5 Busts to Avoid in Your 2018 Fantasy Football Draft
Published on August 16, 2018
There’s no better part about fantasy football than when it’s time to actually draft your squad. Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s fun to set your lineup each and every week and keep track of your head-to-head matchup.
But I get the biggest rush during the 90 or so minutes I spend drafting my team each season, especially considering it takes place at a house with the majority of the league members present.
It’s the time to talk-trash with your buddies. It’s the time when you get to select the sleepers you’ve been keeping your eye on throughout your pre-draft process. But do you know what one of the biggest keys to your entire draft will be?
It’s avoiding drafting the “busts.”
There’s no perfect science for distinguishing which players classify as potential busts. There is no crystal ball that tells us who will exceed expectations and who will fall painfully short of their projections. The only thing you can do is prepare yourself as adequately as possible.
Considering that there is no formula and no right or wrong answers before the season begins, all you can do is have a look around the industry and see what the pundits are saying.
On that note, allow me to transition into the five players I won’t be drafting in 2018. I see all five of these guys under-delivering on their projected statistics, and that makes them ideal candidates for being a bust!
How many running backs in the NFL have you seen be successful at age 32? Let’s be honest and call a spade a spade here.
It’s not like Marshawn Lynch hasn’t been a bell cow and a force to be reckoned with in this league before. It’s cool that he has logged over 2,300 rushes and more than 10,000 yards throughout his illustrious NFL career.
But those Hall of Fame-caliber-type numbers aren’t going to help his case in being a formidable fantasy running back in 2018.
You can go ahead and pretend he’s rejuvenated, being back home in Oakland and playing for an admirable head coach like Jon Gruden. But the reality is that the man they call “Beast Mode” is probably playing his last season in the league, and I don’t envision him being a workhorse for offensive coordinator Greg Olson.
The Raiders brought in Doug Martin, who is also a native of Oakland and itching for carries. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard are still in the fray, and Coach Gruden has already talked about rotating all four backs throughout the course of a single game.
The fact that I’ve been seeing him continually get drafted ahead of guys like Dion Lewis, Duke Johnson, and Tevin Coleman in PPR leagues is actually appalling to me.
If this ends up being Marshawn’s final year in the National Football League, I can promise you he’s not a guy you’ll want to roster in fantasy football. Rather than spend a mid-round pick on him like some folks have been doing, allow someone else in your league to make the mistake of selecting Lynch.
He is getting older. He lacks activity in the passing game. Oakland is set to go with a running back by committee.
Trust me when I tell you this: don’t draft Marshawn Lynch, because you’ll probably end up dropping him by Week 6.
For me, this is a really easy choice. Set aside all of his off-the-field issues for just a second and take a look at three glaring facts. McCoy is now 30 years old. He saw his yards-per-carry dip by a whopping 1.4 yards last season.
And if Buffalo doesn’t have the worst offensive line in the NFL, it’s certainly among the bottom five.
So even if McCoy suits up and plays, the outlook is pretty bleak.
Now take into consideration the horrendously disturbing accusations against LeSean McCoy. The fact that his name is being dragged around for potentially being involved in some seriously ill behavior connected to his ex-girlfriend leaves me feeling wary about McCoy’s prospects of playing this season.
In this day and age, Roger Goodell doesn’t need to wait for the judicial system to play out and give McCoy the fair chance that he may or may not deserve. In fact, I’m expecting Commissioner Goodell to drop the hammer down any day now.
And don’t be surprised if McCoy is told to sit for the entire season. We’ve seen it before with Ray Rice. The pictures and evidence that have been mounting against McCoy make me think his chances of playing this season are getting closer and closer to slim to none.
So you see?
It was already appearing to be a year where we’d see McCoy fall out of that upper echelon of fantasy running backs. Now he might not even get to drape a Bills uniform on all year long and will almost certainly miss extended time regardless.
For these reasons, I’ve removed McCoy from my personal draft board completely. I’ll let someone else deal with the headache that his unclear situation presents.
I’m ready for the haters to pour in and tell me how stupid I sound for listing Deshaun Watson as a potential bust in 2018. But before you do, at least just hear me out.
