Fantasy bust list: One player from all 32 NFL teams to avoid in your draft

32 sleepers for 2018 – One for every NFL team

Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald – He’ll soon become No. 2 on the all-time receiving yardage list, and it’s safe to expect another heavy dose of targets for Fitzgerald. Still, he’s 35 years old, got just 7.18 YPT last season (scoring three touchdowns on a whopping 87 looks over the season’s second half) and should take a lesser role in an Arizona offense now able to incorporate David Johnson, Christian Kirk and the emerging Ricky Seals-Jones, so I’d rather higher upside receivers like Amari Cooper and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Atlanta Falcons: Calvin Ridley – He’s more of an “overvalued” pick than bust, and this isn’t a knock on Ridley’s talent, but he’ll be too far down Atlanta’s pecking order to make a significant impact in year one. Draft rookies D.J. Moore, Michael Gallup and Christian Kirk instead.

Baltimore Ravens: Michael Crabtree – He got just 618 yards last year (he hasn’t reached 1,005 receiving yards since 2012), and receiver is one of the tougher positions to transition to with a new team. Joe Flacco has gotten the worst YPA among all QBs since 2013, so it’s pretty absurd Crabtree’s ADP is the same as Chris Hogan’s.

Buffalo Bills: LeSean McCoy – He’s 30 years old and coming off a season in which he totaled 371 touches (and the first in which he played 16 games since 2014), when he ranked 55th out of 60 qualified running backs in YPC after contact. McCoy has also openly asked for a lesser workload to lengthen his career, is surrounded by inarguably the worst offensive situation in the NFL, and there’s still the real possibility of a league suspension, so it’s shocking his ADP remains so high.

Carolina Panthers: Devin Funchess – He finally became fantasy relevant last season, but that was far more to do with his situation (Kelvin Benjamin was traded, Greg Olsen got hurt) than any true breaking out. Funchess will be facing much stiffer competition for targets this year (including speedy rookie D.J. Moore), and the Panthers get tough Atlanta and New Orleans secondaries during a quarter of their games.

Chicago Bears: Allen Robinson – There’s upside as the clear No. 1 wide receiver in an exciting offense with a young QB, but he’s learning a new system while recovering from a torn ACL and has only one good season on his career resume (albeit an extremely impressive one at age 22). It’s hardly certain Mitchell Trubisky is any good this season, and there’s no injury discount at Robinson’s draft price (and he’ll face a bunch of tough CB matchups in his new division).

Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Eifert – He’s missed an average of 10 games over the last four seasons and was still dealing with back issues over the summer, so it’s crazy he’s being drafted around the same area as David Njoku and O.J. Howard. I’d place even odds Tyler Kroft finishes with more fantasy value than Eifert.

Cleveland Browns: Carlos Hyde – San Francisco couldn’t let Hyde walk fast enough after a disastrous 2017 (especially in the blocking department), and he’s now battling rookie Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson for touches in Cleveland’s backfield. The biggest worry with Hyde was once durability, but we can now throw in performance and situation as well.

Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott – With a team centered around one player, and none of the rest costing much at draft tables, it’s tough to label a Cowboy a bust unless you don’t like Ezekiel Elliott as a top-five pick (I’m fine with it, but there’s a clear top-three for me, and he’s not in it). That said, Prescott has to deal with Jason Garrett and one of the weakest WR groups in the NFL (even if Dez Bryant and Jason Witten were addition by subtraction), and his second half last season was beyond ugly (6.5 YPA, 6:9 TD:INT ratio).

Denver Broncos: Devontae Booker – His inability to break tackles makes it an easy decision for Denver to turn its backfield over to rookie Royce Freeman sooner rather than later. Booker’s 3.1 YPC against base fronts last season ranked 51st in the league.

Detroit Lions: Golden Tate – The Lions run more 3WR sets than any team in football, but Kenny Golladay is going to cut into Tate’s looks this season. Tate’s average targeted air yards (5.7) were the lowest among all wide receivers last season (and only three tight ends were lower), so give me teammate Marvin Jones’ TD upside instead.

Green Bay Packers: Jimmy Graham – He saw a crazy amount of work in the red zone last year but otherwise looked just about finished (Graham’s 5.4 YPT ranked fifth-worst among TEs over the past decade) and now joins an offense that rarely throws to the tight end. Give me Trey Burton or George Kittle instead.

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Houston Texans: Lamar Miller – He ostensibly has the backfield to himself on a potentially explosive offense, but Miller wasn’t all that valuable on a weekly basis last year even if the volume was ultimately nice. His YPC has dropped three straight years, and his lack of elusiveness is a poor fit for the Texans’ weak offensive line. The Houston back who’s ultimately the most fantasy valuable likely isn’t on the roster right now.

Indianapolis Colts: Marlon Mack – He’s battled past durability problems and is currently missing time with a hamstring strain. Even before considering price, Jordan Wilkins looks like the better pick than Mack, who was one of the rare backs who averaged more time behind the line of scrimmage than Le’Veon Bell last season, which isn’t a good thing without otherworldly talent.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Marqise Lee – He’s the No. 1 WR on an offense that faces what projects as an extremely favorable schedule, but Lee revealed a limited ceiling in that role last season. Teammates Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook both have far more upside at lesser costs.

Kansas City Chiefs: Sammy Watkins – There’s been plenty of Watkins buzz in fantasy circles, but he was a bust last year on a good offense thanks to being used so frequently as a decoy, and he’s now a distant third in targets on a new team behind Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce in an Andy Reid system that’s been incredibly unproductive for WR2s. Watkins’ ADP might be the most curious of all in 2018.

