There's no more dreaded word in all of fantasy football than "bust."
Well, except for maybe "Sanchez."
No fantasy owner wants to be the person who spends a high pick on a player, only to see that player face plant and leave a fantasy squad reeling.
With that in mind, here's a look at some players who have made the "10-foot pole" lists of some fantasy experts in 2013.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took the NFL by storm in 2012, and given his average draft position of QB7 at My Fantasy League, many fantasy owners apparently still have visions of Kaepernick's record-setting performance against the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs fresh in their minds.
Jamey Eisenberg of CBS Sports thinks that those fantasy owners are making a mistake, as the loss of top wideout Michael Crabtree casts a pall over Kaepernick's fantasy prospects this year. As Eisenberg points out:
During his 10 starts, Crabtree had 61 catches for 880 yards and eight touchdowns. That accounts for 36.6 percent of Kaepernick's yardage and 57.1 percent of Kaepernick's touchdowns. He also targeted Crabtree 94 times. His next most-targeted receivers were Vernon Davis and Randy Moss, who tied at 39.
Eisenberg feels that Kaepernick will adjust to life without Crabtree, stating that "Kaepernick is a skilled runner, which boosts his Fantasy value." That's not enough to salvage his fantasy season, however, as Eisenberg reveals he wouldn't classify Kaepernick as a No. 1 fantasy quarterback.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Part of the "rookie invasion" that swept through the quarterback position last year in fantasy football, Wilson may have been the biggest surprise of the bunch. He went from being a third-round pick who was "too short" to the starting signal-caller for a playoff team.
Wilson was a big surprise in fantasy football as well. There wasn't a hotter quarterback in the league down the stretch, with Wilson posting top-three fantasy production from Week 11 on in 2012.
However, Bleacher Report Fantasy Football Lead Writer Eric Mack thinks that fantasy owners who draft Wilson expecting a repeat in 2013 aren't going to be happy with the results, and it's not just because wide receiver Percy Harvin got hurt.
Mack thinks the Seattle offense works against Wilson, writing:
The read-option is still a run-first NFL scheme. The quarterback takes the snap, reads a defender (usually the end) and either hands to the back, pulls it out and runs himself, or pulls it out and steps back to throw. Throwing it is third on the list there and...It just isn't conducive to huge passing numbers.
Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden is kind of like that crazy ex that everyone has. You know that they're no good for you, and yet somehow many of us end up going back to them, even after they break our TV and key our cars.
Sure enough, despite burning fantasy owners in each of the past two years, McFadden is being drafted as a fantasy RB2 in 2013.
I'll let ESPN's Matthew Berry provide the voice of reason where McFadden is concerned in 2013.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, stop the clock! On a terrible team, has never played all 16 games, was bad last season even when healthy. Maybe the Raiders' going to more of a power-run scheme will help, because, let's face it, it can't get worse. I'm fine with a flier based on hope. Just not when you're bypassing solid guys such as Darren Sproles and Reggie Bush.
And there you go.
David Wilson, New York Giants
David Wilson is certainly an explosive player, and given his not-inconsiderable talents and the departure of Ahmad Bradshaw, Wilson is being drafted with the expectation that 2013 will be a breakout campaign.
However, you'll find Wilson's name on nearly as many "bust" lists as "breakout" ones, and a pair of the staffers at Rotoexperts feel fantasy owners who select Wilson as an RB2 in 2013 are setting themselves up for disappointment.
For Tom McFeeley, it's the presence of Andre Brown that dings Wilson's fantasy prospects.
"No knock on Wilson," McFeeley wrote, "but Tom Coughlin is not exactly committed to individuals. Andre Brown performed better in many spots last year, and Wilson was in Coughlin’s very big doghouse for much of 2012."
Bobby McMann echoes those concerns, stating:
There is no questioning his explosiveness, but David Wilson is no sure bet to be the Giants bell cow all season long. In addition to the fumble issues, he will have Andre Brown right behind him looking for touches.
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
After a miserable 2011 season, many fantasy owners wrote off Reggie Wayne as "over the hill." Wayne responded by having one of the best seasons of his career, posting the second-most yardage and catches in his 12 years in the NFL.
However, Dalton Del Don of Yahoo! Sports feels that fantasy owners may be overreacting to Wayne's big 2012 just as badly as they did to his terrible 2011. He points out:
The soon to be 35-year-old faded badly over the second half (520 yards, two touchdowns over final eight games) and will be switching to a new offensive system. I wouldn't bank on another 195 targets (that resulted in only five touchdowns), that's for sure.
Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace hit it big in free agency this year, but that big contract hasn't translated to much love from fantasy experts.
There probably isn't a wide receiver being taken in the top 25 at his position who has appeared on more "bust" lists than Wallace. On ESPN's composite sleepers and busts rankings, Wallace was picked by four staffers. No other wideout made the list more than twice.
Here's what Berry had to say on the subject:
Because of the big contract and Ryan Tannehill's solid completion numbers on deep balls (37 percent, eighth-best among QBs with at least 35 attempts of 21 yards or greater), I know there are some people that are expecting big things in Florida this year. I'm not one of them. He's too inconsistent for me. He had seven different games last year with five fantasy points or fewer, including four games with zero or one point. Going from Big Ben to Tannehill is a downgrade, and when your yardage goes from 1,257 to 1,193 to just 836, you're heading in the wrong direction. Not a top-20 WR.
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
Despite the fact that Kyle Rudolph of the Minnesota Vikings only finished 11th at his position in fantasy points last year, the third-year pro is being drafted well inside the top 10 at his position by owners apparently enamored by his nine touchdown grabs in 2012.
However, Rudolph also came up short of 500 receiving yards last season, and as James Quintong of ESPN reports, expecting a big jump from Rudolph this year just isn't very realistic.
The talent is definitely there, but the consistency is not. While the nine touchdowns last year were nice, he also had three games with no receptions and seven games with 2 points or fewer. With Greg Jennings around to catch more passes and Adrian Peterson doing his thing at the goal line, can Rudolph continue to be a red-zone/TD factor, especially with the quarterback situation still less than optimal?
With other, more consistent, less expensive options out there, such as Owen Daniels of the Houston Texans, it may be wise not to let Rudolph join in your team's reindeer games in 2013.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
It's not hard to see why New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is making an appearance on the "bust" list.
Yes, Gronkowski still managed to catch 11 touchdown passes and finish among the top five fantasy options at his position last year despite missing five games. However, last season's broken forearm (and the four surgeries that resulted from an infection) aren't even Gronkowski's biggest problem in 2013.
The 24-year-old had back surgery in June and started training camp on the PUP list. The question is whether the fourth-year pro will begin the regular season there as well.
Good luck getting a straight answer from the Patriots on that, and the silence from Foxboro has led to any amount of speculation regarding Gronkowski's health.
According to Rotoworld, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that there's "positive buzz" about Gronkowski's recovery, but both Ben Volin of The Boston Globe and Stephania Bell of ESPN believe there's a good chance that Gronkowski opens the season on the PUP list.
That would cost Gronkowski six games, or nearly half the fantasy football regular season. That makes Gronkowski's third-round asking price in fantasy drafts awfully hard to stomach.