The Biggest Fantasy Football Busts Since 2010

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2021

The Biggest Fantasy Football Busts Since 2010

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    Trent Richardson
    Trent RichardsonEd Zurga/Associated Press

    Fantasy football can be a difficult game. Whether you research for hours or employ a strategy of hopeful guessing, you simply might end up drafting a bust.

    Ordered chronologically, the list recalls high-ADP (average draft position) players who unfortunately had a tough year. As fate would have it, the choices are unkind to running backsespecially in 2013. (That sound you hear is the "Zero RB" crowd cackling.)

    One important note: We excluded any player with serious injury considerations. Look, it stinks when a first- or second-round selection misses 12 gamesmaybe the entire seasonbut that's out of their control. Off-field matters are not included either.

    The focus is entirely on actual performances.

    Just, you know, bad ones.

Randy Moss, WR (2010)

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Through the first 12 years of his NFL career, Randy Moss was a stalwart in fantasy lineups. The future Hall of Famer registered 1,000-plus yards in 10 seasons and 10-plus touchdowns in nine.

    More specifically, he had thrived with the New England Patriots. After setting an NFL record with 23 touchdown catches in 2007, Moss posted 1,008 yards and 11 scores in 2008 and 1,264 and 13 in 2009. He entered the 2010 campaign with an ADP of 1.08.

    The season devolved into a nightmare.

    Moss told reporters he felt unwanted in New England, which traded him to the Minnesota Vikingshis first NFL homeafter four games. Another four games later, the Vikings waived him following a disagreement with head coach Brad Childress. Moss soon joined the Tennessee Titans but held a rotational role.

    Across three stops, Moss tallied 28 catches for 393 yards and five touchdowns. He finished as the WR73.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR (2012)

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    Paul Connors/Associated Press

    By no means should Larry Fitzgerald bear heavy criticism for a disappointing 2012 season. After all, he spent the year catching passes from John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer.

    The problem is Fitzgerald had spoiled us. In 2011, he reeled in 80 passes for 1,411 yards and eight touchdowns while Skelton and Kolb split the quarterback job. Despite that shuffle, Fitzgerald averaged 16.8 fantasy points and ended as the WR6.

    History would not repeat itself.

    Fitzgerald appeared in all 16 games, yet he notched 71 receptions for 798 yards and four scores. He ended as the WR32.

    If you played him in Week 16typically the fantasy championshipgreat! Fitz provided 19.9 points on that Sunday. Considering he had totaled 10 catches for 89 yards in the previous five weeks, that would've been an awfully bold decision.

Running Backs in 2013

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    We could probably write a full-length feature on how poorly the running back class of 2013 ended up playing.

    Fantasy managers anticipated a big season from C.J. Spiller (1.06 ADP), Ray Rice (1.07), Trent Richardson (1.10) and Steven Jackson (2.04). And they all busted in a major way.

    Rice finished as RB22 ahead of Spiller (RB27), Jackson (RB30) and Richardson (RB32). In other words, they were barely passable as a second running back. Considering the draft slot required to land any of them, it was a massive disappointment.

    The only redeeming quality is Jackson and Richardson managed 16-plus points in Week 14, which is usually the opening round of fantasy playoffs. But at that point, were they in your lineup anyway?

Zac Stacy, RB (2014)

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    During the 2013 NFL draft, the St. Louis Rams plucked Zac Stacy in the fifth round. After he collected 1,114 scrimmage yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie, it seemed they'd uncovered a gem.

    Naturally, he soared on fantasy boards throughout the summer months. Stacy ended the preseason as the RB15.

    Stacy, however, mustered just 3.9 yards per carry and one touchdown in the first five games. St. Louis turned to rookie Tre Mason, and Stacy totaled a mere 22 touches for the remainder of 2014.

    For the season, Stacy played in 13 games, rushed for 293 yards, caught 18 passes for 152 yards and scored once. He collected 64.5 fantasy points and finished as the RB70.

Eddie Lacy, RB (2015)

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    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

    As a rookie for the Green Bay Packers in 2013, Eddie Lacy collected 1,435 scrimmage yards and 11 total touchdowns. The next season, he increased those numbers to 1,566 and 13, respectively.

    It was only reasonable for Lacy to be considered a top fantasy option in 2015, and he garnered an ADP of 1.04. But the Alabama product had an inconsistent year.

    Lacy notched 17.9 points in Week 1, then stayed below 12 points for seven straight weeks. After sitting one game because of an ankle injury, he scampered for 100-plus yards in three of the next four games. In the last three contestsfantasy playoff timehe trudged to 152 total yards and one touchdown.

    The preseason RB3 ended as RB32.

Le'Veon Bell, RB (2018)

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    David Dermer/Associated Press

    Le'Veon Bell certainly didn't impress as RB7 in 2019, but he managed to be RB16 during his first season with the New York Jets. Nowhere close to great, but not miserable.

    Zero points, though? Yeah, that's a lot worse.

    Because of a contract dispute in the 2018 offseason, Bell didn't report to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He wanted a well-earned raise, but he and the Steelers couldn't agree on a new deal. Still, the expectation was they would figure it out soon enough. The fantasy football world agreed, keeping Bell as a top choice with a 1.03 ADP.

    Long story short: They never agreed to an extension, and Bell refused to play under the franchise tag.

David Johnson, RB (2019)

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    Frank Victores/Associated Press

    Early in his career, David Johnson built a well-deserved strong reputation. Excluding an injury-shortened 2017, he posted 1,000 total yards and 10-plus touchdowns in his first three full seasons.

    But then, 2019 happened.

    Johnson entered the season with an ADP of 1.07 and lived up to the billing for six weeks. Although an ankle injury sidelined him for a couple games, he returned in Week 10. Arizona, though, leaned on Chase Edmonds and Kenyan Drake down the stretch.

    Perhaps worst of all, Arizona had league-winning production from a running back. Drake amassed 814 yards and eight touchdowns after the Cardinals acquired him in a trade with the Miami Dolphins. Drake (7.11 ADP) could've been selected much later.

    Johnson, on the other hand, totaled 17 carries for 45 yards and six receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown in the last six weeks. He plummeted from a locked-in starter to RB37.

                       

    Note: ADP from Fantasy Football Calculator with scoring totals and rankings from FantasyPros and FantasyData.

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