Fantasy busts aren’t necessarily terrible players by any standard measure. They’re just disappointing at the end of the season compared with what owners expected at the beginning of it.
It’s all about expectations.
Here are the most overdrafted, biggest potential busts of the upcoming fantasy football season with their average draft positions included in point-per-reception leagues.
DEVONTA FREEMAN, RB Atlanta Falcons
ADP: 17 overall — RB11
Freeman’s rushing attempts, receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns have all declined in three consecutive seasons, while Tevin Coleman’s rushing attempts and rushing yards have all increased over that same period.
Freeman is being drafted as a top 20 RB even though he could fail to produce 1,000 yards from scrimmage or 10 touchdowns. Consistent decline in both production and opportunity is how a top player becomes a bust.
DAVANTE ADAMS, WR Green Bay Packers
ADP: 18, WR7
Adams never had a 1,000 yard or 80-reception season and he has only six 100-plus yard receiving games in his career. Adams lives and dies by the touchdown in a fantasy sport that relies on touches and yards.
Adams must have a double-digit touchdown season to avoid being a bust, because the yards and receptions aren’t going to save him.
TYREEK HILL, WR Kansas City Chiefs
ADP: 28, WR10
In 2017, Hill caught 53 of his 82 receptions, 998 of 1,198 receiving yards and five of his seven touchdowns on the Chiefs side of the 50-yard line, while being targeted only once in the red zone. He had eight plays of 40 yards or more and 25 plays of 20 yards or more.
Travis Kelce is the Chiefs’ top passing target while Kareem Hunt will get the most touches. A first-year starting quarterback (Patrick Mahomes), the addition of Sammy Watkins and the history make it difficult for Hill.
JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER, WR Pittsburgh Steelers
ADP: 41, WR16
It’s difficult to produce when Antonio Brown (162 targets) and Le’Veon Bell (321 rushing attempts and 107 targets) monopolize 590 of a team’s 1,051 plays from scrimmage and 186 of 360 completions.
Smith-Schuster was the 20th highest scoring fantasy wide receiver in PPR leagues in spite of only 80 targets and 58 receptions. No other WR ranked in the top 30 had fewer targets.
Smith-Schuster is being drafted as a WR2 in spite of big concerns about his touches, targets and efficiency.
DERRICK HENRY, RB Tennessee Titans
ADP: 35, RB17
Henry never had 200 rushing attempts or rushed for 800 yards in a season and his career high in receptions is 13. Henry is a two-down running back whose touches will be challenged by a better, more versatile alternative (Dion Lewis). The only way Henry isn’t a bust is if he becomes a red zone monster and finishes 2018 with 13-15 touchdowns.
EVAN ENGRAM, TE New York Giants
ADP: 64, TE6
The Giants want to get back to running the football and they backed it up with the offseason addition of offensive lineman Nate Solder and the drafting of star Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.
They have reduced Eli Manning’s attempts and he has completed fewer passes in three straight seasons. Engram also led the team with 11 drops in 2017.
JIMMY GAROPPOLO, QB San Francisco 49ers
ADP: 90, QB10
The reality of Garoppolo in San Francisco has been a bit less pristine than his fantasy narrative.
He’s being drafted as a QB1 in spite of having only two 300-plus yard passing games and throwing five interceptions to only seven touchdowns in 2017. Prior to last year, he completed only 67 passes in 94 attempts. A lack of weapons and track record makes Garoppolo a potential bust at that draft price.
BRANDIN COOKS, WR Los Angeles Rams
ADP: 42, WR17
Leaving Drew Brees and Tom Brady for Jared Goff along with competition for touches and targets from all-world running back Todd Gurley, Cooper Kupp and a skill set comparable to a player like Robert Woods across the formation makes Cooks a potential bust.
It’s easy to see a season that looks a lot like 55-65 receptions, 850-900 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Cooks needs more than the 65 receptions he had in 2017 to avoid being a bust in 2018.
— JOSH GORDON, WR Cleveland Browns (ADP: 49, WR22): He has more weapons to compete with for targets and still no established quarterback. A lot of hype.
— JAY AJAYI, RB Philadelphia Eagles (ADP: 40, RB20): A lot of competition for touches, especially on third down, for an RB2 pick that scored two touchdowns in 2017.
— SAMMY WATKINS, WR Kansas City Chiefs (ADP: 72, WR29): A player that has struggled to stay on the field who is the fourth option for a first-year starting quarterback.
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