Los Angeles Chargers: Team Defense – Drafted as a top-five DST, the Chargers have already lost Jason Verrett and Jaylen Watkins for the season while Casey Hayward and Joey Bosa are also sidelined. They lack a homefield advantage and consistently deal with more injuries than most teams.

Los Angeles Rams: Brandin Cooks – Cooks wasn’t a fantasy star in New Orleans or New England and now joins a team that rosters two wide receivers who finished top-15 in yards per route run last season and that wants to win with defense and riding Todd Gurley. Sammy Watkins was a fantasy bust in a similar role last year in LA, so now Cooks finds himself in a situation that’s the opposite of the fantasy-friendly ones he’s been accustomed to throughout his career.

Miami Dolphins: DeVante Parker – If this seems like a low-hanging fruit, it’s because it is (at least I didn’t pick Frank Gore), but it wasn’t long ago a case could be made yet again for Parker to break out with Jarvis Landry gone (Parker’s numbers last year were also punished by facing an extremely tough cornerback schedule). But Parker’s Week 1 status is in question after being sidelined with a yet another injury (broken finger), and he was getting outplayed by Kenny Stills and newcomer Albert Wilson in camp beforehand.

Minnesota Vikings: Kyle Rudolph – He’s a steady option on a strong offense that added Kirk Cousins at quarterback during the offseason, but Rudolph’s 2016 looks increasingly like a big outlier season, as last year’s targets predictably regressed and fell by more than 50. With arguably the league’s top defense and WR duo, the situation isn’t ideal for Rudolph to see a bigger target share in 2018. He’ll remain a red-zone threat, but last year’s modest 57 receptions and 532 receiving yards were both actually the second-highest marks of Rudolph’s career.

New England Patriots: Rob Gronkowski – He’s a beast and clearly one of the more valuable players in real life (and certainly fun to own in fantasy), but Gronkowski hasn’t played 16 games in a season since 2011. Over the last five years, he’s averaged 57 catches and 844 yards, and he’s now approaching 30. Gronk still costs a second-round pick despite the Pats’ biggest concern being his health for the postseason.

New Orleans Saints: Mark Ingram – He’s coming off a career-year but is costing a pick around RB20 despite being suspended the first four games of the season. Sean Payton has butted heads before with Ingram (and Jonathan Williams looms as a replacement), and when he does finally return, New Orleans faces the NFL’s toughest schedule over the second half of the year.

New York Giants: Sterling Shepard – He’s battling Odell Beckham Jr., Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley for targets from one of the poorer QBs in football, so Shepard’s situation isn’t ideal. New York’s new coaching staff can only help, but Shepard is actually older than Mike Evans, so his window for major growth is closing.

New York Jets: Isaiah Crowell – He’s been dealing with a concussion after joining a new team that has major offensive line problems. Meanwhile, Bilal Powell has played 24 of the Jets’ 27 first quarter snaps this preseason.

Oakland Raiders: Jordy Nelson – Green Bay had QB issues last year, but Nelson got an anemic 0.95 yards per route run (87th out of 93 qualified WRs) and now has to learn a new system at age 33.

Don’t expect Jordy Nelson to be a big fantasy contributor with his new team the Oakland Raiders . (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Don’t expect Jordy Nelson to be a big fantasy contributor with his new team the Oakland Raiders . (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Philadelphia Eagles: Alshon Jeffery – He was playing through a serious shoulder injury all of last year, but his average separation (1.8 yards) ranked last among 124 qualified wide receivers, and his Week 1 status is in question while still recovering from rotator cuff surgery. Don’t forget just how injury prone Jeffery has been throughout his career.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger – He’s 36 years old and hasn’t played 16 games in a season since 2014 (and has done so just twice over the last nine years) yet is still getting drafted as a top-12 QB at a position with a ton of depth.

Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson – He’s going to have to throw more with Seattle’s defense deteriorating at a rapid pace, but losing Jimmy Graham, Paul Richardson and possibly Doug Baldwin on offense, few QBs have worse weapons at their disposal. There’s also the potentially disastrous hiring of new OC Brian Schottenheimer, and the Seahawks’ schedule looks incredibly tough, particularly over the season’s second half. Wilson got just 6.69 YPA over the final nine games last year and is getting drafted too high at a loaded QB position.

San Francisco 49ers: Pierre Garcon – He was on pace for 135 targets before going down last year, but he’s on the wrong side of 30, is coming off a serious neck injury and has averaged just 3.4 TDs over the past five seasons (he played in all 16 games in each year before last). Most importantly, Garcon has clearly taken a backseat to Marquise Goodwin as San Francisco’s WR1 and will be fighting for targets with young, promising players like George Kittle, Dante Pettis and Trent Taylor.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ronald Jones – While Jones continues to struggle in pass protection and as a receiver, Peyton Barber has seized control of Tampa Bay’s backfield and is the heavy favorite to start Week 1, yet the rookie is often still drafted first.

Tennessee Titans: Dion Lewis – He’s really good (he finished with the third-best elusive rating and didn’t drop a single pass last season), and the argument he’s a better value pick than Derrick Henry based on ADP seems valid, but Lewis’ injury history shouldn’t be underestimated. Here are his games played over the previous five seasons before appearing in 16 for the first time in his career last year: 9, 0, 0, 7, 7. He has more fumbles (three) than games in which he’s recorded 20 carries (two) during his career.

Washington: Adrian Peterson – I fully expect Washington to give Peterson a chance as its lead back, while Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine and a recovering Chris Thompson fill out one of the weakest RB depth charts in football. But Peterson is 33 years old with 2,500+ career carries and got just 3.0 YPC over his final five games last season while looking finished. Washington’s backfield is going to be a mess for fantasy owners.

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