I am not proclaiming that Deshaun Watson is going to flame out during his sophomore season and never be heard from again. In fact, I listed Watson 6th on my 2018 fantasy football QB rankings, so I clearly think the dude can play.
But in the first two drafts I have participated in, Deshaun has been the second QB selected behind Aaron Rodgers. I’ve seen people grab Tom Brady in the following round, and I’ve even seen Russell Wilson go 19 picks after Watson was taken off the board!
Why is the #1 fantasy QB in 2017 going two rounds after Watson? How are some people getting Carson Wentz a full three rounds after others are reaching for Watson?
My point is, I’d much rather pass on Deshaun and solidify my RBs, WRs, and my TE.
Don’t sacrifice a pick you could be spending on a dependable running back just to see if Watson continues the torrid pace he was on when he got hurt.
I’ll tell you right now that he won’t.
Maybe I’ll be wrong, and Watson will end the year as the best quarterback in fantasy football. But if he ends the year outside the top 8 and you spent a 4th– or 5th-round pick on him, you probably won’t be winning your league.
In PPR leagues especially, I’m not touching Jordan Howard with a 10-foot pole. Clearly, his value goes up in non-PPR leagues where scoring touchdowns is more significant.
But I just don’t see the Bears being ahead in the second half enough to warrant picking him in the vicinity of where he is being selected. I just don’t see him getting enough snaps.
Listen, I’m not blind to the fact that Jordan Howard went over 1,300 yards on the ground as a rookie and managed to eclipse 1,100 rushing yards last season. But I also watched the Bears offense enough to see that Tarik Cohen isn’t just a fad.
Chicago utilized the rookie out of North Carolina AT&T in bunches in 2017. The 5’6” speedster saw 71 targets and accounted for 87 rushes. The more that the Bears find themselves in obvious passing situations, the more we’ll see Cohen on the field and Howard holding his helmet on the sideline.
Bears first-year head coach Matt Nagy has already gushed about having big plans for Tarik Cohen, and I don’t believe this is just “hearsay.”
This leaves Jordan Howard on the outside looking in as far as being a dependable top-end fantasy RB like some people are drafting him as. Sure, I could still see Howard receive 15+ carries per game and be their lead option inside the 5-yard line.
But the problem is that he has virtually zero upside in the passing game by way of losing a plethora of snaps to Cohen. I’m not saying that Jordan will be a complete bust, as he still has a nose for the end zone and is a strong and level-headed runner.
But Howard is being drafted as a top-12 running back in loads of fantasy leagues, and I just don’t envision a scenario in which he ends the year as such.
Opt for the upside of Jerick McKinnon or Joe Mixon rather than take a guy who will be less exciting and less productive.
I’m looking around, and I see most rankings have Alex Collins ranked among the top-18 fantasy running backs for the 2018 season. He had a relatively solid year in 2017 for the Baltimore Ravens, rushing 212 times for 973 yards and 6 scores.
But I’m concerned that he’ll lose snaps due to game-flow. I could see him falling out of the Ravens’ game plan during the fourth quarters of games in which they are behind. Javorius “Buck” Allen has already cemented himself as the RB who will be counted on during passing downs.
The fact that Baltimore handed the ball off to Allen 153 times in 2017 tells me that he’ll actually be used as more than just the passing downs back. This aims to be a true running back by committee, not one where Collins dominates the touches.
Anytime a team with a poor offense splits the work between two backs, I’m going to lean on wanting to roster the one who’s likely to be on the field in crunch time.
If you want Collins, you’re likely going to have to spend a late third-round or an early fourth-round pick on the Ravens’ “listed starter.” I think you can do a heck of a lot better with your third or fourth pick, so for all intents and purposes, I’ll call Alex Collins a “bust in the making.”
I’ll be steering clear of a guy like Marshawn Lynch because I know his best days are behind him. I won’t go anywhere near drafting LeSean McCoy, as I don’t even expect he sees the light of day on the football field for the Bills this season.
I can’t promise you that all five players unveiled on this page will turn out to be busts in 2018, but I can offer you my perspective.
Feel free to tell me how wrong I was if one or more of them end up being a beast on the field, because I promise you I have been wrong before.
But as a veteran of fantasy football and someone who watches the league closely while studying all the trends, this is the way I see it.