An Ugly Word in Fantasy Football: Bust
Bust. Ugh. Just hearing that word makes your skin crawl and then you break out in cold sweats. No one likes drafting a bust. It’s even worse when that bust is your first round draft pick. No one ever intentionally drafts a bust to their fantasy football squad. You might even be thinking to yourself, “Kent, none of the guys I drafted are going to be busts. I’ve done my research!” Well yes, we have all done our own fair share of research.
The real problem is, knowing who will bust can be wildly unpredictable. It’s an unfortunate truth to grasp in a game where we treasure stats and predictions of how well our players will perform. With that being said, let’s take a bit of a contrarian look at some first round candidates for the 2017 season and determine their bust factor (graded on a scale of 1-5 Osweilers, with 1 being not likely to bust and 5 being very likely to bust)
1. David Johnson
DJ gets a bust rating of one Osweiler. He’s the number one pick overall this season for a reason. David Johnson is a running back, a wide receiver, a good human and overall just perfect for your fantasy team. There are basically four main things that I consider when I am determining which players will bust: how well they play, who their backup is, their injury concerns and their off-field issues. Looking at these categories, there is almost nothing to be concerned about in terms of DJ becoming a bust in 2017. The only possible chance of DJ busting would be for him to suffer a major injury. He has only had minor injuries thus far, with an MCL tear ending his 2016 season a little early. And I know that all DJ owners are praying that he does not get injured. Draft with confidence.
2. Le’Veon Bell
I couldn’t decide between 2 or 3 Osweilers for Bell, so we’re going with 2.5 Osweilers for his bust rating. Le’Veon Bell is without a doubt one of, if not the, most electric player in the NFL right now. His play is unmatched, even by David Johnson. Bell last season averaged 25 more scrimmage yards and 1.25 more receptions per game than DJ last season. Yes, DJ had much more TDs than Bell, so DJ did have higher fantasy points per game (20.7 vs 20.2) than Bell in standard leagues. Bell’s floor in any format is untouchable, he gets so many yards that he will almost never leave you with a stinker of a week. With that being said, Le’Veon Bell has some concerns. He has suffered an ACL, MCL and a pedal foot tear. All injuries that can cause concern for re-injury.
In addition to that, Bell has suspension concerns. He has had two suspensions over the last two seasons. Now, I’m not going to preach or be a judge of character, but I can say that Bell might not understand the gravity of his choices while playing in the NFL. There is alway concern of a future suspension, though there is no current evidence to suggest he is in immediate danger of landing one.
3. Antonio Brown
Brown is the David Johnson of wider receivers….or is DJ the Brown of running backs…? Anyway, he’s a safe bet. There’s a reason that he has been a perennial high draft pick since 2014. He has one of the safest floors in the game and is Big Ben Roethlisberger’s main target. He has only missed four games since becoming a starter in 2011. How can you go wrong here?
4. Julio Jones
Julio is going to land a two Osweiler rating on the bust scale. Anyone who has owned Julio already knows why; he’s known to get banged up easily. Jones has only had two full 16 game seasons since entering the league in 2011. The Alabama prodigy is definitely a candidate to sit out a few games each season. Julio is still one of the top three receivers in the league and his playmaking ability is top notch on a good offense. I sense that people are suffering from recency bias in calling him a boom-bust player from last season. I did a little bit of analysis with R and found that Julio’s 2016 season was the one with the most variance in his career thus far, including his rookie season.
Here are Julio's weekly yardage totals, we can see that 2016 was not a representation of his consistency. Expect more consistency than 2016. pic.twitter.com/DxDGrxNLwk
— Kent Weyrauch (@CCNP_Kent) August 12, 2017
5. Odell Beckham Jr.
Honestly, if it wasn’t for the ankle injury that OBJ suffered during preseason play, he would be a one Osweiler guy as well. OBJ became a dominant force in the NFL almost instantly. At this point, no one is questioning his talent or production (35 TDs in 3 seasons is ridiculous). Some people don’t like Odell because he is a very emotional person and can be viewed as a hothead as well. I really don’t foresee his personal issues being anything that could cause him to miss games going forward, but he did get suspended one game in the 2015 season so the possibility exists. Even with Brandon Marshall getting signed this offseason, I doubt that OBJ will have a major decrease in production this year.
6. Mike Evans
This is the first player on the list where I am actually a little concerned about his production going forward. He has not had a season with a catch percentage over 56% in his first three NFL seasons. Sure last year Evans saw 173 targets come his way in 2016, so the yards and TDs came to him via volume. However, no one else on the 2016 team got more than the 83 targets Adam friggin’ Humphries received. The offense for Tampa Bay has improved their personnel since last season. The added Desean Jackson in free agency and drafted rookies OJ Howard and Chris Godwin. All impressed in camp this offseason. I do not expect Mike Evans to reach his target numbers from last season. His health has been solid though, so staying on the field shouldn’t be an issue.
This was part one of a two part article talking about possible bust players in the first round. Keep an eye on www.TheFantasyAuthority.com leading up to the regular season for tons of info for your draft and in season analysis (as well as part two of this article)!