Projecting Fantasy Football's Biggest Busts of 2013
Every season of fantasy football is littered with the corpses of teams dragged down by players who failed their fantasy owners. Each year players are vastly overvalued and drafted way too soon by fantasy owners.
Whether it is an injury or simply excessive hype, fantasy busts are inevitable.
Who is in line to bust out this year, in the bad way? Note that some of these guys will not be busts in the traditional sense of the word, merely busts relative to where they will be drafted.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Adrian Peterson a bust? Well, he's a strong candidate if he's drafted with the No. 1 pick by a fantasy owner.
That is not to say he won't have a good season—barring injury, he most certainly will have one—but will he come close to repeating the banner year he had in 2012?
Consensus first overall picks bear a heavy burden for their fantasy owners.
Will Peterson come close to matching his historic 2012 season? History says no. He might have a good year after all, but it might not be what is expected of him.
Any Quarterback Taken Early
The influx of fantastical rookie quarterbacks combined with the steady brilliance of the old guard has created a glut at the quarterback position in the fantasy realm.
With the relative scarcity at other positions, it would behoove you to wait to take a quarterback at the position. Taking Aaron Rodgers in the first round could prove quite costly if you are struggling to fill the second starting spot at running back.
This isn't to say that Rodgers, or any other top-rated quarterback, will struggle in 2013. Rather, there are options later in the draft that represent better value.
Wait at quarterback unless you are in a two-quarterback league or perhaps passing touchdowns count for six or more points. You will be better off for it.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
The fantasy football community loves Maurice Jones-Drew, if only because he is an active part of it. But it might be time to sell his stock.
Jones-Drew has been hit hard by injuries in two of the past three seasons. While he bounced back marvelously from the first one—a knee injury that left him with a bone-on-bone condition—getting knocked out for the year twice in three years is a big red flag.
Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos
Eric Decker was a big beneficiary of Peyton Manning's arrival in Denver.
The talented receiver was a big red-zone target for Manning, winding up with 13 touchdowns en route to being the seventh-best fantasy receiver in standard formats. We all knew the Broncos receivers would benefit from Manning, but Decker as a top-10 guy was surprising.
Unfortunately, Wes Welker is in town to steal targets. While he might take them away from Jacob Tamme and the running backs more so than the other receivers, his presence will be a drain to Decker's fantasy value, in particular.
Even without Welker, it is difficult to duplicate a double-digit touchdown year. Decker was on the bust bubble to begin with.
Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers
Randall Cobb is a talented individual. Aaron Rodgers thinks Cobb can "be a 100-catch guy."
That's all fine and dandy, but Cobb will have to move up on the depth chart to get there. Or, at the very least, be on the field more often.
You might think Greg Jennings' departure opens that door, but there is that little matter of Jordy Nelson and James Jones standing in his way. The Packers also drafted two running backs who figure to take away Cobb's snaps out of the backfield.
It should still be a fine fantasy season for Cobb, but grabbing him too early in the draft could be a killer for your fantasy football squad.
Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowski is injured, recovering from arm and back surgery that could keep him out at the beginning of the season. Who else to benefit but his running mate at tight end, Aaron Hernandez?
Hernandez has been quite good when on the field, but that is the rub. Hernandez has missed eight games over the past two seasons and 10 in his career.
He has also thrown up his share of unproductive games for fantasy owners. An expanded role will insulate him from that kind of game, but Gronkowski could be back for Week 1. Hernandez will be overdrafted this season.
David Wilson, RB, New York Giants
David Wilson spent half the 2012 season in Tom Coughlin's doghouse. Third-year upstart Andre Brown usurped the rookie's position as Ahmad Bradshaw's backup, and he performed admirably when given the opportunity.
Even when Wilson made it out of the doghouse and broke a huge run, Brown still won much of the work. The same could happen this season.
If you draft a Giants running back, you are getting much more value for Brown than Wilson.
Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins
Taking Robert Griffin III means you waited at quarterback. It also means you took a big risk.
Griffin is in the middle of his recovery from a torn ACL. The rehab is going well, so much so that he is throwing at OTAs. But that is a far cry from game action.
Who knows if Griffin will make it back for Week 1, but will he be nearly as effective once he returns? It will be interesting to see how much Griffin runs when he makes it back. Common sense dictates he will tone down his open-field exploits.
He can score points without depending on those runs, to be sure, but it could be a long year for his fantasy owners if he is brought along slowly or takes a step back because of the injury.
Rookies in General
Thanks to the exploits that Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson and Doug Martin had last season, rookies have gotten a big boost in the eyes of redraft leagues.
Rookies generally do not have a widespread impact on fantasy football during their first year, however.
As such, beware of this year's crop. Rookie quarterbacks are all but an afterthought with the glut at the position and the general lack of quality and starting opportunities. Guys like Tavon Austin and Eddie Lacy will get run in fantasy drafts, but you should give pause before selecting them.
Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns
It was a fine rookie season for Trent Richardson from a fantasy standpoint. He wound up the ninth-best fantasy back in redraft leagues as a rookie—not too shabby.
Things are looking up for Richardson in his sophomore season, but could it all be a mirage?
Richardson averaged just 3.6 yards per carry last year, one of the worst marks in the league. His fantasy success can be attributed to his heavy usage, which got him 11 touchdowns.
Then there is the matter of injuries that hampered him down the stretch. They have been concerning enough for Richardson to swear he will not be known as "injury prone." Of course, he said this while nursing a muscle strain in his leg. I don't think he's worth the risk early in drafts.