment it will take to acquire Garoppolo’s services. The former Patriot went undefeated in his five starts for the 49ers, bringing hope to the franchise and capturing the hearts of fantasy owners in the process. But Garoppolo was the QB13 during that stretch, and he was 19th among passers with an average of 14.3 fantasy points per contest. His on-pace stats from those performances project out to a 19-touchdown campaign, and yet, he’s going off the board in the same round as Cam Newton and Carson Wentz. Considering Garoppolo plays at fantasy’s deepest position, there’s no reason to spend a sixth rounder on an unproven talent when you can find quarterbacks with just as much upside later in the draft.

Bust Potential: ☠☠☠
ADP: 6th round (QB9)

Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys

Prescott has outproduced expectations in his first two NFL seasons, finishing as a top-10 fantasy quarterback each year. If he’s to hit that mark again, he’ll need to make the most of a completely retooled receiving corps missing stalwarts Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. Both players were on the wrong side of their primes, but they provided Prescott with reliable targets. He’ll now enter the season with an unproven group that includes Allen Hurns, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, and third-round rookie Michael Gallup. Prescott topped 190 yards just three times over the final 10 games last season and was held without a passing touchdown in six of those outings. If that isn’t enough to scare you away from Prescott, at least make sure you draft another passer to pair with him.

Bust Potential: ☠☠☠☠
ADP: 10th round (QB16)

LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills

McCoy is an all-world talent who has carried the Bills’ offense the last three seasons. That task will be much more burdensome in 2018 with uncertainty up and down Buffalo’s offensive depth chart. The Bills are dealing with a quarterback competition between an underdeveloped rookie and a career backup, the departure of the entire left side of their once-steady offensive line, and one of the worst receiving corps in the league. The loss of dual-threat Tyrod Taylor will also be a loss for McCoy’s fantasy prospects. McCoy will see as many touches as he can handle, but entering his age-30 season, it’s safe to question whether he’ll be able to maintain his production over a full 16-game schedule while facing so many impediments.

Bust Potential: ☠☠☠☠
ADP: 2nd round (RB11)

Derrick Henry, RB, Titans

If you open the window and listen closely, you’re sure to hear the distant cries of Henry owners exclaiming, “This was supposed to be the year!” Instead of letting Henry be the workhorse, the Titans decided to sign Dion Lewis, who was the RB12 in fantasy a year ago with the Patriots. How Tennessee’s new coaching staff plans to divide touches is still unclear, but Lewis is far too dynamic to be marginalized in a passing-down role. That means Henry will again be sharing the backfield, which caps his upside and could even result in him being the second-most valuable fantasy back on his own team. So much for that breakout season.

Bust Potential: ☠☠☠
ADP: 2nd round (RB16)

Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns

The move to Cleveland helped Landry land a massive contract, but fantasy owners are often guilty of being too optimistic when it comes to players on new teams. It’s almost inconceivable that Landry will continue to see the kind of volume that made him a fantasy star with the Dolphins. He failed to eclipse 1,000 yards in 2017 despite leading the NFL with 112 receptions. A big part of that was his average targeted air yards, which ranked among the lowest in the league for qualified receivers – a full three yards behind the threshold for most of the league’s top wideouts. Regression is also coming for his nine touchdowns, which will be hard to repeat for a player who never had more than five scores before last season. Unless you believe the Browns will deploy Landry in a completely fresh way – as a full-time receiver out wide – and that he will excel in that role, it’s foolish to pay up for him.

Bust Potential: ☠☠☠☠
ADP: 5th round (WR22)

Devin Funchess, WR, Panthers

Funchess is coming off a breakout season during which he posted 840 yards and eight touchdowns for the Panthers. Those numbers were made possible thanks to the lack of experience and skill in Carolina’s receiving corps, as well as Greg Olsen’s foot injury, which held the Pro Bowl tight end under 30 yards in six of the seven games he appeared in. Olsen is back to full health and the Panthers have reloaded at receiver by drafting D.J. Moore in the first round and bringing in field-stretching veteran Torrey Smith. Funchess should still play a big part as one of Newton’s favorite options, but the table is no longer set for him to eat alone.

Bust Potential: ☠☠☠☠
ADP: 7th round (WR34)

Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins

Reed has never played a full 16-game schedule, so it wasn’t surprising to see him miss time in 2017. A variety of injuries limited the Redskins star to a career-low six appearances and left fantasy owners wondering if they can ever trust Reed in their lineups again. When healthy, Reed’s per-game fantasy stats rival anyone at the position, including Rob Gronkowski. But he’s already expected to miss OTAs after having toe surgery, leading head coach Jay Gruden to state the team “hopes” to have Reed healthy by training camp. The masochists among us might be willing to roll the dice on Reed this season, but most fantasy owners should avoid the year-long headache and look elsewhere for a starting tight end.

Bust Potential: ☠☠☠☠☠
ADP: 7th round (TE10)

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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