Red Flags and Fantasy Busts

16 Sep, 2015

Before I begin, there are some injuries and busts that happened in week 1 that were plain old bad luck.  I put Dez Bryant at the top of that list.  I could not praise Dez enough in the pre-season, calling him one of the most reliable and consistent receivers in the league.  Unfortunately a broken foot is just a freak accident and now he's out for 8-12 weeks.  That's a long time to hold a guy on your bench, but you know you're not going to drop him because he should be back by the fantasy playoffs and you will want him on your team when he comes back!

When you look a the players that busted out week one, a lot of these guys had huge red flags and, because of that, you should have avoided them for your team.  Let's go over some of the biggest busts.

Issue #1:  They're too old and past their prime!  Most of these guys have been so good for so long sentiment stays much higher than their actual expected performance.  This makes them high risk in the draft as they tend to be picked much earlier than they should.

Peyton Manning (175 yards, 1 INT vs Baltimore).  Of all the older players, Peyton was the one with the biggest concerns.  The dude is pushing 40, his performance notably declined at the end of last season, there have been issues with the offensive line during the pre-season and he's working with a new coach.  Of course, sentiment was still very high because he has been so dominant over the past 3 seasons, but his ADP of 40 was much too expensive to compensate for all these risks.  I said that anyone drafting Manning needs to be one of the first to get their QB2 because of these risks, so if you have Manning as your QB, I hope you also have someone like Tannehill, Stafford or Bradford backing him up.

Andre Johnson (4 catches, 24 yards) - I have been saying that of all the aging Wide Receivers (who are clearly past their prime), Johnson was is the best situation having Andrew Luck throwing him balls.  Nevertheless, he is 33 and his performance on Sunday could best be described as flat.  Also, his ADP of 37.4 was way too early given his expected output.  I placed his value in the 60s - 80s depending on how the league scores points, but the fact remains he was getting picked at least 2 full rounds earlier than he should have.  The draft is all about value and you want to avoid overvalued players like this because their sentiment is way too high compared to their expected performance!

Adrian Peterson (10 rushes for 31 yards, 3 receptions for 21 yards) - I could not figure out why Peterson was still considered a top 5 pick this season.  The concerns regarding this guy were longer than Peyton Manning's.  He's 30 years old, he hasn't played any football in over a year, he hates his employer and hates the way they treated him during his suspension, he's working with a new coach (Mike Zimmer was the coach last season, but Peterson was not really able to work with him last year so, I consider that a "new coach" for Peterson).  I thought he should be a second round pick AT BEST (like Matt Forte), but it was a moot point as he continually was one of the top 3 picked in every single draft I participated in.  Apparently the pundits are not yet ready to give up on this guy, but I think the writing is on the wall and I think what you saw on Sunday will be typical for the rest of this season.

Other notables:  Marshawn Lynch, Calvin Johnson & Frank Gore.  Matt Forte is the exception to this rule (but will he still be this good at the end of the season)?

Issue #2:  Rookies or new players who made a splash last season.  The draft is littered with players who come out and make a splash in their rookie season only to experience a slump in year two (e.g. Corradelle Patterson, Keenan Allen, or Robert Griffin III).  I tend to stay away from second year players because of this, especially in the first 6 rounds of the draft.

O'Dell Beckham, Jr. (5 receptions, 44 yards) - Last season Beckham didn't start playing until week 5.  Then he had a couple of middling games before exploding for the second half of the season.  Nevertheless, he only really played 8 games last season,  So because of this, everyone thinks that will continue in year 2 at that level.  Beckham was the 4th WR off the board with an ADP of 11.4 and I did not like him at that price.  I'm not a big fan of Eli Manning because of his inconsistancy so even though Beckham is an amazing talent, he plays with an inconsistent QB and that limits his upside.  I was thinking 3rd round would be a better place for him.

Justin Forsett (14 rushes for 43 yards, 4 receptions for 13 yards) - I'm not sure if this performance was more because of the Denver defense, but I don't think so.  Forsett has been in the league a long time but he finally had a career year last season.  I was able to pick him up off the waiver wire last season and he did awesome for my team!  Forsett actually has both Issue #1 and #2 working against him this season.  He turned 29 during the offseason, which automatically takes him off the list in my book.  Then his ADP 22.2 just seemed too high.  I would have liked him better at least one full round later.

Davante Adams (4 catches for 59 yards) - Davante had a very good rookie season as the #3 in Green Bay, and was a great deal during the pre-season until Jordy Nelson got injured.  Then his ADP rocketed up from the 100s up to 36.6.  He way overshot his expected performance and because of that I was looking elsewhere.  At best he should have been a 6th round pick in my opinion but sentiment was saying he was going to be able to duplicate Randall Cobb's performance from last season, which is unlikely. 

Other notables:  CJ Anderson & Brandin Cooks,

Issue #3:  The guy is injured or is injury prone.  It's easy to convince yourself that "it's not that bad" or "he'll be fine by the start of the season".  However, you really need to look at the nature of the injury and the expected recovery time involved.  Because of this I tend to stay away from injured players but even I find myself talking up guys I should pass on.

Mike Evans (did not play) - For God's sake, if you're going to draft an injured player you need to check the morning before their game starts and see if they will actually be playing!  Sunday morning was when they reported Evans will not be playing this week yet he was still on many players starting rosters.  Shoot, even Le'Veon Bell, who is suspended for the first two games was started in 19% of leagues this past week!  I am very wary of hamstring injuries because of the long recovery time and risk of reinjury that can happen. 

Andre Ellington (12 rushes for 69 yards, rush TD and 1 catch for 7 yards) - I love Ellington and he is awesome in PPR leagues, but the dude gets injured way too much.  Last season he missed the final 4 games of the season with a foot injury and he just has a tendency to get hurt.  Lo and behold he gets a sprained knee in week 1.  He may or not miss any games but his risk of missing games is so high that I ended up passing on him in all my leagues. 

Arian Foster (did not play) - Arian was a first round pick until he tore his groin muscle, but even after the fact when he was expected to miss up to 8 weeks he was still hovering around the 60s in his ADP.  His prognosis improved as the pre-season went on but I'm not sure this guy can be relied on to not miss any more time when he comes back. 

Other Notables:  LeSean McCoy, Alshon Jeffrey, DeSean Jackson, Doug Martin.

The first six rounds of the draft are so critical to the success of your team you can't be gambling on players like this.  Hopefully you've learned your lesson and will be smarter next season!  FYI - in my app you can filter players that are over a certain age, rookies, sophomores, injured players and players with low reliability so you can just remove all these question marks from your draftlist and focus on the quality stars!

Author: Jim Kutsko